JULY 11 - JULY 15

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BEND OVER MIAMI

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2011(C)
THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER 
NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT

“Always follow the money.”

                                            - Deep Throat


IN THE BEGINNING


This story goes back almost 13-14 years, and starts with the County deciding at the time to give 4 blocks of property in Overtown to the City of Miami’s SEOPW CRA for development. 


Unlike the City, which often likes to give things away like they were worthless trinkets, the County put a reverter clause in the deal that said if the CRA did not do a deal that started development by December 31, 2007, the ownership of property would return to the County.


Over the years, from the very beginning of the controversy over this project virtually every politician in the City of Miami, starting with then City Commissioner and CRA Board Chairman Art Teele, Manny Diaz, Tomas Regalado, and Marc Sarnoff - whose allegations of being told by then City Manager Joe Arroila in 2007, that City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones was demanding $50,000 in payoffs to two confidantes in exchange for supporting the project which resulted in a major he-said-she-said-he-said brouhaha - have in one way or another been enmeshed in the Poinciana Village/Sawyer’s Walk/Crosswinds development that was to become the cornerstone of a revitalized Overtown.


First came Indian River Investments who proposed a project called Poinciana Village. Then came a developer named Ted Weitzel, along with his partners who proposed developing Sawyer’s Walk. Poinciana Village managed to build 64 condominium units before they had a falling out with the CRA.  Sawyer’s Walk didn’t even break ground.  In 2005, theY both were sued by the CRA, which resulted in the first of several “settlement agreements,” that were never finalized.


Sometime after 2005, the Related Group became involved with the Sawyer’s Walk project, which had been renamed Crosswinds, and which led to the infamous Sarnoff memo about his meeting with City Manager Arroila and the alleged Michelle Spence-Jones payoff claim.


After the Sarnoff revelations, the Crosswinds project quietly slipped from the radar screen.


THE CARLISLE DEVELOPMENT GROUP SHOWS UP


About 8-9 months ago faint rumors started circulating that there was renewed interest in reviving the Crosswinds project. 


Only now a new player had surfaced. Matthew Greer, the President of the Carlisle Development Group, which had quietly been gaining a foothold in the affordable tax credit development market in South Florida was rumored to have struck a deal with the Sawyer’s Walk and Poinciana Village groups to get them out of the various lawsuits for as much as a 90% ownership in a new deal.


Greer, formed Skytown LLC, as his vehicle, and it now shows up as the FIRST of the signing parties in the settlement agreement.

Three days after the fund raiser, Dunn’s campaign reported $20,300 in contributions from a list of developers, contractors and other heavy hitters including $500 from Matthew Greer, the President of Carlisle. 


It’s amazing what $500 can buy a smart guy with connections nowadays.

This comes out to $9,149,416.00.


To appreciate just how egregious this $280,000 a year “rent” is for 6 prime city blocks is, consider that Fox Television is currently renting the old - ready to be knocked down - Miami Convention Center across from City Hall for $240,000 a year to film the TV series Burn Notice.


Then there’s the fact that to add insult to injury, the current settlement doesn’t require that a new appraisal of the properties to be done, because if one was done, even in today’s market, people would realize how stupid and sleazy the CRA is in giving away 6 downtown blocks of property for $9,149,416.00.


To explain this another way, if you were to buy these properties today, with a 25 year mortgage at 7% interest, these properties would cost you $4,161,000.00.  At that price  you would eventually end up paying the $9,149,416.00 in “rent” that the settlement calls for. Six city blocks for $4 million,150 thousand.


How sweet is that!?!


PIETER AND MATTHEW, BFF’S


By far the biggest problem is the issue of Pieter Bockweg, Executive Director of the CRA and Matthew Greer, President of the Carlisle Development Group, and their friendship.


I have been told that Bockweg and Greer along with  Koteles Alexander, Chief of Staff to Reverend Commissioner Dunn are a regular golfing trio on most Sundays, and that Bockweg keeps a golfing event photograph of himself and Greer in his office.


The Bockweg, Greer relationship should be of concern to those who believe that public officials entrusted to negotiate on the public’s behalf should maintain an arm’s length relationship with those to whom they are giving away the public’s resources, especially since in this case we’re talking 6 city blocks, along with an additional award of anywhere between $30 to $46 million in CRA money.


Unfortunately, this is Miami, Bitches!, where screwing the taxpayers seems to be considered part of the job description for guys like Bockweg who learned on the job by letting Mark Siffin’s lawyers rewrite the city’s billboard ordinance for his 40 story LED Towers.


