JUNE 20 - JUNE 25

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THE GOLDEN PARACHUTE
TONY CRAPP PUNKED THE CITY AND LET LARRY SPRING WALK OUT THE DOOR WITH $125,734.56

When it comes to keeping track of what folks like the crowd at Miami City Hall are really up to, it’s always important to follow the money, and whenever possible the paperwork trail that is attached to the money.

On June 9th, Larry Spring, that irrepressible scalawag that made an art form out of illegally using restricted funds to balance the city’s books, along with other hocus pocus  financial tricks that so delighted the Mayor and City Commissioners when it was in support of one of their schemes, walked out of the MRC with a severance package of $125,734.56.

Below are the documents, that provide some interesting new details as to how Larry - and his boon companion Tony Crapp - decided to leave the comfort of public employment for the wilds of private enterprise.

The first document - and perhaps the most revealing - is the May 18th memo from Tony Crapp to Beverly Pruitt, the Director of Human Relations authorizing 100 days of severance and waving the requirements governing Sick Leave.

If this were a crime scene, this would be the Smoking Gun.  Come to think of it, this is a Crime Scene, and this is a Smoking Gun.

(As always, to view a larger version of these documents click on any of them.)

“Always follow the money.”

                                            - Deep Throat

Here is Larry Spring’s official resignation letter, dated May 31, 2011.

Here is his payout documents, listing a total of 436.5 vacation Hours, 390.5 Sick Leave, and 800 Hours of Severance, all at $77.28 per hour.

What all of the documents actually do, is once again point out that either Tony Crapp is incredibly incompetent to the point of being a moron, or that he punked the taxpayers by granting Larry Spring this incredible, illegal severance and sick leave payout.


Here, from the City of Miami’s APM 1-86: Severance Policy last updated on 09/2010, is the description of when severance payments are allowed.


(A PDF copy of the Administrative Polices quoted below may been seen by clicking on any of the documents in this piece.)

The key word is “termination.”  In other words, unless Larry Spring was let go, he didn’t qualify for a $61,824.00 severance payment. 


Since Spring submitted a letter of “resignation,” he falls into the category of “voluntary resignation,” and somebody better start trying to get THIS severance payment back PDQ.


Secondly, Crapp wasn’t allowed to give Spring the Sick Leave payout that he did.  Here is the relevant portion of the Sick Leave APM-3-91, 05/15/2002.

Spring didn’t retire, he resigned.  He worked for the city a little over 8 years and therefore was only entitled to 25%, or  $7,544.46 of his Sick Leave time, and not the $30,177.84 he received.  Again, somebody better start trying to get THIS money back PDQ.


Tony Crapp didn’t have the authority to override the clear language provisions of Severance APM, only the City Commission could do that, and even then they’d have to amend the APM to allow any kind of payment to someone who voluntarily resigned.

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The Sick Leave APM, doesn’t even give the City Manager that option. He can only obey the plain language of the APM as written.  The language in these APM’s are not advisory in nature, but mandatory, only subject to change or revision by action of the City Commission.


It is incredible just how blatantly illegal all of this is, and how Crapp could believe that he could pull this stunt in plain sight.


Of course, there is the persistent rumor that both Tony Crapp and Larry Spring were essentially forced out by the Mayor: Crapp for refusing to fire the Chief of Police, and Spring, for continuing to screw up the books.


Were that to be the case - although there is no documentation to support these rumors - neither one of them would be entitled to a penny of their accumulated Sick Leave, and there would be a debate on whether they would be entitled to any severance package, especially Spring who’s been the subject of a major SEC investigation.


But, what this really looks like is that Crapp gave Spring all of this money as a payoff to keep his mouth shut. Whether he was fired, induced to resign, or just quit on his own, Spring is the one guy who really does know where the bodies are buried, because he wielded the shovel.


This payoff is not just illegal, it is in your face, FUCK YOU, ILLEGAL!!!


