JULY 25 - JULY 29


JULY 25, 2011



In Miami, July is the month when politicians try to pull off their sleaziest deals.

Last year, we witnessed Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff orchestrate the deal that led to an ordinance sanctioning Mark Siffin’s effort to build his 420‘ LED Billboards, and in the process firing the late Jim Villacorta, Executive Director of the CRA and replacing him with toady Pieter Bockweg.

For good measure, Bockweg repaid the deed by transplanting Sarnoff’s 2 prized aides, Burt Gonzalez and David Karsh to keep him company, doubling their salaries in the process. 

That was a three bagger that reverberates within the city to this day, given Bockweg’s recent antics in the Crosswinds deal.

This year, His Ignorance Tomas Regalado decided to outdo Sarnoff and double down on the sleaze factor by instructing his “administration” that he wanted to give away the Miami Marine Stadium, along with all of the property from the eastern boundary of the Rickenbacker Marina, to the western edge of the city property that houses the Miami Rowing Club, to a non-profit corporation called Friends Of The Miami Marine Stadium.

Included in this giveaway - everything within the boundaries of the Red lines above - are the Miami Marine Stadium, it’s parking lot, the property known as Hobie Island Beach Park, the Marine Stadium Marina along with the restaurant next to the marina and the waterfront edge to the East of the Stadium.

This property is conservatively estimated to be worth a minimum of $30 million - 10+ acres, waterfront, causeway, marina, one-of-a-kind, you do the estimate - that currently generates over $1.5 million annually in revenue that goes to the city’s General Fund.

Why would the Mayor, at a time when the city is in such dire financial straights decide to give away this steady stream of income and property valued in the tens of millions of dollars?

As I wrote in post on May 16th, the Mayor first revealed his desires in a letter written for him to the editor of the Herald on May 12th.

It all sounded nice, and had a ring of civic involvement, but behind the rhetoric the Mayor’s offhanded reference to his goal of having the “Friends, with the help of the Miami Heat organization, run the stadium,” raised warning flags.

In the public arena, goals require specific legal steps, and this Mayor has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding, and even less respect for allowing legal niceties get in the way of doing whatever he wants.

In my May 16th post, I was able fairly quickly to identify some behind the scenes activity involving a Coconut Grove attorney named Manny Alonso Poch that raised additional red flags.

Since then, a lot has happened, and in recent days with the help of several people outside of city government who were able to provide me with different parts of this story, I have been able to put the parts together about a truly amazing attempt to snatch a historic piece of property out from under the nose of the citizens of Miami.


First, I must state categorically, that that this is NOT a story  or an attempt to scuttle doing something positive about the Marine  Stadium.  I, like many in the community, believe that it should be considered a crime that this landmark was allowed to fall into such disrepair.

The stadium however, or rather the notion of the stadium as this giant, wounded edifice that provided so many fond memories for so many in the community has become the equivalent of a Trojan Horse, allowing a small handful of individuals and the Mayor of Miami to use those emotions and memories of Elvis and Jimmy Buffet and all the rest as a smoke screen that would allow them to engage in a classic backroom deal intended to provide significant personal enrichment at the public’s expense for those involved.

While the Stadium has significant and symbolic importance, it is the vacant land, the marina and the restaurant that surrounds the stadium that is really in play here.

What should concern and alarm the citizens of Miami and the entire county is to what lengths the Mayor of Miami was willing to go to see this valuable, irreplaceable city land be handed over to a handful of guys with a largely hidden agenda, by skirting, if not outright breaking the law.



From long experience, transparency is the first, and often best indicator of whether there is shit in the game.  The more transparency, the less shit.

Using that yardstick, Friends Of The Friends Of The Miami Marine Stadium (FOMMS), qualifies as a septic tank in need of being pumped out.  The FOMMS I reference is not the same FOMMS that puts out newsletters and has a website.

Allow me to explain.

As part of a press release issued on February 2, 2010, under the banner of the World Monuments Fund, Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium and the Dade Heritage Fund, FOMMS was identified as:

        “Friends of Marine Stadium is a coalition of

        individuals and organizations organized under

        the administrative umbrella of dade Heritage

        Trust that was formed in the Spring of 2008. 

