NUMBER 182 - SEPTEMBER18, 2020
THE SELECTIVE WAY THAT THE MIAMI HERALD GOES ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT THOSE ON THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS PLAN NEVER GET THEIR DIRTY LAUNDRY EXPOSED TO THE PUBLIC LIKE THE DONATION THAT SHOWED UP IN THE PAC SUPPORTING KATHERINE FERNANDEZ-RUNDLE'S REELECTION THE WEEK BEFORE THE PRIMARY
If, as some of you believe that I've doubled down recently on my criticism of the Miami Herald, you're absolutely right.
My focus has always been on the topics of municipal governance, public corruption and misuse of public money, and on those topics the level and quality of coverage by the Herald has been getting worse every year.
I admit that I cover the politics of political campaigns with less enthusiasm than others do, and I do tend to sidestep or ignore the daily political fist fights between candidates.
Instead, my focus tends to be on the money collected and spent by candidates by both their regular campaign accounts and by the ECO's and PAC's created to support their candidacy.
In this regard, I not only find the Miami's Herald's coverage woefully slanted, but worse it's reflective of what so many now recognize as the Family and Friend's Plan that has become woven into the fabric of both politics and governance in South Florida.
THE "BIZARRE" STORY OF ROGER SANTANA
In the hot house of South Florida politics very few people have ever heard of Roger Santana, which is because he's a guy who ran for and lost - came in 3rd - a seat on the Bay Harbor Village Council.
Of all the stories of funny money, political hanky-panky and devious actions intended to screw the pooch that have occurred so far this year among well known, and seriously funded political campaigns the Herald decided to go with revelations about the low level mopery committed by Santana in failing to report how he spent $3,250 of money that he had loaned his campaign - in fact the story claims that Sanatana's campaign was financed solely by himself - was worthy of a full blown, detailed story with expert commentary by local elections expert, attorney JC Planas, on how he was "at a loss" to explain Santana's failure to provide an explanation for why he had not revealed that he had not provided a detailed accounting of the payments he made to a local political operative, "mailers and consulting work." (You can read the complete story HERE.)
NUMBER 179 - AUGUST 24, 2020
This story allowed the Herald to claim that they were reporting on political hanky-panky while making sure that they did not embarrass or step on anyone's toes that was currently under the protection of the Family and Friend's Plan.
THERE'S A CORNACOPIA OF STORIES WHEREVER YOU TURN
After reading Leibowitz's story I chided him on Twitter for making this story into a "federal case," when in fact it was a case of low level mopery in the third degree, and then went on to provide a list of other, more worthy stories that involved real South Florida political players and real money.
The first involved former Miami City Commissioner, and now lobbyist and attorney for the City Commission in the lease for the Mel Reese Golf Course Marc Sarnoff, and his and my pal, Commissioner Joe "Comemierda" Carollo, who Sarnoff donated $40,000 to Carollo's ECO from his PAC, Truth Is The Daughter Of Time, and which mysteriously never showed up in Carollo's ECO's financial reports.
$40,000 IS REAL MONEY, and given both the proclivity of Sarnoff to engage in "Pay For Play" - who at the time had several major lobbying clients in need of favorable votes by the commission - and Carollo's history of shaking down folks needing a favorable vote by the commission, it was not an unreasonable assumption to believe that the $40,000 represented a bribe in the form of a campaign donation. HERE
Putting aside speculation as to intent, the fact is that $40,000 was reported in BLACK and WHITE to have been donated to Carollo's ECO from Sarnoff's PAC, and was never accounted for by Carollo's ECO. HERE.
Then there was the revelation that days before the primary election, when Renier Diaz de la Portilla did not know whether he would win, lose, or end up in a runoff - which is in fact what happened - he made two transfers of $25,000 and $50,000 to his brother Alez's PAC.
The transfers are not in and of themselves illegal, but given both Alex's well documented history of looting his campaign and PAC accounts to cover his living expenses, and the stories that have been making the rounds of Renier sitting with Alex in his office and other locations when he engages in meetings with individuals looking for his assistance and vote on an issue important to them, there is a legitimate question as to why Renier would transfer $75,000 THAT HE NOW NEEDS FOR HIS RUNOFF CAMPAIGN to his brother's PAC.
And then of course there are the questions about who is behind some of the donations like the 2 donations totaling $80,000 that Renier's PAC received from a Delaware company being fronted by Miami attorney William Riley.
Who would be so eager to see Renier Diaz de la Portilla on the County Commission that they would pony up $80,000? Or for that matter, why would the donations of so many on the list below be tied to companies inside the City of Miami that currently have business before the commission on one issue or another?
The antics involving the Diaz de la Portilla brothers will continue, and while they certainly deserve a lot more coverage than they've gotten to date concerning the who, how and why's of the money that Renier has collected, and Alex has spent, a more interesting story about campaign money involves the PAC created to support the candidacy of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle's reelection.
KFR AND THE PAC THAT SUPPORTS HER
Fernandez-Rundle received a dubious, and high controversial, "With reservations" endorsement by the Herald the weekend before the primary election which set off a firestorm among some in the community over the obvious thumb on the scale that this endorsement, coupled with a lack of in-depth coverage - you can see just how much coverage the Herald has given Fernandez-Rundle HERE - that for the most part focused narrowly on just two complaints about her management of the state attorney's office: A failure to prosecute cops who have killed civilians over the last 27 years regardless of the circumstances or evidence, and the failure to prosecute anyone for the murder of Darren Rainey in the shower at the South-Dade Correctional Facility.
There are so many other issues that the Herald has ignored or sidestepped over the years, from the failure of Fernandez-Rundle to prosecute public corruption which starts with her failure to prosecute former Congressman David Rivera even after preparing a 51 count indictment, to Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo who has violated the City Charter's Section 4 (d) on bypassing the City Manager to order city employees to do his bidding so many times that it might as well be removed from the Charter, or to the antics of any of a handful of other high profile Cuban politicians who she's protected over the years like a mother duck herding her little collection of baby ducks across a busy highway.
There's also her willingness to accept what have to be considered as legal bribes from lawyers, law firms, sundry lobbyists and high rollers in the community, that by my calculation came to over $109,000 when I did my last accounting of her FORM 9's last year, and that's before the revelations unearthed by Danny Rivero of WLRN on the hundreds of thousands of dollars her charity received from a handful of rich criminal defendants resulting in their cases being dismissed or downgraded to misdemeanors.
The Herald has always demonstrated a convient amnesia when it comes to chronicling the past history of local politicians at election time, and Fernandez-Rundle has certainly been a beneficiary of that amnesia, because along with the issues above the Herald got amnesia when they failed to include any mention of her association with Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez during her last reelection campaign, or the $110,000 in donations from Puerto Rico - many of them from fictitious individuals and addresses - that showed up in her campaign accounts back in 2012, that were alleged to have been funneled to her from her boyfriend.
For a public official whose supposed to be above the fray, and conduct her personal and professional life with an eye on avoiding even the appearance of corruption, Fernandez-Rundle and the people who she entrusts her reputation seem to like to skate on the edges.
For instance, on July 5th, I posted a story revealing that several of Fernandez-Rundle's supporters had created a PAC called, Citizens For Justice PC, to support her reelection.
At the time of my story, the PAC had collected $133,500. Since then, the PAC collected another $117,500.
Buried in the list of the latest donations was one for $3000 that was logged in as deposited on August 13th, that should cause folks in the news media to say, "What The Fuck!"
