Ignoring Traffic Laws

According to the Miami New Times, Díaz de la Portilla received 23 traffic infractions, which resulted in his license being suspended 16 times. A search of Miami-Dade County’s online traffic system could not verify these claims.

Problem: From 1982 to 1994, Díaz de la Portilla received 23 traffic tickets and had his license suspended 16 times.

Explanation: Most of his license suspensions were due to missed court dates.

Miami New Times, 11/10/05

Though these records could not be located, Díaz de la Portilla admitted that they existed.

Díaz de la Portilla, 29, and Manrique, 34, ran against each other in 1992.

During that race, Manrique brought out records that showed Díaz de la Portilla's driver license has been suspended 17 times and that he had been in several accidents. Díaz de la Portilla said he missed traffic court dates because he was traveling for his familyowned business, De Mattress.

Miami Herald, 8/14/94

According to a Miami-Dade County’s traffic division supervisor, Díaz de la Portilla “doesn’t comply with the law.”

"The bottom line is this guy doesn't like to come to court," said Jose Gonzalez, supervisor of Dade's traffic division. "He doesn't comply with the law."

Diaz de la Portilla said he has missed the court dates because of a "lack of organization" and his frequent travel to political conferences and for his family's mattress company, De Mattress.

Miami Herald, 9/24/92

When questioned on it, Díaz de la Portilla said it wasn’t as serious as a DUI, though he has been found at fault at least 12 times. He blamed it on a “lack of judgment,” but Gonzalez said that Díaz de la Portilla was “lucky... if one more” of his violations were guilty, “his license would have been suspended for five years as a habitual traffic violator.”

 

"It's not like it's DUI," he said. ...

Diaz de la Portilla has racked up 23 traffic tickets since 1982, Gonzalez said. The tickets charged him with a variety of offenses, from speeding to improper turns to failure to yield the right-ofway, state records show. Six tickets were dismissed. In 12 cases, he was found at fault and five cases are pending.

The candidate blamed the high number of tickets on a "lack of judgment."… Diaz de la Portilla also has come close to having his license revoked for five years because he continued driving after it was suspended. Four times from 1983 to 1985, he was accused of driving with a suspended license. He was convicted twice. Under state law, a third conviction would have resulted in revocation. But in two cases, judges withheld adjudication, meaning they wouldn't appear on Diaz de la Portilla's record.

"He's lucky," said Gonzalez, of the traffic division. "If one of the above would have been a 'guilty,' his license would have been suspended for five years as a habitual traffic violator."

Miami Herald, 9/24/92

In fact, the violations were so bad that Díaz de la Portilla had to “hitch rides with friends” in order to meet voters and campaign in 1992. 

When Alex Diaz de la Portilla courts voters in West Dade, he has to hitch rides with friends.

Diaz de la Portilla, 28, a Republican candidate for state House District 115, can't drive because his Florida driver's license was suspended last month for the 16th time since 1982, state records show.

The latest suspension came Aug. 26 -- two days after Hurricane Andrew hit -- because he missed a July 17 hearing to contest a speeding ticket and a citation for not having proof of insurance. Police said he was doing 35 in a 15 mile-per-hour school zone. It was his ninth suspension for missing a court date, state motor vehicle records show. A new court date on the tickets has not been set.

Miami Herald, 9/24/92

Despite stating he was not involved, Díaz de la Portilla was accused of authoring a forged letter on behalf of Manrique, which attacked “Anglos” in the district. 

Republican state House candidate Carlos Manrique charged Monday that someone has forged his name to an embarrassing and inaccurate letter in an attempt to derail his campaign on the eve of the election.

Manrique, running for representative in State District 115, called the letter divisive and disappointing. It speaks directly to whites in his district as "you Anglos" and contains numerous grammatical errors.

"Basically, it tells Anglos, 'Look, I'm a Cuban and I want you out of my district,' " said Manrique, after reportedly getting 26 angry calls at his home. "I've worked seven months of my life walking door-to-door with my wife and son, and if you could feel the hurt that's inside, it's unbelievable."

The letter begins: "My opponent is not hispanic (sic) Republican and this is a Hispanic Republican district."...

It was unclear Monday night who the author of the letter was. Manrique said he was investigating whether it was Alex Diaz de la Portilla, whom Manrique defeated in a heated Republican primary, or a campaign supporter of Diaz de la Portilla or someone else in the Democratic party.

Diaz de la Portilla denied any knowledge of the letter. "I think it's crazy he would actually say something as stupid as that. I'm not a candidate anymore," he said.

Diaz de la Portilla filed suit against Manrique last week for defamation of character after Manrique publicized his many driving violations during the primary campaign

Miami Herald, 11/3/92