Rick Sanchez’s History Of Trouble In Miami


When I was an editor in Miami, my staff ended up covering Rick Sanchez a lot.  He was not your average talking head on TV, but a guy who got in an unusual amount of trouble.

The first time, it was his mouth that nailed him.like it did again this week.

In the latest incident, Sanchez was fired from CNN after a radio rant about Jews controlling the media and how his Cuban American heritage held him back in TV.

Twenty four years ago, Sanchez was an up-and-coming WSVN-Channel 7 anchor.  Until his voice popped up on police wiretaps talking to Alberto San Pedro, a Hialeah crime figure nicknamed “The Great Corruptor.

San Pedro was a front page story in 1986.  The cocaine dealer boasted he had politicians on his payroll.  He also had a relationship with Sanchez that the station apparently didn’t know about until the tapes surfaced.

The two men talked about doing favors for one another.  Sanchez, who visited San Pedro in his home, said he was only attempting to gather information for a story.

Later, Sanchez disclosed that he introduced San Pedro to representatives of the Bal Harbour branch of the First American Bank and Trust, where Sanchez was a paid member of the management advisory board, according to a Sun-Sentinel report.

San Pedro served three years in prison.

Sanchez was placed on leave at Channel 7 and eventually ended up in Houston.

He returned to Miami television two years later.  The publicity over the San Pedro affair had died down and Channel 7 gave him another shot.

Channel 7s news director was quoted in the Sun-Sentinel as saying that Sanchez had “made an error in judgment (by associating with San Pedro). He was not as sharp as he should have been, and he was immature.

But three years later, he was involved in another controversy.  In 1991, the car Sanchez was driving struck a young man near the football stadium after a Dolphins game. The man never fully recovered from severe head injuries and died four years later in a nusring home. Sanchez was charged with DUI.

Under a plea bargain, Sanchez paid a $250 fine plus $100 in court costs, served six months probation, provided 50 hours of community service and took a 15-hour drunken driving course. His driver license was suspended for six months, say newspaper reports at the time.

From Channel 7 he bounced around — MSNBC, back to Miami and eventually CNN.

So it is obvious that despite his stormy speech on satellite radio this week, Sanchez has not been held back because he is Cuban-American.

He has had more chances than a cat has lives.  Other careers would have been squashed by his mistakes.

Don’t be surprised to see him get a fourth shot at Miami television.

Sanchez getting fired is just a routine entry on the resume of this deeply flawed television personality.

7 Responses to “Rick Sanchez’s History Of Trouble In Miami”

  1. Git R Done says:

    He is such a pompous ass and has never been a good reporter. I’m glad they handed him the AX!
    He’s always so nasty and seems rude, even when he used to be on Channel 7 news as well.
    Why does he “think” he’s so smart and knows everything… DUHHHH!!!
    He doesn’t and never has been good at his job, I’m just glad he’s gone. Thank You CNN…

  2. get real says:

    …well the guy that got hit by Sanchez after the Dolphins game didnt die til years later…no way he would have got off if it happened same night…Still agree he got off easy…However for all of Sanchez’s flaws getting fired for saying Jews are not a minority is a joke. This is discrimination and makes Time Warner look silly. I am guessing that Ted Turner doesnt have much influence/equity there anymore or this would have not taken place. Guessing Sanchez did something else and they were just waiting for a reason.

  3. G. Rossen says:

    I have never met Sanchez and don’t give him much mind, but I too have developed a feeling over the years that he is a pompous know-it-all jerk.

  4. Tony says:

    DUI with fatality? Shouldn’t he have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, at a minimum?!?!?!?
    What is doing as a free man?!?!?
    Shouldn’t he be in Federal prison?

    He was left paralyzed and never fully recovered. He died years after the accident. Sanchez wasn’t charged with causing the accident because the victim was also drunk and ran into traffic. Who knows what the results would have been if the TV anchor hadn’t been drinking?

    I expanded on my earlier explanation of the accident in the post.

    Here is a Miami Herald article Nov. 2, 1995 about the man’s death:

    Jeffrey Smuzinick , who was left paralyzed after being struck by the car of WSVN-Channel 7 anchor Rick Sanchez, died Monday in a Pennsylvania nursing home. He was 36.

    Smuzinick , a Pembroke Pines furnituremaker, was injured Dec. 10, 1990, after he ran out into traffic leaving Joe Robbie Stadium following a Dolphins football game. He was struck by 1991 Volvo driven by Sanchez.

    Smuzinick suffered severe head injuries and was in a coma for many months. He underwent rehabilitation in Florida and was later moved to Greensburg, Pa., to be closer to his family.

    Smuzinick recovered somewhat from his injuries, but was left partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. His family said he was “alert” and could feed himself up until about nine months ago, when a lung infection sent him into decline.

    Sanchez was not charged with causing the accident, but was charged with DUI after a test showed his blood-alcohol level at .15, over the legal limit. Smuzinick was also legally drunk, with a blood-alcohol level of .23.

    In 1991, Sanchez pleaded no contest to the charge and received a $250 fine, 50 hours of community service, suspension of his driver’s license for six months and probation.

    In a statement read Wednesday night by the station’s publicist, Sanchez said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jeffrey Smuzinick .”

  5. Ricky says:

    Another shot in Miami, after anti-semetic remarks? Not so sure about that. Frankly, his being Cuban-American no doubt helped him get in the door in the first place.

  6. Lea says:

    “Sanchez getting fired is just a routine entry on the resume of this deeply flawed television personality”

    The most truthful statement I’ve read about Sanchez. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll probably see him back in South Florida.

  7. trayger says:

    I heard that Sanchez just got offered an anchor job at Al Jazeera.