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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

SEPTEMBER 16, 2013

WHEN A BIG TIME LAWYER WHO MANAGED TO HELP AL GORE LOSE THE PRESIDENCY SHOWED UP TO DEFEND FRANK CAROLLO AT AN ETHICS HEARING IN MIAMI,  THE CONDUCTOR ON THE CRAZY 
TRAIN STARTED PASSING OUT THE PARTY HATS

The problem with the Chief’s testimony above is that Kuehne led him into acknowledging that Carollo had “probably” mentioned something about the fear of being set up, when in fact not only did that never happen, but that Kuehne knew that because he was present when the Chief was deposed last February where he was asked if the Commissioner had ever mentioned anything to him about his fear of a possible set-up.


Here is the Chief’s sworn testimony at the deposition.

The willingness of the Chief to go along with being led into agreeing that the Commissioner had “probably” mentioned a set-up was not only bullshit, but supports the belief that this entire claims was nothing other than an attempt to fabricate an after-the-fact defense.


AN HONEST COP


In comparison, the appearance of Officer John Blackerby, the officer who stopped the Commissioner, provides an appreciation of what honest folks expect in a cop.


I had never met or talked to Officer Blackerby before he showed up to testify at the hearing, although I had talked to other cops about him, and everyone said that this was a good cop, an honest cop, and that if the force had more folks like him, the Miami Police Department wouldn’t be as screwed up as it is today.


Therefore, I feel bad, because I was told that Blackerby is currently at the top of the promotion list for Sergeant, and after his testimony at the hearing I suspect that he won’t be promoted before the list expires at the end of the year.


Now, for those of you who haven’t followed this story from the time that I filed my complaint with the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission, or read about it or watched it on TV last week, here’s the really short version.  You can read my complaint HERE.


On August 12, 2012, Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo was pulled over for a traffic violation, and when the officer went back to his car to run his tag and driver’s license, the Commissioner called the Chief of Police.


This is the actual allegation I made in my complaint: “I have been told that the Commissioner reached out to someone high up in the administration of the Miami Police department to save him from receiving a traffic ticket.”


There are two parts to that allegation. Part one that he reached out to someone high in the Police Department.  That fact has now been established. Carollo reached out to the Chief himself,  and that after he called, the Chief engaged in several an overt acts in response to that call.


Part two, is that the call was made to save him from a traffic ticket. I could argue that the answer is that he succeeded  in that goal too because officer issued him a warning, rather than a ticket.


But it’s more complicated than that.  Nobody, even a moron like Chief Orosa would just tell one of his aides to tell the police officer not to issue a ticket to Carollo.


And while that’s true, the fact remains that the Chief of Police did interject himself into this incident, first by requesting that one of his aides have Dispatch put out a call for the officer involved in the traffic stop to call his office, and then by calling Commander Richard Gentry, the Coconut Grove Commander and asking him to check out what was happening with the Commissioner and this traffic stop.


That chain of actions, precipitated by Carollo’s phone call prompted Officer Blackerby at the end of his testimony to admit:

It took courage for Blackerby to admit this, because he could have just as easily denied that having the Chief and the District Commander involve themselves in this case as they did, had any impact on his decision.


ABUSE OF POWER


Contrary to the arguments raised by Carollo’s lawyer, establishing an abuse of power complaint doesn’t require that the Chief of Police had to personally, or through a subordinate ORDER Officer Blackerby not to write Commissioner Carollo a traffic ticket.


The abuse of power came when Carollo, in his official capacity as a member of the Miami City Commission called the Chief of Police after he had been stopped for a traffic violation.  The abuse power is front loaded, and takes place when the Commissioner made his call.


That act alone constitutes an abuse of power, because, by virtue of his office, he was in a position to not only possess the Chief of Police’s personal cell phone number, but by virtue of being a City Commissioner he knew that the Chief would talk to him immediately, and that by virtue of his position he did not have to ask directly for a favor in order to receive one.


In addition, well beyond the issue of the traffic ticket, the call to the Chief represented a violation of the City Charter, and it was the Chief’s admission under oath at the hearing that this activity - having Commissioners call him and ask for things -  goes on all the time between him and the members of the  City Commission.


Parenthetically, that was the basis for the ethics complaint that I filed against the City Manager, all 5 members of the City Commission and the Chief of police last week.


Because the phone call dealt directly with Carollo being stopped by one of the Chief’s police officers, and did not have anything to do with city policy or the management of the police department - although calling the Chief on either of those issues would have also constituted a violation of the City Charter - the fact that according to the Chief, the Commissioner asked him to find out, “What’s going on,” regarding the traffic stop, was a prima facie example of an Carollo seeking the Chief’s involvement in a routine traffic stop.


