North Miami Beach commission in deadlock, unable to run city business

MIAMI – The path forward to running a city business in North Miami Beach remains murky. The mayor wants to dismiss the city state attorney and the director.

Meanwhile, two commissioners support the city attorney’s position that Mayor Anthony DeFillipo “automatically left” his position.

It leaves the city commission at a standstill, unable to run city affairs.

“This meeting is not legal,” said city attorney Hans Ottinot.

“You are out of line. Mr. Attorney, you are out of line,” DeFillipo said.

Mayor Anthony DeFillipo is preventing City Attorney Hans Ottinot from expressing his legal position.

“Sir, you are conflicted. You have four votes that voted to fire you,” DeFillipo said as he presided over the meeting.

DeFillipo tells Ottinot that all four sitting at the podium want to fire him.

At the same time, Ottinot tries to tell the commission that DeFillipo is already out. Instead, Ottinot walks out, unable to express his legal opinion.

The mayor first refers to his personal lawyer, Michael Pizzi. Pizzi tells the commission he filed an emergency injunction in court Tuesday morning to change the charter’s statute.

“This mayor and council will hold a meeting with a majority of four,” Pizzi said.

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

Only four were present. On Tuesday, a discussion and public statement was held.

“This whole meeting and the deal that was made was illegal,” McKenzie Fleurimond said.

Fleurimond was one of three commissioners who did not attend. His position is that the mayor automatically left his post based on the legal findings of an outside attorney, supported by the city attorney.

A 43-page memorandum sent to the commission said DeFillipo had failed to maintain a residence in North Miami Beach.

“He showed up at a meeting he shouldn’t be presiding over. To make sure I’m in good legal standing and that our city is in good legal standing, I’ve decided not to attend the meeting tonight,” Fleurimond added.

“Tony DeFillipo should not be involved in a matter that concerns him. I believe at that point it would be a conflict.”

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

Charter bylaws require automatic removal if his primary residence is outside the city.

Our investigative efforts call that into question. Voting records we obtained revealed that DeFillipo voted three times in 2022 from the North Miami Beach home he sold in 2021.

Property records reveal DeFillipo bought a $1.2 million home in Davie last July.

CBS4’s Joe Gorchow tells DeFillip, “You and your wife have your names on the call box in Davie, and there are pictures of your wife who lives there every day of the three-week investigation.”

“I own property,” DeFillipo replies.

Gorchow then asks, “Does your family live there and you live away from your family to live in Eastern Shores, Mayor? Is that what’s going on? Can you answer why you voted incorrectly three times in 2022?”

“I already answered your questions,” DeFillipo said.

He offered one explanation for owning a home in Davie.

“I’m an investor. I invest in real estate. They assume I live on a property, which I don’t.”

Commissioner Fleurimond says he will not attend commission meetings if the mayor continues to preside over them.

Both sides are considering legal options to resolve the issue.

As they do, the city’s business runs into a brick wall.

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