NUMBER 71 - MAY 3, 2019
I never expected that when I called Ken Russell up in January of 2015 to ask him if he might be interested in running against Teresa Sarnoff for the District 2 City Commission seat that if he got elected he would turn out to be a bigger weasel in some ways than Marc "Pay For Play" Sarnoff.
No one expected Russell to become a real life version of "Mister Smith Goes To Washington," but at the same time no one expected him to become so enthralled with the fake side of politics that he would announce less than a year into his term that, to paraphrase Lebron James, he wanted to take his meager talents to Washington.
By the time reality took hold and Russell realized that he had less of a chance of getting elected to Congress than his arch-enemy Joe Carollo had of being told to go fuck himself by Emilio "Colonel Klink" Gonzalez, he had already made the decision to forgo whatever principles and ethics he had and crossed over to the Darkside where deep pocket campaign donors troll for gullible and easily purchased political wannabe's - much like hookers used to line Biscayne Boulevard - by showing up at their doorsteps with a shit eating grin, and a hand outstretched.
In a March 18th story on how Russell had vowed after first being elected that he intended to be a new kind of politician and not controlled by deep pocket donors, I wrote that:
"At his victory party in November of 2015, after he won
the runoff against Teresa Sarnoff, Russell told those in
attendance that, "Money and special interests didn't elect
me, you did. So I can promise they won't guide me, you
Days later, Russell told David Smiley of the Miami Herald
that, "The amounts of money that were raised was surprising,"
and piously declared that, "...we made a very conscious decision
to begin returning checks."
Of course that was in 2015.
It's now 2019, and Russell has revealed how long it takes a sitting Miami City Commissioner to forget the promises of being a new kind of politician, and showing up at the door of deep pocket donors, to make whatever promises and commitments he has to make in order for them to write $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 checks.
In March, I also revealed how Russell had, in addition to the $100,000 he has transferred from his congressional campaign to a newly formed PAC, managed by his sister-in-law, whose husband used to let Russell drive around in his $100,000 + Tesla on weekends, collected another $84,000 from 17 donors, a group largely made up of developers looking for favors or votes to build projects in his district.
A month later, Russell's PAC's latest financial report, reveals that he has collected another $135,000 from deep pocket donors.
Among this latest collection of donors are Michael Simkins, who through Lion Financial LLc, gave him $15,000 - Simkins owns the property just east of the railroad tracks on NW 11th Street where several years ago he wanted to building a 643 ft tower with LED Billboards, Ricardo Tabet, a developer who gave Russell $20,000 through 3480 Main Highway and Optimum USA Brickell - each of which donated $10,000 - and is currently building a new office building in Coconut Grove.
Astor Development, who now owns the property where the city's MRC Building sits, and who now needs to do a deal with the city over a new administration building gave him $10,000, and Midtown Opportunities who donated more money to all of Francis Suarez's campaigns than anyone else - $122,500 - kicked in $10,000.
Also kicking in $5,000 was Lewis Eidson whose been at the center of the fight over the Coconut Grove Playhouse, which will be coming up for a vote at next week's commission meeting.
These are the kinds of big money donations that Russell not only claimed he would never take back in the day, but some of them come from the same donors, who used to donate big bucks to Marc Sarnoff, a practice that prompted his acquiring the moniker, Miami's "Pay For Play," Commissioner.
There was a time when Russell's behavior could be excused as that of a well-meaning novice. That time has now passed. He has done, and continues to do things that cannot be excused or ignored.
While it's true that the anticipated entry into the race to challenge Russell that many expected would come from Marc Sarnoff no longer seems to be the case, there is still time for someone to jump into the race, and send this trickster back to selling paddle-boards and playing with his Yo-Yo's.
The campaign contributions listed above are evidence that Ken Russell in 4 short years went from being a nice, but bumbling amateur to another "Pay For Play" politican on the take whose wlling to sell the public down the river for five figure campaign donations from developers whose donations are nothing other than an open effort to buy his vote.
It's Miami, Bitches!
COMMISSIONER "SELLOUT" RUSSELL CONTINUES TO DEMONSTRATE THAT HE'S WORKING HARD TO LIVE UP TO HIS NICKNAME AS A "SELLOUT"
WHY IS THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOR THIS SUPPOSEDLY COMMUNITY BASED PROGRAM ON HOUSING SPONSORED BY THE CITY AND A NON- PROFIT WHOSE ADDRESS IS 1951 NW 7TH AVENUE, BEING HELD IN THE OFFICES OF ACKERMAN LLC, A MAJOR LAW FIRM IN THE CITY WHO REPRESENTS HIGH-END DEVELOPERS INSTEAD OF A NEUTRAL LOCATION. IS MIAMI CITY HALL INADEQUATE TO HOST THIS EVENT
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