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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

SEPTEMBER 21, 2012

WHO REALLY HAD THE LEASE ON GROVE KEY MARINA, AND DID IT REQUIRE THAT PROPERTY TAXES BE PAID?
BIOYA
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What if the original 1976 contract between the City of Miami and Spencer Meredith - a new name in this story -  that Scott Wessel City Attorney Julie Bru, and others use to justify their claim that that contract did not include a provision for the lessee to pay property taxes, had been amended in 1979 to change that provision, making the portion of the property where the “Snack Shack” was located subject to those tax payments?


What if there was another contract between Spencer Meredith and Scott Wessel that spells out that when Wessel took over the management of the “Snack Shop,” which became Scotty’s Landing, that that contract, dated April 19, 1991, stipulated that Scott Wessel would be responsible for paying the ad valorem taxes on that property?


And what if, as of today, the City of Miami either does not have, or has ever provided as part of any public records request, a copy of any contract - old, amended or new - that starts after the expiration of the original 1976/1979 contract between the City and Spencer Meredith expired, that makes Scott Wessel the legitimate lease holder?


Buckle up, folks, because I got the documents to support those claims.


THE MISSING CONTRACT DOCUMENTS


First, the 1979, addendum to the original 1976 contract between the City of Miami and Spencer Meredith. 


Spencer Meredith had acquired the lease to operate Grove Key Marina in 1976.  Sometime between 1976 and 1979, he had sub-leased the portion of the property where Scotty’s Landing now sits to a company called Grove Restaurant, Limited, which he also owned. 


In turn, he and the City agreed to an Addendum that spells out very clearly that Grove Key Marina - “or its sublessee” - would be responsible for the ad valorem taxes on that portion of the property.


(Copies of all of the document cited in this story at at the bottom.)

In 1991, Scott Wessel came along and did a deal with Meredith to take over the operation of the “Snack Shack”, which soon became known as Scotty’s Landing. The provision originally established in the 1979 Addendum that whoever operated that restaurant would be subject to property taxes became Scott Wessel’s responsibility.


Here is the portion of the contract between his corporation SLI (Scotty’s Landing Inc.), and GKM (Grove Key Marina, Inc.), executed on April 19, 1991.

A search of the Florida Secretary of State’s corporate documents going back to 1990 - which is when it appears the State first started keeping digital corporate records - reveals that Spencer Meredith, who got the original lease from the City in 1976, never had a corporation named Grove Key Marina, Inc., registered in Florida from 1990 forward to today. 


He did have a corporation called Bayshore Marine, Inc., that existed between 1990 - 1992, before that corporation then became inactive, but he’s never had a corporation named Grove Key Marina, Inc., which is kind of important because the lease with the City of Miami, identified Grove Key Marina, Inc. being the lease holder.


Scott Wessel and his wife first incorporated Grove Key Marina in 2010, and then made it into an LLC this year.


In May of 2012, Wessel and his wife trademarked Scotty’s Landing.


Confused?  Join the club.


Since there no online corporate records that any of these people owned or operated under the corporate name Grove Key Marina until 2010, then there is a question as to who was the legitimate holder of the lease for the Grove Key Marina property during all those years?


What appears to be the case - and this is just pure conjecture - is that sometime after 1991 when Meredith and Wessel entered into their first agreement, they did another side deal that either resulted in Spencer Meredith being bought out, or that Wessel, for an extended period of time that lasted until this summer, became the name and face for Grove Key Marina, while Meredith continued to be the “lease holder,” and collected payments from Wessel.


But from a legal point of view, for a period of 20 years the City had a deal with a non-existent corporation, and even today, there is no explanation of when Spencer Meredith quit being the “lease holder,” and Scott Wessel took his place, and should that change have prompted a new RFP being issued for the management of that property?


The only thing for certain is that as a result of all of this confusion, the City and the taxpayers were left holding the bag for over $2.9 million in unpaid ad valorem taxes by Spencer Meredith and Scott Wessel.


