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NUMBER 135 - SEPTEMBER 6, 2019
ALEX DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA
Miami has been the home of many a political scammer and schemer, and none I dare say have operated with the brazenness of Alex Diaz de la Portilla.
So far this year I've written about the antics of his campaign workers and their efforts to destroy absentee ballots during his unsuccessful campaign for county commissioner in 2017, as well as the questionable way in which he managed to forestall the city's weak, if non existent efforts to punish him for numerous code violations that he undertook afer his parents quit-claimed their home over to him. (HERE and HERE.)
Over the years ADLP, as he is called, managed to run for everything but the dog catcher, and since 2012, he has lost every race he has entered. Along the way he has acquired a reputation as a sleazy campaigner who besides attempting to benefit from the antics of campaign workers destroying absentee ballots, has lied, cheated and allegedly abused his campaign finances for personal use.
According to a Miami New Times story in 2014, the Florida Elections Commission in 2001, "levied an astounding $311,000 fine against Alez after finding that his senate campaign violated election reporting laws several hundred times by failing to report $29,670 in campaign contributions, a cash deposit of $10,000, and a transfer of $15,000 from his personal account into his campaign account."
By the time the dust cleared in 2002, a jury found him not guilty of these charges, and ADP went on to serve in the state senate until 2010.
By 2010, folks had caught on to ADLP's antics and in 2012 he's lost a race for State Representative in 2012, a race for State Senate in 2016, a race for County Commission in 2017, and is now running for a seat on the Miami City Commission.
Given his run-in with the Florida Elections Commission in 2001, you would have thought that ADLP might have given some thought to cleaning up his act up during these subsequent efforts to get elected to public office.
Unfortunately, as my story earlier this year about his campaign workers efforts to destroy absentee ballots revealed, that hasn't happened.
In fact, an issue that seems to have been ignored or overlooked by the Miami Herald and the rest of what passes for the local news media was the announcement on January 19, 2019, that the Florida Ethics Commission found "Probable Cause" that ADLP had in 2017 once again engaged in illegal campaign finance activities, this time the allegations involve mysterious donations to his state senate campaign of $443,500, along with a list of other violations. (All of the documents related to this investigation can be found HERE.)
Copyrighted: 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
WANTS TO BE THE NEXT DISTRICT ONE MIAMI CITY COMMISSIONER. HIS RECORD REVEALS THAT IF HE SUCCEEDS HE WILL INTRODUCE A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF POLITICAL CHICANERY AND SCREWING OF THE TAXPAYERS TO THE BEHAVIOR OF THE CURRENT GANG OF THIEVES AT CITY HALL
Here is the list of the donations to his 2017 senate campaign, including the $393,500 he "loaned" himself in a 34 day period of time that triggered this investigation.
Instead of putting this embarrassing loss behind him by accepting the finding of "Probable Cause" and paying a fine, Diaz del la Portilla appealed the Florida Election Commission's findings to the Division Of Administrative Hearings, and is now scheduled to have a video hearing on October 16-17th. (The docket and some of the motions can be found HERE.)
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
While ALDP continues to refuse to reveal where he got the $393,500 that he "loaned" himself during the 34 day period from June 14th thru July 20th of 2017, it would appear from public records and from reliable sources who are plugged into the political netherworld of South Florida politics that the money possibly came from loans that were taken out on the warehouse property at 1481 NW 22nd Street that his parents used as the location of their mattress business, and that his mother purchased in 1980.
On July 18, 2017, the day before he deposited $200,000 of the $393,000 that he loaned himself during that 34 day period, the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court records show show that she Quit Claimed the warehouse to ADLP.
In 2017, Politico magazine published a story revealing that in 2016, the year before his own campaign for state senate, he had supposedly earned almost $1 million dollars as a campaign consultant for his brother and from "private sources," who he refused to identify.
In spite of all of these alleged monies, a review of his 2016 and 2017 FORM 6 Financial Reports reveal that ALL of his property assets were previously owned by his parents and transferred to ADLP, starting in 2016 with their home at 1519 SW 19th Street, which is currently in foreclosure, and that I wrote about in June. HERE & HERE, because of the questionable activities surrounding the Code Enforcement violations created by the addition of an illegal apartment at the back of the house.
In his 2017 FORM 6 he added to his assets the warehouse at 1481 NW 22nd Street, and lastly a piece of vacant farm land in South-Dade, again, owned and deeded to ADLP by his mother.
