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“Paranoid” Pizzi and Manny “Macho” Maroño star in Miami-Dade's telenovela of sleaze


Mike “Paranoid” Pizzi and Manny “Macho” Maroño star in Miami-Dade’s newest crime drama.

But Pizzi and Maroño aren’t actors; they’re the mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater who were busted last week in a federal grant-fraud scheme with two lobbyists.

It was all an FBI production, a sting, a reminder that sometimes low, mean suspicions about politics here might be well-founded.

Pizzi — who has issued a press statement declaring his innocence — and Maroño will likely call it all a set-up. Maybe entrapment. Fiction.

Indeed, the criminal complaints make for pulpy summer reading. There are undercover FBI agents, secret recordings, two lobbyists carrying cash payoffs, a third lobbyist informant and two mayors allegedly representing different styles of engaging in graft.

Maroño is portrayed as the bold, hungry guy.

Pizzi appears cagey, conflicted. As a result, he has a more-defensible case than Maroño.

But in both cases, pride precedes the fall.

"I didn't get where I am being stupid,” Pizzi said at one point.

Column here