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Bank records raise questions in Hialeah legislative race

A Florida House candidate may have broken campaign-finance laws by spending more money than he raised, back-dating checks and potentially using money from another campaign managed by the same political consultant, bank records from a lawsuit show.

The suit against Maykel “Miguel” Balboa was filed by his Republican primary opponent, Rep. Eddy Gonzalez of Hialeah, who failed Friday to persuade a judge to toss the political rookie Balboa from the ballot or shut down a political committee managed by consultant Sasha Tirador — who is also Balboa’s boss.

“He’s just pissed off because Balboa, with very little money, is literally beating Eddy Gonzalez,” Tirador said of Gonzalez’s lawyer, J.C. Planas.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley said he didn’t feel comfortable regulating political speech or disqualifying candidates so close to Tuesday’s election. He pointed out that Gonzalez had other remedies — namely an elections complaint — to stop Balboa’s allegedly unlawful conduct.

Gonzalez plans to file such a complaint on Monday and send the records to the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, Planas said.

“What we have found is a serious violation of the campaign finance laws,” he said in an email.

Planas, a former state representative, attached to the email subpoenaed bank records of Balboa’s campaign account — a move Balboa and Tirador’s lawyer, Joe Geller, called a blatant political maneuver days before Tuesday’s election. More here.