Support The Crespogram
NUMBER 1 - JANUARY 1, 2019
ALL IT TAKES IS ONE MISDEAMEANOR TO START THE PARTY, AND OTHER NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
There are any number of personal New Year's Resolutions that all of us can make, but for the City of Miami, there are but a handful of resolutions - or wishes - that could make a real difference in a lot of people's lives.
The first one is that Katherine Fernandez-Rundle needs to charge Joe Carollo with one legitimate misdemeanor - just one - to have him removed from office.
This year, the city will replace 4 of the 5 current city commissioners. Willie Gort is termed out, Ken Russell and Manolo Reyes are up for reelection, and Keon Hardemon is expected to resign to run for the vacant seat of County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who will become termed out.
In addition to all the other reasons why Carollo needs to be removed from office is the fact that if he is able to influence 2 of these elections and succeed in getting cronies who he can count on to vote with him, the city in 2020 will become one batshit crazy nightmare.
That should be enough to galvanize those people who still have half a brain, and care about the future of the city to start acting now to make sure that Carollo is removed from office, and that Carollo clones don't get elected in November.
The second resolution is that along with Carollo, Ken Russell needs to be voted out of office. Like Carollo, Russell has provided his own reasons for why he should be voted out of office.
The third resolution is one that the city administration needs to make that involves quit jerking the residents around about how all the mitigating the effects of global warming will make a real difference, and just bite the bullet by admitting that whether it's by the end of 2035, or 2040, Miami is going to start becoming an intolerable place to live, and that the notion that a sustainable quality of life can continue to exist as the streets keep flooding, and the septic tanks keep overflowing, the fresh water that everyone depends on to live becomes contaminated by the intrusion of salt water, and insurance companies either hike premium rates to a degree which people can't afford, or just flat out quit issuing policies for most, if not all of the properties from the ocean to I-95, and for large swaths of the westernmost parts of the county, which until the 1920's and 30's were largely underwater as part of the Everglades.
I wish I could predict a better future, but contrary to the phony promises and claims, the future for Miami is grim, and unfortunately the people who've been elected to public office have ALL turned out to be crooks, morons, or worse, just fucking idiots unworthy and incapable of making the serious decisions that the times require.
In the meantime, I'll get around to a new year of stories later this month, because the one thing that doesn't change is that there's always another story in the city of It's Miami, Bitches!
NEW YEAR, SAME STUPID SHIT: MY FIRST PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST OF 2019
Invoices for November 30th ... by on Scribd
NUMBER 2 - JANUARY 2, 2019
NUMBER 3 - JANUARY 3, 2019
MY SECOND PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST OF 2019: WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO BE TRUTHFUL
THE UNOFFICIAL WINE OF MIAMI CITY HALL
A bottle a day is recommended to keep the weasel-dicks at bay.
PERSONNEL UPDATE VIA TWITTER
In my last post before Christmas, I revealed that Eugene Ramirez was leaving the position of Director of Communications, a job that he had had for approximately 9 month, "to pursue an opportunity in the private sector."
At the time the rumor was that he would be replaced by Rene Pedroza, from AmericaTeVe, but even though I reached out to Rene to confirm whether this was true, he never responded.
It turns out that Eugene was replaced by his former Assistant Director, Stephanie Severino.
Over at the Mayor's office where Francis Suarez is still pouting and looking for others to blame for his embarrassing defeat in his effort to become the "Strong Mayor," Joseph Ruiz, his Chief of Staff has been replaced by Jermey Schwarz, and Ruiz has reportedly been appointed the Director of Zoning.
There is no word yet on what has happened to former Zoning Director Devon Cejas, but given the number of bodies that Cejas has supposedly buried during his time with the city, and the fact that he wasn't fired outright as part of Ruiz appointment to the Director's job, would indicate that Ruiz, who has little if any Zoning experience has been put into the job as a way to deflect the heat from Cejas, while he will continue to do the favors that are required to make the deep pocket donors to the campaigns of Suarez, and all the Commissioners running for reelection happy.
Other personnel changes are expected soon.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER RENE PEDROSA GOES OVER TO THE DARK SIDE TO BECOME THE DIRECTOR OF MEDIA FOR THE MAYOR'S OFFICE
No sooner had I posted my story below about Stephanie Severino taking over the job of Communications Director Eugene Ramirez, which I had originally been told might go to Rene Pedrosa, than one of my sources called to tell me that Rene had been hired to replace Gabriela Castillo, the Mayor's PR Director.
Pedrosa will start on January 7th, and his new title will be Director of Media For The Mayor's office.