Right under a nice $10,000 from MASTEC - aka Jorge & Jose Mas of Melreese Golf Club/David Beckham fame - is one from Armor Correctional Health Services.
Who are they you ask? Here's the link to page one on Google who tells you who they are.
You would think that one of those crackerjack, smart new reporters that the Herald has hired to juice it's so-called reporting would have been checking on the money going into these local PAC's, and that if a story about some guy who nobody knows about failed to properly account for the $3000 plus that he loaned himself and spent on his failed campaign, that maybe, just maybe, somebody at the Herald might have thought that $3000 from a major private prison medical provider with a laundry list of allegations of abuse of prisoners UNDER THEIR CARE might be of interest to readers, seeing as Katherine Fernandez-Rundle has a soft spot for prisoners being murdered by prison guards.
It's Miami. Bitches!
It's always amazing to read this kind of racist tripe from a guy whine about why anyone else would be ungrateful for having, "benefited from the largess of this Country," when the way they've managed to become a millionaire was by bribing politicians and peddling influence.
It's Miami. Bitches!
LOBBYIST ERIC ZECHILLA THOUGHT HE'D HAVE SOME FUN YESTERDAY ON TWITTER, "OWNING THE WOKETOPIAN LIBS." UNFORTUNATELY THAT FUN WAS BASED ON HIS RACIST BELIEF THAT NBA COACH DOC RIVERS HAD, "SO BENEFITED FROM THE LARGESS OF THIS COUNTRY MORE THAN MOST FOLKS IN TEN LIFETIMES," THAT HE SHOULD SHUT UP ON RACE RELATIONS. ZICHELLA QUIT HAVING FUN WHEN I SHOWED UP AND ACCUSED HIM OF BRIBING POLITICIANS
We are definitely living in strage times.
Take lobbyist Eric Zichella. He's a guy, who along with his partner Les Pantin represent a long list of clients at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
NUMBER 180 - AUGUST 27, 2020
Zichella has also for the last several years served as the Interim Chairman of the city's Finance Committee, a position he holds because of his appointment to that committee by Commissioner Joe Carollo.
You would think that being both a high-priced lobbyist, and also the Interim Chairman of a powerful committee overseeing the City of Miami's finances that he'd has some sense about making essentially racist comments on Twitter.
Yesterday, in response to a Twitter post from Stephen Hunter Johnson, an attorney with Lydecker Diaz, about the comments that NBA Coach Doc Rivers made about the police shooting in Wisconsin, Zichella weighed in by posting the comments below.
Hunter Johnson's response was:
Of course, not only do I not have any guilt about how I conducted myself in prison but he did not even remotely "establish" anything revealing that I was part of any white supremacist prison gang, although I've written in the past about my years as the President of one of the first Jaycee prison chapters in the country, and my involvement as both the Chairman of the Inmate Council in one prison I spent 4 years in, and well as being one of the leaders of the 1972 state-wide prison strike in Ohio - all incidents that were documented by newspapers in Ohio at the time - and I have posted on this site copies of stories I wrote about prison conditions, including this story about a Black guy on the verge of death at the Springfield medical Facility back in 1980.
In Zichella's diseased mind, I guess he would think this would qualify me for membership in some white supremist prison gang.
And then I showed up.
I don't mean to brag, but there are thousands of folks who have come to appreciate and look forward to my engaging in good, free-fo-all Twitter fight at 240 characters a punch.
Zichella and I exchanged about an hour or two of punches over the implications of his revealingly racist opinions about what is going on in our country as the result of the continued shooting and killing of unarmed Black men, and as it became apparent that more folks were joining in to take shots at him, Zichella, in the tried and true method of trying to shoot the messenger instead of dealing with the message, shifted from the issue of racism and started implying that I must have deep dark secrets of how I was able to survive the 20 years I spent in various prisons around this country, first insinuating, before finally coming right out and stating that I only did so by being a member of a racist, white prison gang.
I guess the big thing that really pissed Zichella off was when I accused him of legally, "bribing public officials."
It was after another hour or so of back and forth that I told Zichella I was moving off of Twitter to my blog to deal with this issue in depth.
I'LL GO OUT ON A LIMB AND SAY THAT IF THIS ISN'T BRIBERY, THEN DONALD DUCK IS A KANGROO
On September 30, 2019, Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo's ECO, Miami First, received a $10,000 from Zichella's lobbying firm, P3 Management NA LLC.
What's interesting about the timing of this "donation" is that TEN DAYS after Zichella made this "donation" to Carollo, Carollo returned the favor by reappointing him to the City's Finance Committee, where he presides as the Interim Chairman.
How sweet was this? Did Zichella bribe Carollo to reappoint him to the Finance Committee. He'll say no, but NO ONE goes around giving an elected official who has the ability to appoint them to a public board $10,000 just out of the goodness of their heart, especially when the elected official returns the favor 10 days later.
Even more basic is why would a lobbyist who represents clients before the Miami City Commission even be allowed to sit on a committee as powerful as the City's Finance Committee?
In addition to the $10,000 that he gave Carollo, Zichella seems to have covered his bets not only on the commission, but also on the possibility that current Miami City Commissioner, and county commission candidate Keon Hardemon would be sympathetic to his clients by giving him $9000 in October of 2019.
And just to make sure that he took care of the new Big Dog on the City Commission, Zichella has given Alex Diaz de la Portilla a total of $25,000 in donations. Two for $10,000 on June 30th and August 12 of 2020, and two for $2500 on October 31,2019 and May 7th, 2020.
All of this is from a guy who had the gall to write:
EVEN IN THE BANANA REPUBLIC EVERY VOTE COUNTS - EVEN A FELON'S
On the morning following the November elections of 2108, I went to the county board of elections and registered to vote. It was, as the headline in the photo above stated, the first time that I had registered to vote in 34 years, and it was made possible because of the passage of Amendment 4 giving felons the right to vote.
My first opportunity to do so came the following April when I voted in the election for the mayor and council people in the Village of Miami Shores where I live.
That morning I, like all the other residents were allowed to cast 3 votes, for the seats that were up for grabs among the 7 candidates. I voted for Crystal Wager, who became the mayor, Julio Martinez, who I knew wouldn't get elected but who's willingness to stand up and say things that many other residents wouldn't, and for Steven Loffredo.
I did not vote for political operative Christian Ulvert, who I had by then written about unfavorably. (See Miami Shores Archives 2019.)
The final vote for the third open seat turned out to be a tie. Christian Ulvert and Steven Loffredo each got 893 votes.
Had I not been allowed to vote, and had I not voted for Loffredo instead of Ulvert, Christian Ulvert would have won that election by ONE VOTE!
Loffredo went on to win the runoff election.
Never believe that your vote can't make a difference!
It's Miami, Bitches!
NUMBER 181 - SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
HOW TO PISS AWAY $100,000, AND LOOK STUPID IN THE PROCESS
Yesterday, Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine, "struck down the (recall) petitions as illegal in violation of clear Florida law."
This should not be considered a surprise, because from the very beginning this recall effort was destined to fail.
To refresh everyone's mind, the idea for a recall petition came into the fevered brain of local democratic political operative Juan Cuba after he and Joe Carollo exchanged words at a city commission meeting, and Carollo with his usual flair for vitriol, called Cuba a bunch of names which caused Cuba to go off in a snit and declare that he was going to initiate a recall.
The only problem was that Cuba didn't live in Carollo's district.
That was the first problem.
The second problem was that the recall petition was a mishmash of issues including the various code violation fights that Carollo had been waging with Bill Fuller, the owner of the Little Havana Bar Ball and Chain and other bullshit that should have never seen the light of day.