RFP MEANS RIGGED FOR PALS


The possibility of insider dealing is always a problem when you find a personal relationship like the one between Bockweg and Greer. 


Far more troubling is the alleged secret trip that Bockweg took to New York with Greer to meet with Carlisle’s financiers.  You wouldn’t do that even if you were dealing from the top of the deck, because this all but supports any allegation that however the deal is presented to the public, the reality is that it’s all been rigged before the Developer’s RFP is even issued.


If the “settlement agreement” was predicated on the original properties there might be questions, but Greer’s dealing himself into a principal ownership position with the Sawyer’s Walk and Poinciana Village developers could be viewed as just a smart business deal by a guy with the business and political savvy to make the deal work.


This deal however, includes TWO NEW PIECES of property that were not part of the original deal, and another new part of the the deal would have the CRA give anywhere between $30 - $46 million in CRA money as part a new “Developer’s Agreement” as part of the deal.


It is these issues that are at the core of the questions being raised about this being a cooked up deal between the usual suspects at the CRA and Greer.


THE MOTHER’S MILK OF POLITICS


When it comes to the behavior of Reverend Commissioner Dunn the Chairman of the SEOPW CRA, there is very little that I would not put past him in selling out his constituents.


Although he continues to amaze by his often clueless comments about what’s going on at Commission meetings, thereby making him the current title holder of the dumbest City Commissioner - in April he openly admitted to voting to approve the 5 Day Rule without knowing what it meant - he’s also become little more than a pawn for Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, and his efforts to give away CRA money on behalf of his pals and schemes.


In the process, Dunn has also managed to reveal his willingness to do questionable favors - or at least try - for his campaign contributors.


On the contributor side, the best, and fastest way to separate the pros from the amateurs in politics is to see how they play the money game. The Carlisle Development Group has demonstrated that it knows full well how to play that game, and it plays the game aggressively, and with long-term strategic goals.


Last summer, well before public awareness of this scheme was even being talked about, they hosted a major fund raiser for none other than the Reverend Commissioner Dunn, the Chairman of the SEOPW CRA, which coincidentally is now the entity that will be voting on Monday evening to approve the deal that will give them 6 prime blocks of downtown property, and anywhere between $30-$46 million as a deal sweetener.

The Blue Box is the location of  Historic Lyric Theater.  The Red Box at the top right of the map is a current Carlisle Development Group project called the Metro Apartments. It is a 13 story high-rise with 90 units, of which 90% are set aside for families and individuals making less than 60% of the area median income (AMI.)

The county’s area median income is $51,900, and the city’s is $23,483. That is why the City of Miami makes the annual list of being one of the poorest cities in America!

WHAT MAKES THIS DEAL SMELL


The first warning sign is the way in which this deal has all of a sudden resurfaced, and is now headed to approval like a train running on crack cocaine.


Then its the way in which the deal has been restructured to reduce the amount of housing units required. In a 2008 Miami Today story, the Crosswinds project was described as creating a total of 1050 mixed-income housing units. The current “settlement agreement” reduces that amount to a maximum of 687 housing units, and reduces that amount to 596, if they build a hotel with 125 rooms.

What Greer brought to the table in reviving the deal was his claim to the other developers that he could get the CRA and the City Commission on board, which in turn would get the County on board. For his efforts, Greer secured a 90% majority ownership of the entire deal, as spelled out on pages 90, 114 and 115 of the settlement agreement.


Quietly, and below the radar, Greer, along with Pieter Bockweg, Koteles Alexander, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Dunn, along County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and others negotiated a settlement acceptable to both the CRA and the County. 


Last month the parties were so confidant of success that Pieter Bockweg and Matthew Greer allegedly flew to New York to meet with Carlisle Group financiers.  Bockweg hid the true nature of the the trip by claiming that he had gone to meet with folks involved in affordable housing.


“EMERGENCY MEETING” MEANS DROP YOUR PANTS AND BEND OVER


Like dimwitted poker players, Miami’s City Commissioners cannot resist telegraphing their hand. Whether it’s an Emergency Commission Meeting, or a CRA Meeting, when these guys call for an “Emergency Meeting” you know that it’s an automatic “tell” that whatever they’ve put in the agenda is a nasty piece of business.


After years of inactivity on settling the various lawsuits, all of a sudden the SEOPW CRA decided that they must have an “Emergency Meeting,” to accept a “settlement agreement” on the Poinciana and Sawyer’s Walk lawsuits. 


