Miami Mayor Francis Suarez on unpaid leave from legislation agency position

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez gives his first speech as a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on June 15.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez provides his first speech as a prospect for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on June 15.

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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s net worth skyrocketed as he racked up side jobs throughout his time in office, including at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, an international litigation firm that hired the mayor as an attorney in 2021 as it sought to establish itself in Miami.

Now, Suarez is on unpaid leave, effective July 1. The move comes as Suarez recently announced a bid for the Republican nomination for president.

“Quinn Emanuel and Francis agreed that he should focus on his presidential campaign. His unpaid leave was motivated by no other consideration,” the spokesperson said.

Among Quinn Emanual’s most prominent clients is Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who recently donated $1 million to a political committee supporting Suarez. Suarez has vocally supported the billionaire hedge funder’s efforts to move his company headquarters to Miami. Earlier this year, a spokesperson in the mayor’s office wrote a glowing article about Griffin, who Suarez calls a friend.

The Herald first contacted Quinn Emanuel about Suarez’s relationship to Griffin on June 22, a week before he went on leave. His presidential announcement came amid a series of bad press — including the news that the mayor is under state and federal investigation for a $10,000-a-month consulting job for a developer seeking permits in the city.

According to the law firm’s spokesperson, Suarez does not work on any cases involving Griffin and the terms of the mayor’s employment include an agreement to follow all state and local laws, including those covering conflicts of interest. Following guidance issued by the county ethics commission at the time, the law firm said Suarez also agreed to avoid participating in any government discussions regarding a client of the firm who has business in front of the city.

“To the best of our knowledge, Mayor Suarez has at all times been in full compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations,” the spokesperson wrote.

Citadel spokesperson Zia Ahmed said Griffin has never asked the mayor for any favors and follows all proper protocols in dealings with the city. He added that Citadel has been a client of Quinn Emanuel since before Suarez joined the firm and that Griffin’s company works with multiple law firms.

Suarez did not immediately respond to the Herald’s request for comment. But in a June 15 Bloomberg article about his work for Quinn Emanuel following the presidential announcement, he said he did not think his political aspirations presented a conflict for his work with the firm.

“I don’t see anything that presents a conflict other than my time and energy,” Suarez told Bloomberg. Still, he mentioned a leave was possible.

As of the end of 2022, Suarez listed his personal net worth at $3.4 million, more than double what it had been the previous year. A part-time mayor, compensated $130,000 annually, Suarez listed two other primary sources of income other than the law firm: DaGrosa Capital Partners, a Coral Gables-based private equity firm, and eMerge Americas, a local technology conference where Suarez has a paid position on the board.

Neither DaGrosa nor eMerge responded to the Herald’s questions about Suarez’s current employment status.

Miami Herald staff writers Joey Flechas and Tess Riski contributed.

This article has been updated to add information on Citadel’s history with Quinn Emanuel.

This story was initially revealed July 12, 2023, 8:53 AM.

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Sarah Blaskey is an investigative journalist for the Miami Herald, where she was section of the group that gained the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the collapse of a household condo setting up in Surfside, FL. Her work has been recognized by the Scripps Howard Awards for excellence in regional investigative reporting, the George Polk Award for political reporting and the Webby Awards for characteristic reporting. She is the direct writer of “The Grifter’s Club: Trump, Mar-a-Lago, and the Selling of the Presidency.” She joined the Herald in 2018.

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