The third problem was that Cuba didn't have any money to finance this recall effort, and when you add the fact that he didn't live in the district, it should have dawned on former City Manager and multimillionaire Joe Arriola, who for his own reasons decided to jump into the fight and annouce that he would put up the money to finance the recall effort - he supposedly spent $100,000 to pay for the initial petition signature being collected - that maybe instead of jumping headlong into the fight the way he did, he should have considered starting from scratch by having a petition written and reviewed by his attorneys that made more sense, along with making sure that the people behind the scene did everything by the book.
And so, the petition gathers were hired, they went out and collected the signatures, and instead of making absolutely sure that they covered their asses by submitting the petitions within the written and stipulated timeline, they got cute, and instead of submitting the petitions by 5 PM on the 30th day, as the law required, they emailed them in over the weekend.
It was a case of stupid is as stupid does.
Even then, when the petitions were challenged, Arriola and his lawyers could have made a decision that instead of trying to fight a long, protracted legal battle, they could have just jettisoned the petitions, formed a new committee, written a new recall petition, and just done it all over again the right way.
That was too easy for everyone involved, because by then everybody involved was determined to show everyone else how big their balls were, and so after at least a half dozen court hearings, and countless wasted hours involved in bullshit, the press release below spells out the result.
Once again, the citizens of Miami got fucked, and Joe Arriola pissed away $100,000 that coulda, shoulda been spent on something more productive.
It's Miami, Bitches!
LOOKS LIKE THE CAROLLO'S, MIAMI'S PREMIER GRIFTER FAMILY HAS RUN OUT OF MONEY
It's kind of hard to believe, but it looks like Joe Carollo has run out of money. In no small part, his ability to lean on deep pocket developers and others looking to buy a vote on the Miami City Commission have come to realize that Alex Diaz de la Portilla is now the top dog on the commission and that he is the guy whose hands have to be greased in order to get stuff done in the city.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for Carollo, because at some point someone is going to have to come to grips with the fact that his almost 18 month stall over dealing with the Code Violations that Bill Fuller revealed at his May 2019 press conference in front of City Hall can't continue to be ignored, especially since it now appears that Carollo has all but abandoned the property, as evidenced by the comments included in a Non-Service Return on by a process server looking for Carollo's wife, Marjorie, that claimed the property is now, "vacant and vandalized.
NUMBER 183 - OCTOBER 5, 2020
There's not a lot of information that I was able to find on Velocity Investments, LLc, that is the company that is suing Marjorie in Small Claims Court, but between the fact that Carollo's $2 million house in Coconut Grove is now not only vacant, but vandalized, and Marjorie seems to owe somebody enough money that they've decided to go after them in court doesn't biode well for the guy who not that long ago was bragging about how he was going to run the city from his seat on the city commission.
Perhaps Adele Valencia - the city's almost non-existent Code Compliance Director might be encouraged enough by theis news to actually do her job and send code compliance inspectors over to 3230 Morris Lane, in the grove and see what's wp?
It's always going to be, It's Miami, Bitches!
GRANT STERN WROTE A STORY ABOUT A FATHER AND SON WHO OPERATE A CHARTER SERVICE AT OPA-LOCKA AIRPORT AND CALLED THEM MEMBERS OF THE RUSSIAN MOB. THAT PISSED THEM OFF, AND NOW THEY'VE SUED HIM FOR $15 MILLION. I THINK GRANT BETTER KEEP WEARING THAT MASK
NUMBER 184 - OCTOBER 23, 2020
No one shows up at a business with an order to shut them down an hour after the ordinance is passed if there hadn't been a well orchestrated plan in place just waiting for the commission's vote.
This ordinance, beside being a bullet crafted specifically for Bill Fuller also raises very serious concerns for every other business in Miami, who as a result of this ordinance could become the subject of this kind of vindictive and business destroying activity by the thugs who currently sit on the city commission and their hand-picked Butt-Boy City Manager, who can be counted on to continue to lie, cheat, and generally fuck over the residents of Miami on behalf of his masters.
You can bet that this fight is far from over, and you can also bet, if there was a place to lay some money down, that this bullshit attack orchestrated by Carollo, and sanctioned and supported by Noriega, Mendez, Pons and the other thugs on the city's payroll is going to come around and bite then in the ass in ways that they are not ever aware of yet.
The will be well deserved, but in the process, the taxpayers of Miami will probably find themselves on the hook for a couple million dollars.
It's Miami, Bitches!
THIS COULD BE THE SINGLE MOST VINDICTIVE, DESTRUCTIVE AND BUSINESS DESTROYING PIECE OF LEGISLATION EVER PASSED BY THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION, AND TRUE TO FORM YOU'RE FINDING OUT ABOUT IT HERE BECAUSE THE MIAMI HERALD HAS SHAMEFULLY JUST QUIT PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT GOES ON IN CITY HALL
Even before he was sworn in as a city commissioner in 2017, Joe Carollo had already turned a lazer focus on putting Bill Fuller out of business.
Those of you who are regular readers remember the stories about Carollo dragging city officials and employees on walking tours and entering Fuller's properties illegally in an effort to find violations, followed by the ethics complaint filed after Carollo and his favorite city employee, and AFSCME union member Mary Lugo was caught riding around and staking out parking lots, and then there was the story about how Carollo, along with then acting chairman of the Code Enforcement Board, crazy Frank Pichel, were caught lurking behind Fuller's club Ball in Chain, which resulted in the above photo, and of Carollo's vicious attacks against Fuller during several commission meetings including the one held on February 14, 2018, which eventually resulted in Fuller's filing a lawsuit against Carollo in federal court - which the 11th Court of Appeals in Atlanta has now ruled can go forward.
It now seems however, that in recent months Carollo along with his sock puppet enabler City Attorney Victoria Mendez were busy at work behind the scenes in a new effort to attack Fuller, which came first came to light through a usual misdirection play by Carollo at the October 8th Commission meeting.
The problem is that in order to what and how Carollo did what he did and the actions that took place hours after the ordinance in question was approved that resulted in the following "message" being released by Butt-Boy City Manager Art Noriega on Monday, required a degree of digging, because while these morons somehow continue to keep getting caught, it does take some focused sifting through bullshit to uncover what they're up to - a feat that consistently seems to illude the ability of the local news media who I purposely waited before doing this story in order to see whether Noriega's message below might have been enough to stir any of these lazy fucks out of their stupor.
NUMBER 184 - OCTOBER 28, 2020
In all the years that I've been doing what I do, a city manager has never been forced to release such a "message" to try and clean up a skanky piece of business, and to do so by lying in the process.
The plot to shut down Ball and Chain was a cooked up scheme orchestrated by Carollo, and enabled by Victoria Mendez, the City Attorney, Maurice Pons, the head of the Building Department and his fellow commissioners who pretended that they did't know what Carollo was really up to at the October 8th City Commission meeting where the below item was the very last item on the agenda.
Because it was a new ordinance, it should have been included in the list of new ordinances for First Reading, but by burying it at the very end of a long agenda it was the first step in making sure it could hide in plain site, because few people spend the time it takes to read and review All of the items on most city commission agendas.
While it was the last item, it actually was introduced by Carollo during the 7th item that came before the commission that morning. This item was a new ordinance, proposed by Commissioner Russell to deal with the waste and construction runoff into the Bay created by contractors who allegedly try to cut corners and save money by doing so.