The deal involves a three step process.  First, the members of the City Commission, acting as the Board of the SEOPW CRA will vote on it on Monday night, and then as City Commissioners, they will ratify the CRA’s vote at Thursday’s City Commission meeting, and then it will go to the Miami-Dade County Commission to be shepherded for a vote by Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson.


That’s about as cozy a deal as you can get at the city’s level.  The City Commission verifies their vote as CRA Board members. No where is there any independent, one-step-removed review of any of this by anyone, and given the relationship that Audrey Edmonson has developed with Greer and the Carlisle Group over the last several years, they got someone they can count on guiding them through the County Commission.


The speculation - and much of what else is going on behind the scenes involving the Miami City Commission these days - is predicated on the possible return of Michelle Spence-Jones - who currently has one more court case to get through before showing up at City Hall with a “Mamma’s Back, Boys!” greeting.


The fear is that Spence-Jones will come back and bitch slap them into the Twilight Zone for setting her up.


The other element that seems to be driving this deal is the close friendship between CRA Executive Director Pieter Bockweg and Matthew Greer the President of the Carlisle Group.


The overarching issue though is that the public is never served when these deals are rammed through in “Emergency Meetings,” with little or no real opportunity for folks to review documents and/or get a full understanding of what’s really involved.


On a personal note, I was first tipped off about this on Friday morning and immediately called and left Pieter Bockweg a phone message letting him know I would be coming to the CRA at around 1 PM to look at the files on this settlement.


I arrived around 2 PM, and was given a runaround about Bockweg not being in the office, and no one knowing where the files were.  I was finally told to come back on Monday, because when Bockweg is not in the office, the staff’s knowledge of what the CRA is doing becomes nonexistent.


UNDERSTANDING THE LAY OF THE LAND


There is no question that Overtown is an area in desperate need of all the help it can get, and if the City of Miami and the CRA were really interested in doing right by the citizens of that area, there is a lot of good they could have already done over the last 50 or so years. 


But, as I’ve previously written. the decline and destruction of Overtown started with the ripping apart of the community by the construction of I-95 and 395, and continued with the knowing nods and “arrangements” over the years between the politicians and “the establishment,” that tacitly agreed that the property that compromised Overtown would at sometime in the future be the basis for Northward development for “White” Miami.


Instead of doing anything of real consequence from the 60’s forward to try and save or revitalize Overtown, many of the properties were bought and flipped over the years by speculators content to sit on these largely vacant lots until the need for land matched the need of developers.  


The area became a real ghetto because it was in the long-term interests of the powers that be for it to become a ghetto.


To now understand the debilitating levels of poverty and the significance and value of the properties involved in this scheme, there are some charts and a map that need to be viewed.


The first chart below, is a breakdown of various areas of Miami taken from the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s, Draft Consolidated Plan for 2009-201, (Page 54,) and lists the median income in those areas.  You will see that the median income in Overtown is $13,212.


The next chart reveals the area median income for Miami-Dade County, and reveals just how poor the City of Miami is in comparison to the remainder of the county. Area median Income is an important component when considering how best to spend public money to try and make things better for folks.


Next is a map of the area where the settlement properties are located, and the specific properties identified by their Block Number, as identified in the settlement agreement.


This will help you understand how this deal has been structured when it comes to how much rent the developer is going to pay the CRA for these 6 prime city blocks just North of downtown, and also so you understand how prime this property really is.

Another interesting revelation is that the “rent” that the CRA will be charging the “developer,” as part of the new settlement is $280,000 a year for 25 years.

SEOPW CRA POISED TO GIVE AWAY $30 - $46 MILLION AND 6 CITY BLOCKS IN

THE NASTIEST DEAL YET

MEETING CANCELLED
AT 4:00 PM

JULY 11, 2011

JULY 13, 2011

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2011(C)
THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER 
NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT
WE NOW HAVE THE TIMONEY SETTLEMENT PAYOUT
ON THURSDAY THE MAYOR WILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY THE $200,000 CHECK TO EXPOSITO WASN’T A BRIBE

DOCUMENT 2 - THE CHECK


It took a few days for everyone to get their wits about them, before Diana Gomez released a copy of the check

DOCUMENT 3 - THE NEWLY REVEALED ‘SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT”


This is the Pièce de résistance, now being seen for the first time.  This is the one and only document that City Attorney Julie Bru’s assistant sent me in response to my July 5th Public Records request. 


I suspect that at some point in the past Bru sent someone over to the local Office Depot and had them buy a copy in the section that they have for people who need simple legal forms and don’t know where else to find them.


