North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre Exploited Position to Use Soccer Fields for Free: Ethics Comission

North Miami Mayor one of three officials named in ethics report

North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre exploited his position to avoid paying rental fees at a municipal athletic field used by his soccer club, according to a report released Tuesday by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

According to the report, Pierre's group, the North Miami Taxpayers Soccer Club, used the fields more than 100 times without paying between October 2009 and January 2012.

An NBC 6 South Florida investigation earlier this year found the loss of fees for the use of the stadium equaled around $40,000.

Pierre used the field for free even though a resolution unanimously passed by the North Miami City Council in April 2010 limits fee waivers to certain qualified organizations for just one no-cost use per year, the ethics commission said.

According to the commission, Pierre objected to the accusation through his attorney, who said the mayor was following proper protocol by utilizing the facility for pick-up soccer games and claimed the usage was consistent with "community service" activities of the city.

The case is expected to proceed to a public hearing.

Pierre garnered national attention earlier this month after he presented keys to the City of North Miami to reality TV stars Kim and Kourtney Kardashian.

The ethics report also said probable cause was found that Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo exploited his position by calling the Miami Police chief after he was pulled over for a traffic violation in Coconut Grove this past August.

Carollo was let go with a warning, though his attorney contended his call to the chief was to determine why police vehicles were blocking a road, the commission said. Carollo also said he never asked for special treatment or expressed concern with the officer's stop.

The commission also found probable cause on a complaint against Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff that accuses him of failing to properly disclose a gift.

According to the commission, Sarnoff and his wife went to Brazil in connection with the Volvo Ocean Race, which made a stop in Miami last May. The commission said he failed to disclose that race officials reimbursed Sarnoff for his wife's airfare, and sent him a letter advising him he needed to report the reimbursement of his wife's travel expenses as a gift.

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