@jayhweaver & @joeflech
When several Hialeah politicians and others entangled in the tax-evasion case of former Mayor Julio Robaina were served with federal subpoenas this week, it stirred speculation that the criminal investigation was widening at City Hall.
In reality, those served are viewed as key witnesses by the U.S. attorney’s office, as prosecutors prepare for Robaina’s trial, scheduled for early November.
Among those subpoenaed to testify: Hialeah Councilwoman Vivian Casals-Muñoz, who notarized financial documents for Robaina; former Councilman Guillermo “Willie” Zuñiga, who borrowed money from Robaina; and political insider Roberto Blanco, who allegedly delivered cash-filled envelopes to Robaina as payments from a convicted Ponzi schemer who borrowed large sums from the former mayor.
Current Mayor Carlos Hernandez, who also loaned money to the same investment scammer, has not been subpoenaed, according to his chief of staff, Arnie Alonso.
In May, a federal grand jury indicted Robaina, 48, and his wife, Raiza, 39, on charges of failing to report cash payments on loans totaling more than $1 million and other business income. Both also are charged with lying to federal agents about Robaina’s involvement in his wife’s two lending businesses; Robaina was charged with lying about receiving the undisclosed cash.