        The objective of the group is to restore and

        return to service the Miami Marine Stadium.”

On November 23, 2010, Donald Worth, who is a board member of the Miami-Dade Heritage Trust, and whose name appears on newsletters and other documents put out by the Trust having to do with their support of the Marine Stadium, incorporated his own non profit corporation called Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium, Inc. (Check out these documents.)

If this non profit corporation had been created to be a part of the Miami-Dade Heritage Trust, I believe it would have listed a number of individuals from the Trust as Board Members.  That is not the case. Donald Worth is the ONLY NAME included in the corporate filing documents, along with his “volunteer” attorney as the registered agent, about whom you’ll read more about below.

It is THIS non profit corporation, and NOT the group that is part of the Heritage Trust that is at the center of this backroom scheme to take over the Marine Stadium.

Behind the scenes however, the most significant person who’s not mentioned either in the corporate documents and/or in many other documents associated with this corporation, yet who has been identified as the driving force for much of what has transpired as this non profit corporation has worked to gain control of the Marine Stadium property is not someone from the Heritage Trust, but rather local attorney, and founder of the Arts and Minds Academy in Coconut Grove, Manny Alonso Poch.


Manny Alonso Poch is not a guy that comes across as a very sympathetic figure when exposed to public scrutiny.

As I wrote in my May 16th post, guys like Poch are always
looking for ways to evade public scrutiny of their deals,  while at the same time the one thing that’s critical for them to succeed is their lust for public money.

Poch first came to the public’s attention back in 1998, with the saga of the refrigerated cargo ship Ocean Freeze, tied up next to Bicentennial Park. Two articles in Miami New Times at the time provided a primer on Poch’s business methods, and as one article detailed, demonstrated Poch’s proclivity for pretty much pissing on everybody’s shoes: (Article I)  (Article II)

        “According to Capt. Dave Miller, the commanding

        officer of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office,

        Alonso-Poch is the de facto owner of the vessel

        and has ignored repeated orders to move it, has

        deliberately misled the Coast Guard about plans

        to relocate it, and has violated laws that govern the

        proper vigilance of a ship not in operation. A Coast

        Guard hearing officer recently fined Alonso-Poch

        $25,000, a penalty he is appealing.”

Poch bounced along as an entrepreneur, starting the Grove Arts and Mind Academy Charter School in a building he owned in Coconut Grove, and on the side, led the effort to get the city to take over the Rockerman Canal behind his house so the city could take of cleaning and dredging it.

Earlier this year, a group of parents whose children go his Academy charter school wrote a scathing letter detailing a long list of complaints and possible illegal actions undertaken by Poch in his role as landlord and founder of the school.

As an example of the interconnectedness of Regalado, Poch, and the Marine Stadium deal, Dan Ricker, of the Watchdog Report, who broke the story of the parent’s letter reported on what happened when some of the parents showed up at a special meeting of the School Board’s Audit Committee after they filed their letter. 

        “School Board member Raquel Regalado, an

        attorney, elected in 2010, whose district includes

        A&M in the Grove spoke to the school’s parents

        during the meeting and she explained there were

        limits of what the school district could do in this

        matter. She is not officially on the audit committee

        and she went on for a few minutes before the chair

        and other board members who wondered why she

        was speaking on the issue to actual parents in this

        dispute that is sensitive in nature cut her off. Further,

        Regalado knows Alonso Poch because he is a good

        friend of her father’s, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado

        (Net worth $5,000) and Poch; an attorney is part of

        a group of people trying to reopen the Miami Marine

        Stadium, and he is pushing for a Maritime Museum

        on some of the land. The stadium is an iconic

        landmark that has fallen in disrepair on Virginia

        Key, but if the money can be found, could be

        rehabilitated in the coming years and Poch attends

        many of the city’s internal meetings on what to

        do with the city owned parcel of land and how

        it should be developed in the decade ahead.”

The one thing that the Regalado clan have learned how to do is circle the wagons, and the revelation that Raquelita, a lawyer, would pull such a blatantly underhanded stunt, underlines just how much power Poch welds over her father, the Mayor.

