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UPDATED: Miami lawmaker seeks political revenge against predecessor

After losing two state legislative races against Juan C. Zapata, state Rep. Frank Artiles is trying to get his revenge.

Zapata twice defeated Artiles in Republican primaries in 2002 and 2004 -- and endorsed and actively campaigned for Artiles' Democratic opponent two years ago. Now Artiles has backed Zapata's opponent in a Miami-Dade County Commission race, Manny Machado.

Artiles paid out of his own pocket for a mailer endorsing Machado and a slate of other candidates (a disclaimer on the piece says, "Paid for and approved by Frank Artiles. Not paid by taxpayers.") After Zapata gave an interview on Spanish-language radio, Artiles called the show's producer and offered to debate Zapata.

And Artiles went on a different Spanish-language radio station to offer this blunt assessment of the differences between the candidates in the race: "Criminal or cop," he said.

Machado is a Miami-Dade police detective. Zapata was arrested two decades ago for possession of steroids. The record that has since been expunged.

(Asked if he agrees that Zapata is a "criminal," Machado said, "No, it's been expunged. He's complied with the courts." However, Machado added that he will not debate his opponent unless Zapata releases records of his 1992 arrest.)

In the 2004 legislative race, Zapata's arrest -- at the time sealed but not expunged -- surfaced in an ugly contest where Zapata accused the Miccosukee tribe of bankrolling his opponents because Zapata had upset the tribe in the Legislature. Artiles at the time was attacked by third-party political committees suggesting he was a Miccosukee puppet.

Last week on radio station WWFE-AM (670), known as La Poderosa, Artiles also mentioned Zapata's parents' 1982 federal arrest for money laundering.

"The reality is, I don't care about that," Artiles said. "The important thing is that he didn't support Marco Rubio for senator."

Zapata was an early supporter of former Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign for U.S. Senate. Zapata said he did not involve himself in the race after Crist dropped out of the Republican Party and ran as an independent. Rubio didn't ask him for his endorsement, Zapata said.

UPDATE: This article from the Associated Press says Zapata continued to support Crist after he dropped out of the GOP.

Zapata, who is now seeking the nonpartisan commission seat, has accused Artiles of bankrolling a negative campaign against him.

"He should be focused on doing his job -– political pettiness, political vendettas don't serve anyone," Zapata said. "He's raised tens of thousands of dollars to attack me."

Artiles' political committee has contributed to other committees that in turn have sent other mailers attacking Zapata. A committee backing Zapata has also attacked Machado.

"He has $600,000, he has every lobbyist on payroll, has every lobbyist endorsing him and giving him money," Artiles said of Zapata. "I believe that the citizens of West Kendall deserve to know everything about their future county commissioner or their potential county commissioner."

Artiles, who is basically running unopposed for reelection -- he faces a write-in candidate -- said he doesn't have a political grudge against Zapata. But he stressed Zapata's support in 2010 for Democrat Katie Edwards, who ran against Artiles for Zapata's open seat after he was term-limited.

"It's not payback at all," Artiles said.


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Angel Martinez

Please stop writing you are just terrible, do you work for the Herald or are you on Zapata's payroll, can you be just a tad more one sided in your writing. If Mr Zapata can have his political committees attack others in the past and now put out negative attacks on Machado which you slightly touch on, let me say slightly, just slightly. Then by all means accept the fact that others will do the same to Mr Zapata, he souds like a school kid crying for kool aid. I have following this race and these last two articles of yours are just another proof of how special interest clouds the truth. Mr Zapata sold "Drugs", got busted and by some act of intervention had his record sealed and expunged. And yes, I am even suprised he is still a citizen who can vote, my brother had his rights restored by the Govenor after 30 years for a going on a joy ride and he was born here. But yet he still can't own a firearm or get a government low paying job. And this ex felon who has manuvered to mascaraid his past wants to be a commissioner, control our tax dollars and our livelyhood. Please I don't know the opponent Machado yet but I get him votes daily!! I just reched out to his campaign to volunteer, I recieved one mailer from him. Clean and to the point, Zapata has killed 1 million trees with his avertisments. Please use recycled paper like Machado did, go green help our future, my grandkids, our earth. Zapata promises too much, thats a bad sign. And please be transparent we need honest leaders not shaddy characters!!

