Francis Suarez, the Mayor of Miami, Florida, and a former candidate in the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary Election has found himself in some legal trouble according to reports released Tuesday. The trouble seems to surround a no-bid city contract that Suarez and his top aides allegedly spent months advocating for in 2023.
According to The Miami Herald, Suarez and his team advocated for the software company NZero to earn a no-bid contract with the city while it was simultaneously clinching a partnership with another firm that was paying him a generous $20,000 per month salary.
The Herald reported, “The mayor’s advocacy on behalf of the software company, NZero — and the behind-closed-doors discussions involving its partnership with Suarez’s private employer, Redivider — were laid out in dozens of emails obtained by the Miami Herald.”
— DAVID PREMIER (@davidpremier) December 3, 2021
The news broke as Suarez gave his State of the City address in which he responded to additional allegations against him regarding his business connections to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia according to NBC6.
It’s been an honor to serve our residents. A badge I wear proudly. At today’s State of the City address, I vowed my commitment to continue to create an ecosystem that is a Miami For Everyone. pic.twitter.com/h1ET2iHJ5v
— Mayor Francis Suarez (@MiamiMayor) January 30, 2024
The Herald explained that in emails from December 2022 through April 2023, new questions have arisen around Suarez’s potential conflicts of interest working with a Florida developer already under investigation by federal authorities.
NZero is a firm that offers tracking of carbon emissions from corporations and governments seeking to increase environmental efficiency, while the much smaller firm Redivider which Suarez holds a minority stake in and earns a monthly salary, is seeking investors to build data centers. Redivider CEO and cofounder Tom Frazier called the potential partnership “a key milestone for fulfilling our vision,” in a press release published to TechBullion.
nZero To Provide Emissions Transparency For Redivider’s Edge Data Centers: Interview with Tom Frazier, CEO of Redivider @redivider_ https://t.co/QxixdGin2o #earth #planet #climatechange #emissions #datacenter @TechBullion pic.twitter.com/05fvwYIVSR
— TechBullion (@TechBullion) May 20, 2023
The Miami mayor has also found himself in the crosshairs of an investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and county ethics commission looking into a $10,000 per month contract signed between a developer seeking assistance from the mayor’s office and Suarez.
The Herald spoke with Anthony Alfieri, founding director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service at the University of Miami School of Law who told the outlet Suarez should have, “recused himself and prohibited his staff from participating in the NZero negotiation with the city of Miami.” He added that refusal by Suarez to keep his personal business interests separate from his activities as mayor is part of a pattern of behavior that “tarnishes public perception of his integrity and corrodes public trust in his administration.”
Frazier told reporters from the outlet that his “interactions with the city of Miami and the mayor’s office adhere to all legal and ethical standards.”