North Miami Beach council stalls, unable to do city business

Miami — The road to city business in North Miami Beach remains cloudy. The mayor wants to fire the city attorney and manager.

Meanwhile, three commissioners backed the city attorney’s position that Mayor Anthony DeFillipo was “automatically removed” from his position.

It brought the city council to a standstill, unable to conduct city business.

“The meeting was illegal,” said City Attorney Hans Otinot.

“You have a problem. Mr. Attorney, you have a problem,” DeFillipo said.

Mayor Anthony DeFilippo blocked City Attorney Hans Ottino from expressing his legal position.

“Mr. Chairman, you are eliminated. You have four votes to terminate you,” DeFillipo said while presiding over the meeting.

DeFillipo told Ottinot that all four people at the podium wanted to fire him.

Meanwhile, Ottino tried to tell the committee that DeFillipo was out. Instead, Otinot walked out, unable to express his legal opinion.

The mayor first visited his personal attorney, Michael Pizzi. Pizzi told the committee he filed an emergency injunction with the court on Tuesday morning to change the bylaws.

“This mayor and council will have a four-member majority,” Pizzi said.

Currently, the rules state that North Miami Beach cannot hold committee meetings without at least five current members.

Only four people were present. On Tuesday, discussion and public comment took place.

“The whole business of meetings and transactions is illegal,” McKenzie Fleurimond said.

Fleurimond was one of three commissioners who did not attend. His position is that the mayor’s seat is automatically vacated based on outside counsel’s legal findings, backed by the city attorney.

A 43-page memo sent to the committee noted that DeFillipo failed to maintain his North Miami Beach residency.

“Attended a meeting that he should not be presiding over. In order to ensure that I am in good legal standing and that our city is in good legal standing, I have decided not to attend tonight,” Fleurimond added.

“Tony DeFillipo shouldn’t get involved in his concerns. I believe that would be a conflict.”

“I live in North Miami Beach. I always have been,” DeFillipo said.

If his principal residence is outside the city, the charter by-laws require automatic eviction.

Our investigative work calls this into question. Voting records we obtained found that DeFillipo voted three times in 2022 from the North Miami Beach home he sold in 2021.

Property records show DeFillipo bought a $1.2 million home in Davy last July.

CBS4’s Joe Gorchow told DeFillipo: “Both your name and your wife’s name were on Davie’s phone booth, and there were pictures of your wife living there every day during the three-week investigation.”

“I own property,” DeFillipo responded.

Gorchow, then asked, “Mayor, does your family live there and you live away from your family on the East Coast? Is that what’s happening? Can you answer why you voted 3 wrong votes in 2022?”

“I’ve answered your question,” DeFillipo said.

He does offer an explanation for owning the house in David.

“I’m an investor. I invest in properties. They think I’m living in properties, but I don’t.”

Commissioner Fleurimond said the mayor would not attend committee meetings if he continued to chair them.

The parties are considering legal options on how to resolve the matter.

When they did, urban commerce hit a brick wall.

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