By C. Ron Allen
BOYNTON BEACH – Mayor Jose Rodriguez is out of jail, and out of a job, after he was first arrested on corruption charges, and then suspended from office by Governor Rick Scott.
Scott suspended Rodriguez Friday afternoon, after he posted an $8,000 bond Thursday night following his surrender at the Palm Beach County Jail.
“It is in the best interests of the residents of the City of Boynton Beach, and the citizens of the State of Florida, that Jose Rodriguez be immediately suspended from the public office, which he now holds, upon the grounds set forth in this executive order,” the order read.
It continued: “Jose Angel Rodriguez is prohibited from performing any official act, duty, or function of public office; from receiving any pay or allowance; and from being entitled to any of the emoluments or privileges of public office during the period of this suspension, which period shall be from today, until further Executive Order is issued, or as otherwise provided by law.”
Rodriguez, 49, denied the allegations, saying the charges were politically motivated.
“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Rodriguez said to awaiting members of the media as he walked out of the jail. “The old cliché, ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ is alive and well, and I look for my day in court.”
Boynton Beach’s city attorney informed Scott’s office of the arrest Friday morning. Scott issued an executive order that afternoon suspending Rodriguez.
As in many cities, the Boynton Beach mayor is a voting member of the city commission. Under the city charter, the city commission will now appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the next city election.
“Due to Governor Scott’s executive order, I will be handling the duties of Mayor of Boynton Beach as outlined by the city’s charter,” Acting Mayor Bill Orlove wrote in an email. “In this new capacity, I will continue to serve the citizens of Boynton Beach to the best of my abilities. I hope that we can all come together, elected officials, staff and citizens, and do what is in the best interest of our community.”
If he’s convicted, Rodriguez could get up to 17 years behind bars.
Investigators in a corruption unit at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said Rodriguez used his position as mayor to obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation against him, an investigation involved allegations of abuse involving his estranged wife and her daughter.
Officials say in August 2011, the mayor’s wife called Boynton Beach police saying she feared for her safety because of him. As a result, Boynton Beach Police launched an investigation and so did the Florida Department of Children and Families.
According to the affidavit, its alleged Rodriguez contacted both the Boynton Beach Chief of Police and the Boynton Beach Interim City Manager for the purpose of obstructing the investigation.
City officials declined to comment but offered a statement through their spokeswoman.
“The chief of police, the city manager and ranking members of the police department are material witnesses and it would be counterproductive to the prosecution of this case, and the continuing operation of the municipal government , for any of us to issue a comment at this time,” police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said in the written statement.
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