Lobbyist Jorge Forte was many things to Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño: close friend, business partner, political ally — and bagman.
But in the end, Forte gave the feds a helping hand in nailing Maroño. So, the Miami-Dade lobbyist on Thursday received a one-year-sentence from a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale, much less than his one-time buddy.
In fact, federal prosecutors had recommended that Forte, 42, receive 1 1/2 years in prison for his “substantial assistance” in an FBI sting operation targeting Maroño and him.
Last month, Maroño, who, like Forte, pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy, was slapped with a 40-month prison sentence. U.S. District Judge William Zloch characterized their public corruption — pocketing thousands of dollars in bribes for supporting sham government grant deals — as a “cancer” in South Florida. Maroño, 42, must surrender to federal prison on March 31.