Mayor of North Miami Beach, George Vallejo, accepted a plea deal in order to avoid being charged with two first-degree misdemeanors. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty to authorizing an illegal expenditure and filing a false report by a political action committee. As part of the plea deal, Vallejo agreed to resign and accept house arrest.
During a hearing on Tuesday morning, Miami-Dade County Judge Samuel Slom granted Vallejo a withhold of adjudication that will allow him to erase his criminal record when his three months of house arrest and 18 months of probation are completed.
He is also barred from running for any office during that time, must complete 500 community-service hours and issue an apology.
The former mayor had been under investigation for the past two years.
Prosecutors claimed Vallejo and his wife, who are in the real estate business, used false companies to filter thousands of dollars in campaign and political committee donations to pay their personal bills in 2015.
As part of George Vallejo’s plea deal, his wife was not charged.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize to the citizens of North Miami Beach and look forward to putting this matter behind me.”
Vallejo, who was elected as mayor in 2011, was noticeably quiet during Tuesday’s hearing, answering questions with short responses.
As a result of the mayor’s resignation, the North Miami Beach City Commission has three vacancies and four remaining members — but five votes are needed for a quorum to vote on zoning, budgetary, and other legislative matters.
Frantz Pierre was automatically removed as a member of the commission in January after missing all but one commission meeting since last April. Commissioner Marlen Martell resigned to become the city manager of North Bay Village.
There has been no immediate word as to how the city will fill the empty positions.