The mayor of Miami said he is exploring legal action against Miami-Dade County over money he claims is owed to them from the federal government for help amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Francis Suarez said the money was intended to go to residents under the CARES Act passed earlier this summer by Congress.
"Our citizens were entitled to receive, based on population, $81 million in help," Suarez said while adding the county's proposal would give them $8 million. "They (Miami-Dade County) negotiated the entire time in bad faith."
Suarez said the city was open to taking 75 percent - or $60 million - of the initial money promised.
"They did it in an incredibly unprofessional manor," Suarez said. "That is money we're not going to be able to use to pay our firefighters and first responders battling against the coronavirus."
Suarez said he had spoken to several other mayors in the county, including Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, before deciding to explore the possibility of legal action.
Monday, the president of the Miami-Dade group that represents cities in the county told NBC 6 that the federal funds that came to the county aren’t being shared the way they should be.
Keon Hardemon, who is a member of the Miami City Commission as well as the president of the Miami-Dade League of Cities, says the money amounted to over $470 million and was to be used for such programs as food drives in the cities as well as handing out PPE to needy residents.
"We believe in the League of Cities that Carlos Gimenez bamboozled not only the league of cities but his own Miami-Dade Commission," Hardemon said. "He cheated the League of Cities and our municipalities."
Hardemon added that Gimenez’s plan was to give $30 million to divide up among the 34 towns and cities in Miami-Dade County.
"We are saddened by the response that our partners in Miami-Dade County have given us and essentially they have stolen from the community," he said.