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NUMBER 87 - JUNE 2, 2019
PHOTOS OF THE DAY - WHEN MAKING A U-TURN IS TOO MUCH TROUBLE
An eagle-eyed Crespogram reader spotted the policewoman driving this unmarked police car deciding that it was to much trouble to do a U-Turn so she could park legally.
On one hand this is just your basic fuck it it move, but on the other hand this is the kind of low-grade bullshit that pisses a lot of people off when they see cops and other public employees doing shit that they'd get cited for in a heartbeat.
Just remember that there are Crespogram readers on the streets every day willing to take photos of stupid shit, and sending them to me to post.
In the last 10 years I've written about a lot of sleazy and devious people, but somehow Alex Diaz de la Portilla managed to get past my radar, in large part I guess because until recently, I considered him to be just a tangental player in the City of Miami sandbox.
Now that he's a candidate for the District 1 City Commission seat to replace Willie Gort, he's become what could be considered, a major subject of interest.
Of course in the District 1 race there are several other subjects of interest that include batshit crazy Frank PIchel, and doe-eyed millennial Eleazar Melendez, a guy who revealed during his time as the Chief of Staff for Commissioner "Sellout" Russell, that he too is a devious schemer who definitely doesn't deserve to be elected to any public office, much less to the Miami City Commission.
Pichel and Melendez are both guys to keep an eye on - although Pichel needs to be watched a lot more closely after he waltzed into City Hall with his pistol a couple commission meetings ago - but Alez Diaz de la Portilla is an guy in a class all his own with a record of questionable and/or illegal behavior that should truly amaze even those who think that politicians in Miami are among the most corrupt in the country.
I am beholden to Jerry Iannelli of Miami New Times, for including the below two paragraphs in his version of the story about Diaz de la Portilla's campaign workers allegedly destroying absentee ballots last year when he was running for the vacated County Commission District 5 seat. (Click to go to the article if you want to see where his links go.)
MY BIG STORY LAST WEEK WAS HOW CAMPAIGN WORKERS FOR ALEX DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA ALLEGEDLY DESTROYED ABSENTEE BALLOTS DURING LAST YEAR'S SPECIAL ELECTION. NOW I'M BACK TO TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT THE ADDITION TO HIS HOUSE THAT WAS DONE WITHOUT PERMITS, AND AS AN ADDED TREAT HOW FORMER CITY COMMISSIONER HUMBERTO HERNANDEZ, A SCAMMER FROM THE PAST, HAS REVEALED THAT ONCE A TRICKSTER, ALWAYS A TRICKSTER. IT'S ALL PART OF A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HOW THE CUBAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS PLAN WORKS
Alex Diaz de la Portilla getting ready to go into Commissioner Joe "Comemerida" Carollo's office in early 2018, when they were still pals, and before they became alleged co-conspirators in Paellagate.
HOME IS WHERE YOU VOTER ID CARD SAYS IT IS
Currently, Alex Diaz de la Portilla is living at 1861 NW South River Drive. It's an apartment of convenience that he is renting in order ot meet the residency requirements needed to run for the District 1 Commission seat.
Last year at this time however, his address was 1519 SE 19th Street, the house was originally owned by his parents but that I have subsequently been told since posting this story that the house was Quit Claimed to him when he was a State Senator and living in Tallahassee as a move to allow him to maintain a residence in his senate district.
It was conveniently within the boundaries of the County Commission's District 5, where he unsuccessfully ran against Zoraida Barreiro and Eileen "La Gringa" Higgins, a campaign that was , and Jerry Iannelli's stories involving allegations of absentee ballot theft.
Not widely known during that election the house at 1519 SW 19th Street had in October of 2016, received a notice of code enforcement violation after a code inspector found that parts of an addition behind the house had been built "without a finalized permit,," and that there were "illegal units" on the property.
Here is a Google aerial view of the property.
Below is a copy of the initial Notice of Violation. The illegal work I was told was done by day workers who can usually be found hanging out in front of the Home Depot on SW 8th Street.
The record below shows that the case first came before Special Master on May 23, 2017, and Diaz de la Portilla was found guilty. He was then granted a 120 day extension to correct the violatons.
The 120 day extension passed without any work being done to correct the violations and the record shows, that on November 21, 2017 there were other hearing before a Special Master, where an additional time extension was granted.
That extension too passed without the property being bought into compliance, and another hearing was held on June 6, 2018, again with another extension that was ignored.
On October 24, 2018, another hearing was held.
Unlike the previous hearings which had taken place before a Special Master, this hearing was held before the Code Enforcement Board, because earlier in 2018, Commissioner Joe "Comemerida" Carollo, , convinced his fellow commissioners to abolish the use of Special Masters, demonstrating that sometimes the solution is worse than the alleged problem, because since doing away with the Special Masters the waiting list of cases to go before the Code Enforcement Board has grown.
Here is the video that reveals that this is where the story veers off into crazyville.
WE'RE IN IT'S MIAMI, BITCHES TERRITORY NOW, AND WHO POPS UP BUT HUMBERTO HERNANDEZ
In an effort to make sure I got my facts right, I reached out to several folks including attorney Robert Rodriquez, who I had been told was Diaz de la Portilla's attorney, and to Humberto Hernandez, who before I discovered him in the video clip above, I discovered in the highlighted document above listed as the contact person for this case.