Carollo introduced his ordinance by trying to tie it to the 2 houses in the West Grove that had generate so much attention after city officials - actually then Zoning Director Devon Zayas - flagrantly, and without any logical reason other than he sold the city down the river, gave the developer permission to do what he did.
Carollo use of this incident was a clear effort of misdirection, but then, since no one was pay attention, and since his fellow partners in crime were there to run cover for him, the ordinance easily passed unanimously on First Reading. Here is the video link to that entire discussion.(Click on NA1 - Amending Chapter 1 - Enforcement Of Construction Sites.)
On October 22nd, the ordinance came up for a 2nd Reading, and was the last item heard before the lunch break. This time, Carollo's pal Alex Diaz de la Portilla did the honors of moving the motion, and Commissioner "Sellout" Russell, in one of his obvious moves intended to suck ass, seconded the motion. It passed without comment. Here is the link to that discussion. (Click on SR 4 Amending Chapter 2/Article IV/Division 2)
Approximately an hour after passage of this ordinance, employees of the City of Miami Building Department showed up at Ball and Chain and served the following letter to Bill Fuller, shutting his establishment down.
NUMBER 185 - OCTOBER 29, 2020
After I posted my story yesterday about the way in which Ball and Chain was summarily shut down last week, I got a call from Zak Bush, one of the co-owners of Ball and Chain who informed me that prior to last week's commission meeting he had submitted a video comment for the public comments section of the meeting, and I guess to no one's surprise, the video was not played during public comments.
Bush told me that when he realized what had happened, and had his lawyer contact the city attorney, and after the usual hemming and hawing, she agreed to make sure that the video was aired.
It was, after the commission came back from lunch, and after city officials had showed up at the door of Ball and Chain to shut them down.
Some might see this as an egregious example of attempting to attempting to keep the public in the dark about what the commissioners were going to do, but I see it just as another Thursday.
Here is the video. His first comments deal with the ordinance that Carollo introduced last week to bar music in public places after 8PM. His second comments are about the ordinance that I wrote about below.
You'll never see any videos or photo op's coming from The M Network about what the conditions on the streets of Miami really look like, or Ron Book and Keon Hardemon posing with fancy Porta-Potty's on the corner of any streets close to these encampments, because it's a lot easier easier for politicians and hucksters like Book to bemoan the shit on the streets, than to do something to try and at least minimize the problem.
If the Dream Defenders really want to do something, they ought to go out, collect the shit on the street, bag it and sent to it to Ron Book, Keon Hardemon, Mayors Carlos Gimenez and Francis Suarez, and all of the members of the Homeless Trust Board.
If they won't deal with the shit on the streets, you can bet they won't waste a minute dealing with it in their offices.
It's Miami. Bitches!
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This brings us back to the first photos of the Trust's quarantine facilities above.
As with the other photographs notice how posed the photos are, and how clean and picture perfect everything looks.
More importantly, with the streets of Miami and other areas of Miami-Dade County lined with homeless people, why are there so few homeless people in these photographs, especially in this photograph.
If this is a quarantine facility, why is this dining/community seem so empty with all the chairs on top of tables?
Again, I am in now saying or implying that the Homeless Trust doesn't do anything of value, but I am saying, implying and arguing that the good that they do is nowhere close that the good that they coulda, shoulda be doing with a budget of $66,782,100.
To prove my point, here are two videos that I shot on Saturday morning, May 30th, at around 10 AM.
The first one is of the homeless encampments on NW 1st Avenue, between 13th and 14th Street and the one around the corner on 14th Street.
This second one is the new encampment around Jose Marti Park on SW 4th and 5th Streets.
If you didn't notice it the first time, there is a very significant difference between these two locations.
The first is in District 5, where both Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon and Ron Book have bemoaned the existence of the pup tents that were passed out by the group Dream Defenders, and the second video is in District 3, where City Commissioner Joe Carollo has gone further in bemoaning the existence of homeless people who he rails aren't even from Miami, but where he did what neither Ron Book and the Homeless Trust, or Commissioner Keon Hardemon with all the bullshit that he's spewed over the last couple years about cleaning up this part of his district has ever done, which is that Carollo had a large Porta-Potty set up on the corner across from the encampment, so that these homeless people wouldn't be forced to shit in the street.
A BURNED UP POLICE CAR BECOMES A SYMBOL AND A PROP FOR ALL SIDES IN THE COMING ARGUMENTS OVER WHAT THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE UPRISINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY
Has the Homeless trust really ended homelessness for veterans?
This is the last day of May 2020. Can Ron Book put his hand on a bible and swear that there isn't a homeless veteran on the streets of Miami-Dade County today?
It was a bullshit claim to make in 2018, and it's definitely a bullshit claim to make today. As long as there are veterans in America, there will be homeless veterans on the streets of every American city.
But like so many other realities, that reality doesn't coincide with the Ron Book's propaganda operation because just a couple weeks ago he made the claim during the Special Meeting of the Miami City Commission when they were grilling him about the testing of homeless people within the city for the COVID-19 virus.
EXAMPLE NUMBER II
Even more than the first video, this video also posted on You Tube by The M Network in December of 2019, lacks in any factual evidence to support the claim that today, "there are far fewer people living on our streets."
It's just a slick, music video that uses photos from 25 years ago juxtaposed with what is on those same properties today.
Even this photograph was composed so that the sidewalk behind him was clear and clean, to make it appear that this individual was just a random lost soul and not part of an encampment of homeless people gathered together on Miami's sidewalks.
While the photographs were just sanitized examples of careful composition, or the usual examples of posed photos with politicians and happy faces, the videos produced by The M Network went further down the road to outright propaganda.
EXAMPLE NUMBER I
Ron Book likes to brag about how the Homeless Trust has eliminated homelessness among veterans.
To bolter that claim The M Network produced the following video in 2018, that included the usual patriotic tropes of aerial footage of exploding bombs, martial music, and dramatically cut footage, including the grateful mother with a tear in her eye and a home of her own, as a way to "sell" the claim that the problem of homeless veterans had been solved thanks to The Homeless Trust.
The irony - AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY - is the last photo that they used, which is looking northeast into the overflow parking lot for the city's MRC building between SW 2nd and 3rd Avenue has seen the homeless move from inside the lot, to SW 3rd Street.
Here is a photo that I took at approximately 7 AM, this Sunday morning.
THE HOMELESS TRUST SPENDS $200,000 A YEAR FOR A BRANDING/MARKETING/CRISIS MANAGEMENT COMPANY TO CHURN OUT STAGE MANAGED PHOTOS AND SLICK VIDEOS AS A WAY TO BULLSHIT THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT A GREAT JOB THEY'RE DOING. IN FACT IT'S LITTLE MORE THAN PROPAGANDA THAT DESERVES TO BE LABELED AS FAKE NEWS
Ron Book likes to brag that when it comes to spending the taxpayers money on behalf of the homeless folks in Miami-Dade County his is nothing if not, "cheap and frugal."
That's only true when it comes to the money he actually spends on the homeless people. When it comes to the money he spends to bullshit the public about what a great job he's doing, cost is no object.
For an unknown number of years - unknown because the public record request I submitted for copies of the first contract the Trust entered into with this company has not been complied with - the Homeless Trust has had a deal with The M Network, a branding/ marketing/crisis management/company run by the husband and wife team of Lisa and Thom Mozloom. (See PART XIII of this series for Public Record Number 6.)
In a 2016 story, Doug Hanks put the cost associated with hiring this c company at $143,000,00 which included a "$53,000 budget for promotional materials and other reimbursable expenses."