Sincerly Angel Martinez Sunset Drive & 152 Coffee Committee come by anytime!!! 5 pm to 9 pm


Mrs. Mazzel, I am abet Miami Herald reader but sometimes articles like this make me want to cancel my subscription. As a parent, teacher and lifelong resident of West Kendall I am very disappointed in the way this race is being conducted. Mr. Zapata paid his dues, and then he served our community both locally and in the state. Mr. Machado has served our community as well in the capacity of a police officer and has lived on our tax dollars. Both in my mind are good people but in times of uncertainty we need someone that has experience dealing with government. I wake every morning and wonder if my husband will loose his construction job, or if we will be able to pay my water bill, or if our taxes will go any higher.

Those are the issues that matter to me and I honestly don’t think Mr. Machado can handle this position. With all do respect to him he has no business experience or knows how to navigate the system to make things happen. I would actually love for them to have an issue-oriented debate, but this petty thing of I will only debate if he opens his records his childish. If Mr. Machado really cares about this community and the people of it then just talk about the issues and tell your supporters to stop the personal attacks against another citizen of such.

Elly B.

Angel Martinez

Here we go, experience yes drug dealing and defruading the people and robbing us blind in tally. Lady please come visit us and we will show you the light. Guess you wan cool aid also, did he write you a check also, 600k like his new friend Gimenez 9 mil raised. Get real and see the light.

Angel Martinez " And thats my name" come by!


It seems like All I read is Zapata complaining and pointing fingers at everyone who is being mean to him. Grow up. Politics isn't nice. And he has not only said awful things about Machado during interviews but I also get negative flyers from him. So....what's the deal!

I can't stand when people complain about something that they themselves are doing....


Wait....so you are saying that you PREFER a person who has experience with a side of criminal and illegal practices??? I can't believe that Zapata is even a contender in this race!!!!!
Why is everyone avoiding the fact that this guy is a criminal who AFTER his first term spent a ridiculous amount of money to expunge and seal his records. Lets not even get into the facts that as a politician you aren't supposed to do that...just like teachers, and cops for example. Lets ignore the fact that he had to pull some major strings and make some deals with people in very high places to accomplish this...

If I was being "transparent" and telling everyone that I was selling steroids...then why go through all the trouble to hide the paperwork? It dosent add up.

I would like to see the reporters of this paper actually looking into things like this.....uncover the truth....not be so obviously bias.

I can't help but wonder who paid YOU to write this article!

It's a whole lot of the same....and we need a change!


You know...I kinda like that Mr. Machado is not a career politician.
I think we need someone simple with a good heart and good intentions fighting for what is right.

Mr. Machado passed by my house and met with me personally. Something no other politician has ever done before. He seemed very smart. He knew about all the issues and cares about the things that really matter to me. His family is the cutest.
One thing I also see....the people he surrounds himself with....they are good honest individuals and that speaks volumes does it not.?


I am guessing you all know more than what the paper has reported but if you can prove these things. Please do I would really consider voting for Machado if all these accusations are true. But sealing a record is easy and you can do it yourself, the expunging yeah a little harder but please share any info that may sway my vote.

Elly B.

PS: Mr. Martinez all i ask is that you are respectful when responding to me or any other person posting. I don't drink cool aid from anyone like you stated

Angel Martinez

Here start with the Marco Rubio betray that the Herald just cuaght Zapata liying about but doesnt want to qoute him in the article so people dont find out, flip flopper and criminal:::

The Associated Press
Published: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:04 a.m.
MIAMI— At a boutique hotel in Miami's upscale Coral Gables neighborhood, members of a Republican women's group smile and gush as Senate candidate Marco Rubio enters the room. A Spanish-language television reporter approaches with a microphone.

A Cuban-American lawyer and former state House speaker, the 39-year-old Rubio has captured the attention of national Republicans hoping to attract Hispanic voters, a majority of whom voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.

