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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

NOVEMBER 12 , 2012

GUESS WHO’S BACK BEFORE THE 5 DWARFS FOR ANOTHER SWEETHEART DEAL
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NO SHAME

In October of 2011, I got an email that read in part, “Scotty’s has hired Sarnoff’s guy, Steve Marin the lobbyist to get then a 7 year extension without putting it out for bid, their lease is up 6/22/12.”


Since that email, a lot has happened with and about Grove Key Marina and Scotty’s Landing that I have been able to chronicle on this website


Among the highlights were the embarrassing decision by the City Manager to reject the bidders for the RFP that would have turned over the management of Grove Key Marina and Scotty’s to another group of investors/managers after Grove Key and their new financial partners didn’t win the bid.


Then there was the outstanding tax bill of now $3 million dollars that Grove Key Marina and Scotty’s has refused to pay, and the $333,492.00 that the Marina failed to pay the City over a 5 year period as part of their profit sharing plan for fuel they sold on their dock.


Then of course, there’s the whole lawsuit issue where the Miami-Dade Tax Collector, in a 3rd Party lawsuit that he filed against the City of Miami where he revealed that in a meeting with both Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing AND the City of Miami both parties acknowledged that the $3 million in unpaid property taxes needed to be paid, but neither of them wanted to accept any responsibility for seeing that it was paid.


And lastly, there is the email that His Ignorance, the Mayor sent to City Attorney Julie Bru, taking her and her staff to task for claiming that she had no knowledge of the 1991 Snack Shack contract agreement that I exclusively published on September 21st, that Scott Wessel had agreed to pay the property taxes on at least the portion of the property where Scotty’s Landing sits.


Through it all though, what remained was the fact that no matter what happened, or didn’t happen as a result of the RFP, or the taxes, or anything else, Scott Wessel continued to operate Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing, because just like that October 2011 email had stated, the ultimate goal for Wessel was to get the City to give him a no-bid contract extension, and that was initially done on June 23, 2012, when Johnny Martinez sent Scott Wessel the letter below which revealed that the City, after a vote of approval by the City Commission on May 10, 2012,  had entered into a “Revocable License Agreement” with Wessel that would allow him to continue as the operator until December 2012.

Below is a resolution that IS going before the Miami City Commission this week giving Scott Wessel another 2 year “Revocable License Agreement.”


This now insures that, as the October 2011 email claimed, Scott Wessel has managed so far - in spite of ALL the justifiable reasons why his contract should have been terminated for cause - to extend his lease by 2 1/2 years without having the contract put out for bid.


You would have to say that the best thing that happened to Scott Wessel in the last year was that the RFP process that would have seen the property go to someone else was so screwed up that even though Wessel and his partners failed to win the bid, he still came out on top.


And that raises a question that even though the City of Miami is unquestionably being run by morons, was the failure of the RFP process attributable to gross incompetence, or worse, was it a fall back position to protect Wessel should he - like he did - lose the bid?


Given the levels of naked corruption that permeates the management of the City, and the influence welded by lobbyists like Steve Marin, this claim cannot be dismissed as idle speculation.


However, I have more pressing issues to discuss now.

If you closely read the City Manager’s letter and the above resolution, you would have spotted the fact that in June, Wessel was required to pay $56,924.00 a month in rent, plus a percentage of gross receipts, and that now he’s only being required to pay $43,050.00 a month in rent.


Now, this $43,050.00 monthly rent is misleading because also included is another $12,200.00 that the City, starting with the June 28th “Revocable License Agreement”  has started demanding that Wessel pay to cover the property taxes that he previously refused to pay.


Here’s how it looks in the contract.

Now, I’m sure that some of you will breathe a sigh of relief to know that the City has decided to step up to the plate and cover their ass by at least making Wessel pay the property taxes going forward.


However, as with all things having to do with Scott Wessel and the City of Miami, this deal isn’t anywhere as good as Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff will no doubt claim on Thursday.


LET’S LOOK AT ANOTHER CONTRACT


Before City Manager Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez was forced to deep six the RFP that awarded the management of Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s landing to the group David One, the city had managed to go pretty far down the path of structuring a contract.


One of the things that this contract called for was an initial base rent of $720,000.00, and then increasing to $780,000.00 the second year and $840,000.00 the third and remaining years.