In 2020, the contract is now $193,933.00.
What has the Trust received for all of this money?
Again, part of my public record request was for copies of the work product that this company has generated in the last 3 years, and even though the Trust has failed to provide me with any of that information it's an easy process to go on the internet and visit the Trust's Twitter and Facebook pages to find examples of what this company's strategy has been to appreciate that these fine folks have been cranking out slick, often deceptively misleading propaganda that has been crafted with a goal of bullshitting the taxpayers about what a great job the Trust has been doing and how they've largely done away with homelessness is in Miami-Dade County.
RON BOOK WASN'T JOKING WHEN HE SAID HE'S "CHEAP AND FRUGAL"
Although the Trusts's total revenue for 2018/2019 was $66,782,100, when it came to providing supplies for the chronic homeless folks on the street, Book it seemed didn't believe spending any Trust money.
In early March, homeless people were being given little bottles of hand sanitizer donated by the DDA.
It's hard to determine whether the homeless guy is laughing because being handed this little bottle of hand sanitizer is like being handed an umbrella in the middle of a hurricane, or whether because the person taking the photo - either Lisa Mozloom or one of her employees - told him to smile.
By April they had hooked up with United Way to solicit care packages that would include bottled water, snack food, hand sanitizer, masks and personal hygiene items.
The defining thing about all of the photographs on the Homeless Trust's Twitter site is that with the exception of the one photo below, they could all be reprinted on the pages of any gentile ladies magazine because NONE OF THEM include photographs that show the mean, ugly reality of the problems of chronic homelessness in Miami-Dade County. Don't believe me, click HERE.
On the morning after last night's clashes between protesters and police on the downtown streets of Miami, the single most visible symbol that remained of what happened was the police car that was set on fire across from the back entrance to police headquarters.
I drove by this morning expecting it to have been towed away, but nope, it was still there, and with a TV crew having set up a lighting package, it was evident that this car would now become a potent symbol for all sides of the arguments, debates and accusations that are to take place in the days ahead.
DON'T GO FOR IT!
Don't let a burned up car consume more than a passing comment or two about another example of taxpayer money going up in smoke.
The issues are too important, too complicated, and too demanding of real, versus knee jerk reactions to waste time on a burned up police car, unless of course someone wants to also raise questions about the burning of Natalie Lopez's car last year outside of her daughter's bedroom, or the fires of all the other cars that occur in Miami every year.
If you're really interested, you might want to start with why the State Attorney's Office refused to issue a subpoena for the video footage that a neighbor's home security camera captured, which by the way isn't the only video footage of a car set on fire that her office has refused to issue subpoenas for.
But this is a sidebar issue.
The real issue, at least for the citizens of Miami is when are the people with the money, the power and the awareness that the city and the county are being run by grifters and morons come to grips with the fact that they cannot continue to stand around with their fingers up their asses pretending they are popsicles.
Last night was a warning.
DON'T IGNORE IT!
Don't let the largely white gangs of teenagers on skateboards, the so-called anarchists now referred to as Antifa, and their counter-parts, the right-wing White nationalist extremists seize control and shape what comes next!
At this point this is first and foremost a problem of inherent and entrenched racism that continues to be revealed in ever more damning and incriminating videos over the treatment of Black men by police and racist White people in this country.
It won't be soloved in a day, a month, or a year, but police departments need to take a far more aggressive approach to rid themselves of the cops who everyone on these police forces know are a danger to the community.
The problems in this country with racism, inequality, mistreatment and abuse of not just Black folks, but White, Brown, Yellow, Pink and Polka-Dot folks by politicians, and powerful elites has been going on for too long, and there needs to be a rebalancing of the scales!
The first thing I would suggest is that everyone needs to start thinking and looking locally. Identify the problems, and the people who've created the problems in your community.
Start paying attention to what local politicians are doing with your tax money!
Quit taking shit from the crooked politicians, and demand that these people start acting and behaving like public servants and not gangsters operating municipal governments like organized crime families!
If you're not sure what I mean, read my story below about the treatment of homeless people in Miami where the Homeless Trust operates with an annual budget of roughly $60 million dollars, and can't, or won't even put a Porta-Potty on the streets for the homeless to shit in.
It's your city, your tax dollars, stand up and demand better for both!
Do you know where you live? By that I mean, do you know who your Mayor is?
Do you know who your City or County Commissioner is?
Do you know where your city or county hall is?
Have you ever been inside the building?
Have you ever attended a city or commission meeting?
Do you know when your municipal government has their budget hearings?
Do you have a clue of how these politicians spend YOUR tax money?
Here's a hint, the BUDGET MEETINGS happen in the next couple months. Here's the link to the City of Miami's proposed 2020 budget. Here is the link to the county's proposed 2020 budget. The City of Miami will be holding virtual hearing this week, but they've not bothered to put a notice on their website of the dates, times and how to log on. If you're interested, call, 305.416.1500.
The county will also be holding hearings. To find out about those call, 305.375.5143.
Do you know the name of your Chief of Police?
Do you know if your city or county has a public agency that oversees the behavior of the police?
Have you ever heard about the City of Miami Civilian Investigation Panel? Do you know that you can attent their meetings held at Miami City Hall. You can go to their webpage HERE.
Do you know that almost every police department in the country is linked on to a website/bulletin board called LEO AFFAIRS? It's accessible to the public and some of you might want to start paying attention to what the cops talk about on that site. For the City of Miami, the link is HERE.
The link for the Miami-Dade County police is, HERE.
The link for the Broward County Sheriff is HERE.
The Link for the Fort Lauderdale Police is HERE.
Do you know what rights you have to speak at a public meeting?
Have you ever heard of a legal term called "Content Neutral?" If you haven't go HERE and find out.
As distasteful as some of you might find this, have you ever attended a meeting where candidates for Mayor and/or city or county commissioners appeared?
Did you ever ask any of them a question?
If you're old enough, are you registered to vote? If you need to register the link to the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections is HERE.
Have you ever voted??
Have you ever bothered to look at the campaign reports to see who gives politicians money? The link for all the politicians who are running for President all the way down to Circuit Court Judge in Florida in 2020 is HERE.
The link for all the county offices is HERE.
The link for the state-wide PAC and ECO, where the really BIG MONEY gets donated is HERE. You got to work to figure out how the money flows, but tens of millions of dollars flow from major corporations and deep pocket donors to politicians and this is where you can track some of that flow.
The link for county PAC's and ECO's is HERE.
The link for the City of Miami PAC's and ECO's is HERE.
Have you ever volunteered to get people to the polls?
IN SHORT, DEMOCRACY REQUIRES REAL WORK!
I have a lot more to say, especially about the lies and mis-statements made by the Mayor of Miami and the Chief of Police, which I will write about soon enough. But this is a start.
The odds are always stacked against those seeking change, because the people who have power have never demonstrated a willingness to surrender that power without a struggle, but change can happen but it requires focus, persistence and a willingness to dig in and fight the long fight.
I'll be back soon.
