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Miami Mayor Fights Recall by Billionaire

MIAMI (CN) - In a high-powered political feud, Mayor Carlos Alvarez has sued billionaire Norman Braman, a former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, who is trying to recall Mayor Alvarez. Alvarez also sued the clerk of the Miami-Dade County Court, Harvey Ruvin, claiming Ruvin allowed a deputy clerk to approve Braman's recall petition, rather than approving it himself, as required.

"The plaintiff asserts that the approval of the form of a petition seeking a recall must, under Miami-Dade County Charter, be decided only by 'the Clerk of the Circuit Court' and that approval by any other person in the Clerk's office contravenes the Charter," the mayor says in his complaint.

Acting Division Chief Diane Collins approved Braman's Sept. 30 recall petition on Oct. 6.

Braman told The Miami Herald that he wanted to recall Alvarez because the mayor allowed property taxes to increase during economic hard times "even as county employees received pay hikes."

Miamians also have expressed outrage at the mayor's decision to allocate $350 million in tax money to build the Florida Marlins baseball stadium, which is under construction.

Alvarez formed a political action committee to try to head off the recall, and according to the Herald, "The Marlins and county police union account for nearly 60 percent of all the money he has raised."

Braman needed 50,000 signatures for a recall election to be called; he turned in 90,000.

Braman, a car dealer, is a veteran of South Florida politics. He has filed legal complaints challenging the $3 billion remake of downtown Miami and fought taxes for public transportation and Miami Orange Bowl renovations.

This is Alvarez's last term and he has less than a year left to serve.

None of the parties were available for comment on Tuesday.

Alvarez seeks an injunction and declaratory relief. He wants the recall effort declared null and void for procedural reasons. He is represented in Dade County Court by Bruce Rogow of Fort Lauderdale.


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