Rev. Wins Raffle to Replace Spence-Jones - NBC 6 South Florida

Rev. Wins Raffle to Replace Spence-Jones

Dunn will represent District 5 until November



    Rev. Wins Raffle to Replace Spence-Jones
    Michelle Spence-Jones

    It took two elections, two suspensions and one lawsuit, but District 5 in Miami finally has a new representative.

    Rev. Richard P. Dunn was sworn into the seat late last night, replacing embattled former commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

    Running the risk of spending another $100,000, the Miami City Commissionhad until midnight to appoint a replacement for Spence-Jones, and it nearly took that long after they were deadlocked for about seven hours.

    Dunn publicly agreed to fill the seat only temporarily and won't run again in November.

    Last night's special meeting was open to the public, and several Spence-Jones supporters showed up to protest her removal.

    Just about anyone and everyone appeared to be signing up to get their say as to why they should be the replacement. All any potential candidate had to do was sign up. No qualifications or prior public service experience needed.

    The leading candidate was Dunn, who finished second to Spence-Jones in this month's special election. But a bunch of other people who lost to Spence-Jones were back to win the votes of the four commissioners who need a new colleague.

    Special election candidates Pierre Rutledge, David Chiverton and former Assistant City Attorney Erica Wright all thought they should have been the new Spence-Jones.

    Meanwhile, the old Spence-Jones, who is currently suing Gov. Charlie Crist for the right to call herself commissioner, could be back in her seat if she wins the legal battle.

    Spence-Jones was suspended for the second time by Crist earlier this month after she won a special election to replace herself on the City Commission. She was suspended in December after she was arrested for allegedly taking public money and using it to fund her family's restaurant and spa businesses.

    Spence-Jones claims she is innocent and that Crist is out of bounds for suspending her for the same offense. A judge ruled Crist appeared to be in the right but asked for more evidence to be presented at a February hearing.

    That hearing should determine if the replacement gets to stay in office until a general election in November.