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Miami-Dade mayor's 'business roundtable' includes campaign contributors


Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez unveiled Monday a "business roundtable" that will meet periodically to advise Gimenez on economic-development strategies.

The group will give input on improving government processes, promoting innovation and developing public-private partnerships, a statement from Gimenez's office said.

Left unsaid was that 10 of the roundtable's 19 members or their companies have contributed to Gimenez's mayoral campaigns, according to a quick search of local campaign-finance records. An eleventh contributed to one of his county commission campaigns.

That's not to say the members are not qualified. And it's not like they're voting on any body with county authority. Gimenez, as his daily calendar can attest, meets with all sorts of business people.

But it's noteworthy when politicians, as they often do, reward or appear to reward supporters by appointing them to boards or committees.

To be fair, one of the roundtable members who did not contribute to Gimenez, Albert Maury, gave to the mayor's 2011 opponent, Julio Robaina. Another who did contribute to Gimenez, Rodney Barreto, also gave to Robaina, apparently covering both his bases. R. Donahue Peebles' company gave to Gimenez's 2008 commission campaign.

Roundtable members who contributed to Gimenez's mayoral campaigns, either directly or through their companies: Leonard Abess, Barreto, Jeff Berkowitz, Stephen Bittel, Tere Blanca, Evelyn Greer, John Hall, Adolfo Henriquez, Jose Smith and Jackie Soffer.

Other members: Sheldon Anderson, Armando Codina, Peter Dolara, Ghislaine Gouraige Jr., Maury, Eduardo Padron, Peebles, Frances Sevilla-Sacasa and Carlos Blanco-Sposito.

All their job titles are available here.