Miami mayor draws ethics questions after wealthy CEO treats him to Formula 1 event

Miami mayor draws ethics questions after wealthy CEO treats him to Formula 1 event

Gov. Ron DeSantis isn't the only Floridian who is seeking the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez entered the primary in June, and the conservative mayor — who is Cuban-American — has come out against DeSantis' promise to end birthright citizenship if elected president (which would be much easier said than done, as birthright citizenship is in the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment).

According to the Miami Herald, Suarez has created some controversy by accepting a free pass to a Formula 1 event: the Miami Grand Prix. Florida's ethics law prohibits elected officials from accepting gifts from companies that are doing business with the government, and Suarez attended as a guest of Citadel CEO Ken Griffin.

Herald reporters Sarah Blaskey, Tess Riski, and Joey Flechas explain, "Citadel has lobbyists registered in the city as the company pursues various Miami development projects, including a $1 billion Brickell tower…. Citadel spokesperson Zia Ahmed told the Herald (that) Griffin gave Suarez and his wife Gloria tickets to the Formula One Paddock Club, where the billionaire hedge funder hosted a private viewing party for 50 of his friends. The exclusive track-side venue reportedly charged around $14,000 per person for general admission."

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The Herald journalists report, however, that a spokesman for the mayor has "said Suarez covered the cost of the events."

"Neither Citadel, which is not subject to public records laws, nor the city, which is, would provide documentation confirming the payment," Blaskey, Riski, and Flechas report. "The mayor has called attention to his own attendance at expensive events, from courtside Miami Heat playoff tickets to the World Cup to this year's Grand Prix, by habitually posting on social media, raising questions about who pays."

Suarez is the son of a former Miami mayor: Democrat Xavier Suarez, who was born in Cuba and is now 74.

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