Miami, Florida – Miami Mayor Francis Xavier Suarez, previously a Republican candidate for president, has recently found himself at the center of controversy. Amid calls for his resignation, Suarez defended his trips to Saudi Arabia, explaining that these journeys were conducted for both his law firm and the city of Miami.
“Private, and paid for by my law firm, which are things that we have detailed for the Miami Herald in a variety of different emails over the course of months,” Suarez stated in an interview. He clarified that the nature of his trips varied, with some being on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and others being private.
The Miami Herald recently published stories questioning Suarez’s actions, particularly whether he violated the law by not registering as a foreign agent. This scrutiny stems from Suarez’s role in bringing a Saudi-backed investment forum to Florida. The Foreign Agents Registration Act mandates registration for individuals involved in political activities abroad on behalf of another country. The Herald reported that the summit is part of a Congressional investigation into Saudi Arabia’s influence in popular U.S. institutions.
Suarez, addressing these concerns, asserted that no registration as a foreign agent was necessary. “Every lawyer that I have consulted with has told me that is completely unnecessary because we have not been representing any country or any foreign entity, so there’s absolutely no registration required, that is completely hocus-pocus,” he said.
Additionally, the Miami Herald investigated Suarez’s frequent overseas trips accompanied by taxpayer-funded security, reporting that he was absent from Miami for extended periods.
Compounding the situation, Suarez is under investigation from multiple agencies, including the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. These investigations focus on his relations with developer Location Ventures and its financial dealings.
Amid these allegations, Miami City Commissioner Damian Pardo has called for Suarez’s resignation. Pardo expressed concerns about a pervasive culture of corruption in Miami’s City Hall. “The allegations against Mayor Suarez continue to raise serious questions about the culture of corruption that has gone unchecked in Miami’s City Hall for too long,” said Pardo.
Mayor Suarez’s situation remains a topic of significant interest and concern, reflecting broader issues of accountability and transparency in public office.