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NUMBER 173 - NOVEMBER 20, 2019

At tomorrow's commission meeting Commissioner Keon Hardemon is going to get a double-dip of taxpayer money for him and his family.

First, the item creating taxpayer funded pensions for the Mayor and Commissioners is back up for a vote, and secondly, he's introducing a Resolution that will deliver $232,000.00 to Uncle Billy's non-profit agency, the Martin Luther King Economic Development Agency.

If Uncle Billy Hardemon didn't have his nephew Keon to make sure that his Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation got hundreds of thousands of dollars every year since he's been on the city commission, Uncle Billy would have been in a real pickle, because without taxpayer money from the City of Miami, this self-promoting, self-serving, so-called economic development agency that wraps itself around the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King would go broke. Here are a partial record of their tax returns from 2011 - 2018 collected by Propublica.

Billy Hardemon is married to "Auntie Barbara" Hardemon who as regular Crespogram readers know makes regular appearances on this site whenever a big ticket item that needs a vote and support from her nephew is on the agenda.  

"Auntie Barbara" first gained notoriety back in the day when her name appeared not once, but twice in the Memo-To-Self that then Commissioner Marc Sarnoff wrote alleding the solicitation of bribes by then Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

The memo claimed she was supposed to receive $50,000 as part of a payoff for Spence-Jones to vote in favor of a condo tower to be built on the Related property next to Mercy Hospital, and another $50,000 for the Crosswinds Project, which like the Mercy Project disappeared after the news of this memo surfaced.

Miami has always been ahead of the curve in having strong Black women exerting power and showing men that they could play the game as good, or better than they could.

Copyrighted:  2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

"Auntie Barbara" suffered no ill consequences from these accusations, and in fact they seem to have raised her profile and standing in the community because in recent years she's been one of the chosen lobbyists on a handful of the biggest deals requiring approval by the Miami City Commission, including the new Jungle Island Resort, the Rickenbacker Marina Redevelopment RFP, and the David Beckham soccer stadium deal.

In that deal, Jorge Mas paid her $20,000 just to introduce him to her nephew, Keon, because even though he's a billionaire he obviously was too stupid or bashful to ask his secretary to call Hardemon's office and arrange for a meeting with the Commissioner, without having to pay "Auntie Barbara."  

Deciding that he needed to demonstrate that his game was as good as his wife's, Uncle Billy this year ended up in the news after being accused of trying to shake down a property owner with an offer of  help in getting the city commission to change the billboard/mural ordinance so that the owner could put a mural on the wall of his building facing I-836.

Although the lawsuit was filed as Karenza Apartments LLC v. The City of Miami, 19-4477 CA(31), Uncle Billy and Auntie Barbara are prominent, if uncooperative participants as the lawsuit moves forward, and as part of a motion to compel them to comply with a Subpoenas Duces Tecum, the following paragraph, caught my eye, as it might yours.

How special was that?

If true, the Hardemon family - let's not forget "Uncle Roy," whose running again to be a State Representative, and "Uncle Alan," who while barred for life from lobbying the county commission now seems to be trying to slither his way back into the arena - should be treated as political versions of the Mexican wrestlers who perform in Lucha Libre wrestling matchs, and like them, be required to wear masks.

It's too bad that Martin Luther King hadn't been a Prosperity Preacher, because "Auntie Barbara" and "Uncle Billy" would have been proud Deacons and members of the Finance Committee in that church, but he wasn't and so nephew Keon, who I like and even enjoy watching during commission meetings, is saddled with a family that sooner or later could end up involving him in some stupid shit that might very well result in his losing the thing he values most, his Bar License.

This latest deal to help out "Uncle Billy" involves $232,000.00 from money collected from the leases negotiated by the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority (MSEA), and being given to the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation.

To appreciate how all of all of these deals involve a very small handful of people, Christine King, the Executive Director of this corporation is an attorney, and she is also representing "Uncle Billy" and "Auntie Barbara" in the lawsuit cited above.

(A CRESPOGRAM QUESTION: Does anyone know whether there is a family relationship between all these people? Inquiring minds would like to know?)

Anyhow, the rationale for giving away this money without opening bidding is made possible the same way that a lot of funny money deals get made in the city by first having the city manager claim that with this deal, "competitive negotiating methods and procedures are not practicable or advantageous for the City Of Miami waving the procedures."

Of course they aren't.  More often than not, anytime you see this rationale used to bypass competitive bidding, chances are that it's an insider deal, greased like a pig at a county fair.tOpen bidding is never practicable or advantageous when one of the crooks on the city commission has a need for taxpayer money to give to a family member, political pal, deep-pocket donor, or just outright scammer looking for a handout, or for a party, and as I've written about in the past this collection of scammers now on the commission are spending close to $1 million a year on parties and parades, while crying about how broke the city is.

Deciding to quit looking the city's piggy bank however, would defeat the whole concept of Fucking The Taxpayers.

It's Miami, Bitches!