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Miami-Dade lobbyist caught in FBI corruption sting gets by with a little help from his friends

@jayhweaver

Richard Candia, the lobbyist-turned-informant in an FBI sting operation, is getting by with a little help from his friends.

Miami public relations maven Seth Gordon has circulated an email seeking donations for Candia’s legal costs. Candia is awaiting trial on recent kickback charges in two federal conspiracy cases featuring the suspended mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater, Michael Pizzi and Manny Maroño, and another lobbyist, Jorge Forte.

In the email, Gordon praises Candia as a friend and colleague whom he has known for years since Candia was chief of staff a legislative aide for then-state Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart. The Republican lawmaker was Gordon’s business partner in a communications firm — before getting elected to Congress.

“I am mystified by recent events and have no idea what could have led Rich into the situation he is in,” Gorden writes. “But I think the world of him and want him to emerge from this mess with a future in front of him and positioned to live up to the potential I have always seen in him.

“If you feel the same way, I need your help. The ‘Legal Defense Fund for Richard Candia’ has been opened at BB&T Bank.”

Gordon points out that contributions can be made in any amount and are private — “not subject to public record requests.”

Donations may only be spent to cover the costs of Candia’s legal defense — not fees. Candia’s attorney is William Barzee, of the Barzee Flores law firm in downtown Miami.

Gordon ends the email, titled “A friend in need,” on a solicitous note: “Please let me know of others who might be interested in this request so I may contact them as well.”

— JAY WEAVER

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