Corina Esquijarosa recall, North Bay Village, Florida (2011)
An effort to recall Corina Esquijarosa from her position as mayor of North Bay Village, Florida was launched in June 2011. In October, recall supporters obtained enough signatures to get the Esquijarosa recall on the ballot. In November, Esquijarosa resigned as mayor. Esquijarosa was elected in November 2010 by a margin of six votes.
Reasons for recall
Esquijarosa has faced controversy because she has claimed a homestead exemption on a Miami property, despite listing a North Bay Village address as her primary residence in city records and renting out the Miami property to another party. State law says the $50,000 homestead exemption can be taken only on a principal residence, not on income-producing property. The Miami-Dade Office of the Property Appraiser filed a lien on the property, saying she owed $3,109.70 in back taxes due to falsely claiming a homestead exemption.
Esquijarosa has also been accused of lying on her personal financial interest statement by failing to disclose that she had civil judgments against her. She says she made a paperwork error.
In September 2011, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust ruled that Esquijarosa violated the county ethics code by not declaring a mortgage and rental income on financial disclosure forms when she ran for office. She was fined $500 by the ethics commission for the offense.
Al Blake, chairman of the recall committee, says he is advocating for Esquijarosa's recall because of "her dishonesty to the taxpayers." Blake says, "People know exactly what she has been accused of, and they are not just accusations. She was found guilty by the Ethics Commission and the Property Appraiser. We don’t want her dishonesty in our government.”
Esquijarosa's written response reads, "“I am disheartened that this recall effort has been contrived by malicious and mean-spirited persons who supported my opponent(s) in the mayoral election. While this recall effort is distracting, expensive, and unwise, diverting important attention away from the pressing issues of the day, I put my faith in the wisdom of the electorate."
Path to the ballot
The recall was organized by a group called Citizens For Full Disclosure. Al Blake, an activist and former city commissioner, was the chairman of the recall committee. The recall effort began on June 2 when Blake filed a Statement of Grounds for the Recall of North Bay Village Mayor Corina Esquijarosa.
Signature gathering occurred in two stages. Recall proponents submitted a first round of 414 signatures in July 2011, which was over 100 more signatures than is required by law. North Bay Village Clerk Yvonne Hamilton then submitted those signatures to the county supervisor of elections in order to verify them. In October 2011, the second round of signatures, this one containing over 500, was turned in. 412 signatures, representing 15% of voters, must be validated for the recall effort to move forward. Pending verification of this final round of signatures, a recall election will be scheduled.
In October 2011, the Miami-Dade Elections Office verified that recall supporters had turned in 520 valid signatures, 80 more than were required. A recall election had not yet been set when Esquijarosa resigned.
- Miami News Times, "Corina Esquijarosa, North Bay Village Mayor, Facing Imminent Recall", October 27, 2011
- Miami Herald, "Embattled North Bay Village mayor resigns", November 17, 2011
- Miami New Times, "Corina Esquijarosa, Embattled North Bay Village Mayor, Gets Canned", September 28, 2011
- Miami Herald, "Mayor laid off from her City of Miami post", September 29, 2011
- Miami Herald, "North Bay Village group seeking mayor recall submits signatures", July 11, 2011
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