Very few citizens, other than members of the City Commission could call the Chief in a similar situation and ask him to find out, “What’’s going on?,” and have the Chief respond the way he did.


Commissioner Carollo already knew what was happening when he called the Chief.  He was after all the driver of the car, and if he didn’t know that he had illegally passed a City truck that was being used to pass out new garbage cans by crossing over a Double Yellow LIne, then he should be required to retake his driver’s license exam.


The Chief in turn, engaged in two overt acts in response to this call, first by asking one of his aides to have Dispatch hail the officer on an open channel and ask him to call in to the Chief’s office, and then to contact Commander Richard Gentry and ask him to find out what was going on.


Neither the Chief of Police nor Commander Gentry needed to directly order or tell Officer Blackerby not to write a ticket. Their mere presence cast a shadow on the process, and that shadow was initiated by the Commissioner’s illegal phone call.


So, that’s where we are.  I filed this complaint in August of 2012.  The depositions in this case were done - at least the Chief’s’, and I would suspect that Officer Blackerby’s was done before the Chief’s - last February, and then it took 7 more months to get to the 1st hearing.


No speedy justice with these folks.


When the time ran out at the hearing on September 3rd, the decision was made to schedule another hearing to get Commissioner Carollo’s testimony under oath.


I suspected then that given that the Commissioner is up for reelection everyone involved would conveniently find it impossible to settle on a date before the election to spare him any further embarrassment. That was confirmed at the September 12th Commission meeting.


At the very earliest, the next hearing date will not be until December or January of next year, if not later.  I’m willing to bet a dollar to a donut, that it will probably be long past that date, if ever, when this case finally gets settled.


This is how the Ethics game gets played in Miami-Dade County, and why what I did almost 40 years ago was the only thing that Frank Carollo wanted to talk to the news media about after the hearing adjourned.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

It should come as no surprise that at the regular meeting of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission last week, Mr. Michael Murawski, the Commission’s Advocate told the Chairman before the meeting started that they - meaning I guess, himself and Frank Carollo’s attorney - had not settled on a date for the continuation of Carollo’s ethics hearing, and that it wouldn’t happen before the election.


Well, no shit Sherlock.  After the pounding that he took in the media after the first day of the hearing, we might not see a hearing date set for another year, if ever. 


But, before, and until that day arrives, we’ve got the first day of the hearing to write about, and it was indeed a special day.


FRANK CAROLLO’S CRAZY PAST


It’s often said that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.


Last week, I recounted what happened at the beginning of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission hearing on my complaint against Frank Carollo, when I discovered that Frank and his lawyer were planning on trying to kill the messenger instead of the message.


Their argument, raised by Mr. Benjamin Kuehne, Carollo’s lawyer, was about getting the Ethics Commission to let him  talk about my past as a bank robber, because in his words, “We believe that at the appropriate time if any impeachment or background information on the complainant is appropriate it should be allowed.”


I wouldn’t argue with that if my background of robbing banks almost 40 years ago was relevant to my filing an ethics complaint against a City Commissioner for something he did last year. But it’s not.


I might even be willing to go along with this attempt at misdirection if the same standard was applied to Commissioner Carollo. Since he is the defendant in this case, his past should be as available for review and inspection as mine is.


Unfortunately, though I’m the complainant in this case I’m not allowed to be represented by counsel, defend myself, or allowed to challenge Carollo and Kuehne in any way if they attack me.  


The operation of the Ethics Commission is pretty much a stacked deck, that favors the defendant, and screws the plaintiff - or complainant.


People who file ethics complaints are not notified of hearing dates, nor are they allowed to attend the Probable Cause hearing on their case, even if by chance they manage to find out when it is, nor are they allowed to speak during open session when their case comes up before the Commission.


It’s about as Kangaroo Court a process as you can find in a supposedly American system of justice, but then again this process was created by politicians as a way to provide cover for their fellow politicians caught with their weenie in a zipper.


So, while Mr. Kuehne and Commissioner Carollo can pretty much say anything they want to about me, thanks to the ruling made by the Commission who went out of their way to violate the Sunshine Law in order to keep secret their discussion on the Motion of Limine before they ruled against it, I am powerless to defend myself, or challenge their comments, no matter how prejudicial they might be.


Given the behavior of the Commission and Mr. Murawski when dealing with some of my previous complaints, as well as this latest incident it’s pretty obvious that I can’t expect any of those fine folks to look out for my interests.


So what’s a guy like me left to do?


Simple. Since Carollo’s lawyer wants to talk about my past, let me talk about Frankie’s past here, where a lot more people can find out about it.


In 2009, the Miami New Times ran a story about Frank Carollo back in the day when he was a cop with the Miami Police Department.


