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In Hialeah, Money Meant To Feed Poor Kids Pays For Las Vegas Trip For City Officials

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez Photo: CBSMiami

Two years ago, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez signed off on spending $7,621 from a $10,000 corporate grant for feeding poor children. Instead, the money went to pay for airline tickets and posh hotel accommodations for himself, his chief of staff, a police detective and four  other city employees to attend a parks and recreation conference in Las Vegas.

News of Mayor Hernandez’s curious city spending surfaced in documents filed in a recently closed joint public corruption investigation by Miami-Dade’s State Attorney’s Office and Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

Another strange finding: Hernandez never traveled to Las Vegas to attend the annual conference of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) from Sept. 13-17, 2015, and his whereabouts for seven days remain a mystery.

Hernandez was the investigation’s focus, but he won’t face criminal charges. A close-out memo written by Assistant State Attorney Trent Reichling and obtained by Florida Bulldog concluded that the Sept. 13-19 trip – ending two days after the conference closed – was official city business authorized by a trio of high-ranking Hialeah bureaucrats. Further, authorities found no documentation that the grant provider, the National Recreation and Park Association, had prohibited the use of its corporate grants on travel expenses.

By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org, Special to SouthFloridaReporter.com, Sept. 21, 2017