Sergio Pereira, who had long career in local government, dies

Sergio Pereira, who had a long career in local government and symbolized the ascendancy of Cuban-Americans in U.S. government, died. 

President Jimmy Carter appointed Pereira as a consultant during the Mariel boatlift, the biggest exodus from Cuba. 

Amid racial tensions in South Florida, City of Miami Commissioner Miller Dawkins told reporters that Pereira was a great administrator in Miami, because "he acts black and he looks white."

Pereira, who had a reputation as a skilled administrator and an effective lobbyist, served as a Miami-Dade County assistant manager and as a City of Miami manager. 

While he worked for the city, he faced three felony theft charges in the case of Emerterio Marino-Pijeira, but he was reinstated to his job when the charges were dropped. Marino-Pijeira was accused of selling stolen  famous-label suits and Pereira was a customer. 

Pereira resigned as the chief administrative officer of Miami-Dade County in 1988, after a Miami Herald investigation uncovered Pereira made thousands when the county commission rezoned a property for a developer. 

Before his resignation, Pereira admitted in a commission meeting to making the $127,000 and failing to report the earnings in "an oversight." During his career, he was also accused of using a police helicopter to take private flying lessons and for using about $30,000 to redecorate an office. 

Pereira volunteered for the Little Havana Activities and Nutrition Centers and for the Nat Moore Foundation. After his retirement from government, he worked as a lobbyist and for the Meridian International Group. 

 

 

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