It started as a simple traffic violation — a quick crossing of a double-yellow line on a Coconut Grove street in August last year, caught by an observant cop. It got complicated when the driver, Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, decided to call the police chief after he was pulled over.
Ultimately, Carollo drove away with just a warning — but days later, a local gadfly filed a complaint saying the commissioner had abused the power of his office by calling the chief. In November Miami-Dade County’s ethics advocate — a prosecutor of sorts — agreed.
Now, it’s a full-blown soap opera, with hearings under oath, accusations of a police conspiracy and an ugly fight between the police chief and a local blogger.
On Tuesday, Miami-Dade County’s Commission on Ethics and Public Trust held a two-and-a-half hour hearing to determine if Carollo is guilty.
Commission Advocate Michael Murawski determined there was probable cause to believe Carollo abused the powers of his office. Carollo could have quietly settled then for a slap on the wrist, or at worst, a $1,000 fine.
Instead, he decided to fight — a rarity, said Ethics Executive Director Joseph Centorino, who added, “We’re not a criminal justice agency.”