North Miami Beach Commissioner Frantz Pierre Charged With Bribery

North Miami Beach Commissioner Frantz Pierre is facing bribery charges after allegedly accepting money from a strip club owner in exchange for a commission vote on a business license.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said the 53-year-old Pierre turned himself in Wednesday. In addition to the bribery charge he faces grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and unlawful compensation charges, according to an arrest warrant.

"If someone thinks they can use their public position as a cash cow to take the money from the public think again," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at an afternoon news conference.

The Miami Herald reported that Pierre took more than $20,000 from the owner of Dean's Gold Strip Club in exchange for voting for a special operating license for the club that would allow them to serve alcohol after-hours.

Pierre was removed from office in January after not attending commission meetings for six months, the Herald reported. He claimed a medical condition prevented him from attending and was reinstated in May pending an appeal.

In May, he was found guilty by the Miami-Dade Commission no Ethics and Public Trust of trying to intimidate a female compliance officer over code violations at his home, according to the Herald.

Pierre was being held on $35,000 bond Wednesday, jail records showed.

In a statement Wednesday, North Miami Beach Mayor Beth Spiegel called the charges "disturbing and upsetting."

"The City of North Miami Beach is still a great city, we are moving forward, we will continue to meet the needs of our residents, we will continue to provide all of the services that our residents have come to expect," she said.

Pierre was an elementary school teacher before becoming a commissioner in 2007, according to his profile on the city's website. He is married and is the father of five children.

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