Suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi sued Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday in an effort to force him to revoke the suspension so Pizzi can reclaim his mayoral office.
The legal showdown before the Florida Supreme Court was perhaps inevitable after the governor refused to rescind Pizzi’s suspension following his acquittal a week ago on federal bribery charges.
Under the Florida Constitution, Pizzi and his defense team assert he is automatically entitled to regain his job immediately after a 12-person jury found him not guilty in Miami federal court. They argued that the same law that Scott invoked to suspend Pizzi after his arrest last August required the governor to reinstate him after he beat the criminal charges.
Pizzi’s attorneys, Ben Kuehne and Ed Shohat, said the governor was “flouting Florida law.”
But Scott has refused to revoke Pizzi’s suspension. Scott’s general counsel issued a letter saying the town’s charter allowed for a special election and that Pizzi’s elected replacement, Wayne Slaton, could serve the remainder of his term until 2016.
Slaton has refused to leave office, provoking Pizzi to hold a press conference earlier this week at town hall where he insisted he should be the mayor, not Slaton.
That chaos gave way to Thursday’s unprecedented lawsuit, filed with the Supreme Court in Tallahassee.