Support The Crespogram
NUMBER 189 - DECEMBER 15, 2019
WHEN YOU STRIKE AT A KING, YOU MUST KILL HIM
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a year that has had more than it's share of crazy, devious, vindictive and embarrassing plot-twisting moments at city hall, last week's effort by Joe Carollo to get his fellow commissioners to go along with his effort to get rid of City Manager Emilio "Colonel Klink" Gonzalez qualifies as a serious contender for the most batshit crazy moment in the modern history of the city of Miami.
I've written a lot about Carollo since he's been back at city hall, and even though I believe that he AND Emilio Gonzalez both need to be fired and/or indicted and removed from office, I've also acknowledged that he's not stupid and that he brings to the table a long institutional memory that he's relied on in the last two years to guide him as he's plotted and schemed against Francis Suarez, Little Havana businessman Bill Fuller and Emilio Gonzalez, among others.
Institutional memory is a two edged sword however, because I've also written that Carollo is very much a guy rooted in the 80's when he was a young Mayor learning all of the tricks that he now relies on in his battles with enemies both real and perceived.
While some of those tricks still work, others no longer have the impact that they did ina world that existed before social media, and unfortunately Carollo's also has demonstrated since he's been back that he's got an achilles heel: He's an old dog who hasn't learned many, if any new tricks.
Worst of all, he's lost a mental step or two over the years, and it's obvious that he hasn't learned to compensate for that loss by paying closer attention to the small stuff, or hiring a staff that can pick up the slack.
It's been no secret that Carollo was plotting and scheming to get Gonzalez fired, or that he finally decided to make his move at the very first meeting after his new ally Alex Diaz de la Portilla was sworn in as the new commissioner for District 1.
In style and substance, Emilio Gonzalez has not been a good manager for a city where governance first and foremost starts with a struggle to try and rangle the cats, and so in principle, and in facts, I agree and support Carollo's efforts, and I believe that if there was an opportunity to have a real secret poll of all of the city's employees, they would agree.
I've had many employees who've confided in me that the city in the last two years is being managed the worst that it's been in their careers, and I'm talking about employees who've been with the city 10-15-20 and 25 years.
In fact, if you read my stories about Gonzalez, starting with my very first story on February 20, 2018, titled, , the overarching conclusion is that like Carollo claimed, Gonzalez walks, talks and acts like a politician and not as an administrator.
I actually think Carollo in some ways went easier on Gonzalez than I would have, if I had had an opportunity to prepare a Bill of Particulars to support his being fired.
All of this in turn raises the question that stunned those who watched Carollo fail in his effort: How could he have miscalculated having the votes he needed to succeed?
I've now spoken to several people who were in the commission chambers during this event and listened to them describe how they saw Carollo's face telegraph the realization that he was not going to succeed in getting rid of Gonzalez when first Commission Chairman Russell, and then City Attorney Victoria Mendez told him that he need a 4/5 vote to remove the city manager.
Did this happen because Carollo and/or his staff fail to check the Charter to verify the number of votes needed to remove the manager, or was there a last minute double-cross by one of the commissioners who was expected to back his play?
There are certainly grounds to believe that Carollo's institutional memory could have failed him because back when he was the Mayor he famously fired city manager Jose Garcia-Pedrosa 3 times before he finally managed to make it stick, and he could have relied on those incidents because back then he only needed 3 votes from the commission, and he failed to get them on several of those occasions.
When the mayor fires the city manager the Charter requires a simple a majority of 3 votes to finalize that decision. If the commission decides to fire the manager, the Charter requires a4/5 super majority.
Perhaps in his mind Carollo thinks that he is in fact the defacto mayor of Miami, and so that could have led him to think that he only needed 3 votes.
Then again, this is Miami, Bitches! where coincidences are often illusions, and where any action requiring more than two people turns out to be the the basis for a conspiracy.
THE HARDEMON VOTE
There was never a question that after Alex Diaz de la Portilla showed up Carollo had his 3 votes to do a lot of things he's wanted to do, including removing the manager, and perhaps that is why after hemming and hawing for months over dealing with whether to bring this item up for discussion Carollo decided to do it last week even though he must have known that Gonzalez would not be present.
Of course even though he knew he had 3 votes, that left 2 remaining votes and the speculation for a while now was that Carollo could count on Commissioner Hardemon to be with him because besides all the favors and shows of support that he's shown for Hardemon's endeavors and vice versa, for the last several months the rumor among city hall players was that Carollo and Hardemon had reached an agreement where in support for his vote to fire the manager, Hardemon in turn would get Carollo and his block of 3 votes to support the passage of the pension legislation, and that they would agree to appoint Christine King to replace him on the commission when he resigns to run for County Commission.
Christine King, who's only recently made it to the pages of the Crespogram is an attorney and currently the Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation that recently received a $232,000 gift from Keon in .
Copyrighted: 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
The Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation as I revealed in my story is chaired by Uncle Billy Hardemon.
In that story I also revealed that King also happens to be the attorney for Uncle Billy and Auntie Barbara in a lawsuit filed against the city by a business owner who has alleged that he was the subject of a shakedown by Uncle Billy with an assist from the office of nephew Keon.
Lastly, she was also Uncle Roy's attorney in his latest run in with the unethical Ethics Commission.
In short, she's the Hardemon family's consigliere, and as such is definitely the person that Keon would want to see replace him.