It is without doubt, a useless piece of shit document that only a nitwit of the caliber of Julie Bru would attempt to foist off as a legitimate “settlement agreement.”


No where, you will notice, is there any name identifying who this “settlement agreement” is supposed to be for, nor, of course is there any other information of any kind that would link this document to Chief Exposito, yet, this is the document that the City claims represents a “settlement agreement” worthy of justifying the issuance of a $200,000 check.

That’s it! An email, a check, and a fill-in-the-blanks “settlement agreement” without any of the blanks being filled in.


Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your city government at work. 


Now of course, there are rumors that Larry Spring has some secret file of documents that he’s threatening to release if Regalado doesn’t quit trying to throw him under the bus, but frankly, in this case I think Larry Spring is full of shit. 


He had ONE document that he figured had some value - the check register - and he leaked that, which is how I got my hands on it and broke this story.


If he has any other documents, they’ve got to be hand written, hard copies, or documents that were printed and the files destroyed, and by their very existence would imply they were indeed incriminating. However, if they were, they’d implicate him along with Regalado and Tony Crapp.


Larry’s not going to release any documents that could put him in jail, unless he’s already headed there and tries to strike some sort of deal to bring Regalado and/or Crapp along for the ride.


No matter what, the three documents above lower the threshold considerably for supporting the allegation that a bribe was offered the Chief, if for no other reason they represent such a a paltry collection of believable documentation for anything legitimate having taken place.


When His Ignorance finally got around to fessing up that he was involved in the meeting that led to the check being issued, he tried to downplay its significance by claiming that this was a legal severance package and as quoted in the same New Times article cited above  where he said that:


        “This is standard practice,” Regalado said. “When

        some people want to leave and they have a high

        position, the city prepares a package.”


The best quote however was his claim that:


        “‘Bribe’ is much to harsh a word. Exposito under-

        stands the city.  The same thing was done with

        Timoney and Timoney left with elegance,” Regalado

        said. “This is not a big deal to me. I think it’s a

        distraction and the chief needs to do his job.”


You got to love Regalado: a guy who made a career out of little else but “harsh words,” now bemoaning “harsh words” being used against him. 


Contrary to Regalado’s claim, the “same thing” was not done with Timoney.  In fact, when you look at former Police Chief Timoney’s payout you realize just how drastically different these deals were.


THE JOHN TIMONEY SETTLEMENT


Thanks to the compliance of my Public Records request by Diana Gomez - who no matter what else people might say about her has always complied with my public records requests - below is the Oracle system’s account for former Chief of Police John Timoney.


THE TIMONEY SEVERANCE PAYOUT


       (To see a larger version of these documents, click on any

       one of them.)

THE BILLBOARD PIMP SHILLS FOR HIS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS

COMMISSIONER “ETHICS” SARNOFF

I sometimes wonder whether Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff is on some kind of mind-altering drugs, and just gets carried away when he takes too many pills. 


How else - other than thinking that the readership of the Miami Herald’s editorial page are themselves on drugs - could explain the latest missive from the pen of this duplicitous, twisted, underhanded and devious whack job?


Rather than try to untangle this mish-mash of piddle nonsense paragraph by paragraph, let me just focus on the 4th paragraph.


Last year, the Commissioner was served with 6 - YES 6 - separate Code Violations for operating an illegal law firm out of a house in Coconut Grove.  It had been an open secret for years that the Commissioner and “Cousin Neil” had been flagrantly breaking the law, but everyone was afraid to go after him.


John El-Masry, Stephen Murray and myself did go after him, and after about 4 months, we finally succeeded in not only forcing Code Enforcement to keep citing him, but more importantly, we finally forced “Ethics” to pack up his law books and move in with his pal Jay Solowsky at 201 South Biscayne Boulevard where he and “Cousin Neil” managed to get caught screwing the pooch all over again.


The one thing that we were never able to accomplish, because Sergio Guadix, the Director of Code Enforcement didn’t have the balls to do it, was to have him hit with fines for all the YEARS that he had illegally operated the law firm out of that house.


That why I find it amusing that “Ethics” would today claim that one of the ways to reduce the city’s indebtedness would be to force the city to go after the scofflaws who refuse to pay their Code Enforcement fines.


If Guadix hadn’t been such a pussy, forcing Sarnoff to pay for breaking the law all of those years would have set a good example about how everyone needs to treated equally.


Of course, that didn’t happen, but if “Ethics” is so keen for folks to pay up for doing wrong, he could still set an example by voluntarily paying up for breaking the law for all those years. Hell, be a mensch “Ethics,” just pay 6 months worth of fines. 


