North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo arrested
By CBS Miami Team,2023-06-01
MIAMI -- North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with three felony counts of voting in a North Miami Beach district even though he no longer lived in the area for which he cast a ballot.
Each count carries a possible five-year-prison sentence.
Later in the day, CBS News Miami's cameras captured DeFillipo as he left jail, refusing to answer questions from reporters.
DeFillipo's attorney Michael Pizzi, calls the arrest politically motivated.
"The mayor has explained over and over again, and under oath, he always intended to and always lived in North Miami Beach."
Speaking during an afternoon news conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle detailed the three third-degree felony counts her office has filed against the mayor.
"We believe the evidence shows (DeFillipo) voted illegally three times," she said.
According to Fernandez Rundle, the mayor moved from his Miami-Dade home to relocate to a new residence in Davie. Despite that, she said DeFillipo still cast ballots on August, October and November 2022 in elections for a district he was no longer legally qualified to vote in.
Fernandez Rundle said cell phone data was used to track DeFillipo's location on the days where he voted, showing where he was phone before he traveled to Miami-Dade to cast a ballot.
"Our voting laws apply to everyone," she said. "There are no unwritten exceptions."
DeFillipo has faced questions in recent months over his residency.
In a 184-page deposition obtained two months ago by CBS News Miami, the mayor admitted to owning multiple homes in Davie with his wife.
But DeFillipo has denied ever permanently residing at any of his properties, insisting that he has always been a resident of North Miami Beach.
The North Miami Beach City Commission has been in turmoil in recent weeks with battles over firing former City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III, as well as the panel's inability to conduct city business because it was unable to muster a quorum because there were not enough members present.
A Miami-Dade County judge ruled in March that three no-show North Miami Beach city commissioners had to appear at the next commission meeting so the panel could conduct official business after being unable to do so for several weeks.
When the commission met and voted to fire the city manager, it came after the resignation of the city attorney.
CBS News Miami's Joe Gorchow contacted all the current city commissioners and the new city attorney about the mayor's arrest to find out if they'll reinstate Commissioner Michael Joseph and take action against DeFillipo.
The City Attorney declined to comment. No commissioners returned Gorchow's messages.