A judge has ruled in favor of Joe Carollo in the lawsuit filed by Alfonso Leon over the longtime politician's eligibility to serve.
Florida Circuit Civil Division Court Judge Thomas J. Rebull ruled in favor of Carollo on Monday – meaning "Crazy Joe" is eligible to serve as a City of Miami District 3 commissioner.
Carollo won a 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 successfully argued to the judge that he'd lived at a Brickell neighborhood for a year and a day prior to qualifying to run, but Leon – known as Alfie – said Carollo lived at least part of that time in a Coconut Grove neighborhood outside of District 3.
In his decision, Rebull reviewed electricity usage and cell phone records to determine whether Carollo lived in and was a proper resident of District 3.
While Leon, who studied law, argued justice demanded Carollo be removed from office because he is serving illegitimately, Carollo said Leon is a sore loser who pursued 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.