For those of you who’ve come to know the devious ways of  Commissioner “Ethics,” I leave it to your enjoyment to read the entire missive and figure out how the guy who was the Chairman of the City Commission all of last year, now gets off pretending that he’s somehow removed and not responsible for many of the problems he now wants to hang around “the administration’s” neck.


That’s our boy “Ethics,” always looking for a way to tag someone else for the nasty deals he had a hand in cooking up.


I cannot close without mentioning the number of billboard and outdoor advertising companies that have poured money into Commissioner “Ethics” campaign this time around, as he has demonstrated over the last 2 years his willingness to  become their shill with his bogus arguments about the need of billboard advertising money to feed the homeless and house the old people.

To read a larger version on the Herald’s website click on letter

Timoney was given a $68,021.03 severance payout because he was essentially fired when Regalado came into office as Mayor.  He paid taxes on that severance.


THE TIMONEY VACATION AND SICK LEAVE PAYOUT

Timoney received $74,449.84 in unused Vacation Time, and $55,785.54 in unused Sick Leave for a grand total of $198,256.41. On that amount, he paid a total of $113,915.36 in taxes, and his final check was for $84,341.05.

On Thursday, among the other things that the Mayor will have to deal with at the City Commission meeting will be the revelations about the $200,000 check prepared for Chief of Police Exposito. 


Below, in two parts is the latest update on the story about this check, and copies of 1 new document related to the Exposito incident, as well as the account information and last check issued to former Chief of Police John Timoney.


I believe that this new information provides even more compelling evidence that the check prepared for Chief Exposito was in fact an attempted bribe to get him to leave  his position as the Miami Chief of Police.


PART I - THE EXPOSITO DOCUMENTS - OR LACK  THEREOF


On July 5th, I submitted a Public Records request seeking a list of 14 sets of documents having to do with the now infamous $200,000 bribery check offered to Police Chief Miguel Exposito.


I didn’t expect much in the way of  response, because I have over 1.5 million city emails in my archive, including ALL of the emails for all of the individuals involved in this caper, excluding the Chief, for the period in question, and I already knew that other than the January 12th email from Larry Spring to Diana Gomez asking her to prepare the $200,000 check, there were no incriminating, or even unincriminating emails.


Of course, His Ignorance, The Mayor didn’t know that, because on July 1st, he was quoted in the Miami New Times as saying:


        “Regalado said there was no police investigation into

       the offer that he knew about. But the mayor has asked

       new City Manager Johnny Martinez to find the "e-mail

       trail" so he can better explain to the City Commission

       what happened.”


I’m here to say today that there is no “e-mail trail,” in what constitutes the root emails that would support a claim that these folks engaged in anything remotely resembling a legitimate “settlement” offer to the Chief.


From denying ANY knowledge, to eventually changing his story and attempting to throw Larry Spring under the bus, Tomas Regalado has demonstrated that when it comes to being on top of what goes on in his administration, he about as clueless as Maria Shriver was that Arnold was screwing the maid.


But that hasn’t stopped the Mayor from talking out of his ass, and creating a situation where on Thursday morning he’s going to have to try explain to the members of the City Commission how Diana Gomez came to issue a $200,000 check made out to the Chief of Police without the Commission’s authorization, and without any supporting documentation that would make this check look like anything other than a naked bribe offer using taxpayer money.


Of course, given who’s on the City Commission, there are one or two Commissioners who will be pissed because they can’t figure a way to get some fool in the city to give them a $200,000 check. But then, chances are these guys are not hurting for hundred dollar bills they can use for “walk around money” given their proclivity for “helping out” their friends and campaign contributors.


But, in an effort to help the Mayor out because it’s doubtful that Johnny Martinez and his “Leadership Team” are capable of finding their asses, much less any documents here are the 3 documents that do exist, and I wish him well in trying to demonstrate how these documents explain away any allegations of attempted bribery.


DOCUMENT 1 - THE EMAILS REQUESTING THE CHECK BE ISSUED


By now, most folks have seen this email, and how Spring in the 2nd email identified the check to be a “settlement type check.”

These documents, including the check, reveal that the City of Miami knows how to deal in an open and straightforward way when it comes to handling the issues surrounding a settlement with a controversial Police Chief.


