A tiff over the guest list for a big speech by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has revealed a spat within his inner circle.
On Feb. 11, lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez sent an email to clients and others on his mailing list announcing Gimenez’s upcoming State of the County address, a public event being held Thursday morning at Florida International University.
“As customary, I wanted to bring to your attention an important upcoming event in our community,” Lopez wrote. “The State of the County Address is open to the public.”
Lopez’s email included an RSVP option. When people clicked “I will be attending!” they were taken to an internal registration page controlled by his Coral Gables firm.
The email blast prompted Gimenez’s communications chief, Michael Hernández, to publicly question this week why Lopez was taking names for an event hosted by Miami-Dade’s mayor.
“No one authorized Jorge to send the invitation on behalf of the Office of the Mayor,” Hernández wrote in a statement to Naked Politics. “Jorge never requested authorization. Jorge is not a representative of Mayor Gimenez.”
Lopez pushed back Wednesday, noting he regularly sends out emails to clients about major county events, and has them RSVP to his firm so he can gauge interest and know who to look for.
He said he’s provided RSVP lists to the Gimenez’s office in the past and to prior administrations, and asked why no one from the mayor’s office objected when his email went out.
“Mr. Hernandez opened and read my email nearly two weeks ago but raised no concerns,” Lopez said in a statement, accompanied by a log from his online-marketing program showing the disputed email was sent to Hernandez and opened Feb. 11. “Mr. Hernandez lacks an ounce of credibility; and owes me a public apology!”
The dispute first surfaced in Nelson Horta’s blog, citing unnamed sources. Now the squabble has escalated into an on-the-record exchange between Hernandez, one of the mayor’s top political advisers, and Lopez, a lobbyist with longstanding ties to Gimenez.