Did Chief Hudak Commit an Election No-No?

Residents of Coral Gables are questioning the conduct of Police Chief Ed Hudak as the city’s commission election heats up. Multiple residents have reported receiving calls from Chief Hudak, warning them not to vote for commission candidate Ariel Fernandez in Group 5, who is running against attorney Alex Bucelo, who has been endorsed by Mayor Vince Lago. The violation was first reported in an article posted on Politico Cordadito.

Misdemeanor of the First Degree

If true, Chief Hudak may have violated Florida State Statue 104.31- Political activities of state, county, and municipal officers and employees. According to the statute, “Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.” A chief of police associated with pressuring residents to vote for a certain candidate over another is a blemish on a city that has had its fair share of possible ethics violations in recent days. It was just last month that The Gables Beacon reported that Coral Gables Mayor, Vince Lago, may have committed perjury.

First Degree Misdemeanor

Group V Election – Ariel Fernandez / Alex Bucelo

The commission seat that Hudak seems most concerned with is Group V. This group has attorney Alex Bucelo facing The Gables Insider editor, Ariel Fernandez. Both candidates have run for commission before. Looking back in history, it’s strange that Hudak is not pressuring residents to vote for Fernandez. Over eight years ago Fernandez started a petition to keep Hudak as Chief of Police. One can only assume Hudak is not a fan of The Gables Insider. Recent articles criticizing hefty raises for the top command staff, along with being outspoken on delays of crime reports from the department may be to blame for the dislike.

Ethics Investigation

University of Miami law Professor Anthony Alfieri, Center for Ethics and Public Service Director believes there may be enough to at least open an inquiry. At this time it remains uncertain whether the city attorney or police internal affairs will investigate the potential ethics violation.

The statute explicitly prohibits any officer or employee of the state, county, or municipality from using their official authority to interfere with an election, nomination of office, or to coerce or influence another person’s vote, ultimately affecting the outcome of the election. The alleged breach of this statute raises significant concerns about the integrity of the electoral process and the proper use of authority by public officials.

5 thoughts on “Did Chief Hudak Commit an Election No-No?

    • Author gravatar

      Does the Coral Gables IA investigate the Chief of Police? If not, they should.

      • Author gravatar

        That’s a conflict of interest. The Chief of Police runs the Coral Gables PD Internal Affairs Unit. It would have be investigated by the State Attorney’s Office – Public Corruption Unit or by the Miami Dade Ethics Committee. Since there’s a possible criminal violation here, then it should be handled by the State Attorney’s Office under the direction of Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Ideally, FDLE would be best option to handle this matter to avoid any conflicts of interest, but unfortunately they wouldn’t, since this rises to a 1st degree misdemeanor, not a felony.

    • Author gravatar

      Well. It all comes down to this. How far are you willing go to stay in power as a chief. Calling MDPD to not hire Gables officers that are applying on their own, looking for a fresh start away from the city of Coral Gables; so that he can say Gables PD doesn’t have a an officer retention issue. Doing the Mayor’s bidding and calling Gables residents to tell them to vote for Lago’s endorsed candidate. All so he can be in the Mayor’s good graces and remain chief longer. Corruption at its best. Way to go for sure.

    • Author gravatar

      The Gables has a leadership problem. From the mayor to the chief. It’s really amazing that everyone ignores issues because they are only a misdemeanor. Sad times.

    • […] Gables Chief Ed Hudak. The question still remains, why would the chief of police participate in the campaigning for candidates? On April 12th, the Gables Beacon emailed City Attorney Cristina Suarez and asked if the city was […]

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