Frantz Pierre, a former North Miami Beach city commissioner, died this week after suffering a cardiac event, his wife Marie confirmed Friday. He was 58.
The oldest of nine children, Pierre moved after high school from Haiti to North Miami Beach, where he met his wife Marie Pierre, who described him as a wonderful husband and father. “He was the kind of person everyone loved,” she said.
“My life has changed a lot because of him,” she said Friday of their 35-year union, 33 of them married. “I used to be a tough girl. Since I met him, I’ve become a soft woman.”
A former Miami-Dade County Public Schools teacher, Pierre entered politics with the intention of tackling affordability in the city and quality of life. “The students know me and the parents know me,” he said in a Miami Herald article during his first campaign in 2005. “People know me as someone who doesn’t take sides.”
Pierre’s father Jacques-Joseph Pierre was a judge in Haiti, which inspired his interest in politics, family said. But what also drove Pierre to politics, friend and North Miami Mayor Alix Desulme said, was his passion for education. “He was very active in his early days in the community,” he said. “I knew him as a friend prior to politics and in the education world.”
Desulme, who also worked as an educator in the school district, said Pierre was supportive of Desulme’s campaign for North Miami clerk and was instrumental in ensuring Haitian residents received accurate information. “We have a community that did not have much education in terms of our folks coming in,” Desulme said. “So he always emphasized education and making sure that accurate stuff is being said on Haitian radio.”
Pierre was elected to the North Miami Beach Commission, then known as a council, in 2007. Prior to that he served on the North Miami Beach Civil Service board with former City Commissioner Barbara Kramer, who described him as smart and funny.
Kramer said she admired how Pierre would explain why he voted on controversial matters. She also told about a time when Pierre backed her when she confronted a man passing out DVDs with swastikas on them.
“He always championed me. We got along. He was a funny guy,” she said. “I’m just sad. He’s been sick for a very long time, and I feel for his children.”
Current North Miami Beach Commissioner Jay Chernoff sat on the commission with Pierre and described him as a team player.
“He was an involved leader. He got involved in things that he was passionate in and really saw them through,” he said.
Part of Frantz’s political tenure was controversial. In 2018, the commission voted to remove him because he only attended one meeting over a nine-month period due to a medical condition.
Pierre sued to keep his position, and at one point was temporarily reinstated. He was later arrested for soliciting a bribe from a strip club operator, among other charges. He was suspended by then-Gov. Rick Scott. Pierre pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges in 2020.
In a plea agreement, Pierre was sentenced to two years of house arrest, four years of probation, $2,000 in restitution to the city of North Miami Beach and $5,000 to the State Attorney’s Office, and 200 hours of community service.
“We weren’t happy about that,” Chernoff said. “It’s one of our colleagues. Nobody ever likes to see your colleagues in trouble.”
Outside of politics, Pierre was a mentor for the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project and was heavily involved in his church, serving on Men of Integrity, an organization within Haitian Evangelical Baptist Church in Miami.
Former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeff Mischon lived a few houses from Pierre and described him as a family man. “He really had three priorities: his kids, teaching and his family,” he said. “He was a very good family man and spent a lot of time with his family.”
Daughter Patricia Pierre, 22, described her father as loving and treated his students he taught as if they were his own children.
“He treated every child as his own,” she said. “Even outside of school, if they needed help personally he would help where he could. He was a father to everyone, even to my own friends.”
Pierre leaves behind his wife Marie and their six children, Karry Joseph Pierre, 38; Keren Pierre, 26; Lynn-Iris Pierre, 25; Gregory Pierre, 23; Patricia Pierre, 22; and Jayden Pierre, 16. Details on services have not been completed.