Zapata qoutes "Most people, what they know about Marco Rubio is that he's a young, well-spoken guy who's Hispanic," said Rep. Juan Zapata, a Republican state representative in Florida who was born in Colombia and supports Rubio's rival Gov. Charlie Crist. "People don't know the details."

Zapata said that the Hispanic community would love to support a Latino candidate but that Rubio's views don't further the causes of Hispanic voters.

"I've known him for a long time and I've worked with him and I'm terribly disappointed in the positions he's taken," he said.

From the horses mouth Zapata about Rubio, he is so vindictive and hateful of cubans and cuban americans but loves to get thier votes and their money, with 600 k in special interest, union leaders, and lobbiest from all over the state and world. He dares to ak donations from the community.

Sincerly Angel Martinez

Ps sorry Elly you just sounded like a die hard payed off supporter, see the teachers are not supporting this cat. He was one of the original Reps to draft an pass the 3 percent FRS bill and is so anty union as you read in his literature to the republicans only doesnt share tht info to he democrats, I know my neighbor gets different literaures than
i do. So i ll be poing things as i get them to keep you informed ok plus its all facts nothing made up.

Carli Montez

As it states by the Hearld and we know, no sitting county commissioner had lost a reelection bid in 16 years — in part because people, organizations and companies that regularly do business with the county contribute so much to commissioners’ campaigns that challengers often can’t compete.

Now in District 11 run off we see special interest back Juan Zapata with 600k in lobbiest backed donations, thats got to be a record try and buy the seat. Yes Juan Zapata who recently admitted to he Herld he had ben arrested at age 25 or selling and trafficing drugs but yet wont reveal his sealed and expunged record? I wonder why! But new commer and defender of the people County Detective Manny Machado #86 with little money, he has walked door to door, and proven to be a hard worker now has blown Zapata to the curve. Even with Zapata's attempts at making up lies and sending literature calling residents which falsely portrays his Decorated Detective and Family man as a carear politician "beurocrat", even suggesting that unions are bank rolling his campaign when he only reieved one donation from one union, yet Zapata recived several others on petition from political friendship favors. Machado doesnt want thier money he said to the Hearald, I dont want to own any favors, the only special interest is the community I setve and live in. The only thing we can afford are volunteers on our budget and as you can see we got them Machado told the Herald. Zapata if elected will definately behold to those bankrolled interest dollars he recieved, even getting a home in the district or $100.00 dollars, what a deal must be a fixer upper! Yes he didnt even live in the District prior to the campaign, just waited for an open seat as must off these pro politicians do, fakes. Plus he even paid off the other Candidate Munioz recently with a hefty $5000.00 check for his endorsement. And we thought times were hard, not for Zapata, he is rolling in money, just wonder how much of that is our padt tax dollars he put in lobbiest pockets while he sat in tally, yes 8 years in tally now he wants 30 on the commission. He is not for 8 year terms, even had a fallout with Braman, said thats to short when he went begging for money and his endorsement, yes call Brahman he will confirm. The funniest thing, he claims to want to hold the UDB, no red light camaras, and exxcessive tolls, but look who is bank rolling him. All the land attorneys in florida, the expressway companies putting these tolls, and even the lobbiest for the red light camaras Gimenez Jr. threw him a fundraiser. Jr even told his dad that now he wont have any resistance from District 11, its party time with tax payers money. People wake up look at the donations of these candidates, look at the past, lets not make any more mistakes. Even Machao told the Herald, I am not running as a cop, I am running as a true resident, family man, concerned voter, no more stadium deals.

J Rodriguez

Carli & Angel you need to meet the real Manny Machado.
Ask him about his open Internal Affairs Investigation & regarding Mrs. Becker or maybe about the issue with his neighbor Mr. Spoko who fears for his life and wont even go outside while he is home.