Poch has for some time focused on trying to deal himself into getting at least a piece of the Marine Stadium property.  Last summer, he submitted an unsolicited proposal for the construction of what he referred to as a Marine Exposition Center to then City Manager Carlos Migoya, that prompted this negative response.


Migoya’s curt rejection of his proposal seemed not to phase Poch, who within weeks of Migoya’s departure, was back in the game and on board with the new non profit corporation.

The big question is not why Migoya told him ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ but why Mayor Tomas Regalado after the issuance of that letter would order the new City Manager and the City Attorney to have their staffs negotiate a deal, and essentially give this non profit corporation whatever they wanted.



As much as Mayor Regalado, Donald Worth, Manny Alonso Poch and whoever else is involved would like to see the City do a straight transfer of this property from the City to this non profit corporation, that’s impossible. Instead the decision was made to use the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority (MSEA) as the pass-through entity to facilitate this deal.  This is not the first time that the MSEA has been used to do a dirty deal.

To accomplish this, there needed to be an Inter-Local agreement created between the City and MSEA, that would then allow MSEA, in this case WITHOUT ISSUING ANY SORT OF RFP, to turn over the Stadium property and its refurbishment and management to this non profit corporation.

And right here, at this juncture is where the wheels fall off the train.

First, because this is waterfront property, THE VERY FIRST STEP required under the City Charter is that anything having to do with waterfront property must go before the Waterfront Advisory Board. (City Charter, Chapter 29-122(b):

        “(b)The Miami waterfront advisory board shall be

        informed of all issues concerning the major

        development and/or disposition of city-owned

        waterfront property for its input and advice at

        the conceptual planning stage for such

        development  and/or disposition; “major

        development and/or disposition “ shall be

        defined as such activities that require public

        notice and hearings pursuant to the City of

        Miami Charter and Code and shall not encompass

        minor changes, renovations and/or alterations to

        any existing city-owned waterfront property. 

        Nothing herein is intended to interfere or conflict

        with any existing provisions in the City of Miami

        Charter and Code setting forth procedures

        concerning the development and/or disposition

        of city-owned waterfront property.”

Nothing related to this proposal has ever been presented to the Waterfront Advisory Board for review, in part because it seems that very little has been revealed as to what this non profit is actually up to other than refurbishing the Stadium. The fact that they are seeking access to the entire undeveloped waterfront on either side of the Marine Stadium however, clearly points to an intention to do something with that waterfront property, which would require taking it before the Waterfront Advisory Board, sooner rather than later.


Secondly, and even more importantly, neither Mayor Tomas Regalado, nor any other elected official in the City of Miami has the right to unilaterally designate, without REAL public discussion and input, including putting out a solicitation for proposals through an RFP, to designate a specific non profit corporation to be the recipient of a contract issued by the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority.

In fact, the requirement for an Inter-Local Agreement between the City and MSEA underscores the fact that it would be only AFTER an Inter-Local Agreement had been negotiated and approved, that the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority would have any right to award any contracts related to this venture.

That’s why the Inter-Local is created in the first place.

Furthermore, because none of this can happen other than through a sequenced series of steps, the notion of allowing this non profit corporation to interject themselves into the negotiations between the City and the MSEA, in order to influence and/or demand specific language and conditions in the Inter-Local Agreement before it is completed is absolute bullshit!

But that is exactly what has been taking place the last few months as Assistant City Manager Alice Bravo, representing the City, and Assistant City Attorney Veronica Xiques, representing MSEA, have been negotiating the terms of the Inter-Local Agreement, while Ms. Lynn Lewis, claiming to be the “volunteer” attorney for the non profit corporation has been weighing in with the demands of the corporation as to what they require in the agreement.

Understand that as of the publication of this story, neither the City nor MSEA can produce a single document establishing that a LEGAL, BINDING relationship exists between the MSEA and this non profit corporation, which in turn means that Ms. Lynn Lewis, the “volunteer” attorney for this non profit corporation, who has been negotiating on their behalf, has absolutely no legal standing allowing her to do so.