One of the interesting things in these reports is that you will see that ADLP's net worth increased from $618,177.41 to $1,594.910.24 in the course of a year, and according to the report issued by the Ethics Commission's investigator, and part of that increase was caused by a questionable inflation in the value of the house at 1519 SW 19th Street.
Even with this massive infusion of untraceable money days before the primary, ADLP managed to lose, and lose so badly that even after he took back money that he had not spend, each of the 3398 votes he got cost $132.00, which is an astronomical amount of money to spend for 25.6% of the vote, when you consider that Lorenzo Palomares, who only raised $23,400, managed to spend just $10.55 for each of his 2217 votes.
The additional increase in his net worth was not caused by any work that he did to generate wealth, but by the "gift" to him by his mother of the warehouse and farm land.
It turns out that both of these properties have become more than ADLP can afford because as of today, he owes $22,602.44 in property taxes on the warehouse and a total of $1,455.25 in property taxes for the years 2017 and 2018 on the farm land.
In addition to owning taxes, it seems that ADLP has never bothered to obtain a Certificate of Use for any of his, or his brothers business activities at the warehouse. The only business with a Certificate of Occupancy allowing it to operate at this address is the mattress company operated by ADLP's parents.
And if that weren't enough, it appears that ADLP having tapped out his parents assets now is depending on his brothers to bail him out of the foreclosure mess with the house where his parents still live.
The house was scheduled to be sold on the courthouse steps by Wells Fargo Bank in July, but a series of last minute motions filed by ADLP prompted the court to cancel that sale and a new hearing is scheduled for September 9th, where it is believed that a new deal will be presented to the court indicating that ADLP's brothers, Miguel and Renier, will assume a new mortgage on the house.
This all raises a very interesting question of what will the City of Miami do concerning the tens of thousands of dollars in Code Violation liens that have been held in abeyance while this process played out in court?
My June 3rd story revealed the long and questionable behavior engaged in by the Code Enforcement Department and by Lazio Orta, the Assistant Director of Code Enforcement the last time that this issue came before the Code Enforcement Board.
Now that ADLP is a candidate for the Miami City Commission, what kind of hocus-pocus might occur to wipe these tens of thousands of dollars from the books as another political favor done for someone connected if ADLP gets elected?
RAKING IN THE BIG BUCKS
Guys like ADLP become perennial candidates and continue to get big campaign donations because the inside players know and understand that a guy like him, with a proven record of political chicanery and willingness to bend or ignore the law is also someone always willing to do favors for the special interests and political insiders who only give money to candidates who understand that these folks always expect a return on their investment.
In Miami, being on the take in one way or another is part of the job description of being a City Commissioner, and the inside players are always happy to cut down on the time it takes to corrupt a newcomer by putting their money on proven veterans of corruption.
That's why Diaz de la Portilla has not only received more money in campaign donations than anyone else, but that he has also received a lot of that money from the usual suspects in the "Pay For Play" racket.
Wading though campaign donations is always a pain in the ass, and you can see the donation made to Diaz de la Portilla's regular campaign account HERE.
A better appreciation of who the big money plays are can be found in the below list of donors to his PC, including a number of folks who have appeared on the pages of the Crespogram in the past, and who can be expected to show up in the future.
While Elaine De Valle at Political Cortadito has kept track of ADLP's big money donors of the years, HERE, HERE and HERE, the fact that he's now running for a city commission seat introduces some new players from Miami City Hall's collection of usual suspects into the money churn.
One of those is Commissioner Keon Hardemon's "Auntie Barbara" Hardemon, who kicked in $3,500 through her company B & B Professional Consulting, and $5,000 from Jeffrey Berkowitz who has yet to start building his 21st century dildo, Skyrise, on the city owned property where Bayside Marketplace sits, even though according to the promises he made in 2014, the project should already be up and running.
Edgewater Management, a company that always seems to have $10,000 on hand for City Hall candidates jumped on board, along with Berkow Randall Fernandez & Larkin, who earlier this summer were involved in the nasty fight over the rezoning of the Babylon property, a fight that resulted in Jeffrey Berkow filing an ethics complaint against the Mayor's personal legal counsel Eddy Leal.
Another City Hall regular Manny Priequez, who was behind the mailer that prompted Jim Fried to decide to run against Commissioner "Sellout" Russell. kicked in $2,500 through his company Miami Municipal Strategies, and he and his wife and other companies also kicked in another $7,000 to ADLP's campaign account making him a major supporter.