Since Crapp is himself soon to be out the door, even though he’s being egged on by Police Chief Exposito and his pals to stay on - gee, I wonder why - everyone with the responsibility to safeguard the public’s money at the MRC better quit scheming on how to cover their asses and moving their deck chairs on the Banana Republic Titanic, and start making sure that Crapp doesn’t try to waltz out the door with the silverware, along with all the illegal money he can stuff in his own severance package.


The big question is, since Crapp is the City Manager, who will be the patsy who signs off on his “Golden Parachute?”


This is all nothing more than robbery by fountain pen. Everybody that signed off on these payments, or turned a blind eye to these violations of the APM’s should be fired for being either stupid or an accomplice in this scheme, and Tony Crapp needs to have his ass escorted out of City Hall before he does anymore damage, ASAP!

LARRY_SPRING_RESIGNATION.html

JUNE 20, 2011

JUNE 22, 2011

REGALADO OPTS FOR ANOTHER DOORMAT
MARTINEZ CATCHES THE BOUQUET AFTER ALL

We’ll never know for sure what took place in the last few days to make Tomas Regalado go with Johnny Martinez rather than Jose Garcia-Pedrosa, but he did, and on Tuesday morning, 4 of the 5 Commissioners - Commissioner Carollo was supposedly absent due to his suppoedly having to attend a CPA training session - along with the Mayor made all the obligatory comments of support before allowing some questions from the local media.


It was pretty much the kind of dog and pony show that one has come to expect in the Banana Republic.


First, it’s obvious that my heretofore “reliable sources” turned out to be not so reliable in convincing me that Garcia-Pedrosa would become the next City Manager, although I do believe that he was for a period the top choice.


The problem for the city is that Martinez is pretty much a doormat, which will result in the continued plundering of anything not tied down by the growing number of folks who have decided that if the city is going to crash anyhow, why not try and get a piece of whatever remains.


To that end, for those who didn’t take the time to look at the video of Martinez’s performance at the April 21st City Commission meeting, this now becomes a must viewing if you are ever going to appreciate who Johnny Martinez really is, and just how much trouble the city will continue to be under his management.


The clip below is 9:26 minutes long.  I urge you to take the time, or come back when you have the time to look at the whole thing.  At the very least, I urge you to look at the first 5:53 minutes now.


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS NOW THE CITY MANAGER OF THE CITY OF MIAMI.

In response to one of the handful of questions he was asked, Martinez did not rule out firing Chief of Police Miguel Expositio, relying instead on claiming that he intended to review all Department Directors and review their work and continued role with the city.


To that end, I have changed the Time Clock at the top left of this site to start a Countdown on how many days it takes Johnny Martinez to repay Regalado for appointing him City Manager by firing Exposito.


In the next few days, we can expect the announcement that Alice Bravo was appointed Martinez’s Assistant City Manager - which fulfills the deal that Carlos Migoya made to Martinez and Bravo when he hired them last year: Martinez would become the Manager, and Bravo would become his Assistant City Manager.


Regalado continues NOT to be the Captain of his ship, and it’s just a matter of time before this latest attempt to build a house out of cards that were dealt by others comes tumbling down.

THE PLOT THICKENS

On Tuesday morning, the above Error Message appeared on the city’s website when you try to access any of the City’s Independent Auditor’s previous Audit Reports.


Last month, Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff demanded that Victor Igwe, the City’s Independent Auditor not release any further Audit Reports until the decision had been made whether to renew his contract, which expired on May 31st.


This demand was accepted by the other Commissioners as part of a 60 day extension to the contract while Commissioner Frank Carollo reviewed the operation of Igwe’s office and the terms of a possible new contract.


Next week will be the last Commission Meeting before that 60 day period ends, and there is no mention of Igwe’s contract review on the agenda for that meeting.


At the time of Sarnoff’s demand that Igwe not be allowed to release any more Audit Reports, it was rumored that the Independent Auditor’s office was engaged in an investigation of the Miami Parking Authority.