At this point, the negotiations are internal between the City and one of it’s agencies, and while either of the parties could reach out for expert assistance should they need it, the possibility that the recipient of a contract from the Sport’s Authority could be seen as an impartial expert is ridiculous on its face. 

Yet, documents reveal that not only has Ms. Lewis been engaged in the negotiations, but that on behalf of non profit corporation she has submitted detailed demands and requirements specific to her clients needs of how they want the Inter-Local to read.

Here, in this email to the pretend Assistant City Manager Luis Cabrera, is revealed the basics of the deal that the non profit corporation wants from the City.

Larger copies for viewing are available by clicking on any of the documents in this story.

Does this read like the mindset of a group of civic minded citizens seeking to do a public good, or does it represent little more than a naked, in-your-face attempt to bully the city into literally bending over and giving away everything including the financial assets that currently put $1.5 million into the city’s General Fund annually, along with complete control over how the site would be built out and managed.

And for good measure they want the rights to sell the naming rights to the Stadium, AND KEEP THE MONEY!

Again however, as over-the-top as the demands might appear,  whether the City and MSEA agree or disagree as to whether to incorporate any of these changes into the final agreement is immaterial to the first and foremost problem, which is that this non profit corporation has for all intents and purposes been awarded a contract, before the agency designated to award a contract had even been given permission to do so!

At the very least, that’s an abuse of power, and it could very well be even worse!

Understandably, a lot of people in and outside of city government who’ve become privy to this deal are pissed and upset about all of this. They view it as little more than an egregious attempt to rip off the citizens of Miami, and are upset that the Mayor of Miami is the person who has put the whole deal into play.

It is the responsibility and obligation of people who are elected to serve the public to protect against these kinds of shenanigans, not initiate them.

As to the status of these demands, it’s impossible to determine as of this posting of this story just what the “final” language will be in the Inter-Local Agreement, because, while I was able to acquire several different versions of the Agreement as a result of a public records request, I have been led to believe that negotiations have continued beyond the release of the latest copy that I’ve made available for your review on the document page, and newer versions might exist which few people have been privy to.

There are a number of other documents, most especially the results of a survey conducted by this non profit corporation which would reveal their true intentions as to how much land they’re trying to secure as part of this deal.  This  survey was mentioned at the last MSEA meeting last week, but no one on the MSEA Board was provided with a copy.


If you’ve reached this point and still have any doubts that this is a cooked deal from top to bottom, then consider this.

One of the requirements of this deal - in fact, any deal involving city property - is the absolute requirement for 2 independent appraisals and at least 1 survey.

When it became apparent that the City could not produce a survey in a time frame acceptable to Donald Worth, he volunteered to have the survey done by the Friends Of The Marine Stadium.  Without objection the Mayor agreed, and when the survey was done, Worth wrote a letter to the Mayor that included these two sentences:

        ”We are pleased to enclose 15 sealed surveys and

         legal descriptions of the Miami Marine Stadium Park

        Property.  This is another gift from Friends Of Miami    

        Marine Stadium.” (Emphasis mine)

Gift my ass!  Allowing the prospective recipient of a piece of city land be the one to conduct the survey of that land is like having a safe cracker oversee the installation of a bank vault.

As to the reference that the surveys were sealed, they’re still sealed, and no one during the last MSEA Board meeting I was told has seen these surveys, nor was I provided a copy of them when I filed my public records request last week for ALL documents related to this deal from Public Facilities, which is certainly one city office that should have a copy of these “sealed surveys.”

It takes real balls, or the knowledge that you can get away with anything you want with impunity to pull off this kind of stunt.

(For purposes of review, I have included a copy of this letter, along with the latest draft of the Inter-Local Agreement that I received on the page where copies of all the documents in this story are located. To go there click HERE)



While each of the individuals associated with this non profit corporation can articulate their own version of their motives and visions to justify their involvement in this scheme, the driving force behind this particular deal has been Manny Alonso Poch, who from his first unsolicited proposal to former City Manager Carlos Migoya last summer cited above, has been trying to secure a portion of the Marine Stadium property to build and operate a Charter School.

He’s never openly revealed that he’s doing this for a Charter School, but the proposal that he presented to Migoya last summer had all the elements - and much of the language - of what became the illegal Charter School now being operated at the Miami Children’s Museum.