Given that Suarez is a part-time, weak Mayor, who has demonstrated a decided lack of backbone when dealing with the likes of Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo, it's going to be interesting to watch Rene try to turn shit into shinola.
Good luck Rene, just remember that no matter how much more money you're gonna get paid, instead of sticking a microphone into the faces of these weasel-dicks to demand answers, you're now going to be consorting with them to evade from telling the truth to your former colleagues.
It's still Miami, Bitches!
NUMBER 4 - JANUARY 4, 2019
IT'S A NEW YEAR AND COMMISSIONER "WATER PISTOL JOE" CAROLLO HAS ALREADY SPENT SO MUCH MONEY FROM HIS OFFICE EXPENSE ACCOUNT THAT HE'S NOW TRYING TO LOOT HIS ANTI-POVERTY ACCOUNT FOR SPENDING MONEY
One thing you can alway count on when it comes to "Water Pistol Joe," is that he is always on the lookout for ways to convert taxpayer money that should be spent to help old people and poor people, into money that he can use for whatever he wants.
In the proposed Resolution above (RE 8, on the January 10th agenda,) Carollo is asking his fellow commissioners - no slouches themselves when it comes to playing Three-Card-Monti with taxpayers money - to approve $65,000 of Anti-Poverty money to be transferred from that account - an account that places restrictions on how the money can be spent - into his District 3 Discretionary Account, an account that he can pretty much spend the money anyway he wants without any meddlesome oversight as to whether he actually spending it on anything actually having to do with anti-poverty, or or on anything he damn well wants to spend it on.
In short, Carollo has obviously spent so much money from his office discretionary account so far since October 1st, that he's running out of money, and the best way he sees to fill up he account in order to buy a lot of Paella and other trinkets for campaign parties this year, is to pull a stunt like this.
The hilarious part of this Resolution is the claim that, "THE TRANSFER TO THE DISTRICT 3 DISCRETIONARY ACCOUNT FOR EXPENDITURES CONSISTENT WITH THE API PROGRAM."
The best way for that to happen would be just to spend the Anti Poverty Initiative (API) money the way it was intended to be spent is to just spend it.
This bullshit about spending the money consistent with the way it's supposed to be spent is all smoke and mirrors, because there is no one in the city's administration who will monitor how he spends that, or any other money in his discretionary account. That's why it's called "discretionary."
"Water pistol Joe," is fucking the residents of Miami every way he can, and rather than looking out for the poor people in District 3, expect Carollo's fellow kleptocrats to not only approve this scheme, but make a note to themselves that they too should start looking for ways to loot money from special interest accounts to transfer to their discretionary accounts.
It's the Miami, Bitches way of pissing away taxpayer dollars!
NOISE, WHAT NOISE? I DON'T HEAR NO STICK'EN NOISE! HOW CAROLLO IS TRYING TO SNEAK THROUGH A CHANGE TO THE NOISE ORDINANCE THAT WOULD BENEFIT THE ULTRA FOLKS, AND OTHERS SIMILARILY SITUATED ON CITY-OWNED PROPERTY
At best, there is only one T3 Transect Zone in District 3, which raises the question of why would Carollo be sponsoring this ordinance?
There is a belief in some quarters that Carollo is doing this as a way to pit the condo owners in District 2 - which is where the majority of clubs and bars abut T3 Transect Zones - against these club owners as a way make Russell choose which group he is more willing to support in the hopes that they will return the favor in November - a mistake under any circumstances given that there are members of both groups united in their efforts to make sure Russell isn't reelected.
This would be a reasonable argument, and would feed into the notion that Carollo was introducing this ordinance just out of petty spite, were it not for another portion of new language in the proposed ordinance that makes you say, well, isn't that special.
Tucked in at the bottom of the proposed legislation is a completely new section that isn't included in the agenda description that states:
"All of the above and foregoing shall not apply to activities
held in or upon any City-owned facility or other City-owned
In other words, while a portion of this ordinance would apply to the T3 Transect Zones, the new language above applies to the entire city, because the ordinance is a city-wide ordinance, and that means that places like Virginia Key, where the ULTRA Festival is scheduled to take place in March, and The Wharf, the open air bar, restaurant, nightclub on city property next door to the MRC building that was generating so many code enforcement complaints that they went out and hired Michael Llorente as their lobbyist which magically put an end to complaints being filed, but not, as I've been told to complaints being made. These and other venues such as Bayside Market Place, and even Jeffrey Berkowitz's Skyrise - were it ever built - would also become exempt from the city noise ordinance because the one thing they have in common is that they all sit on "City-owned property."
