Before becoming a politician, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was employed as a newscaster in local Hispanic radio. He became well known because he would get the news from Cuba that no one else could. At the time Cuban society was even more close than it is today.
The fact that verification proof of the events that Regalado claimed took place in Cuba could not be had was “because the regime was repressing the news.” Still, people enjoyed his reports. Then a nasty little rumor started making the rounds of Hispanic journalist. The rumor went like this: it seems Regalado would use very old Cuban newspapers and magazines and select news items from them and claim the events took place in the present. Most the time the news pieces were road accidents of some kind due to “the poor state of roads and transportation in communist Cuba.”
The rumors were never proved but the suspicion has remained. More recent, a few years ago, as a city of Miami elected official, questions were raised about how his city assigned vehicle could take 75 gallons of gas at one sitting. The rumor then, and I repeat, the rumor was he was allowing family members to use the city gasoline card. Again, nothing came of it.
Now Regalado is in a similar fix. Here is an article printed by the El Nuevo Herald, you be the judge.
Campaign documents show that Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado received at least $8,000 from individuals and corporations in the Dominican Republican during the 2009 election campaign, something that Florida election officials say is illegal in Florida.
“Contributions to candidates from individuals and corporations abroad are prohibited under state and federal laws,” said Chris Cate, spokesman of the Florida Division of Elections in Tallahassee. “It is not permitted to contribute, donate or use these funds in federal, state or local campaigns.”
Cate added that candidates are responsible to make sure that all contributions to their campaigns comply with election laws.
The 16 contributions of $500 each were delivered by William Bermello, a Miami architect, from July to September in 2009, Regalado told El Nuevo Herald. The checks were issued by Dominican contractors linked to Mobiliaria Arena Gorda. Bermello is a partner at Bermello Ajamil & Partners, a Miami enterprise involved in the luxurious Los Altos project in the tourist zone of Casa de Campo, whose contractor is Mobiliaria Arena Gorda.
Attorney Raquel Regalado, campaign treasurer and the mayor’s daughter, told El Nuevo Herald that it was “an oversight” to have accepted contributions from the Dominican Republic in a campaign that received hundreds of checks for $5, $10, and $20. Raquel Regalado is now a Miami-Dade County School Board member.
Tomás Regalado said that he learned that those contributions were considered illegal when an El Nuevo Herald reporter asked him about them last week. Since then, he said, he has begun to investigate.
“It was the first time I was aware of this,” Tomás Regalado said.
Bermello did not respond to calls made to his offices in Miami by El Nuevo Herald. Calls and emails sent to Guillermo Strofer, one of the principal partners of Arena Gorda, did not get responses, either.