Another Miami official departs

Published March 17, 1998|Updated Sept. 12, 2005

Another week, another politician forced out of office in South Florida.

Less than a week after Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez had to leave office because his election was rife with fraud, a Miami-Dade county commissioner resigned Monday in a plea bargain with prosecutors investigating mortgage fraud.

Bruce Kaplan, a commissioner in Miami-Dade County since 1993, will resign within 30 days rather than go to trial on charges he filed false statements on his financial disclosure with the Secretary of State's office.

The charges against the commissioner stem from an investigation that Kaplan filed false information to borrow $333,000 to purchase his Miami Beach home in September 1994.

The income he reported to the mortgage company did not match figures he provided to the state, said Joseph Centorino, assistant state attorney.

Under the plea bargain, Kaplan, a lawyer, will pay federal taxes on amended IRS returns and file new financial disclosure forms with the state.

The commissioner said Monday he was a victim of a "vendetta" by the state attorney's office and agreed to the deal only because he couldn't afford to go to trial.

"This is really an unfair resolution to a bad investigation and a series of bad investigations designed in my mind to do nothing but harass me, my friends, my family, my clients," Kaplan told Miami television station WSVN.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the state attorney for Miami-Dade County, confirmed as part of a plea bargain that Kaplan agreed to resign from his commission seat and not run again.