LISTEN UP ALL YOU PROTESTERS, YOU CAN CRY ABOUT SYSTEMIC RACISM, POLICE BRUTALITY, AND ALL THE OTHER SOCIAL PROBLEMS THAT HAVE CAUSED YOU TO GO OUT INTO THE STREETS WITH YOUR PROTEST SIGNS, BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE THAT THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO PREPARE FOR IT
YOU CAN FIGHT WITH THE COPS, GET TEAR GASSED TILL HELL FREEZES OVER AND EVEN GO TO JAIL, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE POLITICIANS AND COPS CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR
HERE'S A VERY BASIC LIST OF QUESTIONS AND LINKS THAT HELP YOU FIND THE ANSWERS
IF YOU CAN'T POSITIVELY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS THEN THE SCREWING YOU'VE BEEN GETTING IS THE SCREWING YOU'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET FOR FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THAT DEMOCRACY REQUIRES WORK AND IF YOU INTEND TO CHANGE THEW WORLD YOU GOT TO DO MORE THAN PROTEST
NUMBER 142 - JUNE 1, 2020
One thing that both Miami For Everyone and Miami Good Government Initiative have in common is that they're operating out of the same office with the same Chairman and Account which raises the obvious question of maintaining an arm's length relationship and collusion when it comes to spending money.
For all of the talk about Miami becoming the next New York or San Francisco, the fact of the matter is that Miami is destined through geography, political corruption and a fragmented population of exiles whose hearts, minds and most importantly expendable income will always be committed to their homeland instead of the local economy to continuing to be a place of crippling inequality where hustlers and opportunists will come to pursue their dreams and schemes until the sea water rises to a level that makes it economically and environmentally impossible to live here anymore.
If you're in your 20's and 30's, and have the money to buy off politicians like Francis Suarez, it can be what it's always been: a sunny place for shady people.
One day however, the pied piper will show up like he's done in the past, and when that next category 5 hurricane arrives and tears Miami and South Florida a new asshole, many of this current generation of cryptocurrency hustlers, private equity and hedge fund schemers and scammers will be the first to get to their private jets and get the fuck out of Miami faster than the three speed dildos used by their girlfriends.
It's Miami, Bitches!
A PERSONAL NOTE
While this story represents an encore of sorts, please do not think that it means that I am coming back to writing stories in any permanent way.
My retirement remains in place.
One reason that I decided to write this story, was that one of the biggest bitches I used to hear from the Miami Herald stenographers was that my stories sucked all the oxygen out of the room, pissing everyone off, and that's why they almost never bothered to follow up on any of the big stories I broke.
Well, I left the room 8 1/2 months ago, and there's been plenty of oxygen available since then.
The Miami Heard still does a shit job of covering local municipal governments, and they continue to ignore or sweep shit under the rug when it comes to the City of Miami.
There are stories that they do cover competently, and this last year has been a year challenging year in many ways, but what happens inside the City of Miami is a harbinger of the future not only for Florida, but for other parts of the country because the techniques of bribery and corruption that are being practiced in Miami are destined to spread unless there are real efforts to expose them, and then put the corrupt motherfuckers in jail!
The corruption that occurs in Miami involves everyone, from private businesses, to law firms, to public officials, to law enforcement.
So that no one will whine if someday soon I show up with a story with the power to suck ALL the oxygen out of the room, I going to give all the local new media in Miami a big tip.
Let's see if anybody has the connections and balls to break that story.
PS: Don't call me asking for more info.
From the evidence available, the new committee is operating like a classic grifter's con, with a mail drop at a UPS store on Flagler Street, and with a website that some 5th grader could have cobbled together in 5 minutes.
A question that some insiders are now pondering, and one which the news media certainly needs to pay some attention to is what scheme, or schemes does Francis Suarez have up his sleeve that are the real reason he is continuing to raise all these millions of dollars?
If the Miami Herald had spent only a portion of the money, time and manpower they spent in the last 3 years chasing down every rumor of how many underage teenage girls Jeffrey Epstein had tried to screw 20 years ago at his house in Palm Beach and everywhere else in the world but Miami, into a similar effort to, "following the money," that has exceeded well over $10 million to fund the campaigns of the likes of grifters like Francis Suarez, Joe Carollo, Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Keon Hardemon then maybe they would have actually won the Pulitzer Prize they so slavishly lust for, while actually doing something beneficial for the community.
But they didn't.
GOOD GOVERNMENT MY ASS
May was a propitious month for Suarez. Not only did he change law firms and land what amounted to a third job as a big-shot at a private equity firm, but for whatever reason he decided that in addition to his Miami For Everyone, PAC, he also needed to create a second political committee, called, Miami Good Government Initiative.
In the last three months this committee has collected $305,001.00 from a total of the following 7 individuals, six of which were affiliated with hedge funds and private equity companies
As far as the Miami Herald and the rest of the local news media was concerned this was just another uneventful day at Miami City Hall.
By comparison, in the last few days the Herald has been frothing at the mouth over $62,500 in donations made to candidates for Governor Nikke Fried and Charlie Crist from a dark money group during June and July.
In that same time period Suarez received almost $1 million in donations to his PAC from 40 out-of state donors including $100,000 from Clean-Rite Maintenance of New York, who also gave $100,000 to Miami First, Joe Carollo's PC.
Why would a New York cleaning company give $100,000 each to two candidates running for office in Miami? Better yet, what do they expect as a Return On Investment for that $200 grand?
I'm not arguing that the $62,500 given to Crist and Fried doesn't merit coverage, but I am, and have repeatedly argued that Miami's supposed hometown paper has an obligation and responsibility to focus on how and why someone like the part-time Mayor of Miami has managed to raise a grand total to date of $4.87 million for a election where his three opponents have only raised $13,476.05, but whether some of that money - as happened last year with the $140,000 from a secret Delaware LLC named Pristine De LLC, that was given to Renier Diaz de laPortilla's PAC - came from secret or questionable sources?
It's not like either Suarez or Carollo are in fear of being challenged by anyone with as much, or more campaign money than they've raised, thereby requiring them to go out and raise even more money to remain competitive, so there has to be another reason why Suarez has hired fundraising guru Brian Goldmeier to continue beating the bushes for money.
Here is the list of Suarez's PAC expenditures since June that show that he has paid Goldmeier's company, BYG Strategies $78047.75 in commissions.
Neither the Herald stenographer who wrote the story, or anyone else in the news media since the story broke has bothered to ask, 'How can you claim this new job will not have any impact on your being mayor - even part-time - when even a dunce would realize that, becoming "Of Counsel" at a new international law firm, a Senior Operating Partner of a private equity firm, AND a husband and father with two small children would obviously require compromises of time and energy?
In that equation somebody's bound to get the short end of the stick while he tries to juggle these balls, and you can bet it's going to end up being the taxpayers of the city.
If the news of his being hired by Dagrosa was not enough to raise eyebrows, a week later the Herald did a story on the $3.5 million that Suarez's PAC had raised to date, and revealed that within days being being hired by DaGrosa for what had to be a sizable salary and benefits package, DaGrosa had turned around and gave Suarez's PAC $150,000.
Although he lacked interest in facts or policy, he has constantly been preoccupied with the trappings of power including his reliance on multiple bodyguards to enhance a self-entitled sense of importance that had become a topic of discussion from the beginning of his term as Mayor.
It became so obvious that he was abusing the powers of his office by being chauffeured by multiple Sgt-At-Arms/bodyguards and having on-duty police officers assigned to guard his house 27/7, that the questions about the costs involved managed to make it onto several City Commission agendas before Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo concluded that the level of corruption and thievery they both aspired to required ignoring the antipathy and lack of respect that they have for each other while engaging in some good old fashioned transactional cooperation and mutual back scratching.
No one knows how much all of these sgt-at-arms/bodyguards cost the taxpayer since Suarez became Mayor, because unlike the State of Florida which several days ago released the costs of security for the Governor and his family, the Miami Police Department has refused requests to provide an accurate accounting of how much Suarez's security has cost by claiming it was a security issue.