The check for Exposito is so far removed from the proper procedures used by the city in dealing with Timoney, that Regalado’s claim that these two situations are similar is like asking us to believe that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are similar because they both symbolize holidays

Last Thursday,  I wrote about a guy named Luis Zuniga, who had been hired by the Mayor as his new financial wiz to help him deal with the city’s budget, but who was seen instead as someone who the Mayor thought could help him shore up his waning political support among the older Cuban exile community.


On Friday afternoon I was told that because the Mayor had started getting heat about hiring Zuniga - he had appeared on WQBA on Thursday to promote the Mayor, and was scheduled to return on Friday to debate with former City Manager Joe Arriola before pressure  caused him to pull out - that the Mayor wrote a personal email to the City Commissioners defending his decision to hire Zuniga.


On Monday morning I started trying to get a copy of that email.  I tried all day Monday before sending an email to ALL the City Commissioners.

Finally, I got a response.

That was Monday afternoon.  I have yet to hear from any other member of the City Commission, which unfortunately tells you a lot about how much these Commissioners care about complying with Florida’s Public Records Law, and Ada Rojas, my pal at the my pal the Mayor’s Office, keeps responding to my public records requests with “We acknowledge receipt of your request yesterday.”


I have also been trying to get a copt of Mr. Zuniga’s contract, but NO ONE wants to give me a copy of that, because supposedly, the Mayor’s claim in his email above about paying Mr. Zuniga $2500 a month is NOT true.  He is supposedly paying him $2500 a WEEK, and also, Mr. Zuniga admitted on WQBA last Thursday that he is NOT a CPA.


Either His Ignorance continues to lie to everyone about almost everything, or he’s finally revealed to being so stupid that he needs to be removed from office for the betterment of the City  of Miami.

I’LL BE ON THE RADIO WEDNESDAY MORNING

I’ve been invited for a return appearance on Bicycling With Bernie, hosted by Bernadette Pardo, at 9 AM, on Wednesday morning. 


The show will be in English and Spanish, and you can listen in at 1140 on the AM dial, or go to their website, and click on that Yellow Button you see next to their call letters.


I had a great welcome last week, and I hope to discuss not only some of the issues raised in recent posts, but also some new issues that merit a far larger audience.


See you on the radio.

JULY 13, 2011

JULY 13, 2011

JULY 13, 2011

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/11/2309939/miami-must-get-its-financial-act.html
JOHN_TIMONEY_PAYOUT.html

MIAMI HERALD CAUGHT RED HANDED LYING FOR REGALADO

JULY 13, 2011

UPDATE
UPDATE

Investigation Miami today came out with a post that takes on Chuck Rabin and the Miami Herald for for attempting to grossly slant a story about severance payments to City of Miami employees.  Rabin shamelessly attempted to confuse readers by failing to honestly report the real amounts of the settlement numbers and a few other underhanded tricks that reporters use when they are in the tank.  It goes to show you just how scummy Rabin and the Miami Herald have become.  Check out IM.



CLICK HERE
http://investigationmiami.blogspot.com/
MEET THE CITY’S NEW $10/HOUR FINANCIAL GURU
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

After 5 days of pointed mails, phone calls and personal visits to the City Manager and City Attorney’s Office, I finally got a copy of the “Expert Consultant” contract making Luis Zuniga the newest member of His Ignorance, Mayor Tomas Regalado’s staff.


It did not disappoint.  I have provided a link at the bottom of the page for you to go an read the complete, boiler-plate document.


For your entertainment pleasure however, I am focusing only on page 2, below.


In the section highlighted in Blue it describes the services that Mr. Zuniga will be providing the Mayor.  In the section highlighted in Yellow, it details his payment for those services.

This contract asks you to believe that Mr. Zuniga - who is NOT a CPA - will be providing research, analyzation,  review, recommendations and advise on local, state and federal fiscal strategies for the princely sum of $80 dollars a day or $400 a week.


On the one hand, perhaps congratulations are in order.  If the Mayor could find other “Expert Consultant(s)” and people to take over as Department Heads and city employees all willing to work for $400 a week, maybe he could single handedly solve the $55 million budget deficit.


On the other hand, how much of an “Expert Consultant” can one really get for $400 a week?


But this is really all bullshit, because as you read further on you see that the contract says that “in no event shall the remuneration for services exceed One Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Dollars and No Cents (125,000.00) over an annual twelve (12) month period.”


So, since this contract is for 6 months, and if you believe that the $400 a week represents what Luis Zuniga is going to get paid, then the annual amount at $400 per week would be $20,800.00 a year, or  $10,400.00 for six months.


If, on the other hand, you believe like I do, that this is all smoke-and-mirrors, then the $125,000.00 comes out to $2403.84 a week, or $62,499.00 for the six months of the contract.