In short, this is a misdirection play by Carollo that focuses what limited attention this ordinance would receive from the public on making it appear that Carollo is looking out for folks by stopping loud club noise when, if you read the entire ordinance, you realize that it's just another Three-Card -Monti hustle, designed to mislead and create a sweetheart arrangment for a handful of club owners with deep pockets and connections.
Can anybody say, It's Miami, Bitches!
MY LATEST PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST - MORE ARE COMING
IN COCONUT GROVE PISSING OFF THE NEIGHBORS LEADS TO LETTERS LIKE THIS IN PEOPLE'S MAILBOXES
THE CITY AND 'WATER PISTOL JOE" CAROLLO ARE ON THE HOOK FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COURT COSTS IN PUBLIC RECORDS LAWSUIT FILED BY FORMER CAROLLO EMPLOYEE STEVE MIRO
NUMBER 5 - JANUARY 7, 2019
THE MIAMI PARKING AUTHORITY WANTS THE CITY TO ISSUE $20 MILLION IN BONDS TO COVER THE COSTS OF "CAPITAL PROJECTS BEING UNDERTAKEN AND TO BE UNDERTAKEN," BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON, THE "ATTACHMENT A" THAT DETAILS WHAT THOSE PROJECTS ARE, AND WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE AGENDA PACKET, WASN'T
Let's be brutally honest, the City of Miami has a long and sordid history of screwing the pooch when it comes to issuing tax exempt bonds. Not only have they been tagged twice by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for misbehavior, resulting in millions of dollars of legal fees and penalties, but back in the day, when Janet Larned , AKA La Vejia Loca, was the city's Chief Financial Officer, she cost the city big bucks as a result of her unique management style. You can read about her antics HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE.
In addition to those examples, there was the bond issue for the PORT OF MIAMI TUNNEL, HERE and HERE, and of course the latest MIAMI FOREVER $400 million bond issue that the usual pigs are lining up at the trough to get a piece of as I write this.
What's really interesting about the MIAMI FOREVER bond issue was that, according to the Miami Herald, the $350,000 that financed the campaign came from a 501-C4 called the Seawall Coalition, Inc., a registered Delaware corporation whose donors didn't have to be revealed.
Not a dollar, not a penny, of the money that promoted this bond issue appears to have come from a single resident of Miami. .
This should both alarm, and raise concern about not only how these bond monies get spent, but also how these bond deals get structured, especially when in this latest case involving the MPA, the list of proposed projects that this $20 million is supposed to pay for wasn't included for public review.
Given past experience, the question that immediately came to my mind when I discovered this missing list not what the projects were, but who was whose going to end up doing this bond deal, and not only who will be the broker on this deal, but also who are the bond counsel and the disclosure counsel?
There are those who will happily jump up and say that the bad old days of hanky panky, like the ones that involved former City Manager Howard Gary, are long gone, but this is Miami, where nothing bad is ever over with, and while the process does seem to have improved - although, I for one am not convinced that what this means is not that the dirty deals have ended, but that you just have to dig deeper to find them - the real question about bond deals, both in the city and the county, is not how the process is handled after the brokers and lawyers are hired, but the real shit in the game starts with who gets hired.
Nobody ever seems to pay attention to any of this, but in 2019, I would suggest that somebody ought to start paying very close attention, because given the collection of scammers and schemers inside City Hall nowadays, starting with city commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo, who is so brazen as to openly want to loot anti-poverty money and transfer it to his personal petty cash account, or in the case of the Miami Parking Authority and the Miami City Commission who in a 2 step requirement appointed and then ratified the Off-Street Parking Board decision to put former City of Miami Chief Financial Officer Larry Spring on the board.
Not only was Spring accused by many as the mastermind who got away in the SEC deal that cost the city so much money, but he was the principal go-between in the attempt to bribe former police chief Miguel Exposito.
These kinds of actions support the claim that the foxes haven't just snuck inside the chicken koop, but that they are also working hard to set up a toll booth at the front gate.
Bond issues, contracts for rental trucks, and a lot of other deals are all potential piggy banks and opportunities to reward friends at the taxpayers expense, and some of them will happen this year.
It's how Miami, Bitches! continues to be Miami, Bitches!
You got to wonder what possess City Attorney Victoria Mendez to continue flaunting the public records law.
In 2017, the DDA and the City were forced to pay my attorneys $22,500 in legal fees as part of settlements in two public record law suit that I filed in part because she had lied to me about the existence of the documents in both cases, as well as in a third case that I had filed against the city several years earlier.
Grant Stern has also had several court victories where the city had to pay his attorney fees and court costs, and now Stephen Miro seems on the verge of not only getting the city, but also "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo to cough up money to pay his attorney fees over a public records lawsuit he filed last year after he was fired by Carollo for telling him that if the Ethics Commission called him as a witness he'd tell them the truth.