In truth, the amount has little to do with security, and more to do with the MPD's history of using on-duty police officers to provide private security for select members of the Family and Friends Plan in the city. (HERE, HERE)
In May of this year, for the third time during the four years he's been mayor, Suarez left one law firm - Greenspoon Marder - for a new law firm. As with his previous moves, Suarez's latest move to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, included his sister Olga Vieira.
Not widely known, and seldom if ever publicly acknowledged especially by the news media, is that each of these career moves by Francis included his sister Olga Vieira, who many consider the legal star of the Suarez family and who some believe that if he didn't have her coattails to hang on to, the chances are he would probably have never gotten further than being an ambulance chaser, hustling traffic ticket and DUI cases.
This time however, the game of musical chairs also included Daddy Xavier Suarez, who having termed out of his County Commissioner seat, replaced Francis at Greenspoon Marder where he, like his son, became, "Of Counsel.
Daddy X is a guy who likes to brag about being the first Harvard educated, Cuban born mayor of Miami but refuses to acknowledge was also the first Harvard educated, Cuban born mayor to be removed from office for Absentee Ballot Fraud.
In a bungled effort to run for Mayor in 2013, Suarez Jr. had his own brush with Absentee Ballot Fraud involving teenage girls in wet T-Shirts, thereby supporting the claim that an acorn does not fall far from the tree.
Within days afer revealing he was changing law firms again, Suarez revealed that he was also going to become the Senior Operating Partner at the private equity firm of DaGrosa Capital Partners.
Having determined after the pandemic hit that becoming a ubiquitous talking head on cable TV was preferable to dealing with the collection of scorpions on the city commission, he demonstrated that he couldn't even do that without revealing that he was less interested in educating himself on the topics he showed up to talk about than making sure his eyebrows were plucked.
Here is one appearance he made in on cable TV that revealed how unprepared he was for prime time.
AUGUST 19, 2021
MIAMI HAS HAD MORE THAN ITS SHARE OF CORRUPT AND CONNIVING MAYORS, BUT FRANCIS - MAYOR BITCOIN BITCH - SUAREZ IS IN LINE TO MAKE ALL OF THOSE OTHER SCAMMERS AND SCHEMERS LOOK LIKE AMATUERS WHEN IT COMES TO SCREWING THE TAXPAYERS AND USING HIS OFFICE FOR SELF-ENRICHMENT
One of the things I've missed most since I quit writing my blog are the phone calls and emails that I would receive after posting a story that hit a nerve with folks who were either privy to inside information or were tired of the bullshit and would contact me in an effort to explain how to find the trees inside the forest, or connect the dots in ways that would often amaze me since their explanations often revealed the level of chicanery and dogged determination that the Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager and others at Miami City Hall were engaged in either trying to screw the taxpayers, line their pockets, or both.
Even with my efforts, and the efforts of a handful other other bloggers to break though the fog and misdirection created to hide the corruption, the politicians at Miami City Hall, the corrupt State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and the ethically challenged members of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission continued their flagrant and often criminal behavior knowing that the odds of discovery were slim and the chances of punishment zero because among their enablers were the top dogs and stenographers at the Miami Herald and other exalted members of the local news media who seldom showed any interest for, much less desire to engage in aggressive reporting when it came to municipal malfeasance, relying instead on the pablum that they were spoon fed by these politicians and which they turned into propaganda that was often shameless in it's ass-kissing and vapidness.
All of this came back into sharp focus on Friday afternoon after I posted the list of campaign donors to Francis - Mayor Bitcoin Bitch - Suarez' latest PAC, Miami For Everyone, which if there were any requirements for truth when it came to naming PAC's should actually be named, Miami For Everyone With The Money To Buy Me Off.
My encore story - which you can find HERE - was prompted by the latest financial report issued by Suarez's PAC that showed he had raised $4,57 million as of July 31st.
Even for Miami, with it's long and documented history of public and private bribery of elected officials this was an astounding amount of money for a part-time ceremonial mayor to raise with 5 months still left before the election.
More astounding was that he had doubled the $2.3 million that he had raised in 2014 when he had run against 3 candidates who had collectively managed to raise and spend $1200.
What made it all so astounding was Suarez's repeated exhibitions of incompetence, whiny cowardice and lack of accomplishment that had highlighted his first term as mayor.
Here is one of several exchanges over Suarez's first couple of years as Mayor when he whined about not being respected by Commissioner Joe Carollo.
FUMIGATING CITY HALL - HOW TO GET RID OF JOE CAROLLO, ALEX DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA AND MANOLO REYES
Sometimes the evidence that exposes how a series of calamities came to pass can be easily and readily traced back to a single incident. The current shit show at Miami City Hall is one of those calamities that can be traced to the Sunday morning after Francis Suarez had been elected in Mayor in November 2017.
That Sunday morning Francis appeared on the Michael Putney Sunday morning talk show, and was asked whether he was going to join his father is supporting Alfie Leon in his runoff campaign against Joe Carollo for the vacant District 3 Commission seat.
There was no love lost between the Suarez family and Joe Carollo, and Xavier Suarez had wasted little time in declaring his support for Leon, when it became evident that Carollo failed to win the first round.
Instead of declaring that he would join his father in supporting Leon, Francis declared that he was going to stay neutral because he wanted to work with whoever got elected.
That decision would almost immediately start to haunt Suarez after Carollo won the runoff, and continued to color and define much of his administration's future which eventually led to this latest fiasco.
I say this because Suarez had won his election to mayor with 86% of the vote, and had hundreds of thousands of dollars left in his PAC that he could have used to bolster Leon's chances.
That morning he was the most popular politician in Miami-Dade County, and if he had declared that he was supporting Leon because he needed to make sure that he had commissioners who would work with him in moving the city forward, the odds are that his support, and his money could have swung the election to Leon.
He didn't, and Carollo went on to win the runoff by roughly 200 votes.
It didn't take long after Carollo moved into city hall that the "CRAZY" JOE CAROLLO from the past revealed that he had only gotten crazier and more dangerous as he set about turning District 3 into his personal fiefdom.
.I will forgo listing the long list of mean, vindictive and manipulative behavior that Carollo engaged in as he set about demonstrating that he intended to be the real power broker at city hall because you can go read all of those stopries for yourself: 2018, 2019, and most of 2020
And even though I spent considerable time writing about Carollo I was only able to detail only some of the many actions that revealed just how devious and dangerous Carollo had become since his last stint as an elected official to city employees, local business owners who he disagreed with, or who refused to pony up money as he set out early on the establishing that his office would operate as Pay For Play cash register.
For some, the worst exhibits of how crazy he'd become were his rants and personal attacks during commission meetings. (You can go to my 2018-2019 Archive to read those stories and watch those videos.)
Things only got worse after Carollo conspired with Alex Diaz de la Portilla to get him elected to the vacant District 1 Commission seat, vacated by Willie Gort, who after a long career of shuck and jive grifting received as a parting gift for his years of service as a pliable "team player" an appointment to the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission, thereby insuring that the history of that group continues to reflect their role as gatekeepers for the Family and Friends Plan.
THE EASIEST PEOPLE TO HUSTLE ARE THE ONES WHO FANCY THEMSELVES HUSTLERS
Francis Suarez has always had a thing about cops. When his father was Mayor, and received some death threats for his decisions in refusing to honor Nelson Mandela, Francis was essentially given his own personal police protection, and as told by men who were his school mates at the time, there was nothing that he enjoyed more than running his mouth and then running to those cops so that they could protect him from the school yard ass whipping that normally came with being a privileged little prick.