Granted, these rents were predicated on the fact that the David One group was going to come in and invested significant monies in improvements to the property, but the $60,000 monthly rent that they planned to charge them starting on day one, before any improvements, I believe represents a real floor on the rental value of the marina and the restaurant.


More significantly, unlike the decision to make Wessel pay the property taxes, and essentially include them as part of the total rent payment, in the contract with David One, the property taxes were not included as part of the rent payments.

Perhaps the City had more reason to believe that the folks associated with David One would pay the property taxes without forcing them to pay it along with the rent.


Another interesting inclusion to the David One contract is the City of Miami Employee Requirement. Again, a requirement considered important enough to include in a 40 year lease, but obviously not important enough to include in an agreement with Scott Wessel.


But by far the most interesting item included in the David One contract, but missing in the any of the  leases or license with Wessel going back to 1976 is this little item.

The first reference that the Grove Key Marina property was subject to submerge Land fees was in the RFP issued earlier this year, where it was explained to the potential bidders this way.

The submerged lands, as shown in this photo would include the land under the fuel dock, the loading ramps and the seawall where the boats are tied up.

Why is this important?  Back in 2004, back before this collections of corrupt thieves was in office - other than Regalado of course - the City realized that they weren’t getting any money from the deal that they had with Garcia Seafood Restaurant and Market on the Miami River.


Here’s the letter that explains what the City decided to do.

The City, after issuing an RFP ended up awarding the property back to Garcia Seafood  Restaurant and market, at an annual rent of $7,000 a month, or  $84,000 a year.  According to records from Facilities Management, the rent has increased to $8,114,92 or #97,379.04 a year.


More importantly was how the City dealt with the issue of the submerged lands that Garcia’s was responsible for.

The decision to require Garcia Seafood to start paying the Submerged Land Fees occurred 7 years ago. 


In the years before OR since, no one from the City ever made an effort to rectify the failure of the City and Grove Key Marina to address the issue of the submerged lands, or to collect any retroactive fees, like they did with Garcia Seafood.


As always, when it came to Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing enforcing the law always seems to have taken a back seat to allowing Scott Wessel to get away with anything he wanted.


A CITY RUN BY CROOKS AND INCOMPETENTS


Of all the examples of corruption and gross incompetence that I’ve uncovered and written about over the last two years, one of the most glaring has been everything associated with Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing.


The issuance and subsequent cancellation of the flawed RFP for new management for this property, which resulted in the revelations of the unpaid $2.9 million in property taxes, which in turn led to the documents I published and the subsequent lawsuits filed by The County AND the Tax Collector against both the Marina AND the City of Miami, all point to the kind of scandal that in any American city would have warranted serious newspaper and television coverage.


In the Banana Republic of Miami the pliant news media considers this nothing more than one more example of business as usual, unworthy of comment or exploration.


Yet the fact that a guy who hires the lobbyist/campaign manager for the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the City Commission to help keep his hold on this property even after it’s been revealed that he signed a contract in 1991 that obligated him to pay property taxes on at least a sizable portion of the property that he has REFUSED TO PAY ANY taxes on for the last 17 plus years should be news, if for no other reason that it confirms the claim on  the Miami Herald’s Sunday front page story about the new novel about Miami by Tom Wolfe, that “tells us just how crazy we are,” and “wonderful weirdness,” that would induce so august a writer to chronicle life in the Magic City.


How does someone who owes $2.9 million in property taxes - a million of which would go to the cash starved coffers of the City if it were ever paid - and who continues to refuse to admit that he owes any of this money even though there is a contract that clearly states that he not only knew, but agreed to pay said taxes, manage to even be allowed to continue to do business with the City of Miami.


That’s like a guy walking in and robbing a bank, and then once he’s left, turning around and coming back in and being welcomed by the bank’s president and employees as if nothing happened.


The only positive thing that occurred as a result of the RFP was that a market value was placed what the rent should be for the marina and restaurant.


That market value starts at $60,000 a month, without enhancements, and goes to $70,000 a month after enhancements to the property.


Scott Wessel is being asked to pay $43,050.


So, not only has he screwed the City of Miami out of as much as $1 million in much needed property tax revenue, but, thanks to lobbyist Steve Marin, and his two sock puppets Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez along with the moron City Attorney Julie Bru, he’s being given another opportunity to continue screwing the taxpayers of Miami all the way to the bank.


The only thing missing is the Miami Herald naming Scott Wessel, Businessman Of The Year!


It’s Miami, Bitches!