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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!