HOMEWEBSITE.html
SERIESCRESPOGRAM_SERIES_-_MASTER.html
LINKS2012_LINKS.html
2012 ARCHIVES2012_ARCHIVES.html
DOCUMENTSDOCUMENTS.html
CONTACT ME2012_CONTACT_INFO.html
2011 ARCHIVES2012_ARCHIVES.html
CRESPOGRAM REPORT

MAY 4, 2012

UNTIL YOU READ THE STORY
DON’T PLAY THE VIDEO

On March 22nd, I sent His Ignorance, the Mayor, a public records request for documents having to do with a trip he had taken to Peru.  I had read about the trip in a story that Chuck Rabin of the Herald had written covering events at a City Commission meeting where the last sentence of the story said:


          “Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was absent from

          Thursday’s meeting.  He’s on a business trip to Peru

          paid for by the Latin Builders Association.”


The response I got from the Mayor was a copy of the agenda of the meetings held in Peru that was prepared by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.  That was it.


Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Mayor, perhaps in an effort to get ahead of any possible ethics complaint on my part, had written a letter  on March 27th, asking for an opinion from the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission on whether he had to report the expenses of the trip as a gift, and made the claim that: “My expenses were covered by the organizers of the trip.


Here is that letter.

On April 17th, unaware of the above letter, and not having received any documents from the Mayor about the receipts associated with the trip, I filed an Ethics Complaint against him with my pals at the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission.


The basis of my complaint was that Regalado in October of last year had made a similar request from the Ethics Commission regarding a trip he had been offered to Spain.


On that occasion, Robert Meyers, the former Executive Director, and Karl Ross, one of the Ethics investigators had told Regalado that he had to report such trips as gifts. 


Here is a copy of an email that explained the whole thing.

On April 23rd, I showed up at the Ethics Commission’s regular meeting wearing bells on my shoes and carrying my little video camera.  Given my popularity in some circles, and the pleasure I derive at being able to spread happiness and joy whenever I show up at events with my new best pals, I’ve started wearing real bells on my shoes as a way to demonstrate that happiness.


When I looked over the agenda, I was surprised to find the following item listed:

I was, to put it mildly, taken aback because this item - although not referencing my ethics complaint - appeared to be a round-about effort to make my complaint moot.


I really got pissed when I heard both the attorney for the Ethics Commission and Executive Director, Joe Centorino, claim that Regalado’s trip had been paid for by an “organization” that had supposedly donated the money to the city, and that the city then covered Regalado’s expenses.


I was pissed because that information flew in the face of my attempts to get documents on who paid for the trip. How, I wondered, could these people have information that I had been told didn’t exist.


You can see the whole exchange on the video below.  But don’t go there yet.


When I got home that afternoon I fired off a letter to His Ignorance, with an even more detailed request for documents based on  what I had learned at the meeting.


  Here’s that email.

As usual with His Ignorance, he refused to respond to my email.


On April 30th, I wrote him again, and then on the morning of  May 2nd, I wrote him one last time and started filing in the blanks of my standard Public Records lawsuit.


At 2:50 PM, I got the following response to my request from Assistant City Attorney Victoria Mendez, the suck-up who’s lurking in the wings to become the next City Attorney.

I guess Centorino, with his 30 plus years of government experience figured that just because the Council was named the Mayor’s International Council didn’t mean that it probably wasn’t being run by Billy Bob Jerkoff, from under some bridge along the Miami River, and not associated with either the City or the Mayor’s office.


The Council was actually created by “Code Section 2-921, (Ordinances 13147 (3-11-2010), 12386,125230, 12743), Code Sec. 2-881.” It is an official board of the City of Miami:


        “The council shall consist of 15 members who shall

        serve as set forth herein. All members, shall serve

        without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for

        necessary expenses incurred in official duties. The

        governing body shall consist of: (1) The mayor shall

        serve as chairperson of the council and shall serve in

        accordance with the provisions of section 2-35 or until

        the mayor leaves office; (2) Seven individuals appointed

        by the mayor who shall serve for a term of one year or

        until the mayor leaves office, whichever occurs first;

        and (3) Seven individuals appointed by the city

        commission who shall serve for a term of four years,

        staggered with four individuals whose terms expire in

        2005 and three in 2006.”


The current board members are: William Alexander, Marleine Bastien. Frank Carollo, Joe Chi, Jose Keichi Fuentes, Carmenza Jaramillo, Barry Johnson, Julian Linarea, Al Maloof, Art Noguera, Eduardo Padron, Armando Rodriquez, Marianne Salazar and Silvia Wong.  The Mayor is the Chairman, and the Executive Director is Isabel De Quesada who works in the Mayor’s office.


The most obvious ringer in the crowd is Armando Rodriquez, who the Mayor AND Raquel Regalado tried so hard to throw under the bus as the one most responsible for the campaign accounting problems, and who now works for Angel Zayon in the Communications Department.


You really got to wonder why someone who the Regalado’s painted as incompetent, and whose a mid-level city employee would be on this public board. Maybe he’s got pictures of Regalado with the chickens.


SO HERE’S THE DEAL LUCILLE


So here’s what I think is really going on.


Regalado who is notoriously paranoid and secretive, especially about anything having to do with his going out of the country, perhaps given the rumors about his meetings with Cuban intelligence agents in the past, hates to to reveal information - especially to me.