Elly, you have the right idea learn more don't just vote for Manny the Bully

Carli Montez

Well we did, I called his campaign and they showed me that Sopko was actually arrested or punching Mr. Machado while he sat in his car, Mr Sopko even pleaded guilty as court documents show which I got on line, plus they emailed me tthe stay away order isued by the judge against Mr Sopko to stay way from Machado and his family. From what I learned Mrs Becker is the ex wife of a political prosioner that she now hates and is friends of Machado's late father who now along with her duaghter are just crazy in the head, loca, cucu. And aparently owns several for profit group homes that have some business with zapatas special interest groups that are bnk rolling his campaign. By the way if he is in so much fear tell him to move. Rodriguez or Mr Zapata quit the lies, false ccusations, and BS, you ont exist and open Internal Affairs claim you make, well pove it call the news and have it posted, you cant cuase you altered documents and cut and paste papers, how low can you be, well your scum as we will see in the next 2 weeks get ready cause you did it to yourslf looses!

Again Carli Montez "Cant wait for the next article, And Manny has my Vote and many others 100%"

J Rodriguez

Carli, I wish I was Zapata then I would have had $600k to beat the crap out of Macahdo in this race.
Just wait and see what is coming. Can't wait to see Manny at the Early voting sites he will remmeber me, Mrs. Carli or paid staffer or Mrs. Machado ask Manny about his personal relationship with me and the fun he used to have with me, making tons of money during off duty jobs.


Wow another FIU criminal gets immunity, law student ignorant of a crime, guess she worked for J.C. Planas before since he seems to represent this whole crew for years now, even running PAC's for Al Lorenzo, Herman Echaverria, Armando Guerra, you name it the list goes on and on. All these Pac's registered to Planas and made to attack candidates for these crooks, well don't worry she will seal her record even if the charge's are not sealable, she will then run for office and then expunge the record just like former Juan Zapata did years ago on his trafficing and selling drug charges, yes folks a drug dealer and turned politician. And even further his parents were drug money lauders who were arrested under operation Green Back in the eighties, guess Zapata's parents were close friends to all these now turned high profile ballots broker consultants and maybe even prosecuter's who seem to forgive these crimes and let us be defrauded and lied to. Zapata who after years of political corruption now runs for Commission Seat in District 11, with everyone of these criminal corrupted politician's involved from Jeb Bush, JC PLanas, Eddy Gonzalez, Bovo, Manny Diaz JR, Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and we can be here all day naming them, plus all the special interest in florida with lobbyist earning him almost 1 Million Dollars to run against first time candidate and police detective Manny Machado. An officer for more than 12 years and with no criminal or political ties, yes folks a true Statesman, a defender of the people. But again we see that big bucks and B.S backing Zapata can really cloud of judgements, I am with Machado , Mr. Zapata please open your record let us in to your life like all you crooks like to do to good people that challenge your ways, see the time is over for you go get a job and stop living and sucking us dry with your B.S. Go and wake up, you are done, we don't need guys like you anymore, I spoke to Machado this Saturday at Hammocks Library and boy that kid is right on point with what is really going on with this county, he has done his homework, Stadium deal, Wackenhut settlement, Tunnel, new train, and the kicker how you want to stop red light cameras but you have taken thousands and thousands from those who want to have them put up. I belong to the Kendall Federation and I was ready to vote for you but after seeing your free barbecue and hearing this young man who just wants to help his community, county, and our families prosper, I have woken up, I don't even want to vote on the 240 issue. He is for no kill thru budget not taxes, you talk a good game but your just a fraud, thank God Moses "Manny Machado" we now call him was the last guy I spoke to, his wife right by his side, he didn't even wear sunblock and you can tell the sincerity and his conviction how he can looks right into your eyes the whole time, can't say the same for you, you have this synical ora to you, why don't you stick to commercials after this cause your a good actor. I have reached out to my friends, family and neighbors cause finally we have a light on the commission and If I can help it It ain't you! What the hell is going on here in florida, can the Feds please take this place and clean house or are we just doomed? And by the way can the Herald report that Mr. Zapata and his PAC is just a lier putting out all that BS on Machado, if he were under any investigation as you claim he could not be running for office period.

Thanks LP

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