In Poch’s case, he’s masked his intentions under the innocuous label of wanting to create a Marine Exhibition Center.

The reason that Poch has been so adamant about securing city property for this venture - and the Marine Stadium property is the last remaining city property capable of accommodating this kind of project - is that its apparent that he wants more or less to replicate the deal that the Children’s Museum got that led to the creation of their alleged illegal Charter School on Watson Island.

Let me repeat that:  He wants to replicate the deal that the Children’s Museum got for their alleged ILLEGAL CHARTER SCHOOL on Watson Island.

Yes, it might come as a surprise that the Children’s Museum operates a Charter School, and yes, a lot of folks inside of City Government, as well as those who pay attention outside of government claim that the school is illegal.  It’s called the Children’s Museum and not the Children’s Charter School for a reason.

While that fact is not germane to this situation, I felt it none the less important to reveal because, until she decided to get some street cred by having her children attend public school in order to run for the School Board, Raquel Regalado’s children attended this illegal school, and Grand Daddy Regalado, first as a Commissioner, and then as Mayor, was seen as one of the school’s major protectors.

Poch wants to secure a deal similar to the one that the Children’s Museum negotiated with the city that includes paying the city chump change in rent - the Children’s Museum pays $2 a year for 300 years - and getting card blanche to do as he damn well pleases in terms of construction, etc. 

Why is a Charter School at the center of this deal? 

Money!  Lot and lots of money!

Successful Charter Schools, especially ones that cater to middle and upper-middle class parents eager to give Johnny and Suzy that extra edge are willing to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars annually to get their kids out of public schools. Running a successful Charter School is like owning a personal ATM Machine that spits out thousand dollar bills.

To be able to secure a large piece of public land for little or no rent, and to be able to piggybank off of the public dollars that would go to refurbish the Marine Stadium is like winning the lottery.

As for Donald Worth and Jorge Hernandez who has been active on several levels, as well as any others that might lurking in the shadows, the fact that this giveaway includes the Marine Stadium Marina, a restaurant and at least 4 acres of land not envisioned to be part of the Stadium or the Charter School means that there are obviously plans for all of these parcels, and there needs to be some declaration by Worth and Hernandez as to just what are their intentions are - besides being goody two shoe activists - and in Hernandez’s case what is his relationship with this non profit corporation.

To date however, no one has been forthcoming in divulging just what they have in mind for any of this property, even though this has been a question that a lot of inquiring minds would like to have an answer to.


The 10+ acres that comprises the Marine Stadium and the surrounding property is the last, and largest single piece of undeveloped waterfront land owned by the City of Miami.

It’s real value transcends its monetary value because the property is irreplaceable,  which in turn makes it one of the most valuable pieces of land - public or private - in all of South Florida.

To allow this property to be essentially given away as part of a sneaky, backroom deal should make everyone sit up and take notice, including the members of the Miami-Dade Historic Trust, who, rightly or wrongly appear to have been made accomplices in this deal.

The notion that the Inter-Local Agreement was scheduled to come up before the City Commission this week, is just one more piece of evidence that this was intended to be another in the long list of dirty deals slipped through in the heat of summer, when no one would be paying attention.

That it did not is probably owed to the courage and objections raised by those within city government trying to do their best to protect the interests of the city and its citizens against this kind of plunder, and who might, just by my mentioning their efforts be penalized for acting like public servants are supposed to act.

It’s become a scummy, scary time for a lot of city employees who day in and day out watch the corrupt and often illegal activities of Tomas Regalado and his cronies as they’ve lied, cheated, abused their public trust and generally viewed the city and its resources as little more than swag to be parceled out to their families and friends.

Decisions of this magnitude require real transparency, fairness and accountability, and not the private exchanges of emails from a“volunteer” lawyer telling the City what her clients want and expect in order to make them happy. 

If folks want to save and refurbish the Marine Stadium, then they should focus on that, and if Manny Alonso Poch wants to start another charter school, then he should go out and buy or lease a piece of and to do so, but the citizens of Miami should never, ever be hoodwinked into believing that a charter school for Manny Alonso Poch, and whatever side deals Donald Worth, Jorge Hernandez and whoever is is lurking in the shadows of this deal want, justifies handing them the Marine Stadium property on a Silver platter.

