Top Miami official arrested for bribery, money laundering

By Megan VerHelst Patch

On September 14, 2023

Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla(WPLG-TV)

State authorities on Thursday arrested Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla on bribery and money laundering charges related to accepting undisclosed campaign contributions, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

Diaz de la Portilla, 58, faces numerous charges including one count of money laundering, three counts of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, one count of bribery, and one count of criminal conspiracy, state authorities said in a news release.

Diaz de la Portilla was also charged with multiple counts of official misconduct and failure to report a gift, authorities said. 

During an investigation, state authorities said they discovered Diaz de la Portilla and attorney William W. Riley Jr., 48, of Miami, accepted more than $15,000 in payments for Diaz de la Portilla’s brother’s Miami-Dade County Court judicial campaign but did not report them, a requirement by Florida law.

Riley also faces a host of charges in connection with the case, authorities said.

Additionally, authorities said Diaz de la Portilla operated and controlled two political committees used for personal expenses and to support his brother’s campaign. Records obtained by authorities showed the committees reported total donations of approximately $3.1 million.

Authorities said Riley also controlled a bank account in the name of a Delaware-based corporation, which he used to launder approximately $245,000 in political contributions made by a management services company in exchange for permission to build a sports complex in the city of Miami.

Diaz de la Portilla and Riley were arrested Thursday in Miami, authorities said. Diaz de la Portilla was being held on a $72,000 bond, while Riley was being held on a $46,000 bond.

Both were expected to appear in court Friday.

Prior to working as Miami city commissioner, Diaz de la Portilla was a state representative and senator from 1994 until 2010. During that time, he served as president pro tempore and Senate majority leader, according to his biography on the City of Miami’s website.

This piece was republished from The Miami Times.

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