She drank beers in a metropolis automotive, did the superintendent’s procuring. She nonetheless works for Miami

On paper, ex-con Jenny Nillo was employed as a group liaison by a tax-funded workplace tasked with revitalizing struggling neighborhoods close to downtown Miami.

However in actuality, Nillo not often visited the Overtown headquarters of the Omni Neighborhood Redevelopment Company. As a substitute, investigators who tracked her discovered she spent her days ingesting gasoline station beers in her city-issued automotive, driving to the workplaces of the company’s president: Commissioner of Miami, Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

Investigators monitoring her actions final 12 months had been so involved about her ingesting that they arrested her after she purchased wine and tequila and spent an hour at Díaz de la Portilla’s home mid-morning. Why was she in her condominium? He had requested her to purchase alcohol and had laundry to take to the dry cleaners, she later informed Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement officers.

Beforehand unreported particulars of Nillo’s particular working association – which included performing “totally different duties” for the commissioner – are contained within the newly launched submitting of the 2021 FDLE investigation into whether or not the commissioner breached the regulation by hiring her previous buddy and having her run errands for him on metropolis time.

The company closed the investigation final 12 months, saying the commissioner’s actions “might have been immoral, unethical or [an] exploitation of his powers”, however didn’t represent legal conduct.

The case will not be going away. He stays beneath investigation by the Miami-Dade Fee on Ethics and Public Belief. And whereas Nillo was fired from the ARC, she remains on the general public payroll – now as a $40,000-a-year liaison with the commissioner’s workplace.

Reached by cellphone on Wednesday, Nillo referred a reporter to the commissioner’s chief of employees.

The Nillo scandal brought about a political storm at Miami Metropolis Corridor final 12 months. Díaz de la Portilla vehemently defended Nillo, saying she was an unfairly criticized mannequin worker. He claimed there “was no state investigation” and stated she was arrested for making an unlawful U-turn.

The opposite Miami commissioners eliminated him as president of the company, however drove him back in February.

Díaz de la Portilla’s chief of employees, who was in Qatar with different native elected officers final week, didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

Metropolis supervisor Artwork Noriega referred questions in regards to the investigation and Nillo’s employment to Díaz de la Portilla, saying “solely the commissioner’s workplace can reply to the findings of the investigation.”

Lengthy historical past with the household

For many years, Nillo has been near the Díaz de la Portilla household, certainly one of Miami’s strongest and well-known political clans. From 1993 to 2000, Nillo was a former aide to Díaz de la Portilla’s brother, Miguel, when he was Miami-Dade County Commissioner.

After that, she labored for a decade as an “outreach specialist” in a neighborhood compliance workplace for Miami-Dade County. In 2010, she additionally requested to run as written candidate in a race for the state senate seat starring Miguel Díaz de la Portilla – though she by no means campaigned, nor defined why she selected to run in opposition to her former boss.

Then, in 2017, Nillo was indicted by the federal authorities in a mortgage fraud case in South Florida. Prosecutors stated she was a part of a community that operated faux “advertising firms” used to launder the proceeds of fraudulently obtained loans.

His ingesting was evident even then. Shortly earlier than being charged, she agreed to be interviewed by the FBI, however the interview was canceled after she admitted “she awoke at 5 a.m. that morning and consumed 5 beers”, in accordance with the file of the FDLE.

Jenny Nillo's office in the Omni CRA building is mostly empty, including a desk with very few items on it.  On the desk is a nameplate, some motivational quotes, a Miami city flag, an unopened box of business cards, and a framed photo of her and Alex Díaz de la Portilla.

Jenny Nillo’s workplace within the Omni CRA constructing is usually empty, together with a desk with only a few objects on it. On the desk is a nameplate, some motivational quotes, a Miami metropolis flag, an unopened field of enterprise playing cards, and a framed photograph of her and Alex Díaz de la Portilla.

She later pleaded responsible, was sentenced to 36 months in federal jail, and was positioned on probation. After Nillo left jail in 2019, she labored in telemarketing, she later informed officers.

However Nillo did not have to remain there lengthy. In April 2020, Díaz de la Portilla had been elected to the Miami Metropolis Fee. And he was named president of the Omni CRAa tax-funded company that’s supposed to assist revitalize run-down areas, together with the neighborhoods of Overtown, Edgewater and Wynwood.

He urged the Omni CRA to rent Nillo as a “redevelopment mission growth specialist”, for a wage of $45,000 a 12 months. He later informed the Herald he pushed for her hiring as a result of he “wished to maintain tabs” on ARC director Jason Walker and the company’s spending, though he did not. didn’t specify why.