Rodriquez acknowledged being Alex's attorney and his response was short and sweet:
"I am bound by attorney-client privilege and am not authorized
or at l liberty to discuss the nature of your query. "
Humberto Hernandez also responded, but before I go there, for those who are not aware of who Humberto Hernandez is, he holds a special place in the annals of political fuckery in Miami, figuratively and literally.
After losing two previous elections to Joe Carollo and Tomas Regalado, Humberto was finally elected to the Miami City Commission, and then got re-elected in 1997, even though by then the feds had charged him with money laundering.
Miami voters, they never seem to turn down an opportunity to vote in a crook.
The first question that came to my mind - even before we get to the issues involving the use of Power Of Attorney - was that Alex Diaz de la Portilla had two brothers, and Diaz de la Portilla, who were attorneys.
Why, if you have 2 brothers who are attorneys would you need to go out and hire an outside attorney to handle a code enforcement problem involving the family homestead, and then after hiring an attorney, why would you then have to turn around and give a Power Of Attorney to a disbarred lawyer to:
"1. Take any and all legal steps necessary to settle and comply with the above-referenced items with the City of Miami.
2. Negotiate, mitigate and settle code enforcement violations with the City of Miami."
While Power Of Attorney documents are legitimate legal instruments, it seems to me, and perhaps to many of you, that in this case the use of a Power Of Attorney was nothing other than a legal loophole that allowed Humberto Hernandez to show up at Miami City Hall, and who knows where else, and essentially practice law without a license, by using a Power Of Attorney to represent clients before quasi-judicial boards and Special Masters.
If you look back up to the red arrow, you'll see that it was attorney Robert Rodriquez that notarized this Power Of Attorney, which raises a question of, what's up with that, dude?
You're an attorney allegedly representing clients, and you're then turning over that representation to a disbarred lawyer, and notarizing a document to create the illusion that what he's doing isn't what you should be doing as the attorney for your client?
My questions are not insignificant because the explanation for why he was given a Power Of Attorney are the same explanations of why someone would hire a lawyer.
To get an answer to this question, I sent Hernandez the following text message:
When you consider that the rules of the Florida Election Commission were written by politicians to protect other politicians intent on getting away with as much political fuckery as they could, the fact that this agency found that de la Portilla had "allegedly violated selection-reporting laws "several hundred times,"" and fined him $311,000 is actually quite amazing.
Today, Diaz de la Portilla's past misbehavior is but a prelude to what we can expect if he gets elected to the Miami City Commission, and that is what I suspect prompted a Crespogram reader to provide me with information that involves not only Diaz de la Portilla, but for good measure another trickster from the past, former Miami City Commissioner and fellow prison lodge brother, Humberto Hernandez.
What really set Hernandez apart from other crooked Miami politicians who've been involved in illegal scams and schemes was that his wife at the time was revealed to have started sleeping with his attorney when she went to his house to discuss jury selection.
Hernandez later tried to claim that he got screwed twice as a result of his wife screwing his attorney.
Ah, Miami, you just cannot make this shit up.
In any event, Humberto, who had been an attorney before he went off to prison was disbarred, and that made me curious as to how he ended up, "representing" Diaz de la Portilla before Special Masters and the Code Enforcement Board.
His response to me was:
Perhaps on the advice of a lawyer not disbarred, Hernandez declined to respond to my questions.
THE CLOCK KEEPS TICKING
According to the recommendation of the Code Compliance Officer at the Code Enforcement Board meeting on October 24, 2018, a time extension was granted to Diaz de la Portilla that expired on January 22, 2019.
On, or after that day the city was supposed to file a lien against his property, and the clock was supposed to be rewound to recalculate the $150 a day fine, so that it included all the days that it had been suspended due to the time extensions.
If that happened, the fine as of today should be $109.675.00.
The City would also, after 3 months, be in a position to move to foreclose on the property. I've not been able to find any documents that show that any of that has happened.
The file did provide photos - like the one below - that shows why the property was cited. You can see more photos .
If your last name was Smith, or Jones, or especially Fuller, and you had done the same interior and exterior illegal renovations to your house that Diaz de la Portilla did to his, do you think you'd have gotten a $150 a day fine, or maybe a $250 or $500 daily fine?
If you were caught red handed in the middle of doing this illegal work, as Diaz de la Portilla was, do you think you would have gotten 3 time totalling year and a half, and then, after still failing to correct the violations during that time, do you think your case would be ignored for another 5 months?
Do you think that maybe Diaz de la Portilla got this white glove treatment because the city just felt generous, or because he and his brothers at one time or another been part of the extended gang of Cuban politicians who've had a death grip on this county for the last 20 years, and that maybe the real reason that he is now running for Miami City Commissioner is so he can pull a Carollo move and get the city to back off his house if he gets elected?
If you do, and if you agree that Katherine Fernandez-Rundle will not find that Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz de la Portilla did anything wrong in Paellagate, or in the absentee ballot theft, or anything thing else, then my peeps, you are witnessing what it means to be a member in the Cuban Family and Friends Plan Of Miami?
This is the real It's Miami, Bitches!
If he had in fact been hired as an, "independent government consultant," then the chances are that he would have been required to at least register as a lobbyist. The records show that if he was, and that's a call for the Unethical Ethics Commission to decide, he never did, either in 2017 or 2018,
What he did do, and it's something that no one I've talked to about this has ever heard anyone do, can be found in the below document that was part of the case file maintained by the Code Compliance Department.
UPDATED TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT IT WAS ALEX, AND NOT HIS FATHER WHO IS THE REAL OWNER OF THIS HOUSE