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

See updated comments from Gimenez after the jump.

Listeners who tuned into Friday night's Spanish-language broadcast of the Florida Marlins' game against the New York Mets got to hear an attack ad during a commercial break against Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Carlos Gimenez.

"Commissioner Carlos Gimenez does not listen to us," the ad says, calling Gimenez, a county commissioner, "a career politician." "He is against the reforms we need."

The ad -- which aired Friday night on WAQI-AM (710), known as Radio Mambí -- also says Gimenez has been on "on the taxpayers' payroll for more than 20 years," as a former Miami fire chief and city manager.

Paying for the ad: The Accountability Project, Inc., an electioneering communications organization registered to Miami political consultant Keith Donner.

Here's the twist: To produce the piece, Donner collaborated with Vanessa Brito, who runs Miami Voice, the political committee that led the recall against former County Commissioner Natacha Seijas.

Brito said Miami Voice has nothing to do with the ad against Gimenez. Instead, it is part of a separate campaign she and Donner are working on to "make sure that we have transparency and accountability," Brito said.

"Carlos Gimenez is not the only person we will be targeting," she added, acknowledging that the ad "is pretty negative."

"It's the only way, unfortunately, that people will understand the message," Brito said. "Carlos has been very active in promoting reform and fiscal responsibility, yet he's getting two pensions. Those things are never talked about."

Gimenez has long pushed for changes to the Miami-Dade charter.

Donner said he formed the Accountability Project last year to work on several campaigns.

The organization has received some $96,000 in contributions, according to its latest filing with the state -- including $10,000 from Informing Our Community: The Truth. That's a political action committee registered to Julio Ponce, a political ally of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, who like Gimenez is running for Miami-Dade mayor. Ponce's PAC promoted an amendment to eliminate the term limits for the office of Hialeah mayor.

Donner said his organization and the ad campaign are not linked to any county mayoral candidate. "I'm not working for anyone in the Miami-Dade mayor's race -- period," he said. Brito said neither she nor Miami Voice will endorse a candidate in the campaign.

We're waiting to hear back from Gimenez, who is in a county commission meeting Monday.

UPDATE: Gimenez's campaign responded with a statement issued late Monday in which the campaign outlined Gimenez's experience outside politics as a Miami firefighter and city manager who receives only one pension "he contributed to for more than 25 years."

The campaign also listed Gimenez's support for county charter reforms, including for term limits and an easier petition process. And it noted Ponce's ties to the Hialeah Housing Authority, an agency that is no stranger to controversy.

"It is sad that this mayoral campaign has become a tool to promote the personal agendas of certain individuals who do not have the county’s best interest at heart," Gimenez said in the statement. "The resident of Miami-Dade deserve better."

Comments

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Patrick

Well, too bad nothing that was said was true. Gimenez only has one pension, following 28 years of service at the City of Miami. Robaina, on the other hand, who has a direct tie to the "Accountability Project" will make $150,000.00 a year after 6 years in office as Mayor... Also, this is the same group that fought term limits in Hialeah, the Dade County PBA is a huge contributor to it as well. We all know the PBA is part of the problem.

Maria

Thank you Patricia Mazzei for tracing the money and showing us that Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina is behind these bogus ads. I don’t know who is sleazier: Robaina for failing to take public ownership of his negative campaign or his henchmen, Keith Donner and Vanessa Brito.

I was one of the gullible ones who actually believed that Vanessa Brito was one of the good guys because of her campaign to recall Natacha Seijas. What a shame to learn that she is now doing the bidding of the shady Robaina.

Shame on you, Vanessa Brito!

SimonSez

So the dirt on Gimenez is that he previously worked honorably as the city manager and fire chief for the City of Miami? Are you kidding me? And Brito bases her attack on a false assumption … that Gimenez is collecting two pensions as a retiree when he actually only collects one? Give me a break!

If Brito and Donner truly want to expose all corrupt and sleazy Miami-Dade mayoral candidates, why begin with Mr. Clean, Gimenez? Why not instead start with the dirtiest, sleaziest candidate, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina?

After all, Robaina was just 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 5 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.

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

Brito and Donner, you are S L E A Z Y!

Raul

Well said... Vote For Carlos Gimenez, a honest hard working man with a voice of honesty.

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