Ron Book and his clients, West Flagler Associates, the folks who own Flagler Dog Track and Casino also kicked in a combined $4,500.
But as informative as donations are, often what is more informative are a candidate's expenditures, and here you see that ADLP's Political Committee has been generous in covering the candidates travel and dining expenses.
Orange represents travel related costs, Pink represents dining costs, and Green represents cash.
To date ADLP has raised $580,180.00, and between his campaign and Political Committee he has spent $309,154.58, which even includes I've been told giving money to his brother Renier's Baby Momma.
This leaves $271,025.42, which is more than 5 of the other 6 candidates have raised in total.
With 2 months left to go, and any number of developers, law firms, opportunists, scammers and schemers with money to burn and a desire to buy a piece of a new city commissioner, it's more than likely that Alex Diax de la Portilla will be seen as the probable choice for where that money will go.
Of course, money doesn't always carry the day, and Diaz de la Portilla has managed to snatch defeat from the mouth of victory the last 4 times he's run for public office.
Could his documented history of political chicanery and financial hocus pocus with campaign money turn out to be the fifth?
It's Miami, Bitches!
THE COMMISSIONER WHO RAILS AGAINST THE SLIME HE'S FORCED TO CONTEND WITH SINCE HIS RETURN TO PUBLIC LIFE HAS SUPPOSEDLY BEEN OUT STRONG-ARMING DONORS TO GIVE BIG DONATIONS TO HIS PAL ALEX DLP'S POLITICAL COMMITTEE - LET'S HOPE THAT SOMEONE IS GIVING THOSE PROSPECTIVE DONORS A HANDI-WIPE AFTER THEIR ENCOUNTER WITH "COMEMIERDA"
DONDE ESTA EL COMISIONADO CORRUPTO CAROLLO
Even though everyone's focus has been on Hurricane Dorian and the destruction it has left in it's wake, it suddenly started dawning on some folks that no one has seen Commissioner "Comemierda" Carollo since before the storm.
A few wondered whether the Marines, discovering that they has a guy like Carollo as part of their inactive reserves decided to call him into active duty and send him on a secret mission somewhere, and others speculated that given his penchant for hogging the TV cameras and being generally disruptive, nobody at City Hall bothered to call and inform him where the various press conferences were being held.
I believe that neither of those things occurred and that whats really going on is that Carollo took advantage of the storm to duck out of sight while he engages in some old-fashioned strong-arm tactics to raise money for his pal, Alex Diaz de la Portilla.
Carollo and ADLP, as he is called, share much in common. Both are slimy, unprincipled and unethical political scammers, and Carollo knows that whatever power he's able to wield at City Hall is going to be based on the number of votes he's able to control , and so he decided that of all the candidate choices available in District 1, ADLP offers him the best opportunity to continue to wreak havoc every other Thursday at commission meetings.
So, while out of sight, but never out of mind, Carollo has been slithering around strong-arming deep-pocket donors to donate to ADLP's campaign, and especially to his Political Committee where I've been told, Carollo has been telling folks to give at least, if not more than $25,000.
There's a method to all of this that goes beyond just trying to strong-arm folks to give money to a potential allie, because Carollo is broke and is looking for his own return on this money.
In short he's operating like a salesman on commission.
Money going into ADLP's Political Committee, can easily and legally be transferred to any number of Carollo cut outs, as was revealed last year when Carollo himself transferred $12,000 to a company owned by his sister-in-law.
In addition, I've also been told that Carollo is strong-arming folks needing favorable votes at City Hall that it would be helpful to their cause if they they would consider becoming sponsors of his VIERNES PEQUEÑA HABANA, last Friday of the month events in Little Havana.
I wrote recently how he strong-armed Art Noriega, the Executive Director of the Miami Parking Authority into donating $50,000 of MPA money towards this event, although Noriega probably didn't need much arm-twisting to go along because Art has always considered himself as a player who knows who to cozy up to.
A Crespogram Ranger recently spotted Noriega, Manny Priequez and Alex Diaz de la Portilla huddled like peas in a pod in a local restaurent, which makes sense since Manny is more or less acting like ADLP's unofficial campaign manager.
This however, raises an interesting question of whether his supposedly ponying up the money to send out the mailer attacking Commissioner "Sellout" Russell as just because Manny has a hard-on for Russell, or whether there's something else afoot.
In Miami, double-dealing is only a prelude to triple dealing, and as you will read below, when it comes to double, triple, and quadruple dealing, no one does is like like Alex Diaz de la Portilla.