NOVEMBER 9, 2012


Last year, after Julio Robaina lost the election for Mayor of Miami-Dade County, a rumor spread through the community like wildfire that he would be arrested by the FBI on multiple charges having to do with the “private banking” scandal that had dogged his campaign.

It never happened. Robaina is alive and well, and continuing to enjoy life in Hialeah.

Now that David Rivera has lost his reelection bid, many are already beginning to claim that he too will be arrested for some of the allegations of wrong-doing that have dogged him for the last two years.

Don’t bet the house on it.

First, this is Miami, Bitches!, and you can’t put much faith in either the Miami-Dade State Attorney or the US Attorney for the Southern District of South Florida, both of whom have a record of refusing to to go after high profile politicians.

In fact, as bad as Fernandez-Rundle has been, Wifredo Ferrer, the US Attorney for the Southern District of South Florida, has a record that’s even worse when it comes to going after politicians.

Even after all the rumors of the FBI going hither and yon throughout Miami-Dade County over the last couple years looking for political corruption, name any local elected official indicted for a federal crime during the tenure of Wilfredo Ferrer ?

More than just a general reluctance to go after high profile politicians - especially Cuban politicians - Fernandez-Rundle’s refusal to go forward with prosecuting Rivera earlier this year was rumored to be based on the political fallout that such an indictment might have created for Marco Rubio.

It’s been inside-the-ballpark gossip for a while now that the ability of Rivera to evade arrest on the 52 Count indictment that Fernandez-Rundle’s office drafted in August of 2011, was based on either the open or implied threat that if he went down, he’d take his longtime pal Marco Rubio down with him.

In the May 2012, edition of The New Republic, writer Eliza Gray provided a detailed account of the relationship between David Rivera and Marco Rubio that ends with this observation about Rubio:

       “He is smart, articulate, and he’s going to make a

        tremendous U.S. Senator.  But there are worries that

        you are who you surround yourself with.”

It’s a given that you don’t get to the level of national politics that both Rubio and Rivera achieved without having the talents, abilities and drive that propelled them past the ranks of their lessor gifted contemporaries.

This doesn’t necessarily mean though that cream is the only thing that only rises to the top, because no matter how smart and hard working David Rivera was - and there’s no question that he was plenty smart and willing to work - it’s also evident that at his core, Rivera was and is, a classic corrupter.

There are people who do corrupt things, and then there are people who are corrupt.  I believe Rivera, based on the record of his activities and behavior, is definitely corrupt, just like I believe that Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff is corrupt.

Even from afar, Rivera clearly comes across as the kind of guy who, as a kid, would have been the one that, had you had smart parents, would have warned you he was someone to stay away from.

This, more than any of the specific allegations of wrong doing attributed to Rivera,  is what poses a problem for Marco Rubio.

You can’t be a close friend with guy like David Rivera for 20 years - like Rubio was - without getting sucked into his world of schemes and scams and being at the very least a willing bystander, if not a participant.  It’s just impossible.

Guys like Rivera don’t compartmentalize their lives.  They are who they are, and they do what they do, and for them it’s a 24 hour a day process that involves and includes everyone around them, most especially their “close friends.”

There is absolutely no way that in all the time that they spent together, including buying and sharing a house in Tallahassee during their time as state legislators, that Rubio would not have become aware of all the schemes and scams Rivera engaged in using campaign funds to cover his living expenses and most especially, the $1 million “marketing” contract from the Flagler Dog Track to promote casino gambling that Rivera arranged to go to his mother.

When you pull off a scheme that brazen, you got to brag about it, and  who better to brag and share with than your best pal, Marco Rubio. 

There often comes a time in everyone’s life - and those of you who are reading this think about your own lives - when you realize that someone who you’re close to poses a danger or threat to your future. It doesn’t, and often isn’t a physical threat, but it’s someone who you know is just someone who you’re better off not associating with anymore because their behavior has become too bizarre or self-destructive, or that what they’re doing just runs counter to your ethical values.

You just can’t hang around with someone who did all the things that Rivera has been accused of doing over the many years that he did them, and not understand the implications of Rubio’s refusal to distance himself from such a potential threat to his own political future.

Worse, it’s evident from Rubio’s own misuse of the one of the Republican Party credit cards issued to a handful of insiders that led to the current criminal case against State Republican Chairman Jim Greer, that he too, like his pal Rivera, was using political funds to cover personal living expenses.

Where do you think Rubio got the idea, and worse, the confidence to believe that he could get away with doing the same thing his pal was doing?

Earlier this year Rubio hosted a fund raiser for Rivera in Washington, that prompted a story on the website Politco, with this headline: David Rivera friendship risky for Marco Rubio.

In the article, Rubio portrayed his continued willingness to stand by Rivera as a rejection of Washington mores when it comes to distancing themselves from friends in trouble:

       “One of the things that’s startled me is that only in

       Washington are people expected to turn their backs

       on friends when things may not be going well for them,”

       Rubio told POLITICO. “That’s certainly not the way I

       want to operate.”

Loyalty, next to money, is the mother’s milk of politics, and it was certainly smart of Rubio to portray his willingness to stand by Rivera as a sign of such loyalty, but at the same time when your best friend is a Congressman who is so irresponsible as to have as a girlfriend/business partner a woman with a history of being a coke head who went on the lam several months ago, it should give a potential Vice Presidential candidate reason to consider the issue of loyalty in a different context.

You can’t ignore the fact that Rivera, based on the risky behavior he’s engaged in over the years, has been on one long glide to self-destruction for quite a while now.

The higher you go up the political food chain the more important judgment becomes.  Smart politicians recognize when it’s time to distance yourself from trouble, and Rubio’s refusal to recognize that the time to distance himself from Rivera had long past arrived ought to be of concern to folks who pay attention to those kinds of signs.

If you look closely at Rubio’s rise, the smart guys behind the curtain decided early on to invest heavily in the process of grooming him as a potential Vice Presidential candidate in 2012.

Yet Rubio was passed over by Mitt Romney, and it doesn’t appear to have even been a close call.


Hindsight is 20-20, but given the evidence of what happened in the election, and the impact that the Hispanic vote had on the outcome, it makes you wonder whether the whispers and speculation about his relationship with Rivera has already cast a shadow on his future - not withstanding the much ballyhooed trumpeting now emerging of his being among the top tier of Presidential candidates for 2016.

For Rivera, his loss on Tuesday is the first time in his adult life that he’s not only adrift without a job, but worse, he’s without a title that provides him with an identity and a sense of place in the universe. I suspect that he feels that loss more than he does the money.

Rivera has already demonstrated that he’s having a hard time accepting the reality of losing the election by claiming  that his loss was based, as the Miami Herald reports, on “an unexpected wave of support for President Barack Obama,” and not on anything having to do with 2 years worth of bad press over his financial activities.

If he were to be arrested tomorrow, how would he react? Would he accept any responsibility that what was happening was his fault, or would he blame his predicament on the failure of his “friends” not doing enough to keep the prosecutors from arresting him?

Remember, in David Rivera’s world as an insider, he knows all about how the real decisions are often made as to who gets arrested and who doesn’t, especially in Miami.

So as the election hoopla dies down, settle back and let’s see how this all plays out, because the outcome could have implications way beyond whether one corrupt politician get’s his comeuppance.

It’s Miami, Bitches!


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