Here is the first half of that story:

What’s the significance of this story to the current ethics case? Frank Carollo doesn’t have a problem lying to cops in an effort to get out of trouble. 


That’s no small piece of news, because this whole case is based on people telling the truth. We’ve not had an opportunity to hear Frank Carollo’s testimony about this incident, but based on what his lawyer has said, and on the revelations found in Police Chief Orosa’s sworn deposition and testimony at the hearing, it appears that Frank is trying to argue his way out of this mess by claiming that he was in fear of being setup by members of the Miami Police Department - specifically the Fraternal Order of Police - for his refusal to vote for a tax increase.


We’re going to get to that just below, but first to appreciate just what kind of crazy town Miami is, Carollo’s lawyer, Mr. Benjamin Kuehne not that many years ago found himself in trouble with the US Justice Department when in 2008 the Bush administration indicted him for money laundering for, ”reviewing and vouching for the legitimacy of payments made by a Columbian citizen Fabio Ochoa to attorney Roy Black for representation in Miami for drug trafficking charges.”


This Roy Black is the same Roy Black, whose ex-wife beat and chased Frank Carollo down the hallway of her condo after he broke in and caught her with another lover. 


How’s that for 2 Degrees of Separation?


In November of 2009, the Obama administration dropped the charges against Kuehne.


You just cannot make this stuff up! And people wonder why Miami is at the top of almost every list when it come to places where crazy shit happens.


IT’S CALLED CALLING YOUR CASE IN


Now, I’m a firm believe that everyone is entitled to the best defense that they can afford, and certainly Frank Carollo must be spending a lot to have the illustrious Mr. Kuehne represent him.


But I got to wonder whether Frankie is getting his money’s worth after watching Kuehne at work.


On several occasions Kuehne, in an attempt to try and explain or justify Carollo’s presence behind the City truck that was passing out the new garbage bins, stated that Miami had a “Commission” form of government, and at one point it was stated that Frank was actually following the truck as part of his responsibility as the Commissioner who was in charge of program overseeing the passing out of these new garbage bins.


Here is a definition of what constitutes a Commission form of government from the League of Cities website.

CRESPO V. CAROLLO

There are significant differences between a Council and Council-Manager form of government, not the least of which is that contrary to the claims made, Commissioner Carollo had no official responsibility to oversee the passing out of these garbage bins, and if lawyer Kuehne really doesn’t know what form of government his client is a member of, it’s no wonder that Al Gore got his clocked cleaned in Florida’s courts.


IT GETS BETTER: KUEHNE TRIED TO CLAIM THE TRAFFIC STOP WAS A CONSPIRACY TO SET FRANK CAROLLO UP BY THE FOP FOR NOT VOTING TO RAISE TAXES


Let’s face facts. Anybody whose spent even a little time with Commissioner Frank Carollo realizes that he exhibits overt symptoms that might lead you to believe he’s not wrapped all that tight.


Therefore it’s hard to determine whether besides calling me names, that the other leg of his defense against the charge that he abused the power of his office by calling the Chief of Police was because he believed that when he was stopped for a traffic violation it might have been part of some conspiracy to set him up by members of the Miami Police Fraternal Order of Police for his refusing to support an increase in the millage rate at a July 2012 City Commission meeting is hard to follow.


Now, if Carollo had called the Chief claiming that he thought he was being stopped as a prelude to his being drugged, having a dead, underage Coke Whore planted in his car along with a couple rocks of Crack Cocaine, and all of this was going to happen because of some nefarious conspiracy involving Fidel Castro and the Cuban Mafia, that would have been a lot more believable than his claim that after he committed a real and legitimate traffic violation, he was stopped because some cops in the Fraternal Order of Police wanted to set him up for his refusal to vote for an increase in the tax millage rate.


This is Miami, but even in this town you pretty much got to be bat-shit crazy to really think that cops are going to engage in a conspiracy to setup a a City Commissioner because he didn’t vote to increase taxes. Even Tea Party nut-cases wouldn’t believe something that bizarre.


So, while anything might be possible, the probability that this claim was anything other than a fabricated, after-the-fact creation went off the tracks when it came time for Kuehne to cross-examine Chief Manny Orosa on the call he received from Carollo.


Pay attention to how the Chief tries to support Kuehne’s leading question by first agreeing with Kuehne that Carollo “probably” mentioned his concern about being set-up, and then went on to bolster Carollo possible fear of the FOP by discussing their differences over raising the millage to pay for more police officers.

The City of Miami does NOT operate as a Commission form of government. It operates as a Council-Manager form of government, or more accurately a Commissioner-Manager form of government.

THE OFFICIAL AUDIO RECORDING OF THE SEPTEMBER 3, 2013, ETHICS HEARING IN THE CASE OF 
CRESPO V. CAROLLO
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