Alex Diaz de la Portilla Accused of Injuring Code Compliance Employee in Illegal Party (UPDATED)


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Update, April 5, 11:55 p.m.: After New Times published the story underneath, Benedict Kuehne, an attorney representing Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla, sent a letter demanding that a retraction.The post involves an allegation from Suzann Nicholson, a City of Miami code-compliance officer, which Diaz de la Portilla physically”poked and pushed” her as she was trying to research a report of an illegal celebration at an Allapattah warehouse at the wee hours of February 21. Nicholson has alleged her encounter with the commissioner led to an accident to her hip.New Times has recently examined body-worn camera footage from 3 City of Miami police officers who were present at the scene. A number of the footage depicts Nicholson interacting with Diaz de la Portilla, however it does not show any physical confrontation involving the two.New Times stands from our report on their incident.Update, April 1, 2:25 p.m.: The story has been updated to include further comment from commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla.A City of Miami worker has come forth to allege that town commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla poked and pushed her while he was attending an undercover party in Allapattah at February. The woman says she lost her bottom and sprained her hip, an injury that has required physical therapy. The curfew was established last year for a COVID-19 security measure and stays in effect.On the night of February 21, Nicholson and MPD officers were assigned to research a club at 772 NW 22nd St. within an industrial area of Allapattah, which was allegedly operating without permits or permits. The building is normally occupied by a company which sells things, but according to documents obtained by New Timesthat the space was being used as a celebration venue with a bar and a VIP section. Photographs provided together with the documents suggest that the function that night was called”Museum Miami.” When Nicholson asked security guards to the club’s licenses or special-events permits, she states, she was introduced into an unexpected figure: Commissioner Diaz de la Portilla. “Instead of these bringing me the files, they attracted me the commissioner. He was wearing a facemask using a City of Miami emblem,” Nicholson informs New Times.Nicholson states Diaz de la Portilla approached her and asked her who she was. When she informed him she was a city code inspector,” she claims, he began to poke and push her aggressively and told me he”[her] type wasn’t welcome . “Nicholson says she attempted to clarify that she was performing a review at the instruction of the town code compliance manager, however Diaz de la Portilla kept poking her till she resigned, wrenching her stylish in the procedure. “When I moved to measure back the previous time, he was gonI push me. I said,’Do not touch me, quit touching me.’ Reached from New Times through text, Diaz de la Portilla denied Nicholson’s allegation. “That never occurred. I attend dozens of occasions. I haven’t pushed anybody at these occasions. Never. And you have no proof of this because it does not exist,” Diaz de la Portilla said in a text.A photograph Nicholson shot at the function that night — provided to New Times in response to some public-records petition — shows that a guy Nicholson claims is that the commissioner, without a mask, position at a barricaded part of the venue near three scantily clad ladies. The photo’s timestamp is 12:24 a.m., almost 30 minutes beyond the county’s curfew.

According to Nicholson, the above photo shows Diaz de la Portilla (left) at a barricaded segment of the after-hours celebration venue.
Photo through City of Miami

Diaz de la Portilla didn’t respond to some text out of New Times asking if he recognized himself at the photo.Nicholson states the officers who followed her pulled on the commissioner apart and talked to him took no additional action. She states Diaz de la Portilla subsequently place his hands on her shoulder and told her he just wanted to do things he had to do to get her to leave the venue.MPD spokesperson Michael Vega tells New Times that no arrests were made that night but the party was closed down and attendees had been ushered from the building. He originally said no incident reports were composed, either.However, following this story was first published online, Diaz de la Portilla texted New Times a copy of an incident report from the celebration registered with the Miami Police Department. “The commissioner tells New Times that, in my own opinion, the accounts vindicates him. “However, it does not state I pushed anybody because. . .Had it occurred, it would, at the very least, [have] been at the accounts. Duh. “Vega later clarified a”generic” incident report had been registered. (Especially, the police report also suggests that a gun was discharged at the event, though there were no reported injuries.)

A replica of an incident report shows Diaz de la Portilla was at the February 21 celebration.
Photo through Alex Diaz de la Portilla

Approximately 3% on the day of the celebration, Nicholson emailed her manager, assistant manager of code compliance Eric Nemons, and mentioned that Diaz de la Portilla had been present at the event.But Nicholson says that following that initial email, which New Times also acquired in a public-records petition, she was instructed over the telephone by her superiors not to mention Diaz de la Portilla by title at any additional communications.Nicholson repeatedly referenced the episode in a March 8 email to Nemons and Assistant City Manager Natasha Colebrook-Williams, explaining that she had it recorded due to her injury was getting worse. “I attempted to speak with you regarding the episode together with the commissioner about February 21, throughout the unpermitted specific event review,” Nicholson wrote. “During the poking and I lost my footing and even though I did not fall I presumed I was okay. Since that time I have been having issues with my left hip and also I would like the incident documented. She had to ask employee’s compensation benefits and claims she is still getting physical therapy for her harm, which sometimes makes it hard to sleep walk.After the episode, Nicholson requested and got a transfer from code compliance and into another city department. She states she was initially reluctant to discuss her run-in using the commissioner because she did not wish to lose her job. She feels more comfortable coming forward now, she says, because she feels it is unfair that she is still in pain and Diaz de la Portilla has faced no repercussions. “I would like people to learn how to respect others. Just because you’ve got a title doesn’t mean you’re above and beyond the law,” Nicholson tells New Times. “He did not even phone to apologize. I must go to therapy while he is OK. “This is not initially Diaz de la Portilla has been linked to overaggressive behavior. In 2019, the commissioner was accused of Republicans on the campaign trail. Back in 2019, an older woman at a senior housing complex said one of Diaz de la Portilla’s effort allies pushed her against a glass door when she accused the candidate of manipulating absentee ballots.Diaz de la Portilla recently came under fire in connection with a situation between a”ghost employee” he hired to perform at the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) while he was serving chairman out there.

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