Since I was told at the very beginning that Zuniga was being hired for $120,000.00 a year, I think that his real salary is going to be $62,499,00, and that the $400 is just a bullshit ploy to confuse.


The big question is just what are Luis Zuniga’s qualifications to earn $62,499.00 as a fiscal “Expert Consultant,” for the City of Miami when he isn’t a CPA, and when he comes to this position with little or no governmental or public policy experience?


Of course, you’ll notice in the copy of the contract that I was provided by the City Attorney’s office that it is not signed/dated.  Tomorrow, they could declare this contract to be null and void, and produce another contract, because having run this contract by several people knowledgable with the contracts that the city uses to hire “expert consultants,” this one is deficient in several respects,which are not not worth the effort to try and enumerate. Since this is what they sent me, we’ll accept it at face value.


The Mayor is correct in his email to the City Commissioners last week that he’s entitled to hire who he wants for his staff as long as there is money in his budget, but after a year and a half of hiring stumble bums, ass kissers and incompetents you would think that maybe, just as a change of pace, he might try hiring someone with the educational experience and professional competence to actually try to help get the city out of the mess that it’s in.


Unfortunately, the Mayor has never let professionalism or competence get in the way of blatant cronyism. 


Welcome to the City of Miami, Luis Zuniga, and we’ll see how much time you spend on TV and radio instead of in the office doing what you’re being paid to do.


Be aware though, that If you see certain ladies heading towards the Mayor’s Office - you’ll figure it out soon enough - go get yourself a cup of coffee, and start reading the newspaper, because in the Mayor’s world, pretending to worry about the problems of the city will alway take a back seat to getting a blow job, especially since he’s come to consider it just another way to screw the city at the taxpayer expense.

JULY 14, 2011



CLICK HERE
LUISZUNIGA_CONTRACT.html

JULY 15, 2011 - 7:01 AM

I’D BE REMISS IN NOT GIVING A SHOUT OUT TO THOSE FEISTY FOLKS AT SCENIC MIAMI, WHO SHOWED ONCE AGAIN THAT A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  CONGRATS!!!

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?

Thanks to an eagle-eyed Crespo-Gram reader, it appears that the City of Miami is now promoting Apple computers, and it’s OS X operating system.


Given that I’ve never seen an Apple computer anywhere in a city building, why would the city be promoting Apple computers, and more importantly, what’s the city doing promoting any commercial products on it’s website?


Is the city selling advertising on it’s website now? Inquiring minds would like to know, because maybe I can do a little advertising myself to better promote The Crespo-Gram Report to folks in Miami.


In the meantime, this looks like something that the city’s Independent Auditor ought to be looking into.  Oh, right, he got fired.


Click HERE to go to City website page.

BEND OVER MIAMI

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2011(C)
THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER 
NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT

THE TRIP TO NEW YORK


PART II

Last Monday, when I posted the story about the CRA, the Carlisle Development Group and the settlement of the Crosswind lawsuits, one of the issues I stressed was a trip that Pieter Bockweg had taken to to New York to assure Carlisle’s bankers about the deal.


In the days that followed, I have been questioned about this claim by several folks who refused to believe that (A) Bockweg had taken such a trip, and (B) that I had relied on some malicious gossip.


To put those issues to rest, here is the copy of Pieter Bockweg’s request for reimbursement for that trip.

He flew to New York on the afternoon of April 13th, and returned on April 16th. 


Here is what the portion highlighted in Yellow says:  “Reimbursement for air flight ticket and lodging reservations booked to visit banks in New York City related to Crosswinds project and other site visits related to Urban and vertical Malls.”


The questions of possible impropriety that I originally raised centered around the fact that the Crosswinds deal was a 2 part affair, and that Bockweg’s efforts to meet with Carlisle’s bankers provided the appearance, if not the act of providing them with insider information. 


You see, the first part of the deal was a more or less a straight forward settlement with the developers of Poinciana Village and Sawyers Walk, who had become minority partners when Matthew Greer’s Skytown LLC, assumed a 90% ownership that included the 4 blocks on either side of NW 2nd Avenue, between 6th and 8th Streets.  The second part was a separate deal for the other 2 blocks of land between 8th and 10th Streets that would have a new “Developers Agreement,” issued to the developer selected after the issuance of an RFP by the CRA.


It’s that RFP, and the intertwined relationship revealed in the settlement agreement that posed a problem, because what good is issuing an RFP if you’ve already signaled in the intricacies of the settlement agreement who’s going to qualify, and have conveyed that information to the party’s bankers?


