(Miami “ February 11, 2015) As the Port of Miami`s Facilities Superintendent, 16½ year County employee Angel Perez was an integral part of the overall port maintenance staff. His duties included ensuring that the Port of Miami`s fire sprinkler systems, located in the various Port of Miami buildings, were properly maintained, inspected as required, and repaired as needed. A joint investigation by the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Miami-Dade State Attorney`s Office (SAO) uncovered a deliberate falsification of inspection reports submitted to Miami-Dade County for 2012. The investigation further uncovered that when the County`s contracted fire sprinkler inspection company refused to provide Perez with clean inspection reports for 2012, a new company was hired. While the Port`s perceived compliance with fire safety regulations reflected well on the efforts of Angel Perez, it could have resulted in a dangerous fire safety situation had an emergency arisen. An OIG surprise inspection of the fire sprinkler systems in 2014 uncovered numerous deficiencies and red tag violations which had gone unrepaired for longer than the allowable statutory period. Upon learning of the deficiencies, Port Miami made the necessary repairs correcting the deficiencies and a new fire sprinkler inspection vendor performed the 2014 annual inspections.
By filing a false report, Mr. Perez lied to both of his employers, Miami-Dade County and the taxpayers of this community, and potentially put lives at risk, commented Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Fortunately, no emergencies arose and this investigation led to all deficiencies being uncovered and corrected.
Employees who fail to perform their official duties and endanger others will be thoroughly investigated by the OIG, stated Inspector General Mary T. Cagle.
Angel Perez surrendered in open court this morning, pleading guilty to 1 count of False Official Statements, a 2nd degree misdemeanor. He received a withhold of adjudication and 6 months probation. In addition, he will resign his county job effective immediately, reimburse the Miami-Dade Office of Inspector General its investigative costs of $5,000.00, reimburse the Miami Dade State Attorney`s Office for the cost of prosecution of $500.00 and perform 20 hours of Community Service. Upon completion of all these special conditions he may apply for early termination of probation.
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