(Walker himself left the RCAF final February, shortly after Díaz de la Portilla was appointed to supervise the ARC once more. A lot of the CRA personnel have since ousted. He declined to remark).

The commissioner’s workplace — in opposition to metropolis protocol — additionally gave Nillo a city-owned white Toyota Corolla, regardless that she was technically not a metropolis worker.


Miami police opened the investigation after receiving a tip that Nillo was not reporting commonly to the CRA.

The brand new data present the extent of town and the FDLE investigation – and the way the investigation has widened to incorporate whether or not Díaz de la Portilla broke any legal guidelines. Miami police detectives additionally famous that one other member of the commissioner’s employees, Julio Guillen, was seen a number of instances throughout work hours at properties owned by Díaz de la Portilla.

“Guillen was seen going to the House Depot retailer after which returning to [one] residence with provides wanted for reworking/renovation,” in accordance with a report from the FDLE.

The FDLE investigated attainable legal fees, together with official misconduct, fraud, theft, and working an official place. The legal investigation was formally closed on the finish of March 2021.

A lot of the investigation targeted on Nillo. In January 2021, the Miami Police Division’s Anti-Corruption Unit started monitoring Nillo, recounting his days: taking his son to high school, driving to varied district commissioner’s workplaces, not often visiting the workplace of the ARC. They even positioned a GPS monitor on the automotive to trace its every day actions.

Of most concern to detectives was that Nillo, throughout at the least six days of surveillance on work days, repeatedly drank whereas driving his city automotive. Among the many examples:

On the afternoon of January 25, 2021, she purchased two cans of Modelo beer from a Chevron in Westchester. She poured a beer “right into a light-colored metallic container” parked behind a close-by Planet Health gymnasium and drank it, Miami detective Orlando Benitez wrote in his report.

On January 26, 2021, detectives watched and took images of Nillo as she used her city automotive to purchase beer at gasoline stations on 5 separate visits, the primary simply earlier than midday.

Simply after 7 a.m. on January 28, 2021, Nillo used his metropolis Toyota to drop off his son at Coral Park Excessive. Instantly afterwards – nonetheless in his pajamas – Nillo walked into a close-by gasoline station, received out and began ingesting from a can wrapped in a small brown bag.

Nillo did not simply purchase and drink beer throughout work hours. On one event, detectives additionally noticed her enter a nail salon close to her house round 2:30 p.m., staying there for about an hour and a half.

Later, on March 17, 2021, FDLE and Miami investigators determined to conduct extra monitoring, to see if she was persevering with her ingesting behavior. She did so, in accordance with FDLE, starting at 9:22 a.m. with a Modelo beer bought on the gasoline station, the primary of a number of that day.

Lastly, on March 18, investigators noticed her shopping for wine, a bottle of tequila and 4 cans of cola at a Miami liquor retailer – at 9:02 a.m. she then drove to the condominium in Díaz de la Portilla, the place she stayed for over a 12 months. hour.

Jenny Nillo was hired at the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency in 2020, but rarely showed up for the office.

Jenny Nillo was employed on the Omni Neighborhood Redevelopment Company in 2020, however not often confirmed up for the workplace.

Officers arrested her after she left. Regardless of passing a subject sobriety take a look at, Nillo agreed to talk to officers, admitting to ingesting two beers on the highway after which wine on the commissioner’s house. “I had a cup of wine however I had it in a espresso mug so he would not see me ingesting it,” she informed FDLE officer Gaylon White.

She stated she purchased the alcohol on the request of Díaz de la Portilla. The FDLE brokers assured her that she was not beneath arrest and questioned her about her work. She acknowledged that Jason Walker — whom she repeatedly and mistakenly referred to as James — was technically her supervisor, however she actually reported to Díaz de la Portilla.

Nillo couldn’t clarify why Díaz de la Portilla had made this uncommon association for her. “From the start, it labored that method,” Nillo informed officers. “Truthfully, that is how I used to be informed to do it.”

Officers additionally pressed her to search out out if she knew of any corruption throughout the metropolis’s ranks. She claimed she didn’t. “I can discover out to see what is going on on,” Nillo stated.

Nillo additionally acknowledged the seriousness of drunk driving in a city automotive. “Clearly I screwed up,” she informed officers. “So I will likely be fired.

And she or he was, however solely briefly. A number of days later, Díaz de la Portilla employed her in his workplace.

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