Monday evening, it was Doral politics at its best, or worst, depending on your point of view. The long-running feud between City Manager Joe Carollo and Mayor Luigi Boria came to a crescendo when a motion was brought forward to fire Carollo.
“There’s a motion on the table,” said Doral vice-mayor Christine Fraga.
The meeting in Doral descended into chaos at times with name-calling, members talking over each other, even the crowd booing and cheering at different points in the meeting. The meeting Monday was the second time Mayor Boria had tried to oust Carollo.
Unlike the first time, things worked out for the Mayor this time. “The motion passes,” Boria said.
Carollo and Boria joined forces just 15 months ago, but had a very public falling out over a real estate project on land previously owned by the Boria’s children. Carollo openly criticized Boria last fall over the issue.
Vice-mayor Fraga said during the meeting that it was more than just that.
“Less has been done in this year than ever before in the history of our city,” vice-mayor Fraga said. “I feel our taxpayers are being misspent.”
The biggest issue was whether the Monday night meeting was even legitimate. The city attorney told council members the meeting was legal.
Carollo blasted members of the city council, specifically vice-mayor Fraga for backroom dealing. Carollo went as far as accusing Fraga of considering payment for a vote to terminate. The claim was denied by the vice-mayor, “Absolutely not. Never. Those are all rumors.”
Carollo said that’s just some of the corruption he exposed and said the council let him go because it was scared what would be discovered next.
“Let me be clear. I have whistleblower protection,” Carollo said. “They moved on me because the noose was getting too tight on them.”
Not every member of the council wanted Carollo ousted from his position. Councilmembers Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera and Ana Maria Rodriguez supported Carollo. Their support was evident during the meeting when Rodriguez-Aguilera drew groans from the crowd.
“You see, Mr. Mayor, you think you’re in Venezuela,” she said. “That’s the problem.”
Carollo said that he saved city more than $20 million and brought in new revenue. He has not said whether he will take legal action. Council members appointed Public Works Director Jose Olivo to serve as interim city manager.