The case presented by lawyers for businessmen Bill Fuller and his partner Martin Pinilla against the famous politician Joe Carollo continued this Wednesday with the testimony of former commissioner Ken Russell who described Carollo as a political enemy but not personal.

Former Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell told jurors there came a time when he was ashamed of the city and pointed to moments of fierce confrontation in meetings.

Russell testified that Commissioner Joe Carollo frequently treated city residents with disrespect and humiliated and bullied employees.

He said there came a time when other businesses not owned by Bill Fuller became targets in the city for no reason and he said it was to justify the commissioner’s retaliation against the Fuller businesses.

The former commissioner told jurors that Carollo asked in a public meeting for an investigation into his finances simply because he opposed the city’s new redistricting plan.

The former commissioner said the new plan splits his district along US-1 so he can include in the Carollo district a house owned by the commissioner that was previously outside his district. And that Russell’s opposition infuriated the commissioner, that revenge and retaliation were, in his words, the operating mode by Joe Carollo.

Earlier, the jury heard testimony from Richard Blom, who served as Doral’s police chief until in 2018 he went to work as Commissioner Carollo’s chief of staff. In his resignation letter, he described the year and the term as confusing, frustrating and unsettling.

Blom said he felt uncomfortable when the commissioner ordered him to take pictures of Fuller’s businesses such as the Las Taquerías establishment on 8th and 5th Streets in southwest Miami and the famous Ball and Chain hidden so they can’t see it. And he was tasked with thoroughly investigating the company.

Former City of Doral Police Chief Testified to Jury That Carollo Targeted Fuller’s Undesirable Properties on 8th Street, Like a Mural on 16th Avenue, Fuller’s Lawyer Asked Why such a decision and Blom replied that Carollo told him he had too many African Americans.

Until now, it was only the turn of lawyers for Bill Fuller and his partner Martin Pinilla to present their case and their witnesses. During opening argument, Carollo’s attorneys asserted that the commissioner acted appropriately and according to law to protect the people of his district from dangerous violations.


Arturo Acevedo, who was fired after 6 months as Miami police chief, said shortly after he arrived in the city, city officials warned him he would face consequences if he didn’t do as commissioner Joe Carollo said.

During his testimony, he pointed out that much of what he said was documented in Miami city commission meetings.

Arturo Acevedo said that from the beginning many told him about the hatred Carollo had towards businessman Bill Fuller, for which they warned him that as a resident to stay away from his businesses and that as police chief, Carollo expected him to have Fuller’s properties under the peephole.

Acevedo explained that Miami’s city charter says commissioners must submit their requests through the administrator and not issue orders to the police. To which Carollo replied that he would make his demands to the administrator because the commission can fire him.

Earlier in this Tuesday’s section the police chief in front of Acevedo testified who Jorge Colina was, in the trial they showed a commission meeting in February 2019 where Carollo is seen telling Colina : “You came here very defensive boss”.

Commissioner Carollo told him that he was questioning the actions of police officers at a Fuller business called Las Taquerías and located on 8th and 5th Streets in Southwest Miami and that Chief Colina was in charge of the defense.

“You’re not going to harass me like you do other people. I’m not going to intimidate you,” the then-police chief told Commissioner Carollo.

Colina testified that, based on his nearly 30 years of police experience, he believed Joe Carollo was acting in retaliation against Fuller’s businesses.

In a lawsuit brought by businessmen Bill Fuller and Martin Pinilla, both insist Carollo spent his years on the Commission going beyond his powers as commissioner to destroy their businesses in retaliation and for political reasons.

They argue that the reason would have been that Bill Fuller supported Alfie León, Carollo’s political opponent.

The businessmen accuse the commissioner of allegedly using the Code Department and the City of Miami Police Department to retaliate and force the closure of some of their businesses, in particular the nightlife and tourist center popular located on 8th Street, Ball and Chain.

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