NOVEMBER 25, 2013


Everyday it seems there are new stories and allegations of the end of the world as we know it because of Obamacare.  But those concerns are just something that the peons need to worry about.

Here in Regaladoland, there’s a very, very special program called RegaladoCare, and it’s so special that so far I’ve only been able to track down one beneficiary. 

His name is Armando Bucelo Jr., and he’s a lawyer that practices law in Coral Gables.  He also lives in Coral Gables in a house big enough to have it’s own Zip Code.

For years Mr. Bucelo used to be the part-time attorney for the city’s Code Enforcement Board for which he received a modest stipend.

In early 2012, he became an Assistant to the Mayor.  And not just any old kind of Assistant, but an Assistant with a very special  pay plan.

But first, he had to get a waiver.

And what was so special about his pay plan?  He didn’t get money, he got his family health insurance paid for by the city, and not just that, but the city structured the deal so that he wouldn’t have to pay amy taxes on this family insurance plan.

Annual Cost

How sweet is that, peons?

And just what did Mr. Bucelo do for this sweetheart tax-free deal?  Actually, not too much.


When I first requested documents regarding Mr. Bucelo’s “work product” as an Assistant to the Mayor, I sent the request to the Mayor and informed him that I would be coming by his office the next day to look at whatever Mr. Bucelo did to warrant this sweetheart deal.

When I showed up, I got the usual runaround about the Mayor’s office not being responsible for complying with my public records request ,and that it had to go to Angel Zayon at Communications, yada, yada, yada.

It turned out that the Mayor was on his way so I sat outside his office and waited for him

When he arrived, we shook hands and I told him I was there about my public records request, and he replied that I had to go through Communications, yada,yada,yada.

I told him that wasn’t the way the law worked, and he told me that was the way the Herald did it, to which I replied that the Herald doesn’t set the law, to which he then replied that if I didn’t like it to go to the city attorney, or bring her to his office and let her tell him differently.

So, I didn’t get to look at Mr. Bucelo’s work product.  But, you know me, so after a couple nasty, threatening emails I ended up at the Miami Police Department headquarters where George Wysong, the Assistant City Attorney assigned to the police department provided me with what constituted Mr. Bucelo’s work product.

I’ll be dealing with having to go to the police department to look at records I requested from the Mayor’s Office another time, but the documents that I did get - which I was assured by Mr Wysong were ALL the records available - were skimpy at best.

Now my request had been for the work product that Bucelo had generated “in the last 60 days,” but as you will see below, there was none, so the city provided me Bucelo’s work product for a period from March 30, 2012 through April 18, 2012. That’s ALL the documents that the city claims it has regarding Mr. Bucelo’s work product as an Assistant to the Mayor.  You can look at it for yourself here.

As you can see, Bucello’s work was centered on the Charter Review Task Force, where he was the city’s representative, and working with Code Enforcement to improve their Code Enforcement Book.

In addition to the above emails, the documents also included 2 time sheets that detailed the amount of time that Bucelo devoted to these tasks. Because he is a lawyer, his time sheets are broken down into billable hours devoted to these two issues.

The first page covers the hours he spent on the Charter Review Task Force.  They came to 42.9 hours.  The second page covers the hours he spent on the Code Enforcement Book.  They came to 7.1 hours.  The grand total comes to 50 hours.

According to all the documents provided by the Mayor’s Office and the city, Bucelo has devoted a grand total of 50 hours over the last almost 2 years to city business, and all of that occurred before May 1st of 2012..

Now, I’m sure that on occasion he’s probably called or gotten a call from the Mayor, but there is no record of any of that, or anything he might have done as a result of those calls.  But let’s just say he’s devoted another 10 hours in phone calls.  That comes to a total of 60 hours.

Given the evidence provided by the city, has Bucelo’s activities to date justified the $35,000 or so in tax-free family health insurance that he’s received from the city so far?

Let’s look at the Mayor’s Office and see what his other aides get paid. The 2013-14 budget says that the Mayor has 11 people on his staff. Ada Rojas, one of his top aides get’s paid approximately $70,000 a year, and one of his lowest aides gets $12 an hour.

If we use Ada Rojas, as an example, her annual salary is around $70,000 a year and her weekly salary is approximately $1500 a week.

So, if Bucelo was earning $70,000 a year, he’d have to work a total of 12 weeks and 3 1/2 days, or 501 hours to cover the cost of the tax-free family health insurance plan that he’s getting from the city.

But Bucelo’s a lawyer, and no lawyer believes he’s worth so little money. They also like to think in billable hours as evidenced by Bucelo’s time sheets above.

So let’s consider how the city pays lawyers.

Back in 2010, when the city agreed to provide lawyers for former Chief Exposito and Mayor Alvarez over the libel lawsuit brought against them by Orlando Cordoves, it was revealed by then City Attorney Julie Bru that the city paid outside lawyers $200 an hour to represent the city in lawsuits.



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So, using the city’s own figure of $200 per hour, Bucelo’s 50 hours generated a total of $12,000 in billable income.

But Bucelo didn’t buy that fancy house on Granada Boulevard and all the toys that go along with it on $200 an hour, so I suspect that he would argue that he’s entitled to calculate his contributions to the city at his normal hourly rate. Now he’s not, but just for the sake of argument I’m guessing - not really - but I’ll say his hourly rate is around $450 an hour.

So, if the city agreed to pay him $450 an hour, that comes to $18,000 for a 40 hour week.  Since I’m giving him credit for a total of 60 hours of service to the city,  that total comes to $27,000.

That’s still less than the $35,000 he’s received so far in tax-free family health insurance benefits.

In Regaladoland however, its the suckers - otherwise known as the taxpayers - who didn’t know that while they’ve been dicking around and trying to sign up for Obamacare, they were the ones paying for the RegaladoCare tax-free, family heath insurance plan for a lawyer living in a multi-million dollar house in Coral Gables who hasn’t sent the Mayor so much as an email since the end of April 2012.

It’s Miami, Bitches!