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Feds intend to charge Miami for securities violations

Federal authorities have informed Miami they intend to file civil charges against the city for securities violations stemming from a $65 million bond sale in 2009 — likely bringing an end to a 28-month investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking into whether city leaders misled investors by failing to give accurate assessments of the city’s finances at the time. That investigation is unrelated to a new SEC probe into the sale of about $500 million in government bonds used to build the Miami Marlins’ new ballpark.

“We have information that they have concluded their investigation into bonds issued in 2009,” city attorney Julie Bru told The Miami Herald Tuesday. “We have reason to believe they may be bringing civil charges against the city.”

Bru said she has met with SEC lawyers and won the city time to negotiate a possible settlement in the pending case. Commission Chairman Francis Suarez said he will call an executive session some time next week to discuss terms.

Just what charges Miami likely will face is not clear. The SEC declined to comment and has not yet formally served the city with its findings. Ivan Harris, an outside attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockus hired by the city for the case, also refused comment. More from Charles Rabin here.