Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo’s request to halt the enforcement of a $63 million judgement against him has been denied by a federal judge. The judgement was issued after Carollo lost a civil trial last year in which he was found guilty of violating the First Amendment rights of two Little Havana businessmen, William Fuller and Martin Pinilla, and using the city’s resources against them. The jury awarded the settlement to Fuller and Pinilla, leading to the seizure of Carollo’s home and property by U.S. Marshals in February.
In addition to the seizure of assets, Fuller and Pinilla have also petitioned the court to garnish Carollo’s wages in order to receive a portion of the settlement. It should be noted that Carollo’s legal expenses were paid by the city through an insurance policy. However, fellow Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes stated that the city would not be responsible for paying the substantial verdict.
Carollo has since expressed his inability to personally pay the judgement, referring to the settlement as absurd. Despite this, he maintains that he has been an honest elected official and does not possess the kind of money required to comply with the judgement.
Carollo’s legal troubles continued to mount as he was served a summons during a recent Miami Commission meeting, demanding that he respond to a legal complaint and resign from his position. Various groups have called for his resignation in the wake of the $63 million verdict.
The denial of Carollo’s request to halt the collection of the judgement highlights the ongoing legal battle he faces. As the case progresses, it remains to be seen how Carollo will navigate the financial and political implications of the settlement.