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NUMBER 87 - SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
WELCOME TO THE HOOD: THE MAYOR BOUGHT A $1.475 MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE IN THE SOUTH GROVE. HIS FINANCIAL REPORTS RAISE QUESTIONS OF HOW HE COVERED THE DOWN PAYMENT
A couple months ago the word got out that Francis Suarez and his wife Gloria were looking for a larger house to accomodate their growing family.
In July word started circulating that they had found a house in the South Grove, although information about the house or the sale was initially hard to find. Thanks to several Crespogram supporters I was able to get information that not only sheds light on the Mayor's new home, but more importantly on the financial costs associated with this purchase.
Let me walk you though what I was able to find out about this deal. First, here's the notice that appeared on Realtor.com announcing that the house was sold for $1,475,000.
Here's page 1 of the mortgage agreement on record with the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court, that shows that Suarez and his wife Gloria received a $1,180,000, 30 year mortgage from City National Bank of Florida.
If these financial reports are to be believed, and each of them were signed and notarized by Suarez, the value of his original home is now marginally less than it was in 2010, and in the years between 2010 and 2018, he did not pay down the mortgage by so much as a dollar, while the investment condo that he owns increased in value by approximately $32,000, and the mortgage was reduced by approximately $30,000.
The lack of equity in their original house might explain why instead of trying to sell it, his wife posted an online ad to rent it in early August.
Suarez did not respond to my questions, which is never a good sign.
FRANCIS SUAREZ HAS GOTTEN HIS DICK CAUGHT IN A MEAT GRINDER AS A RESULT OF THE LIES AND AND QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES USED TO GATHER PETITIONS FOR HIS STRONG MAYOR INITIATIVE, AND IF THE REFERENDUM FAILS FOR ANY REASON HE COULD BE IN SERIOUS FINANCIAL JEOPARDY
The lawsuit filed by Joe Carollo last week challenging the petition drive that was initiated by the Miamians For An Independent And Accountable Mayor's Initiative, Inc., presents a real problem for Francis Suarez, not only in his effort to become the strong mayor of Miami, but worse, for his financial future.
I think that in practical terms Francis Suarez has overextended himself financially in purchasing this house, and that he is skating on very thin ice.
Among the most debated issues that occurred during the 2 Special Meetings held by the Miami City Commission over whether to allow the Strong Mayor Initiative to be placed on the ballot was the question of the convoluted way that the referendum language addressed the question of the Mayor's new salary.
Instead of a declaratory description of a compensation package that described what his base salary and benefits package would be, the referendum language proposed that the salary for the Strong Mayor would be 75% of the salary of the Miami-Dade County Mayor.
Throughout the course of the two Special meetings, Suarez at every turn refused to acknowledge that if the voters approved the proposed referendum his new compensation package would be $358,500, including a base salary of $244,500.
The salary portion would represent an increase of $144,700 over his current salary of $97,000, and conveniently, the $144,700 would cover the mortgage costs for his new house.
Even though the decision that led to the language in the referendum came months before Suarez and his wife decided to buy this particular house in Coconut Grove, I believe that the calculations that went into both the referendum language and the purchase of the house were based on the fact that an annual increase in salary of $144,700 would be enough to cover the costs on a million dollar mortgage, and that if for any reason, the referendum fails, or is ordered removed from the ballot, Francis Suarez's ass will be in serious financial difficulty from the loss of that $144,700.
Now of course, I could be wrong, and over the last 8 years Francis Suarez or his wife might have made a lot more money than anyone knows, but if they did, and unless the money that he made was buried in coffee cans in his backyard, he failed to account for those sources of income in the required disclosure of financial interests because on page 2 of his 2017 disclosure of financial interests report states that his net worth is $227,841, and all of that net worth is the money he has in his checking and savings account.
Here's an aerial view that shows where the house sits in relation to Biscayne Bay
Since the sale price was $1,475,000, and the mortgage was for $1,180,000, realtors who looked at the deal estimate that Suarez and his wife put up a down payment of $295,000, plus closing costs of 1%, for a total of $309,000.
Did they have that kind of cash laying around?
IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT FOLLOWING THE MONEY
Every July, all of the elected officials in the City of Miami are required to file a public disclosure of financial interests report.
On July 1, 2010, Francis Suarez filed his first public disclosure of financial interests report.
