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NUMBER 127 - DECEMBER 10, 2018
CREATING A POLITICAL"HOST COMMITTEE" IS ONE WAY TO CREATE A PRIVATE SLUSH FUND. DEEP POCKET CONTRIBUTORS DONATE LOT OF MONEY LOOKING TO BUY INFLUENCE, A LOT OF MONEY GETS SPENT IN WAYS THAT REWARDS THE INSIDERS IN THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS PLAN, AND A CHUNK FINDS ITS WAY INTO THE POCKETS OF THE CREATORS, BECAUSE A LIFESTYLE THAT INCLUDES FLYING ON PRIVATE JETS GETS ADDICTIVE, AND EXPENSIVE
Crespogram regulars will recall that on November 18th, I wrote a story about local attorney/lobbyist Alexander Heckler and an anonymous complaint that had been filed against him with the county's Inspector General alleging a host of illegal and/or ethically questionable activities, including Heckler having "a business relationship" with former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and creating a Host Committee for the 2017 National Mayor's Conference that was held on Miami Beach.
Here is a copy of that complaint if you missed it the first time.
Even though the complaint was dismissed by the Ethics Commission because they couldn't identify the individual who submitted it - an excuse that seemed manufactured given that over the years the Commission has opened a lot of investigations on anonymous complaints - I became interested in the allegations related to the Host Committee and made 3 requests to Heckler to provide me with a copy of the IRS Form 990, that's the income tax return - that these non-profit groups are supposed to file.
Of course I've yet to receive a copy of the IRS Form 990, but I can understand that, because since Andrew Gullim lost the election for Governor, Heckler and Levine, as reported in the Miami Herald - well not Heckler by name, but certainly Levine - have been busy with their new enterprise, the 2020 Host Committee for the Democratic Convention that they're trying to lure to Miami Beach.
In the Herald story Levine is credited as being the Co-Chairman in charge of raising money for the Host Committee, but as you can see below he is unlisted as a officer of the corporation, while the boys at LSN Partners are definitely in charge.
In Miami, loyalty to political party only goes so far, which is why if you look up - in case you missed it - you will see that former Republican State Representative, and now lawyer of choice for Republicans in political squabbles, Juan Carlos "JC" Planas, is listed as the registered agent for this latest venture, because obviously Heckler, and Llorente couldn't find a Democratic attorney to be their registered agent, starting with all of the lawyers in their own law firm Llorente & Heckler.
You really got to wonder with all the problems that the national Democratic Party has to deal with just how happy would they be to learn that some of their deep pocket members are being asked for donations by a Host Committee being operated by a little gang of local political hustlers who, for whatever reason, don't want to release the tax returns of their last hustle down Host Committee Lane?
FOLLOWING THE MONEY
Because I don't cover Miami Beach, I'd never had a reason to go looking for the lobbyist reporting requirements over there, and it was a revelation when I did, because obviously some good government folks must have slipped the city commissioners at the time some powerful recreational drugs for them to have created reporting requirements that included lobbyists having to declare how much they get paid by their clients to lobby.
If only the county and ALL the cities in Miami had the same requirement.
Below is the reporting information as of October filed by Alexander Heckler and Michael llorente. There are some hefty monthly retainers listed by both of them, which only serve to validate the amounts that I've heard some lobbyists get paid to lobby the Pay For Play gang at the Miami City Commission?
In addition to the specific allegation made in the complaint about Heckler allegedly fee splitting activities, I have been told by one of my sources that there is at least one ringer in the list of companies looking to do business with the city of Miami Beach that was believed to be a funnel for sizable payoffs last year.
At this point, this is all whispered speculation, but I know that there are folks who do pay attention to the goings on on Miami Beach, and maybe one of them might find the time to delve into whether games are being played across the causeway. Who knows, they might even lead to hanky panky on the main land.
It's Miami AND Miami Beach, Bitches!
HECKLER & LLORENTE LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
VOTE OF THE WEEK - THUGS IN UNIFORM JAVIER ORTIZ AND EDWARD LUGO WERE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE LAST WEEK - IS THIS THE DAWNING OF AQUARIUS, OR A SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS NIGH
Javier Ortiz took over as the President of Local 20 of the FOP in 2011, and it's been bad news for the members of the union ever since, not to mention the bad news that Ortiz has been for the image of the city and the department.
Last week, the members decided that they'd had enough, and voted out Ortiz, and his hand-picked sock puppet ,Edward Lugo, who he arranged to take over as president last year.
The next big thing expected now that these guys have been voted out - although Ortiz will continue to be a Vice President of the State FOP - is the promise that new president Tommy Reyes made to have an audit done of the FOP's books. Over the years there has been a lot of grumbling over how Ortiz, Lugo and their clique spent some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues that fund the FOP, and also how they cashed in the thousands of membership hours that serve as the basis for the union leadership not having to work as regular police officers.
Perhaps 2019, will become a year of revelations, once the books have been audited.
Here's who got elected:
Tommy Reyes, President
Matthew Reyes, Vice President
Andrew Markowitz, Treasurer
Max Valdes, Secretary
Joe Longuera, Conductor
Eric Pulido, Inner Guard
Matthew Hall, Outer Guard