The answer to those questions is currently being investigated by the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Office, True Homestead has learned from a confidential source.
The subject of the investigation is 46-year-old Elvis Ray Maldonado, who announced that he is running for Miami County Commission District Seat 9 in October 2019 through the Supervisor of Elections.
To run for commissioner, Maldonado was required to resign from his seat on the Homestead City Council last year so he could legally run for commissioner in the November 2020 election.
The criminal investigation began on January 17, one day after an observant local citizen filed a complaint on January 16 with Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, who forwarded it to the MDSAO.
The complaint accuses Maldonado of violating the residency requirement, and he does appear to have failed to meet the residency requirements before the qualifying deadline based on the fact he admits it on his voter registration form.
“Mr. Maldonado currently resides at 907 NE 36th Ave; Homestead, Florida 33033, which is in Miami-Dade Commission District 8, and is ineligible as an elector in the Miami-Dade Commission District 9 race,” the complaint reads.
A receipt from Maldonado registering to vote on January 13, 2020, listed the 907 NE 36th Ave Address as his residency can be read below.
The criminal investigation apparently has Maldonado facing some serious allegations, and potentially time in prison.
So why is he still in the race?
Here’s where things get interesting.
On the surface, there’s nothing wrong here other than possibly being disqualified from running in the election.
It’s obviously legal to register to vote using your actual address.
The problem is that Maldonado has continued announcing himself as an active candidate for Commission District 9 when, by his admission, he lives in Commission District 8.
If true, this is a breach of ethics to the citizens of Miami-Dade County because to qualify to run for county commissioner Maldonado must have been residing in District 9 at least six months before the qualifying deadline to be eligible.
That is, according to Article 1, Section 1.04 of Miami-Dade County’s Home Rule Charter.
Therefore, Maldonado would have had to begin residing in Commission District 9 on or before December 9, 2019, to be eligible, according to the qualifying handbook, which states the qualifying dates for county commissioner, ends on June 9, 2020
The handbook was published by the Miami-Dade Elections Department.
But, Maldonado freely admits on his voter registration form ( seen above) he did not live in District 9 by December 9, 2019 — or even by January 13, 2020.
Based on that fact alone, Maldonado should be disqualified, according to election rules.
That’s likely why, on or about March 10, 2020, Maldonado changed the address on his voter registration to 1412 SE 23rd Drive, an address within Commission District 9.
Was this done attempting to cover his tracks?
Was he aware of the qualifying dates and requirements?
Politicians across the country often lie about where they live to meet residency requirements to run in a district where they do not live.
But it’s usually other politicians making the allegations to paint a negative picture of their opponents.
It’s probably safe to say Maldonado likely didn’t plan on an observant citizen following the race for county commissioner with such attention to detail.
It gets even more interesting.
In an October 19, 2019 interview with the South Dade News Leader, Maldonado even gives statements on record, specifically acknowledging the legal requirements to qualify as a candidate for county commissioner.
“Another legal requirement is you must live in the County for three years – I’ve been here since I was five years old,” he told the SDNL.
“To qualify for the District, you must live there for six months prior to election.”
He even acknowledged he would be required to move to Commission District 9.
He appears to have failed to do so in time enough to qualify for commissioner.
We’d like to know if Maldonado even knows about the criminal investigation pending against him.
The Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Officer would not confirm or deny whether or not the investigation has been closed of or if Maldonado has been cleared.
It’s common for any government branch to refrain from commenting about ongoing investigations because it’s unethical to influence the public’s opinion before the investigation is complete.
We assume the investigation is ongoing, since they will not state if it’s been closed, although we were unable to officially confirm that in a telephone conversation with the state’s attorney’s office.
Since the criminal investigation was first launched against him, Maldonado has been giving interviews and campaigning like he’s not facing criminal charges.
By now, Maldonado may feel comfortable being investigated by ethics investigators.
Or maybe he just doesn’t feel threatened by them.
In 2017, Maldonado was the subject of an eight-month investigation into whether or not he misused a white Chevy Tahoe owned by the City of Homestead when he drove it to play golf up to 60 times in 2015.
He might never have gotten caught had it not been for toll road cameras, which spotted him using the Turnpike exits where he routinely played golf.
That alone would only be enough to assume, but Maldonado tracked his golf trips and stats on websites Shotzoom.com and Gamegolf.com, which can be viewed by anyone
“He may in fact be in violation of not only city of Homestead ordinances, but also, county ethics regulations and state … statutes,” Anthony Alfieri, founder and director of the Center of Ethics and Public Service said in an interview with the Miami Herald.
Investigators then accused Maldonado of “double-dipping,” because each Homestead official receives a 958.33 monthly auto allowance.
However, no charges were ever filed and no disciplinary action was ever taken.