Sources: Joe Martinez will turn himself in on Tuesday after 5-year investigation

Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez — who everyone knows wants to run for county sheriff in 2024 — is said to be turning himself in to authorities Tuesday after a five-year public corruption investigation.

Several sources who confirmed this to Ladra did not know who Martinez would surrender to, although the logical answer is the State Attorney’s Office, which reportedly confirmed an investigation relating to the commissioner to Miami New Times in 2019.

SAO Spokesman Ed Griffith could not be reached over the weekend.

Likewise, the sources did not know the specific charge Martinez could be facing, but las malas lenguas say it involves “a direct payment” made, perhaps in the form of a 2016 contribution to his campaign, in exchange for a zoning vote. Two of them said he would have turned himself in earlier, but he was recovering from back surgery.

Ladra thinks Martinez actually didn’t want news of his arrest or charges to get out before the Aug. 23 election, in which he supported several candidates, including newly-elected Commissioner Anthony Rodriguez and District 6 commission candidate Kevin Marino Cabrera. Both got funding from Joe’s political action committee, Let’s Move Forward. Cabrera got $10,000 but Rodriguez got $90K, and one has to wonder why the big gap. Or if any of it was a pass-through donation from someone else.

The campaign finance report also shows that Martinez paid attorney Ben Kuehne almost $20,000 last year. Kuehne is mostly a criminal defense attorney.

Martinez, who served as a county cop for 17 years, was considered a frontrunner for the new Miami-Dade Sheriff’s position on the ballot in 2024. He can probably forget that now. Martinez can also pretty much forget about being named the next chairman, which is mostly why he was building alliances with Rodriguez and Cabrera.

His political career began when he was first elected in 2000 to represent the residents of District 11, which encompasses much of West Dade’s unincorporated areas, including Country Walk, Hammocks, Kendale Lakes, Bent Tree, and Lakes of the Meadows. Martinez was elected chair by his colleagues twice — in 2005 and again in 2011.

He later developed a cologne called The Chairman.

Read related: Joe Martinez launches Congressional campaign, cologne

Martinez left the seat in 2012 to run for mayor against Carlos Gimenez (who won and is now a congressman) and then ran in the Republican congressional primary for District 26 in 2013, and lost again. But he went back to his roots and ran for commission again in 2016. Martinez won when then incumbent Commissioner Juan Zapata withdrew from the race. In 2020, he was re-elected with 54% of the vote against two challengers.

Commissioner Martinez has served as chair and vice chair of the Budget, Planning, and Sustainability Committee. He has also been appointed as chair of the Public Safety Committee and has served as a member of other committees, including Government Operations, Housing and Community Development, Airport and Tourism and Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and the Unincorporated Municipal Services Area Committee.

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Hired as a police officer in 1984, Martinez worked his way up through the ranks, serving as a detective with the General Investigations Unit from 1988 to 1992, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He received more than 70 awards and commendations; including two prestigious Gold Medals of Valor, the Silver Medal of Valor, the Exceptional Service Award, and the Lifesaving Award. The department also honored him with the Officer of the Year Award in 1992 and he was twice recognized as “Officer of the Year” by the Hispanic Police Officers Association.

Additionally, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners honored Martinez by proclaiming July 27, 1993, “Detective Jose Martinez Day” for his bravery during an incident where he put himself in the line of fire to shield a fellow police officer during a narcotics sting operation.

Read related: Joe Martinez gets Miami-Dade’s 8th COVID19 testing site at Youth Fair

Martinez did not respond to calls and text messages from Ladra — even to deny the rumor that he would turn himself in on Tuesday.

It was unknown Saturday if Martinez would resign or wait until he is removed by the governor. If he resigns, the commission has to call for a special election. Voters decided that they no longer like appointments, ala Danielle Cohen Higgins in District 8. If he is removed by the governor, then the governor might be able to make the appointment.

Las malas lenguas say that Martinez is talking to Tallahassee, trying to see if he can get the governor to “suspend” him, which sounds better and allows him the opportunity to return if he is cleared of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, he reportedly wants a former chief of staff to hold his seat.

Nobody has been removed from office at County Hall since Miriam Alonso, who was accused of diverting campaign money to her chief of staff. At the city of Miami, former Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones was removed after she diverted money to a foundation.