Democratic North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo has been charged with three counts of voter fraud amid allegations he did not live in the community of which he is mayor.
A complaint against DeFillipo to the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust alleged DeFillipo lived in the town of Davie, which is in Broward County. That would violate the North Miami Beach city charter, which requires that elected officials live in the city, according to the Miami Herald.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said cell phone data tracked DeFillipo’s on three occasions when he drove from Davie to North Miami Beach to vote in elections held in August, October, and November.
“It wasn’t as if, ‘Oops, I forgot once.’ This is three times in rapid succession,” she said.
We in law enforcement take actions which violate our election laws very seriously. They are crimes. Today, we are charging Anthony DeFillipo, the present Mayor @NorthMiamiBeach, with 3 counts of Unqualified Voters Willfully Voting, 3rd degree felonies. pic.twitter.com/pUICntyegS
— Kathy Rundle (@KathyFndzRundle) May 31, 2023
DeFillipo had told WTVJ-TV that his voting trips were an inadvertent mistake.
“I totally forgot, it was an oversight and I had it fixed immediately when I noticed. We’re human, we make mistakes,” he said.
DeFillipo’s attorney Michael Pizzi, disputed the charges against the mayor.
“The mayor has explained over and over again, and under oath, he always intended to and always lived in North Miami Beach,” Pizzi said, according to CBS.
Rundle does not agree.
BREAKING 🚨 North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo has been arrested—charges involve voting from an address where he did not live. pic.twitter.com/PkECRc0k52
— PoliticsVerse 🇺🇸 (@PoliticsVerse) May 31, 2023
“We believe the evidence shows (DeFillipo) voted illegally three times,” she said, adding. “Our voting laws apply to everyone. There are no unwritten exceptions.”
“Deliberately swearing to false information as alleged in this case eats at the credibility of our voting and electoral systems,” Rundle said, according to WPLG-TV.
Pizzi told the Herald police did not need to arrest DeFillipo.
“They had an ethical obligation to allow him to voluntarily surrender,” he said.
In a 184-page deposition released in March, DeFillipo said he owned two homes in Davie, one of which has since been sold, according to Florida Politics.
He said neither was his main residence.
Asked if he spent more than 15 days in a row at his Davie home, he replied, that he was not certain and said, “I try to spend as much time with my family as I can.”
The voter fraud charges are felonies that carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.
As noted by WPLG, DeFillipo was the third city official arrested in recent weeks. became the third North Miami Beach city official arrested in a matter of weeks. Two city officials were accused of stealing Publix gift cards intended for a giveaway by the city to its residents.
A representative of the city government said it will wait until the disposition of the charges before taking any action.
“Following the news conference by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the City of North Miami Beach will watch closely as the legal process runs its course,” North Miami Beach representative David F. Jeannot said in a statement, according to WTVJ.
“To rebuild trust in this community is no small feat. However, we are focused on earning your confidence back. NMB is a resilient community, and together we will emerge stronger from this. We thank you for your continued support as we work towards a more transparent and accountable city government,” the statement said.