A judge has set a Jan. 8 trial date for Maria Ferrer Rodriguez, the former property manager at tony EmeraldBay condominium who is accused of pilfering more than $7,000 in maintenance fees.
The State Attorney’s office postponed Rodriguez’s arraignment three times before filing two charges of grand theft and one charge of organized scheme to defraud on Sept. 26. Her attorney has filed a plea of not guilty.
Rodriguez faces two grand theft charges and a charge of organized scheme to defraud – all third-degree felonies that carry a maximum prison sentence of five years apiece. Rodriguez remains free on a $10,000 bond.
Her attorney, Carlos Ziegenhirt, has said Rodriguez will have no comment on the charges and that he expects her never to have to appear in court again.
Rodriguez had worked at EmeraldBay in some capacity for more than 20 years. As property manager, she is accused of taking two checks of $3,647 for maintenance fees from a unit owned by a married couple and funneling the money into a private account.
Rodriguez had the couple make out the check to “KCC Inc.,” an alias for KC Complete Inc., a company Rodriguez formed in 2015, Key Biscayne police said.
Rodriguez was forced out as property manager in May when then Board president Louisa Conway confronted her with the finding that the checks had been deposited into her private account. Conway said at the time Rodriguez left for health reasons.
After Rodriguez’s arrest, a member of the condo board – Tony Gambirazio – told the Independent a second unit owner came forward to say he also had been defrauded of $27,000. The unit owner, however, chose not to file a police report.
The resident showed them photocopies of checks from 2018 and 2019 that he wrote to Emerald Bay but appeared to be physically altered to pay Rodriguez’s corporation, Gambirazio said.