Here is the motion filed by Miro's attorney against the city and Carollo supporting his claim for attorney fees and costs.
Miro motion for costs in hi... by on Scribd
NUMBER 6 - JANUARY 8, 2019
PHOTO OF THE DAY - THE CROSSROADS OF POLITICS AND BUSINESS
This above photo appeared in this morning's web version of the Miami Herald, and shows Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and newly elected Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
The photo would have gotten people's attention just on the basis that Suarez, a Republican seems to have acquired an affinity for Democrats - claiming on election day that he voted for Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum and not Republican Ron DeSantis - and now showing up for Fried's party.
But in this photo, the real attention grabber is the guy in the middle, Louis Terminello, who is identified as a lawyer from Miami.
He's more than just a Miami lawyer, he's a partner in Greenspoon Marder, the law firm where Francis Suarez spends his spare time - when he isn't playing at being the ceremonial Mayor of Miami.
I wrote about Terminello and Suarez back on October 23rd, in a story where I detailed how Suarez was using his official social media sites to tout the law firm, and explained how Terminello wasn't just "a lawyer," but is considered by many in South Florida as the go-to guy for anyone seeking a new liquor license in South Florida, or for anyone having problems with their liquor licenses. He is the equivalent of a whale in the very small but important fish tank for any and everything having to to with liquor licenses.
Since I quit believing in coincidences when it comes to the actions of politicians even before I quit believing in Santa Claus, you got to wonder how many other Greenspoon Marder partners might have been in the room when this photo was taken, and besides using his position as mayor to act as a "professional introducer," when do you think that Suarez will come out of the closet and declare himself as a democrat.
I think it's just a matter of time. What do you think?
City Manager's Office C... by on Scribd
THE CITY MANAGER'S OFFICE CALENDAR FOR OCTOBER, NOVEMBER & DECEMBER
COLONEL KLINK KEEPS MOVING THE CHAIRS AROUND ON THE DECK OF THE TITANIC
The Crespogram has just learned that two more department directors have either resigned or been replaced.
Resigning is Kevin Kirwin, the Director of Parks and Recreation, and at Code Enforcement Adele Valencia is replacing James Bernat. Valencia is currently the Chief of Staff for County Commissioner Levine Cava, and her resume doesn't show any knowledge and/or experience in Code Enforcement.
Given that the defacto Director of the department seems to be Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo, the fact that she seems to be clueless will let her fit right in.
There is also an unconfirmed rumor that Mario Nunez, the Director of Solid Waste has been fired. If anyone has any hard info on this I'd appreciate hearing from you, including whether Jennifer Moy, sister of Sean Moy, currently absentee Chief of Code and president of AFSCME 1907 will become the new director.
It's Miami. Bitches!
NUMBER 7 - JANUARY 9, 2019
WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF BUDGET DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER ROSE DEMONSTRATING THAT HE'S WILLING TO SLOW WALK A PUBLIC RECORD REQUEST THAT MIGHT PROVE EMBARRASSING TO A COMMISSIONER. SINCE HE'S WILLING TO DO THIS, COULD HE BE WILLING TO COOK THE BOOKS FOR HIM TOO?
There is a possibility that at this week's Commission meeting the issue of Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo's effort to transfer $65,000 of anti-poverty money from that account to his office's discretionary office petty cash account might become contentious.
On the other hand, there are at least several other commissioners who I could see thinking that what Carollo wants to do is something that they never thought of doing, but now that he's shown them the way, they might decide to go along with him as a way to grease the skids for them to do the same thing in the future.
You really can't trust any Miami City Commissioner when it comes to devising schemes to misuse taxpayers money in ways normal people would never imagine, but in this particular case, a core question that I thought needed an answer to after I posted my original story about Carollo's scheme, was, how much money was deposited in Carollo's anti-poverty account this fiscal year, and how much had he actually spent before he decided to try and transfer the $65,000.
These I thought were reasonable questions to ask the city's Budget Director, and so I sent him the following email, an email that I thought all the commissioners, along with the mayor, the city manager and the city attorney should be aware of, and in fact, I also posted my email on this site: Number 4 January 4, 2019: Latest Public Records Request - More Are Coming.
As part of the email I made a point of citing another public records request that I had sent him several days before for both Carollo's and Commissioner Manolo Reyes expenditures from their Special Event Funds along with a request for a financial report of the salaries of everyone working in the Mayor and City Manager's Office.
The request for the Mayor and City Manager's staff Rose forwarded to the city's Human Resources Director who responded by providing me with Excel reports listing the individuals and their pay in a matter of hours, and I closed with a reference - highlighted - to past behavior on his part that I discouraged him from engaging in this year.
