- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Gov. Rick Scott has revoked the suspension from office imposed on the mayor of Miami Lakes who was acquitted of federal corruption charges.

Scott issued the new executive order Monday evening, following a ruling earlier that day by the Florida Supreme Court.

In a 5-2 ruling, the majority said state law requires Scott to revoke Michael Pizzi’s suspension, which could lead to his reinstatement as mayor to serve the remainder of a term that ends in 2016. Pizzi’s attorney, Ben Kuehne, said he will ask Miami Lakes to restore him as mayor - and if the city does not, he will take the issue back to court.

“I hope that they will welcome him with open arms,” Kuehne said.

Pizzi was suspended by Scott in August 2013 after he was arrested on seven corruption-related charges.

He was accused of accepting $6,750 in payments between 2011 and 2013 from undercover FBI agents in exchange for his help in obtaining federal grant money for both Miami Lakes and the nearby town of Medley, where he was the city attorney. The agents, pretending to be businessmen, told Pizzi they intended to keep the hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money for themselves.

A new mayor was chosen in an October 2013 special election, but Pizzi went to trial and was acquitted by a jury last August. Since then he has sought restoration to his old job, but Scott refused to lift the suspension and Miami Lakes officials have maintained that their current mayor should remain in office.

“I hope they have thought long and hard about that,” Kuehne said.

The Supreme Court order does not say Scott is required to reinstate Pizzi as Miami Lakes mayor, just that the suspension must end. Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston dissented over that issue, writing that the court should not have gotten involved.

“If the act of restoring to office is not required to be performed, it is not clear that the linked act of revoking the order of suspension is required. And it is not clear that (Pizzi) would benefit in any way from the act of revocation unaccompanied by an act of restoration,” the dissenters wrote.

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Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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