So, upon getting these bogus legal opinions about not having to report these trips as gifts on a quarterly FORM 9  - and the odds are that Julie Bru has provided him in the past with her bullshit, useless legal opinions on this issue too - he turns around and uses that to deny the existence of any documents associated with these trips, and tells nitwits like Victoria Mendez to tell me that there are no public records, purposely conflating two separate and independent issues. 


The documents, whether they be invoices, copies of airline tickets, hotel bills, meal receipts, emails, schedules or any and all other documents associated with these trips ARE public records, irrespective of whether these trips are reported as “gifts” or not, and if the Latin Builders Association did give the Mayor’s International Council a donation which the Council then used to pay for the trip then ALL of the documents associated with that “donation” ARE public records as well.


But, because ass kissers like Victoria Mendez and Julie Bru - who know better - each have personal agendas that supersede their obligation to responsibility to uphold the law, I get stupid emails telling me that there are “no records responsive to my request.”


As an example of the nitwit level of Victoria Mendez, for several months last summer she misled and stonewalled me when I was trying to get copies of the checks that the FDLE had requested from Regalado, before admitting that since the checks were part of the campaign she didn’t have any business being involved in the issue to begin with.


Had the Mayor actually gone to Peru on the taxpayer’s dime I would have never questioned his need to report the trip on a FORM 9.


But he didn’t. From all indications, he went on the dime of the Latin Builders Association.


So I believe, and lawyers that I’ve talked with also believe that contrary to Joe Centorino’s letter absolving Regalado of any responsibility to report the trip as a gift, the Ethics Commission opinion last year was right call.


If Regalado had gone to Spain on a trip paid for by an organization not associated with the City he would have had to report it as a gift, even though it was clear that he was going in his official capacity as the Mayor of Miami, and not as Papi Chulo.


The obvious ruse of supposedly having the Latin Builders Association donate the money for the trip to the Mayor’s International Council - if that is what turns out happened - and then having the Council pay for the trip is little more than a money laundering operation, and just one step removed from the old days when bags of hundred dollars bills were distributed around City Hall.


And the real question that begs an answer is, why the Latin Builders Association?  What’s up with them being so generous in giving Regalado money to to go Peru?  Why didn’t he just spend money from his personal city expense account for the trip?


After almost 2 years of watching Regalado in action, the one thing that is almost guaranteed with all of his “deals” is that there’s always shit in the game.


In this case the whole deal is absolute bullshit! 


The notion that the Mayor of Miami can fly around the world to Peru, or Taiwan, or Butt Fuck wherever, and never reveal either the costs or what occurs during these trips by using phony legal opinions by ass kissers that are then used as the legal justification to shield access to legitimate public records is just another indication of just how corrupt his behavior has become.


But as corrupt as Regalado has become, the ultimate fault lies not with him, but with people like Julie Bru, Victoria Mendez and Joe Centorino.


They are the enablers.  They are the ones who put the lipstick on the pig.


As I wrote to Centorino when he told me to go file a public records request with the Mayor’s International Council:


       “My story will be published Friday, because if anything,

        this latest letter you sent me only underscores that he

        tried to blow smoke up you ass and you all spread your

        cheeks to make it easier for him to do so.”


It will be really interesting to see how the Ethics Commission now handles my complaint about this trip at the end of the month.


It’s Miami, Bitches!


HERE’S THE VIDEO

PAGE LINK - COPY AND PASTE

Copy the link below, and it will be a permanent link to this page that you can post on Facebook, or anywhere else.

The letter she referenced is the below letter that Joe Centorino wasted no time in writing to respond  to Regalado’s request for an opinion about reporting the expenses of his Peru trip.


The request and response took less than 48 hours. Centorino failed to mention this letter or its contents during the Commission meeting, although he subsequently claimed the letter and the information was a public record.  No shit, lone ranger!

Notice that in the very first paragraph, Centorino wrote:


         “On March 27, 2012, you asked if you are required to

         file a gift disclosure for the expenses you were reimbursed

        when you recently traveled to Lima, Peru.”


In the real world you only get “reimbursed” when you have receipts to justify the reimbursement.


Then he wrote, “Because you were performing an official duty and conducting official business on behalf of the City of Miami, these travel expenses are not a gift to you.”


Since its obvious that any trip that the Mayor takes where he is traveling as “The Mayor of Miami,” will always be considered as an official trip, how does Centorino’s waving of his magic wand saying that Regalado doesn’t have to report the trip as a gift jibe with the Ethic’s Commission’s decision last October telling Regalado that if he went to Spain, and the trip was paid for by an outside party then he had to report it as a gift.


What the difference between going to Spain or going to Peru, if some private organization puts up the money for both trips?


The City didn’t use taxpayer dollars for the Mayor to go to Peru.  According to Chuck Rabin the trip was paid for by the Latin Builders Association. 


This is further supported on the video tape below where you hear Joe Centorino, at 3:35,01 on the tape say: “I think that the money may have come from a donor...”


For me however, the real issue that morning was that I had been told by the City that there were no documents related to the trip, yet it appeared that the Ethics Commission was making decisions based on documents and information I had been told did not exist.


And then to add insult to injury, Centorino, when he responded to the email that I sent to him with a copy of Victoria Mendez’s email, said that he thought that the trip was paid for by the “Mayor’s International Council, not the City of Miami.”