Five days have now passed, and I have yet to receive any response from Rose on this very simple, and straightforward request for information on the anti-poverty money.
During this same time, in addition to the request complied with by the Human Resources Director, I requested and received the City Manager's office calendar for the last 3 months of 2018 - which I posted below - and I also wrote for, and received documents related to Carollo's December 28th event at Domino Park, and some - although not all the documents - related to this Sunday's 3 Kings Parade in Little Havana.
In short, what we seem to have here is a refusal by the Budget Director to provide me with information in a timely manner that might have a bearing on the effort of Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" trying to syphon off money from his anti-poverty account, and also witholding information of how much money Carollo and Reyes have spent from their Special Events accounts.
In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king, and Rose has in the past revealed that he's illegally been willing to scrutinize public records for information that might prove to be embarrassing or harmful to a commissioner before releasing those documents.
Here is a copy of one of those emails.
Florida's public records law, and supporting court cases are very clear that the custodian of documents cannot review, or withhold a public record based on whether there is anything, "of note or consequence in the information," that might prove to be embarrassing to an elected official, because that kind of activity goes to the right of a citizen to request a public records for whatever reason they might have, whether it proves embarrassing to the elected official or not.
In fact, in a case involving former Police Chief Timoney and the City of Miami, over documents related to the free use of the Lexus that almost got him fired, and where there was an effort by the city to withhold documents, the 3rd DCA stated in part, "generally, a person's motive in seeking access to public records in irrelevant."
There is no legitimate reason for the Budget Director to refuse to provide me with the information that I requested regarding the money in Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe's" account.
The information is readily available and accessible.
Having revealed his willingness in the past to review my public records requests through a prism of whether the information might be "of note or consequence," to a Commissioner, it's hard not to believe that the information about how much money Carollo might have spent from his anti-poverty account might actually be of consequence to Carollo's desire to transfer $65,000 of that money to his petty cash account.
More worrisome is that if Christopher Rose is willing to look at information requested from his office through a prism whether that information might be embarrassing or damaging to a commissioner, how willing might he be to cook the books to eliminate or hide that kind of information, if requested?
Once you catch one of these people pulling a fast one, you can never trust them from continuing to pulls fast ones, because that's the way that the books are kept in,
It's Miami, Bitches!
NUMBER 8 - JANUARY 11, 2019
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT - THE MAYOR, ONE OF HIS BODYGUARDS AND COMMISSIONER WILLIE GORT OFF TO SPAIN
While you were snuggling in your beds last night, Miami's Boy Mayor, one of his bodyguards, and Commissioner Willie Gort were on the Air Europa night flight to Madrid.
Why the bodyguard?
He is there to project the image of Francis Suarez as the kind of important person who needs to be protected. In Tallahassee earlier this week, I was told he had both of his bodyguards in tow, and all of this "protection" is paid for by the taxpayers.
The foreign travels of Miami's politicians have always been shrouded in secrecy, in part because as I've revealed over the years, the fact that the taxpayers often pick up the tab doesn't mean that these trips are taken for the benefit of the taxpayers.
Unlike other American politicians who travel overseas on American carriers, it seems that Miami's Boy Mayor is following the tradition started back in 2010 by then Commissioner Frank Carollo, who after attending a semi-private ceremony to award a Key To The City to the president of Air Europa, several weeks later he took wifey on a trip to Spain, airfare and hotel courtesy of Air Europa.
What's intriguing about this trip is that County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, along with his wife and a handful of other county bigshots are currently in Spain.
No good deed can come from Carlos Gimenez and Francis Suarez scheming in a foreign country, and a dollar to a donut says that Carlos Ginenez, hiw wife, and the others in his party aren't being shadowed and "protected" by bodyguards paid for by county taxpayers.
ON WEDNESDAY, THE ETHICS COMMISISON FOUND PROBABLE CAUSE THAT COUNTY COMMISSIONER XAVIER SUAREZ HAD COMMITTED AN ETHICS VIOLATION. GIVEN THAT THE COMMISSIONERS WOULD RATHER BE CAUGHT IN BED WITH A YOUNG BOY THAN BE FORCED TO PUNISH A COUNTY COMMISISONER WHO HAS A VOTE ON THEIR $2 MILLION ANNUAL BUDGET, THEY IMMEDIATELY DROPPED THE CHARGES, BECAUSE THAT'S WHY THEY'RE KNOWN AS THE UNETHICAL COMMISSION
UPDATE ON MAYOR'S OVERNIGHT TRIP TO SPAIN REPORTED BELOW