Damian Pardo again tells Joe Carollo to resign in exchange for bank documents

If Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo really wants to see his bank statements, Commissioner Damian Pardo is ready to prove that he used part of his lifelong savings to self-fund his campaign for the District 2 seat last year.

All Carollo has to do is resign.

“I’m not giving them to him for nothing,” Pardo told Ladra Thursday, after he filed documents with the city clerk and an affidavit where he’ll swear that the $165,370 he loaned himself in two installments for the November election came from his own lifelong savings. The documents don’t include the back-dated bank or wire transfers that Pardo is ready to show Carollo, but he’s got those, too.

“He wants to see proof? Well I want to see his letter of resignation,” he said.

Pardo made the offer first at a commission meeting last month, where he said he’d disclose documents that would show he had the money to loan himself. This came after Carollo went on TV and radio interviews — clips of which Pardo showed at City Hall — and publicly said, multiple times, that Pardo had gotten the money from the two Little Havana businessmen that won a $63.5 million jury award in a First Amendment lawsuit against him last year.

Bill Fuller and Martin Pinilla said Carollo weaponized city departments, most notably code enforcement, to retaliate against them because they had supported Carollo’s opponent in 2017. A jury of Carollo’s peers agreed. Carollo says they also pay documentary filmmaker and Because Miami podcaster Billy Corben, too, even though there is sworn testimony to the contrary. And Carollo knows it.

Read related: Feds move to take Joe Carollo’s Coconut Grove house for $63.5 mil judgement

Now, Pardo says, Carollo is weaponizing the local government against his colleagues by sponsoring an ordinance that would require city candidates who gift or loan themselves anything over $1,000 to provide an “aged funds” report to track the money’s origin. The proposed ordinance, Pardo said, only exists “as just one more way of political narrative against an opponent that he may not agree with.”

He said at that March meeting that Carollo’s behavior amounted to conduct unbecoming an elected and a violation of the oath all the commissioners take. “To my colleagues, and to all those I represent and serve, I pledge fairness, integrity and civility in all actions taken and all communications made by me as a public servant,” he quoted, and tried to have Carollo censured. It didn’t work.

It should have. Nobody can use a good censure like Joe Carollo.

“A lot of people are saying that you didn’t put that money into your campaign,” Carollo said at the March meeting. “I don’t know that. But you surely have an opportunity to show that. do you want to show that and be fully transparent.”

“I don’t answer to you,” Pardo told him, and pulled out that folder, saying he would present the proof for Carollo’s resignation.

“Well, you’re not going to get that,” Carollo said, and you could feel a deep sigh in collective Miami. “You’ve tried that before.” Pardo did call for Carollo’s resignation after the D3 commissioner was found liable for the $63.5 million judgement.

Frankly, if it wasn’t directly aimed at a sitting commissioner to try to tear him down, this kind of disclosure rule could be a good idea. Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Without casting any doubt on Pardo — a financial advisor and broker who owns a $1.3 million house in Morningside that he bought in 1999 for a couple hundred thou (he can be Ladra’s guru anytime) — this could help discourage people who only pretend to loan themselves a bunch of money to scare other would-be candidates from entering the race. Or who are, indeed, a pass through for a third party.

But not for Pardo, who spent almost every last dime of his loan. He ended up reimbursing himself $1,627.84. He said he did it so he would not have to seek outside funding.

“If you’re not going to take special interest money, it’s going to come from somewhere,” Pardo told Political Cortadito. “The most unsavory part of the campaign is trying to ask people I don’t know and who I’m not comfortable with for money. I said, ‘No, I won’t do it. I’ll just fund it myself.’”

This was an all or nothing shot for him. He wasn’t going to run again, he said.

And because he pulled distributions from his IRAs, or individual retirement accounts, Pardo had to report his transactions to FINRA and the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I cannot make a claim like that and not disclose it to my employer. I could lose my license,” he said. His employer easily verified it; Pardo’s accounts are there.

According to his campaign finance reports, Pardo ended up raising another $155,000, which is not bad for a relative newcomer. It included maximum $1,000 contributions from former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and former Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola.

But Carollo has been on a tear, calling Pardo and Commissioner Miguel Gabela — who beat his pal Alex Diaz de la Portilla after the latter was arrested in September on public corruption charges — lap dogs and puppets and “useful idiots.” Pardo says Carollo is using the ordinance to cast doubt on his motives.

“Introducing narrow legislation at the taxpayer’s expense to promote false claims against a colleague speaks to the commissioner’s continued weaponization of government on the backs of residents,” Pardo said in a statement.

Read related: Jury says Miami’s Joe Carollo abused power to violate 1st Amendment rights

It also speaks to a pattern, which won’t be good for any appeal of his whopping judgement or the other multi-million dollar case that Fuller and Pinilla still have against the city and several city officials for allowing themselves to be weaponized against the men.

Carollo is a bully extraordinaire. The domestic violence in his past is a sign. They way he flipped on the late Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre is another one. Today, he uses the government to bully his political enemies, perceived foes or anyone he sees as a potential threat.

That’s what Pardo is — a threat to Crazy Joe’s grifter way of life. A threat to his power. A threat to his control. Carollo made a public records request for Pardo’s folder contents at last week’s meeting. Ladra is sure he expected there to be actual bank records in the folder and thought he was pulling one over Pardo by making a public records request so Pardo would have to submit them for nothing.

Joke’s on you, Joe.

Below is Pardo’s complete statement:

“In keeping with the spirit of transparency central to the District 2 office, I have submitted the documents requested at the April 11 City Commission meeting.

Commissioner Carollo has been found guilty of weaponizing the government in a court of law.  It seems that having cost the City of Miami $10 million in attorney fees to defend his wrongdoings served no lesson to the commissioner.  For four months the commissioner took to Spanish media through various outlets to defame me and Commissioner Gabela. At times calling us lapdogs, at others, suggesting we were plants for Bill Fuller and Martin Pinilla – sent to destroy the City of Miami.  Furthermore, he specifically cited the $165,370 I used to fund my campaign as monies likely donated by Fuller and his associates.

At the February 22 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Carollo introduced an ordinance, which he used to further false claims about my campaign with no evidence. I chose to rely on lifelong savings to invest in my campaign as opposed to relying on special interest monies.  

Before running for office and subsequently self-funding my campaign, I had to disclose this information to my employer at the time, as mandated by SEC and FINRA regulations. These guardrails are in place to ensure integrity and transparency of personal finances and political aspirations. 

Introducing narrow legislation at the taxpayer’s expense to promote false claims against a colleague speaks to the Commissioner’s continued weaponization of government on the backs of residents. 

I have provided the contents of the folder as requested.  And, as stated from the dais, I am prepared to document and/or attest as to the direct personal investment to my campaign in exchange for Commissioner Carollo’s resignation. Other than in exchange for his resignation, there would be no reason to provide this information to the Commissioner.  I do not answer to him.”