Newly divorced and struggling financially, lobbyist Richard Candia fit the profile of an easy mark for an FBI informant.
“Candia,” an FBI criminal complaint said, “was believed to have contacts with public officials willing to accept bribery and kickbacks.”
It was a spot-on assessment.
From 2011 until this summer, Candia played a crucial role in recruiting Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi and Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño into a kickback sting involving purported federal grants that was orchestrated by the FBI.
Along with Maroño’s right-hand man, Jorge Luis Forte, the men were charged Tuesday and Wednesday in one of Miami-Dade’s biggest corruption busts in years.
For many seasoned politicos and insiders, the corruption wasn’t a shock.
But Candia’s involvement was.