By Philippe Buteau
North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau’s use of police officers as personal bodyguards and chauffeurs did not violate Miami-Dade or city ethics rules, according to the county’s ethics commission.
The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust investigated whether Tondreau used her official position to secure special privileges. The commission interviewed Tondreau, City Manager Stephen Johnson and Police Chief Marc Elias, reviewed a police report on threatening phone calls made to City Hall and the powers and duties of the city manager.
Based on the available evidence, the ethics commission concluded there was “no basis for filing an ethics complaint,” according to their report and closed the case without doing any further.
“What happened was connected to public business, and based on what we found there was no basis for complaint,” said Joseph Centorino, executive director of the commission. “If it were for purely private trips or business that would have been different because part of our ethics code is to avoid exploitation of office.”
In response to threatening phone calls to another city official, Tondreau had a police officer chauffeur her around to city functions. During a two-week period in August – the start of the school year – Tondreau was scheduled to visit about 30 schools in North Miami. A police officer drove her to and from the schools.