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UPDATED: Attack ads in Miami-Dade mayor's race: the fallout

See updates after the jump:

Add another wrinkle to the story behind nasty radio ads and a website against Miami-Dade Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, who is running for county mayor since voters last month gave Carlos Alvarez the boot.

We reported earlier this week that the attack campaign was funded by The Accountability Project, an electioneering group headed by Miami political consultant Keith Donner. The group was working with Vanessa Brito, who led Miami Voice, the political action committee that also helped recall Commissioner Natacha Seijas.

Now Brito says she has severed ties with The Accountability Project.

"I was just supposed to be the media contact," she said Friday. "I didn't realize it was going to be about one candidate...I just don't want to be a part of it. These are the same people -- the PBA, Julio -- that helped Natacha."

She was referring to the Police Benevolent Association and Julio Ponce. Ponce -- an ally of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, who is also seeking the county mayor's post -- contributed $10,000 to The Accountability Project last year.

The PBA has been rumored to be behind jingles targeting Gimenez, including two set to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Michael Bublé's "I Just Haven't Met You Yet" that are featured in The Accountability Project's website, Gimenez-Truth.com. The tunes have been making the e-mail rounds in political circles for a few weeks. PBA President John Rivera could not be reached for comment Friday.

Donner, the political consultant, said he thought the jingles were produced by the PBA, though he did not reach out to the union to use the clips on The Accountability Project's website.

Donner attributed Brito's departure to pressure from Gimenez's supporters.

"She had no idea that she would be the target of retaliation," he said, calling it a reflection of "politics as usual at county hall." His group, he said, would target "whoever stands in the way of reform."

Brito said when news of her ties to the attack campaign became public, she was flooded with calls, including from "every single person that was associated with Miami Voice."

"I should should have known better," she said.

She also spoke with Gimenez, Brito said, who took issue with the ads' claim that he receives more than one pension from his time as Miami fire chief and city manager.

Gimenez's campaign has said he receives one pension "he contributed to for more than 25 years." Brito apologized to Gimenez in the statement saying she left The Accountability Project.

UPDATE: Donner countered Brito's statement that her role in the anti-Gimenez campaign was limited to being a media contact. He provided e-mails showing her draft of a news release on the launch of the effort -- and Donner's follow-up, with a the final version of the release he called more "pointed."

Brito apparently replied "Good :)" from her work e-mail address. Brito said earlier Friday that she did not sign off on quotes attributed to her in the news release.

Donner also said the money The Accountability Project received from Ponce was for work the electioneering organization did last year.

Comments

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SimonSez

Donner said he and his group would target "whoever stands in the way of reform. However, Gimenez isn't standing in the way of reform. Gimenez is the chief advocate for reform.

Why then doesn't Donner concentrate on the dirtiest, sleaziest anti-reform candidate, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina?

After all, Robaina was caught on videotape lying about his Marlins stadium support. Robaina also received an undisclosed $200,000 private loan from one city vendor (providing city vehicles) and gave an undisclosed $300,000 private loan to another city vendor (providing towing services). Robaina is also closely associated with disgraced former state Rep. Ralph Arza who made those disgusting racist remarks to a colleague five years ago. Robaina is also reportedly under investigation for his business relationship with Luis Felipe Perez who the feds have criminally charged with running a $40 million Ponzi scheme.

The New Times is reporting that Robaina has not paid taxes for years on a strip mall he owns.http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/04/hialeah_mayor_julio_robaina_do.php

Also, follow this link to see a photo of the residence Robaina says he lives at in his candidacy papers. Do you believe him?
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JcqA7fPXwAM/TZ4m9SWeBoI/AAAAAAAAJfo/s8SjnvpXe_8/s1600/julio%2B2.jpg

Oh that’s right. . . Donner can’t expose Robaina’s corruption because Robaina's supporters are funding Donner's boiler room operation and Robaina sees Gimenez as his top competitor for the Miami-Dade seat.

Donner, you are S L E A Z Y!

L.S.

how bizarre is it that the most dishonest and sleazy political entity in miami-dade county is the police union? the PBA has no shame.

Denny Wood

Today, I spent a very frustrating hour trying to access the Mayor and Commission race on the county web site, www.miamidade.gov. I am sure there is a path to this information, see who is running but this very rotten, hard to access web site is paid for by us taxpayers. It is a piece of garbage and appears designed to hide elections information from us profession web site surfers. If you have the path to this hidden information it should be published in the Herald and everywhere. Who is running? What is the filing Deadline? Where is the money coming from? dignity4@comcast.net

Denny Wood

I am not a professional web site surfer. I visit many web sites in my business activities.
Professional web site surfers might be able to navigate the county web site. I can't find simple elections information on this rotten Miami Dade County work product. Denny Wood

Johnny Bohica

If Wood is complaining about you, YOU must be doing something RIGHT! (not in jail this week Denny?)

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