Upon learning that five pastors endorsed his opponent Tuesday, the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II took a cue from Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney.
“Five pastors? That’s it?” said Dunn, a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Miami City Commission. “I’m not impressed.” (Maroney was famously unimpressed by her silver medal at the 2012 Olympics.)
Dunn is challenging sitting Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones -– and plans to file a lawsuit questioning her eligibility. He says Spence-Jones should be banned from running because she has already held the seat twice. The Miami city charter limits commissioners to two terms.
“Term limits are for a reason,” Dunn said. “Even our beloved president can only serve two terms.”
Miami City Attorney Julie O. Bru, however, has opined that Spence-Jones can seek reelection because she did not serve “two full consecutive terms,” as the city charter allows. Spence-Jones was removed from office in 2009 after bribery and grand-theft charges were filed against her. She successfully fought the charges and returned to the dais in 2011.
At a press conference Tuesday, the five pastors supporting Spence-Jones questioned Dunn’s motives for filing the suit.
“The question is, who is backing this?” asked Rev. Dr. W. Edward Mitchell, Jr., the pastor at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City. “Who is really behind it?”
Some in Spence-Jones’s circle have pointed the finger at Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. Spence-Jones has a separate lawsuit against the mayor, alleging he and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle conspired to destroy her political career.
Regalado said he has nothing to do with Dunn's suit.
“The last thing I want is another lawsuit,” he said.
Dunn said two of his “friends” would be paying the legal fees, but declined to name them. He laughed when asked if Regalado was involved.
“It ain’t him,” he said.
Dunn is being represented by former state Rep. J.C. Planas. Planas said he will file this week or next.