The city of Sweetwater is demanding more than $68,000 in reimbursement from a former commissioner who resigned after pleading guilty to perjury.
Sophia Lacayo was ousted from her job in August of 2020 after pleading guilty to the perjury charge for falsely saying she lived in the city during her campaign.
Lacayo was sentenced to one year of probation, had to take an ethics course with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, and had to pay various investigative cost recovery fees.
But now Sweetwater’s Mayor, Orlando Lopez, is looking for Lacayo to return her salary and benefits compensation. He said she owes some $68,887 to the city.
"Make right by the city of Sweetwater, return these monies to the residents," Lopez said.
Lacayo released a statement that read in part "…the salary I received was all donated to the residents of Sweetwater during my tenure as Commissioner of Sweetwater.”
But Lopez said he said he believes she probably didn't donate the money.
And as the controversy swirls, Lacayo is looking to elevate her politics, running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
She’s self-funding much of it, with finance reports showing she loaned her campaign $43,800 then an additional $169,000, and then more, totaling some $300,000.
Sweetwater has asked the former commissioner for a refund before, which was ignored, and now they’re asking again.
"Now the commission decided to again to revisit this and ask for those monies to be returned to the city and if she did not do it they would seek alternative measures in the next couple of months," Lopez said.
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.