Miami Beach commissioner resigns before anticipated court appearance

Michael Grieco ended his term as Miami Beach commissioner Tuesday morning when he submitted his resignation at City Hall just after 8 a.m.

He emailed his resignation at 8:06 a.m. to the city clerk before an anticipated appearance in Miami-Dade County criminal court to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of accepting a campaign donation made in the name of another. Sources familiar with the state attorney’s investigation into his campaign have told the Miami Herald he will serve one year probation during which he will not be able to run for public office, and he will have to pay the costs incurred by the state attorney’s office during their investigation.

The resignation and plea deal mark the end of Grieco’s sole term in elected office following a turbulent year. At one point a strong contender for mayor, his campaign was rocked by a campaign finance scandal following Herald articles outlining his connections to a secretive political committee that raised $200,000 from well-heeled Beach interests including lobbyists, city vendors and developers.

The scandal spurred a criminal inquiry by the state attorney’s public corruption unit, which examined Grieco’s ties to the PAC and found he may have orchestrated a donation through a straw donor, a violation of state law.

On Tuesday morning, he sent the following email to city officials announcing his resignation:

“Effective immediately, I tender my resignation as Group 2 Commissioner for the remaining two weeks of my term. Serving our Great City of Miami Beach has been my greatest honor. Thank you for giving me that opportunity. When I began my service as Miami Beach Commissioner in 2013, my paramount goal was to leave Miami Beach in a better condition than when I started. I am confident I have done that, and more. I have always done my best. I hope you will agree, and will find the time to work with me in my private life, as I continue to find creative ways to make Miami Beach the BEST City in the Sunshine State and beyond.”

The Herald first reported details of Grieco’s plans to resign Tuesday night. He is expected to appear in court later Tuesday morning.