Former Miami Lakes mayor denies corruption charges
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi is speaking out for the first time after he was arrested on corruption charges earlier this month.
Pizzi and former Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono were arrested with several lobbyists on Aug. 6 after allegations of a federal bribery scheme came to light. According to officials, both mayors had accepted bribes in the form of cash.
Officials said, Marono passed a resolution for a fake company in order to receive a federal grant. In result he allegedly received $40,000 in payments from the deal. While Pizzi allegedly received $6,000 for his role in the kickback scheme.
The former Miami Lakes mayor spoke Tuesday afternoon after his arraignment was moved to next month. "I'm the victim here. I'm innocent of any wrong doing. I'm gonna be exonerated. I'm a victim here. The suggestion that I did anything wrong is ridiculous. I'm a victim of very unscrupulous people who apparently spent a couple of years spending a lot of cash money trying to set me up on something, but I did absolutely nothing wrong," said Pizzi. "I'm innocent. I'm gonna be exonerated and I did absolutely nothing wrong. If anyone was a victim of a fraud, it was me."
Marono's attorney Armando Rosquete said, "We've issued a statement saying that Mr. Marono and his family are very appreciative of all the support they've received from members in the community. Obviously Mr. Marono and his family stand by that statement."
While Marono chose not to speak Pizzi kept defending himself. "All I ever did was to act in my city's best interest and trying to do good things for the city. I don't understand. You approach somebody, you ask them to do good things for the city, and then you suggest that they did something wrong," said Pizzi. "The people know me. Your viewers know me. I've always fought for the people. I've always overcome obstacles, fought for the people and fought on the right side of issues. I did absolutely nothing wrong."
The arraignment was moved to Sept. 20.
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