The result of this is that Francis Suarez and his wife are now carrying a new $1,180,000 mortgage, as well as two older mortgages totaling $494,247, and they are doing this on Suarez's salary as Mayor of $97,000, whatever payment he receives in his part-time role as "Of Counsel," to the law firm of Greenspoon Marder, plus whatever money his wife is making from working with her cousin in their event planning business, although as a mother with two very young children her priorities are obviously first and foremost her children.
WHERE'D THE MONEY COME FROM FOR THE DOWN PAYMENT
The first question that came to mind when I started working on this story was where did Francis Suarez come up with the $309,000 that he needed to cover the downpayment and closing costs?
I figured the best person to answer that question was Francis Suarez, so I sent him a detailed email seeking his response.
On July 2, 2018, he filed his latest public disclosure of financial interests report.
PHOTO OF THE DAY - ANOTHER SIGN OF GLOBAL WARMING
No matter how you look at it, it's hard to figure out how someone with $227,841 in the bank that constitutes their entire net worth buys a $1,450,000 house that came with a $295,000 down payment and a $1,180.000 mortgage when they were already saddled with 2 other mortgages totaling $494,297, and when the $227,841 wasn't enough to cover the down payment.
Maybe in Miami, instead of asking for Donald Trump's tax returns, folks need to start asking for Francis Suarez's tax returns.
It's Miami, Bitches!
NUMBER 88 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
LOOK WHO REGISTERED AS A LOBBYIST WHILE I WAS DOZING OFF
CG Summer Investments, LLP, didn't come up as a Florida LLP, but might be a venture associated with Pedro Martin of Terra Group fame, and Dimitry Kulkov, appears to be a Russian, who may, or may not be an attorney, and the dockage agreement may have something to do with Joe Carollo's bragging about his negotiating with someone who wants to put a restaurant on a barge in the boat slip at Museum Park.
Looks like the investment of $11,000 that Sarnoff made to Carollo's campaign is beginning to pay dividends
THE ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL CONTRACT HAS A SCREW YOU CLAUSE THAT WILL MAKE THE RESIDENTS ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE PARK REALLY PISSED OFF IF IT IS INVOKED
A lot has been said and written about the friction between the ULTRA Music Festival and the folks who live in the condos across the street from Bayfront Park, who've complained about the noise that the festival generates.
A couple months ago I wrote a story about how Joe Carollo, the Chairman of the Bayfront Park Trust pulled a fast one by telling the board members that it was better for everyone if he didn't allow them to be the first one's to vote on a new, proposed contract, because:
"Too many games are being played. I'm going to put it on
the record, in my 40 years in government I have never seen
an outside institution, an outside corporation try to pressure
so much like ULTRA is...This park doesn't belong to ULTRA,
this park doesn't belong to us here, the board of director, the
city commission. It doesn't belong to any of the other people
who have or want to have a contract with Bayfront Park. It
belongs to the residents of Miami, all the residents. And, I will
say this frankly, I know that if for any reason it doesn't look
good for ULTRA - this is why I'm putting it the other way
around for this board - ULTRA's going to push with all the
lobbyists that they've hired - an army of them - to get the city
commission to vote, to either dissolve this body, this trust,
and, or get rid of me as Chairman in December, so that with
me not being here (unintelligible) and other members of this
board that will replaced and changed ULTRA can get their,
oh, I don't know, 5,10, 20, 100 years contract."
It was a classic example of Joe Carollo blaming other people for behavior that he himself engages in at almost every opportunity.
In any event, the latest contract is coming up for a vote before the City Commission on Thursday, and while there are other parts of the contract that will probably be objected to by folks who live across the street from the park, there is one sentence in the contract that I think needs to be widely publicized, because it's a sentence that could on its own, screw the residents big time.
The sentence is in Section 2.6 of the contract:
What this sentence means, is that the day after the City Commission votes authorizing the event to take place ending at 10:00PM, Carollo and the ULTRA folks could enter into a new amendment that would move those hours from 10:00 PM, to midnight, and they could do so legally.
The reason why I say that this could be done legally is not just that the contract language allows for such an amendment, but because the Bayfront Park Trust has a document called the "Promoters Information Kit," which lays out all of the specifics for renting the park for an event, and in that document it sets the curfew time for events on weekends at 12:00AM
Given that the board of the Trust has demonstrated a woeful inability to talk back to, much less challenge Carollo's heavy handed way of doing what he wants, the only way to stop this from happening will be up to the City Commission to remove this sentence, and temptation.
You think they're up to it?
PHOTO OF THE DAY - 9/12/2001
THE 2011 - 2017 ARCHIVES ARE CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE