« Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker loses his chief of staff | Main | FL Supreme Court hears foreclosure appeal »

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla's firm lobbies for FPL in South Miami, which is at odds with...FPL

When South Miami commissioners were readying to take a vote opposing Florida Power & Light's proposed base-rate increase, Mayor Philip Stoddard got an unexpected phone call -- from his state senator.

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer and lobbyist, called on behalf of his firm's client: FPL.

"He did ask me to delay it, and I think they wanted me to delay it again," said Stoddard, who pushed back the resolution for unrelated scheduling reasons. "I wouldn't delay it a second time."

It's not the first time that Diaz de la Portilla or any other lawmaker lobbies a city in his or her district. Nothing prohibits them from doing so.

But Diaz de la Portilla, a Coral Gables Republican who works at Becker & Poliakoff, is not a registered lobbyist in South Miami. And South Miami -- along with Coral Gables, Miami and Pinecrest -- is engaged in an ongoing fight against FPL over the company's proposal to build power-transmission lines along U.S. 1.

Diaz de la Portilla called the brouhaha an attempt by "liberal Democrats ... to slander a Republican Senator." He noted his firm's long relationship with FPL and said he never spoke to Stoddard "about the merits of his resolution." Someone else is representing FPL before South Miami, Diaz de la Portilla added.

"I do not currently represent FPL before South Miami or any City within my Senate District," he said in a text message.

His appearance on behalf of FPL at a recent executive board meeting of the Miami-Dade League of Cities outraged Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, a former Democratic state representative. She called Diaz de la Portilla's gig lobbying cities in his district "unconscionable."

"It's got to be a conflict of interest," she said. "It is a breach of his duty as a representative."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

whasup

Well ...

what's the point of being a South Florida Senator if you can't hold your power in the Senate as a carrot or stick over the heads of mere local government officials ...

who may want or need some help from you in the Senate down the road?

(chuckle)

Mikey

Florida has a citizen legislature which meets for 60 days per year. The job pays about $29000 per year. Most legislators have to work at other jobs to feed their families. That's why there is no legal or ethical prohibition for an attorney/legislator to practice before local governments. If Mayor Stoddard or Mayor Lerner feel "pressured" or "unduly influenced" because a legislator represents a client before their cities, it just means that that both mayors lack backbone.

Mikey

By the way, Mayor Lerner, is demagoguing the FPL issue to divert attention from her terrible record as mayor. Taxes are up and crime has increased in Pinecrest during her tenure.

Mikey

Cindy Lerner is a second rate lawyer and third rate mayor. She's just jealous and worried that Senator Diaz de la Portilla, who is an AV rated lawyer and effective advocate, will expose her demagoguery. Stay tuned as our good Republican Senator exposes Liberal Democrat Lerner's fraud.

Luke

The FPL non issue has been created solely as an attempt to bolster the lack-luster political careers of politicians like Stoddard and Lerner. The fact is that the transmission lines either go down US-1,Flagler street or 8th street. Given the density of residences and schools along with limited space, US-1 is a no brainer. The only alternative is to work with FPL to place the lines underground down US-1. Stoddard and Lerner are hoping people dont catch on so they can continue beating their chest like a couple of "green" monkeys.

dogboy

this is the same thing that got Rivera in trouble. when is florida going to change the law thats allows you to be a legislator, lobbyist, political consultant, fundraiser and activist all at the same time? it allows you to actually lobby and represent issues that are live in the state legislature and committees on which you serve. you"d think that was a conflict of interest, but not in florida. this is much worse than what people complain lobbyists do in washington.

University of Florida student

Are you people above crazy?! You cannot unethically use your power for personal gain. He denies working as a lobbyist for FPL in his district.. Well then why was he calling the commissioners? Senator Diaz de la Portilla is a business man, not a senator and truly an embarrassment to his district. Everyone above should see how ignorant he really is and the terrible effect on his district and the state of Florida as a result.

anonymous

@University of Florida student

Finish your education before posting please.

The comments to this entry are closed.