Joe Carollo, who won a November run-off election, and Alfonso Leon are battling for the City of Miami District 3 commission seat in the courtroom.
Carollo won the Nov. 21 electoral contest by 5.52 percent. However, Leon later filed a lawsuit arguing that Carollo is not qualified because he was not a resident of District 3 for a full year prior to registering – as the city charter requires.
Carollo – nicknamed "Crazy Joe" – argues he's lived at a Brickell neighborhood for a year and a day prior to qualifying to run, but Leon – known as Alfie – said Carollo has lived at least part of that time in a Coconut Grove neighborhood outside of District 3.
Judge Thomas Rebull said he will review electricity usage and cell phone records to determine whether Carollo lived in and was a proper resident of District 3. A ruling will come after both sides file written closing arguments and final motions next week.
While Leon, who studied law, argues justice demands Carollo be removed from office because he is serving illegitimately, Carollo said Leon is a sore loser who is pursuing legal action to the detriment of constituents.
Voter turnout for the run-off to replace Carollo's brother, Frank Carollo, was about 15 percent: a total of 4,565 people voted out of a registered 30,338.
Carollo, a Republican born in Cuba, previously served as mayor of Miami and as Doral's city manager. Prior to the run-off, Carollo accused Leon of voter fraud. Leon denied the accusation as a misrepresentation of the facts due to his residency status as an FIU student.