Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina — who has largely stayed out of the limelight since losing his bid for Miami-Dade County mayor earlier this year to Carlos Gimenez — returned to the airwaves last week in a political advertisement on Spanish-language radio.
Robaina recorded a piece supporting candidates for each of the five Hialeah city council races. Notably absent: an endorsement for mayor.
Robaina's successor and ally, Carlos Hernandez, is running against Raul Martinez and Rudy Garcia to permanently fill the seat. But it might not help Hernandez to get Robaina's backing: There's been controversy over how Robaina left the city's finances. And Robaina is under federal investigation for allegedly taking secret cash payments from convicted Ponzi schemer Luis Felipe Perez.
Robaina has denied any wrongdoing. Hernandez is not under investigation — but he failed to disclose the interest he earned on loans from Perez. Hernandez has said he never received interest payments on the loans.
Robaina's council picks? Isis Garcia-Martinez, Vivian Casals-Muñoz, Jose Caragol, Pablito Hernandez and Lourdes Lozano.
All but one are incumbents who served under Robaina. Lozano is vying for the seat being vacated by term-limited Council member Jose "Pepe" Yedra.
Four of Robaina's five picks are on the Hernandez-backed candidate slate. Hernandez has not taken sides in the Casals-Muñoz race.
"This team has worked and will work for the good of Hialeah," Robaina says in the ad.
The piece is paid for by Citizens First, a Jupiter-based electioneering committee linked to Robaina's unsuccessful county run.
--PATRICIA MAZZEI AND CHRISTINA VEIGA