Those were the allegations being made before last Monday’s meeting, and they will continue to cause problems unless and until the deal is separated, and the 2nd part of this scheme becomes a stand alone deal that can pass the smell test.


I’m sure that there will be more parts to this story because I am now doing some preliminary research into the larger issues of what and how these Tax Credit Developers operate.


It seems to be an interesting business, this building of affordable housing using taxpayer dollars.

ROCK & ROLL IS IN THE HOUSE

PHOTO EXHIBITION FRIDAY NIGHT

My pal and colleague Andrew Nathanson is having an exhibition of some of his Rock & Roll photos at MOKSHA, at 228 NE 59th Street, TONIGHT, Friday, July 15th,  6-10 PM.


Andrew spent part of his misspent youth working on Rock & Roll shows and all he’s got to show for it are blown eardrums and photographs. :-)


Tell them you’re Andrew’s friend.  See you there.

JULY 14, 2011

JULY 14, 2011

ALVAREZ DROPS BOMBSHELL

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2011(C)
THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER 
NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT

WAS THE $200,000 CHECK PART OF A STING OPERATION?

Police Major Al Alvarez, who’s fast becoming my favorite “Thug In Uniform,” dropped a bombshell last night at the Miami City Commission, by informing the Commissioners - who had been stupidly prompted by Assistant City Manager Luis Cabrera - to ask why, if the Chief believed the $200,000 check represented a bribe, hadn’t he immediately reported it to law enforcement.


The Chief wasn’t present, but Alvarez was, and responded to the question.


Here, in a post last night from LEO AFFAIRS, “Rester,” describes - with editorial comments -  what happened.


“A few minutes later as the Commissioners were discussing among themselves weather the Chief had done anything to initiate an investigation. "True to form" Luisito opened his mouth again and said that the chief had the authority to request that an investigation be conducted. The Commissioners spotted Blom and Alvarez and called them up to the podium. Over Luisito's objection Alvarez informed the commission that the chief met with an investigating agency once he found out that he was being called to city hall to be offered a payoff. He also mentioned that the chief went to the "bribe meeting" acting within the guidance and direction of the investigating agency.”


What Alvarez really said was that he couldn’t comment other than when the Chief realized that he might be being offered a bribe, he reported it to a law enforcement agency, and then followed “protocol.”


Well, following “protocol” would, in a case like this almost demand that the Chief wear a wire when he met with whoever offered him the check.


That’s a BOMBSHELL, and puts an entirely different spin on things.  It also answers a question that has been lingering at the edges of this story.


Folks on the Regalado side of this story have been putting out the rumor that the Chief was actually on board with this deal, and that what he allegedly kept asking for was a payoff that didn’t require him paying any taxes.


Now, based on Alvarez’s claim, if the Chief went to either the FDLE or to the FBI, and they set up protocols to deal with this incident, then one of the very first would have been to try and maneuver the folks offering the bribe into doing something really incriminating.


As one of my sources pointed out to me last night, when you start saying you want to evade taxes, the first thing that comes to mind is a bag of cash.


So, what if this was the real deal.


Larry Spring, Tony Crapp, or whoever approaches the Chief with what clearly appears to be a bribe offer.


The Chief goes to the FDLE or the FBI.  They agree to try and set these guys up, and the Chief goes back and tells these guys that he doesn’t want to pay any taxes in the hopes that they will offer him cash.


Maybe they even agreed to do so, but then got a little spooked, and instead went for a check as a way to try and cover their asses.


Then, when they meet, the Chief is wearing a wire and their whole conversation is caught on tape?


How’s that for a real life version of Law and Order?


SO, NOW HERE ARE QUESTIONS THAT ABSOLUTELY DEMAND ANSWERS FROM HIS IGNORANCE, THE MAYOR, ALONG WITH TONY CRAPP, LARRY SPRING AND EVEN DIANA GOMEZ.


  1. 1. Have you retained criminal defense counsel?


  1. 2. Have you been questioned by any Law Enforcement

     agency over this incident?


A dollar to a donut says that the answer to both questions is YES, whether they want to admit it or not. 


Maybe justice will at long, last come to Miami City Hall!


One thing you can bet on is that after his performance last night, it’ll be a cold day in hell before anyone lets Luis Cabrera play acting City Manager at another City Commission meeting.

Channel 41

THIS IS A SPECIAL FRIDAY MORNING EXCLUSIVE

JULY 15, 2011