Lucie Tondreau case dismissed

North Miami mayor says she’s ready to move on

Miami Times staff report | 9/26/2013, 9 a.m.
North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau can now breathe a sigh of relief and place her focus squarely on the issues ...
North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau

North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau can now breathe a sigh of relief and place her focus squarely on the issues facing her City. That’s because a Miami-Dade County judge recently dismissed a case filed by former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns that claimed that Tondreau never properly qualified to run for office.

Burns was one of several candidates hoping to replace the former mayor, Andre Pierre, but lost to Tondreau during a June runoff election. The lawsuit sought to remove Tondreau from office.

The crux of Burns’s objections was whether Tondreau actually lived in North Miami for a full year before seeking to run for office, as is stipulated in the City charter.

On numerous occasions, including during an interview with The Miami Times, Tondreau stated that she has always followed the rules germane to qualifying for office.

In a hearing last month, Judge Jorge Cueto cites a 1981 Florida Supreme Court ruling and said he did not believe he had jurisdiction to hear the case.

He stated the following in his motion to dismiss: “Generally, courts have no inherent power to determine election contests nor do courts have jurisdiction to inquire into a person’s qualifications to run for office after that person has been duly elected.”

While Burns has asserted that he was just trying to make sure justice prevailed and that the rules of the City charter were followed, supporters of Tondreau have said that the lawsuit was nothing more than 11th-hour efforts by a candidate unwilling to accept their defeat.

Burns says he will maintain his fight and plans to file an appeal.

“For the people of North Miami this fight is not over,” he said.

Tondreau issued a public statement to express her views.

“I have been elected by the people of our city to provide leadership for all of our residents and businesses,” she said. “I call upon everyone, including my former opponents, to work together with me to improve, enhance, and grow the city of North Miami . . . There is strength in unity and it’s time to unite and move forward.”