Even before he was elected, Mayor Suarez had arranged to have on-duty Miami police assigned to protect him 24/7. That benefit only increased after he became mayor and he had both SIS officers and Sgt-At-Arms providing him with the kind of personal protection that included blocking anyone from entering the men's bathroom in the lobby of city hall when the Mayor needed to piss and escorting him to private parties and family events.
All of that was possible because Suarez made sure even before he was elected that his personal choice for police chief would be Jorge Colina, who then supposedly so impressed Emilio "Colonel Klink" Gonzalez after he was appointed City Manager that the Klinker declared he didn't need to conduct a search to replace Chief Rudy Llanes .
Colina more or less fulfilled his obligations as being Suarez's sock puppet before deciding that perhaps the time had come to retire.
To replace Colina, a "search committee" was formed to conduct a national search, with insiders expecting that the final selection would be someone from inside the department.
Keeping to that script the search committee supposedly settled on Assistant Chief Manny Morales, a choice that Suarez, for whatever reason, was not happy with.
Full of himself as a budding national political figure, Suarez managed to bump into Art Acevedo at the same time that Art Acevedo was seeing the handwriting on the wall in Huston, and both Suarez and Acevedo, formed a mutual bond as each obviously tried to blow smoke up the other's ass.
Suarez ordered the ever pliable City Manager Art Noriega - himself selected and appointed as part of an agreement with Alex D Diaz de la Portilla after he was elected to the District 1 seat - to ignore the decision of the "search committee," and instead appoint Art Acevedo, going out of his way to praise Acevedo almost to the point of proclaiming his arrival in Miami as better than the second coming of the Baby Jesus.
It didn't take long however, before it became evident that Acevedo's habit of recklessly running his mouth as well as lack of knowledge about how the City of Miami really operates, as well as lacking the kind of detailed management skills that the really good Chief's of Police who make it onto the national stage have all insured that he would not be around long.
It was also evident that Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla - engaging in a little transactional fence mending, after months of school yard squabbling over whose dick was the biggest - seized on Acevedo's claim that Miami was run by the Cuban Mafia - which in reality is actually quite true as a useful description of who these grifters run the city - jumped at the opportunity to push him out the door at a time that it benefited Carollo the most - which in this case was a month before the November election where Carollo could use his antics and breast beating as the protector of the Cubans in the city.
And so it all came to pass in a series of shit show performances over the last couple weeks as his fellow commissioners stepped back and allowed Joe to be Joe: Crazy, vindictive, mendacious, yet weaving together a plausible case that Art Acevedo really didn't deserve to be the Chief of Police.
Carollo's antics, though rude, crude in the classic Carollo tradition of weaving a few facts into a tapestry of insane accusation and personal attacks were in this case bolstered by Acevedo's part behavior which were revealed in the below document, and which given the world we live in today, all but guarantees that no city can risk having a guy with this kind of background running their police department.
After the dust settles from all of this, the chances of Art Acevedo ever becoming the Chief of Police of a major American city again, are slim, none and Zippo.
YOU ARE INVITED FOR AN AFTERNOON BATTLE INVOLVING HAND GRANADES AT 3 PM
Art Acevedo's only way out of this situation, other than to slink out of town with his tail between his legs, is to show up at Miami City Hall this afternoon trailed by TV crews from as many of the cable TV networks as he can coax, and bring along a box of hand grenades that contain real, and damning inside information of what Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla have been up to and go after them with the same ferocity, if not more, than they went after him during the last two meetings.
He's got to walk into City Hall as a disgraced Chief of Police who got manhandled by two members of the Cuban political mafia and walk out as a fire breathing, no holds barred champion of fighting public corruption within police departments and municipal governments.
The big question is not only whether he's personally capable of doing this, but whether Commission Chairman Ken "Selfie Boy" Russell will give him free reign to do what he needs to do.
Russell has repeatedly shown himself to be a weak, ineffectual commission chairman when it's come to allowing people to go after Carollo the same way that Carollo has gone after them during public meetings.
If Russell needs to strap on a back brace and foot long dildo to bolster his courage to be able to tell Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla to shut up and let Acevedo speak if he shows up for battle, then he better go shopping before this afternoon's activities..
If he can do that, then maybe the show will be both entertaining and informative and let Acevedo walk out with dome dignity remaining.
If Russell knuckles under though, it's going to be a nasty one-sided beat down that Acevedo will look back for the rest of his life and realize that the worst professional mistake he ever made was coming to Miami.
The one thing that will quickly define just how serious Acevedo is will depend on whether he comes in with names, dates, and documents that detail just how badly Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla have been behaving behind closed doors, or whether he shows up and tries to get by by regurgitating the haphazard and largely ineffectual 8 page memo that I'm sure he was convinced to prepare as a fallback whistleblower bit of ass-covering protection.
Eleven years ago, then former Chief of Police Miguel Exposito tried to ward off being fired by claiming that his actions in reporting that Mayor Tomas Regalado tried to bribe him to resign represented a whistleblower action.
In fact, city employees filing whistleblower complaints as a way to try and protect themselves from getting fired is so common, that in the 3rd hour of the first season of the TV series I've been working on about political corruption in Miami, I have my Chief declare that he thinks he should put together a whistleblower complaint after he and his Deputy Chief are told by an Assistant State Attorney that contrary to their wishes, the State Attorney has found out that the Chief has been wearing a wire in an effort to entrap the Mayor (JULIO) into admitting that the payout that the City Manager keeps offering him to resign is actually a bribe. SALAZAR is an FDLE Agent handling the case.
While Acevedo has been left with limited options, Carollo has Captain Javier Ortiz, who earlier this week filed his own whistleblower lawsuit in response to the information that continues to surface about former Deputy Chief Papier's wife and her "running up over the curb and damaging her police SUV, as a perennial club in his bag of tricks.
I've been told that Acevedo, who as part of the tradition of agreeing to certain "things" with the Mayor as a condition of employment also has a few string left dangling that Carollo might have knowledge and access to. Carollo is a guy, who, regardless of his many faults, is still really skillful as getting his hands on damning information, and on knowning how to use that information to his advantage.
At the same time there are a lot of people who hate Carollo and Diaz de la Portilla, and have probably reached out to Acevedo with information of some of the sleazy stuff that they have been engaged in for the last couple years, some of it, including some of what Acevedo alleged in his 8 page memo, while sleazy and unethical, is not illegal per say, and that's where he has to be very careful.
Carollo can, and will whine like a baby if Acevedo makes a claim that he can not support with documents and/or witnesses, and once Carollo starts, the only way to shut his ass up will be to hit him between the eyes with a cattle prod because "Selfie Boy" Ken Russell, will fold like a napkin.
All in all, todays show could be more entertaining that anything else you'll find on TV.
If you go to City Hall, drink a lot of water, and if you stay home to watch it on TV make sure you have a lot of popcorn because I predict that the shit show could go late into the night.
It's Miami, Bitches.
OCTOBER 14, 2021
YOU ARE INVITED TO AN AFTERNOON OF HAND GRENADE THROWING AT CITY HALL THIS AFTERNOON.
MAY 19, 2022
IN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF FRANCIS SUAREZ HAS ONLY CLAIMED TO HAVE RECEIVED 4 NIGHTS OF FREE LODING IN KEY LARGO
AUGUST 19, 2021
OCTOBER 1, 2021
Photo credit: Pedro Portal/Miami Herald P