MIAMI – “This has been really difficult and painful for my family,” said Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez when she discussed a lawsuit alleging she and her husband enriched themselves through a real estate scheme.
“He says that he is this little man who was taken for a ride, but he has been a real estate agent for 33 years,” said Mendez.
The man suing them is Jose Alvarez. He sold his house in Little Havana, for just over $200,000 to Express Homes, Inc., a company owned by Carlos Morales, Mendez’s husband.
“He (Jose Alvarez) was very upset because he thought he was going to his government official about a city problem,” said Jeff Gutchess, an attorney at AXS Law, who represents Alvarez.
He said his client’s mother’s house had more than $270,000 in building code fines. The lawsuit alleges Alvarez was persuaded to sell the Little Havana house to Morales for $205.000.
City records show Morales asked the Code Enforcement Board to remove the fines because the property would have been incorrectly cited.
“He magically got these fines waived, in less than a minute,” said Gutchess.
Records show that the house was then sold for $370,000.
Carlos Morales sent CBS4 a statement responding to some of the allegations in the lawsuit.
“He (Jose Alvarez) was referred to me (Carlos Morales) by his estate attorney, not by the city attorney. Any code liens were addressed pursuant to proper hearings before the code enforcement board.
“We have text message evidence from the city attorney herself that shows that she set up a phone call with Mr. Alvarez. The next day, he spoke to Mr. Morales,” said Gutchess, when addressed about what the City Attorney said.