THE CLAIM OF IGNORANCE IS NOT A DEFENSE, AS COMMISSIONER “ETHICS” WOULD SAY


The discovery of the 1991 contract between Meredith and Wessel establishes unequivocally that Wessel knew as early as 1991 that he was at least responsible for the ad valorem taxes for the portion of the property that contained the “Snack Shack.”


In turn, this contract, as well as the 1979 Addendum between the City and Spencer Meredith points to the recognition that the court cases that started dealing with the for profit use of public property had been recognized by the City as a potential problem, and that this contract addendum was a first step in dealing with that issue.


In light of this information, you really have to ask how Scott Wessel could go for all of those years and not even pay the property taxes on the Scotty’s Landing portion of the Grove Key Marina property?


Furthermore, how could the City of Miami have allowed Scott Wessel and/or Grove Key Marina to go all those years without paying these taxes if it didn’t involve some sort of collusion between Wessel and unknown individuals in the City that sanctioned what was a clear cut case of tax evasion.


During this time, all the other properties that the City owned and leased along that section of waterfront had provisions that required them to pay ad valorem taxes, which they did.


I contend that his could nor have happened either by chance or happenstance!


FOLLOW THE MONEY


The records of the Miami-Dade tax collector indicates that Scott Wessel and Grove Key Marina today owe an estimated $2.9 million in property taxes.


That’s a lot of money!  Where did that money go to?


This is no small question.  $2.9 million is a sizable windfall for any business, and since Wessel has demonstrated not only a willingness to evade paying taxes, but also a willingness to try and evade paying at least $333,492.00 in shared profits from fuel sold at the marina over a 5 year period, I think that there is enough probable cause for the City or the County to demand that a complete forensic auditing of Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing’s books be undertaken immediately!


If you’re willing to evade paying $2.9 million in taxes, and the politicians and public officials responsible for making you pay those taxes don’t make you do so, then something fishy has to have been happening behind the scenes.


Preferably, if possible, the County should undertake this audit, because I don’t believe that you can’t trust the City’s new Independent Auditor to do the job.


I hate to say it, but the current Auditor hasn’t demonstrated any evidence that he’s doing much more than collecting a pay check, and given several examples of corruption that I’ve been provided that his office is ignoring, I have little faith in that office doing anything other than what certain City Commissioners and the Mayor tell him to do. 


No, what’s needed is a complete top to bottom forensic audit of the Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing’s books, because anybody who operates on the principle of BIOYA - BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS - as Scott Wessel seems to have done now for a long time, deserves to have a junk yard dog auditor crawl up his ass and see what he’s got stashed where the sun don’t shine.


BIOYA


I don’t know Scott Wessel personally, but folks who do tell me he’s somewhat of a jokester with an attitude, and he seems to have had a good time over the years expressing that attitude on the receipts issued by Scotty’s, where, when you buy something, you’ll get a receipt that includes the acronym, BIOYA, which stand for BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS.

Blow It Out Your Ass!  That’s pretty much what Scott Wessel has been telling everyone by refusing to pay Grove Key Marina’s  property taxes all these years.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

THE ORIGINAL 1976 CONTRACT

THE 1979 ADDENDUM TO THE CONTRACT

THE 1991 SNACK SHACK CONTRACT

As for my third claim that there has never been a contract between the City of Miami and Scott Wessel until the temporary Revocable License that they gave him this summer, this is really interesting because prior to 2010, there are also no corporate records as to a corporation named Grove Key Marina, Inc., being registered in Florida.


But, in order to understand this better, here is a recital of the transactions between the City and “Grove Key Marina,” from 1977, thru June 22, 2012, that was included in the recent “Revocable Permit that the City entered into with Scott Wessel on June 28th.

UPDATE

Well, it seems that the Miami Herald is reporting that Scott Wessel sued the County Tax Collector today to try and stop him from shutting him down unless he agrees to pony up the $2.5 million in back taxes that he owes.


I wonder how the judge will rule once he sees the copies of the documents I’ve posted below.


It’s Miami, Bitches!