Thursday, January 20, 2011

State Takes Over Rivera Investigation

From the Miami Herald:

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle has removed one of her top prosecution teams from the investigation of U.S. Rep. David Rivera and asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take over as the lead agency in the politically sensitive probe.

This week, aides to Fernández Rundle asked detectives in the Miami-Dade Police Department’s public corruption squad to begin working with the FDLE’s Tallahassee office, which will now lead the Rivera probe. Miami-Dade detectives had previously been working primarily with a team of investigators and prosecutors within Rundle’s office.

[…]

Prosecutors and detectives began investigating Rivera, a Miami Republican, weeks before he won his seat in Congress in November, after serving eight years as a state lawmaker.

Investigators found that Flagler Dog Track paid $510,000 to Millennium Marketing — a company owned by Rivera’s mother and godmother — as part of a deal for Rivera to manage a pro-slots political campaign on behalf of the parimutuel.

Rivera long denied receiving any income from the dog track, and he made no mention of Flagler or the Millennium deal in his financial disclosure forms. But days before taking office in Congress, he admitted receiving $132,000 in undisclosed loans from Millennium — money Rivera says he repaid after the election.

Investigators are also examining Rivera’s campaign spending, including $30,000 he paid to Millennium for campaign consulting in 2006, and $75,000 he paid last year to a now-defunct consulting company owned by the daughter of a top aide. Rivera has denied any wrongdoing.

Let the chips fall where they may…and get the popcorn.