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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JANUARY 18, 2013

SAY GOODBYE JULIE BRU
AFTER HER ANTICS AT THE LAST CITY COMMISSION MEETING THE CITY NEEDS TO HIRE A NEW CITY ATTORNEY

In my last story about the goings on with the City Commission and the Spence-Jones lawsuit, I acknowledged that I had not seen the meeting on TV, but relied on the reports of folks that had, and on the reporting of the Miami Herald that Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff had recused himself.


In viewing a tape of the meeting it appears that Sarnoff might not have recused himself, and that he pressed City Attorney Julie Bru into providing him a very questionable “legal opinion,” on whether he should. She did this in violation of her decision to recuse herself and her office from providing any “advise to the City Commission related to this matter.”


This action warrants her being removed as the City Attorney as expeditiously as possible for the betterment of the City because once having announced her recusal, Bru had absolutely no business responding to any request for any rulings or opinions from any Commissioner related to any facet of this case. 


The fact that the Office of the City Attorney has had to recuse itself at all is no small matter, and does not reflect kindly on either Bru’s management, or of the behavior of at least some of the members of her staff, and perhaps by the time of the trial, on Julie Bru herself.


Bru is no stranger to illegal and questionable behavior, starting with the issuance of the illegal $200,000 check from the restricted settlement account that she controls that was intended as the first half of the payment to former Police Chief Exposito as a bribe for him to resign. I’ve contended that that act alone should have seen her charged with a misdemeanor and removed from office, but of course the 5 Dwarfs, after making a big todo about it last summer and calling for an investigation, never did follow up because they’re all cowards, starting with Francis Suarez, who along with his staff twice promised me that they were going to question her on this issue, but never did, obviously because Bru would never admit that she committed a crime by allowing a check for $200,000 to be written from that account, without it first having been approved by the City Commission as stipulated by the City Charter.


Her latest problem - the inability to advise the City Commission on how to deal with the Spence-Jones lawsuit -led to Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff nominating himself on December 13th to go out and find a lawyer to provide “corporate governance” for the members of the Commission that backfired last week, when the other Commissioners decided that maybe having allowed Sarnoff go off on his own to find a lawyer wasn’t such a good idea after all.


All of a sudden, at last week’s Commission meeting the warning bells went off when Sarnoff showed up with a $700 per hour New York lawyer, and the Commissioners started having the kind of discussion and raising the kinds of questions that they should have done on December 13th.


The Commission has now managed to waste a month and a half without coming even close to a solution being reached as to what they should do regarding whether or not to pay for Regalado’s lawyer, or whether he should be allowed to have Jose Quinon represent him, much less on any other the other ancillary problems that this lawsuit might pose for the City.


IT’S TIME TO FIND ANOTHER CITY ATTORNEY


Julie Bru is due to retire in August, and I think that it is not good for the City to continue to allow her to remain in her job that long. An effort to find her replacement should start at the next Commission meeting, and once a replacement is found, she should just be paid off and told to leave.


Currently Assistant City Attorney’s Warren Bittner and Victoria Mendez are being touted by Bru as possible replacements.  I don’t believe either one should be hired to replace Bru. 


I believe that the next City Attorney should come from the outside, unencumbered or obligated to all the bullshit that has happened during Bru’s tenure.


This decision has nothing to do with Bittner or Mendez’s abilities or lack thereof to do the job, but rather with the fact that the recusal of City Attorney’s office in the Spence-Jones case represents a powerful argument that that the City Attorney’s office needs to be cleaned out because any time you have the kinds of leaks coming out of a lawyer’s office like the ones that came out of the City Attorney’s office it’s time to root those people out, and send a message in the process.


As to Bru herself, her performance at last week’s Commission meeting once again points to her unfitness to remain the Miami City Attorney.


JULIE BRU RECUSED HERSELF UNTIL SARNOFF WANTED A BOGUS LEGAL OPINION


On December 4th, Julie Bru submitted the following Memorandum to the Mayor and the City Commissioners.

I’ve highlighted the significant portion of her recusal memo that states that neither she nor any of her staff would provide any legal advise to the members of the City Commission related to the Spence-Jones lawsuit.


What I think threw people off on whether Sarnoff recused himself was the below portion of the meeting when Sarnoff engaged in some Drama Queen behavior once it dawned on him that he was not going to get his way with the hiring of the New York lawyer. (This video is 27 seconds long.)


NOTE: I have included the full discussion by the Commission about hiring a lawyer at the bottom of this story so that those of you who are interested can watch it, and so that you can look at the the two clips below in the context of what came before and after.

You gotta love Sarnoff when he gets all bitch and starts talking about doing things, “the right way.”


Of course it was all bullshit.


Why do I say that? Because at 50:15, he initiates this exchange with City Attorney Julie Bru. (This video is 2:11 long.)

Having recused herself and her office “from providing legal advise to the City Commission,” the notion that Sarnoff would at this point even attempt to elicit an opinion from Bru as to whether or not he has a conflict of interest related to his having been informed that he was a witness in the Spence-Jones case, much less that he got away with it, raises a disturbing question of what is it that he has on Bru that she would do this for him, yet would never do for any other Commissioner.


Imagine if Frank Carollo had repeated word for word Sarnoff’s request. What do you think she would have told him?  Or Gort, or even Suarez?


There was absolutely no reason or rationale tor Bru to have said anything other than, “I have recused myself from providing the Commission any advise on anything related to this issue, and you should take any questions to have about your potential conflicts of interest to the Florida Bar, or go and ask some of your lawyer friends.”


Instead, Sarnoff pressed her into ogiving him an opinion ON THE RECORD THAT HE HAD NO CONFLCIT, which as you see made him happy as he says on the video, “That’s what I needed to hear from my lawyer,” and then turns to recognize Commissioner Carollo with a little smirk on his face.


The important that folks who don’t understand the niceties of bureaucratic maneuvering is that absent a legal challenge and a ruling by a judge, what Julie Bru did by offering that bogus opinion was to give Sarnoff card blanche to do pretty much whatever he wants to do regarding voting or going out and hiring his own lawyer, because there is no one in the City with the legal standing to overrule the City Attorney’s legal opinion.


Also, did you look to the right of Bru as Chief Financial Officer, and latest Sarnoff toady Janet Larned sat there with a Cheshire Cat grin on her face.  Even she understood what Sarnoff was doing.


From a legal perspective, the opinion that Sarnoff pressed Bru into making is about as valid as if he had stopped a psychiatrist on a city sidewalk and asked him to determine whether he was crazy.


Doc, do you think I’m crazy?


What do you think?  Do you think you’re crazy?


No.


Well then, you’re not crazy, but just to be safe, go talk to another psychiatrist and ask them.


Welcome to the world of how legal legal opinions get made in the City of Miami.


This is why the Miami City Commission needs to move expeditiously to remove Julie Bru as City Attorney, because she’s the one who was crazy to have done what she did. 


As to Sarnoff’s claim that he was going out and hire a lawyer to represent him, we’ll have to wait and see, but first we’ve got other stories and other schemes to reveal, and I need to confer with my legal advisors to see whether I should file a complaint against Julie Bru with the Florida Bar for violating her pledge of recusal.


HERE IS THE COMPLETE 1 HOUR DISCUSSION OVER HIRING A LAWYER


This video is 54.37 long

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