Somehow, and I'm sure that all of the parties involved will deny that any such deal was ever considered or much less made, but in fact Hardemon would have been a fool not to have tried to make such a deal to protect his interests because if he just walked away and left his commission seat up for grabs, Carollo and his cronies would do what the Commission did after Michelle Spence-Jones was arrested and removed from office, and appointed Richard Dunn,
It was more than reasonable therefore to think that Carollo, whether he had forgotten that he needed 4 votes, or whether he figured that he had a 4 vote cushion because of this alleged deal with Hardemon walked into the Chambers on Thursday morning ready to go.
That all went by the wayside early in the meeting when Hardemon requested that the Second Reading on the ordinance for the pensons be deferred "indefinitely."
If Carollo was paying attention that should have made him pause, if not rethink his strategy before he went after Gonzalez after the lunch break because whether it was prompted by other factors, which I will get to in a moment, or whether Hardemon had gotten cold feet this clearly signaled that something was afoot, and that something could lead to an unpleasant surprise.
Hardemon will no doubt argue that if you look at the video of his reasons for voting against Carollo's motion they were both principled and honorable, and they were, but Hardemon in the past has also offered principled and honorable explanations for other votes and positions that he's taken, and on closer review those decisions revealed that behind the lofty words came financial benefits for the Hardemon family.
I could once again go through the laundry list of skanky deals that Hardemon has promoted and pushed through the SEOPW CRA and the City Commission, but I'll just focus on his last big score, the $30 million payout he talked the Magic City Innovation Center folks into giving a handful of his cronies in lieu of their prior commitment for $100 million in on-site affordable housing.
It was a deal made behind closed door without witnesses, and it was a skank deal that I and a lot of other people believe will end up screwing the residents in the Little Haiti district.
From the beginning this was a deal that warranted a lot more in-depth attention than the stenographer pool at the Miami Herald was willing to give it, which is why the below public record request made to the city on December 4th is so intriguing.
The stenographer pool at the Miami Herald might walk around with their finger up their asses and wait for press releases and handouts, but someone at the Sun Sentinel obviously has gotten information that prompted the above request, and since it was made on December 4th, that means that no later than December 5th, Keon Hardemon knew about it.
Could whatever the Sun Sentinel reporter is looking for spell trouble for Hardemon?
If it does, then the last thing he would need would be to piss off Francis Suarez and Emilio Gonzalez, because while Carollo might be worth teaming up with in a street fight inside City Hall, he's a useless ally to have if you find yourself in a street fight outside of City Hall.
It will take some time before the dust settles and we're able to sort out what this public record request means for Hardemon's future, but I for one don't believe that this request and Hardemon's actions on Thursday are the result of a coincidence.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW
Normally, in a fight like this after taking your best shot and failing, you lick your wounds, and try to minimize the blowback.
In this case it's Joe Carollo, and he's not normal, so instead of stepping back and figuring out how to regroup or protect himself against retaliation, he continued to push forward at the commission meeting demanding that the allegations he had made about Emilio Gonzalez forging documents and pressuring city employees to approve the paperwork on the home improvements he had allegedly made needed to be investigated by someone.
I cannot continue before pointing out that while Carollo made the illegal improvements that Gonzalez made to his house the center point of his attack, Carollo not only engaged in the very same behavior with his house at 3230 Morris Lane, but since the issuance of the Notices of Violations on May 29th, he has managed to slow walk the required changes, with the guidance and assistance of the City Attorney, the Building Department and Code Compliance Director Adele "My Daddy's Not A Crook, But I Signed An Illegal MOU That Was Used In An Attempted Fraud Against The City" Valencia.
\Now that I've put it on the record that among all the other allegations this is also a case of the pot calling the kettle Black, let's move on to the decision to have Ted Guba, the city's Independent Auditor conduct an investigation into the allegations that the city manager committed fraud and abused the power of his office.
This is a bad move, because it puts Guba in an untenable position. No matter what decision he makes, he makes an enemy. But it's worse than that because while I like and respect Guba, he is not, "independent."
First, and foremost he has no subpoena power, and while the argument was made that he can operate as a committee of one on behalf of the City Commission and take advantage of their subpoena power, the mechanics of how that would happen were never discussed or agreed to, because that would also involve the City Attorney, who has her own conflicts of interest in this situation, given that she has on too many documented occasions dropped to her knees to provide legal cover and protection for Carollo.
Furthermore, a more important issue that was never discussed or settled on is who reviews Gupa's report before it is released to the public?
Will the City Attorney require that she and her office review this report before it is released to the city commission for their review?
Will the City Attorney and the City Commission both demand the right to require Gupa make changes before it is released to the public?
These questions are not idle speculation because this is what currently happens before the Independent Auditor's reports are released to the public, and in this case, Guba is more or less dangling out at the end of the tree limb on his own, with no ability to seek independent legal guidance or advice.
The only way that an independent investigation ever really works is if an outside party not involved or obligated to any of the players is given full and free access to do their job, and that their report is released without review by a gang like the one at City Hall.
So, expect that come the new year, this fight will continue to go on, while behind the scenes Carollo and company will seriously start making the moves to loot the city of all the money that they can under the guise of affordable housing, sweetheart contracts, and all the other usual ways that the gang at City Hall has been screwing the residents for years.
It's Miami, Bitches!
IF YOU MISSED IT, HERE IS THE VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE CAROLLO REALITY SHOW