SEPTEMBER 29, 2013


Abuse of power takes many forms.  Elected officials have multiple ways and opportunities to take advantage of their offices, whether it be a Congressman or US Senator who has access to secret information that can be turned into a quick windfall by buying stock in a company that they’ve learned secret information about, or at the municipal level by getting free tickets to events or free City-Wide Parking Decals for their personal cars.

At almost every level of municipal government in Miami-Dade County, examples can be found with little or no effort that show the of abuse of power, misuse of public money, or downright graft and corruption by elected and appointed officials. Once discovered, most of the news media yawns and refuses to report on it.  Worse, the elected officials one would expect to deal with it, like the Ethics Commission can’t even obey the laws themselves, so everyone ends up laughing and shrugging their shoulders.

The City of Miami is among the worst places when it comes to examples of Abuse Of Power.  It’s always been a problem in Miami, but under the Regalado administration, the abuses have become more flagrant, and they often start at the very top.

Luis Cabrera was a Lieutenant on the Miami Police Department in 2009. During Tomas Regalado’s campaign for Mayor that year, Luis started telling his fellow officers that if Regalado became Mayor, he was going to get a big promotion. Regalado became Mayor, and Cabrera went from the rank of Lieutenant to the 2nd highest position in the department: Deputy Chief of Police.

Cabrera was emotionally unsuited to be Deputy Chief of Police. It took approximately 6-7 months for Chief Miguel Exposito - who obviously had agreed to appoint Cabrera as his Deputy as one of the quid-pro-quo’s he agreed to in order to become Chief - to conclude that he had had enough of Cabrera’s antics and called him into his office, where in an incident that has become legend in the department took place. The Chief and Cabrera got into an argument that resulted in Exposito expelling Cabrera from the department. Cabrera had what many described was an emotional breakdown, and had to be escorted out of the building.

Not surprisingly, Exposito couldn’t just fire Cabrera because of his family relationship with Regalado - he is his “Godson,” - so he had to go to the Mayor and negotiate a deal to remove Cabrera from the police department. The deal that was struck was that Cabrera would be transferred from the police department and made an Acting Assistant City Manager.

As part of a series of emails that I obtained from that time, I discovered that Cabrera had originally agreed to be rolled back to his civil service rank of Lieutenant.  That did not happen, because shortly after agreeing to this, Cabrera, like a lot of other city employees learned that the the provisions for entering the DROP (Differed Retirement Option Program,) were going to be changed in a negative way to accommodate the Financial Urgency requirements the city was imposing, and he decided to enter the DROP.

Although he was no longer the Deputy Chief of Police, Cabrera, contrary to the original deal continued to be carried on the police department payroll and Table Of Organization as the Deputy Chief of Police, even though he didn’t do the work of the Deputy Chief of Police. That job has remained vacant since he left police headquarters in October, 2010.

Even after Exposito was himself fired by the City Commission in September of 2011, Cabrera was not allowed to  return to the police department because it is believed that Chief Orosa refuses to allow Cabrera to return to the police department because of his instability, and for the betterment of the department.

Financially, as I wrote earlier this year,  deciding to enter the DROP was a windfall for Cabrera. Between his $161,254.08 pay as the Deputy Chief of Police, and the pension payments being made to his DROP account, Cabrera has been collecting a total of $299,153.66 in salary and pension annually, and when he retires in 2017, he will walk out with a one time payment of $1,000,083.84, plus a lifetime pension estimated to be around $137,899.54.

So, the long-suffering taxpayers of Miami are paying for a Deputy Chief of Police, who really isn’t the Deputy Chief of Police, and the police department is deprived of a real person doing the job of Deputy Chief of Police because Tomas Regalado, the Mayor, uses the power of his office to protect Cabrera by demanding that the City Manager, the Chief of Police an the members of the Miami City Commission turn a blind eye to this charade. 

The issue of Luis Cabrera being allowed to screw the system and the taxpayers through this egregious abuse of power by the Mayor, would on it’s own be the kind of story that in many American cities would warrant repeated front page stories and strongly worded editorials until the City Manager and the City Commission put an end this rip off of the taxpayers, and the installation of a real Deputy Chief of Police.

But, this is Miami, and obviously nobody, including the news media gives a shit about one more example of how the Regalado gang is scamming the system.  The story only gets really better - or worse - from here. 


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