When we last left Mr. Greer and the Carlisle Development Group, they were tryIng to get the SEOPW CRA to turn over 6 blocks of the Historic Overtown District, and between $30 - $46 million in a deal that would have made them the local Kings of Tax Credit  developers.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, after my story broke, the CRA cancelled the meeting and announced that the deal had gone back to the shop for a tuneup, crediting concerns by the county for the problems.

Greer however, seems to be a resourceful guy - along with being a member of the Miami-Dade Historic Trust - and last October he too tossed his hat into the ring for a piece of the Stadium deal.

Although currently stymied on the big deal, Carlisle is scheduled to make an appearance on Monday night for another SEOPW CRA deal to develop a project on 12th Street and NW 3rd Avenue.

But since this is Marine Stadium Monday, it’s worth the time to check out Greer’s proposal made to the Miami-Dade Heritage Trust.

Greer and Carlisle’s name have not surfaced in any documents related to the above story, but since sending this letter, and in addition to his problems with the CRA deal that I wrote about week before last, Greer has had acquired a new problem to contend with. 

A few weeks ago, Oscar Sol, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Mitch Rosenstein, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), of the Carlisle Group quit, and supposedly they have now filed a lawsuit against the company.

My story on the CRA deal also brought to light documents revealing a number of financial problems that had befallen Carlisle over the last couple years, and that were included in a letter challenging an award of a Miami-Dade County contract for a development deal by a competitor.

Miami-Dade County, and Commissioner Audrey Edmonson  seem to have developed an affinity for Carlisle, in one instance overturning 2 RFPS’s awarded to another company that ended up being given to Carlisle.

The information in the bellow letter has been independently verified, and while the last few years have created problems all over Florida for developers, it seems that Carlisle’s problems managed to mirror the state-wide real estate bubble.

All businesses can expect to hit rough spots, but when the number 2 and 3 guy in the company walk out the door together, that’s normally the kind of Red Flag that signals real internal troubles, especially when they turn around and sue the company.

As to whether Greer becomes a partner with the Worth, Poch, Hernandez and whoever else in this Marine Stadium deal only time will tell, but for now, Greer continues to have the keys to the door at the CRA.

To be fair to Mr. Greer, because he obviously pays a lot of money for PR, click HERE to read the lasted PR release

on Carlisle.


In addition to all of the other issues surrounding this deal, there is also a problem related to the bonds that were used as part of the financing of the Marine Stadium.  Often times bonds come with restrictions, and several of my sources indicated that bonds could indeed be a concern in trying to prepare an Inter-Local Agreement.

My main expert on all things bond related is currently out of the country, and therefore I was unable to get as clear an understanding as I would have needed before I could try to explain it to all of you.

I am forwarding some of the information collected as part of my public records request to Investigation Miami because over time they seems to have a far better understanding of these issues that I ever could.

Hopefully later this week they’ll be able to post something about this issue.

Also, other than the mention in Regalado’s Letter To The Editor in May, not a mention has been uncovered since then of any involvement by the Miami Heat in this venture.


Matthew Greer and Pieter Bockweg


Dear Reader,

I apologize if today’s post seems extra long - it is - but the Marine Stadium story I believe is the most important one I have written, and I wanted to make sure I provided you with as much context as possible to understand what this deal represents to the citizens of Miami.

My next post will probably not be before Friday, or next Monday because once in a while real life intrudes on my quixotic adventures in the land of Miami, Bitches!

As always, if you have real, and verifiable evidence of wrong doing in the City of Miami, send it to me.

Al Crespo

689 NE 92nd Street

Miami, Fl 33138


JULY 25, 2011


David Karsh, one of 2 Sarnoff staff members who were transferred to the CRA last year with a doubling of his salary has resigned “to take another job.”

Could this be the beginning of everyone bailing out of the CRA as it become apparent that the shit might be ready to hit the fan?

Karsh had to go looking far and wide to match the $82,000 a year he got for being an ass-kisser at the CRA.

JULY 25, 2011