Parking Authority Director Art Noriega and Sarnoff have long been “partners in crime” when it came to abusing the public trust and working as a tag-team to gang bang both the MPA coffers and the Coconut Grove BID. 


As I wrote last week on the announcement that the MPA’s CFO Scott Simpson was being “loaned” to the city, even Regalado had found the financial activites of the MPA so disturbing that he had vowed an audit of their books, which could in fact be the Audit that Igwe is allegedly conducting.


It’s also been rumored that Noriega demanded that Igwe be fired as a quid-pro-quo for allowing Simpson, to help the city try and deal with it’s disasterous budget problems.


If Igwe is fired, then any report on the MPA would immediately “disappear.”


Now it looks like Sarnoff and others interested in muzzling the last independnent voice inside the city capable of exposing wrong-doing are covering ALL bases, and making sure that Igwe doesn’t just decide to post his investigation on line and have taken steps to shut down access to ALL the Audit Reports.


The above Error Notice was up all day Tuesday, and continues to be up at the time of posting.  No other section of the Independent Auditor’s website has been affected.


What’s interesting is that I’m sure that the City’s IT Department was notified about this problem, yet the problem wasn’t corrected.


How hard would it have been to correct the problem? I was able to discover how to correct it in less than 1 minute after doing a Google search.  Here is how you do it.  This explanation also reveals how to create the problem by just reverse engineering the fix.


Was this a simple computer software glitch, or a sneaky way to send a message to Igwe? Given the way the city works, I’ll go with this being Johnny Martinez’s first display that he’s on board to being the Butt Boy for whoever needs something nasty being done inside the city.


To look at the page, click here, and then try opening AUDIT REPORTS

SOMEONE IS AFRAID OF WHAT VICTOR IGWE KNOWS


   ENTERhttp://www.miamigov.com/internal_audits/pages/

JUNE 22, 2011

UPDATE    UPDATE    UPDATE

The link to the Independent Auditor’s Reports was reestablished this morning.  Now let’s see what happens regarding Victor Igwe’s contract, and most importantly the ability of Igwe to release the findings of his latest reports that Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff was so determined to block from public view.

JUNE 24, 2011

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IS IT A CRIME SCENE

MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATES THE USE OF PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEES

ON DRIVEWAYS

On May 11th, I published the above photos as part of a story on how Jose Marrero, a long-time aide to Mayor Tomas Regalado - who lives at 2516 SW 20th Street - had gotten someone at the Mayor’s Office to write the Public Works Department and requested that the 2 swale driveways at this property needed to be replenished with rock.


As one of the emails included in the original story revealed, Mitchell Francis from Public Works advised the Mayor’s Office that the property owner needed to go and get a permit and build driveways to eliminate the problem.

Instead of doing that, a handful of Public Works employees mysteriously showed up one sunny morning and proceeded to pour the driveways - those ARE Public Works employees in the photos - using cement intended for another project.


This is not an isolated incident.  In fact, these kinds of favors have long been a staple of the kinds of treatment that friends and favored city employees have come to expect of of various Miami City Commissioners and the Mayor.


Normally when these kinds of favors are discussed in private, insiders usually shrug or chuckle at the notion that these kinds of activities will ever lead to criminal prosecutions. 


After all, what’s better than a little concrete to cement a relationship between elected officials and the people they depend on to help them get elected.


The house at 2516 SW 20th Street is but a handful of houses away from the home of Mayor Tomas Regalado, who has long been accused of making a career of dispensing these kinds of favors to his neighbors.


BUILDING CODES?  WHAT BUILDING CODES? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKEN BUILDING CODES!  THIS IS MIAMI, BITCHES!


In addition to the way politicians make sure that their friends and supporters get “free” driveways, Miami is also known as a city where people who come here from countries without building codes, believe that it’s their right and duty to introduce that practice in Miami.


Here is where this case gets really interesting.


On June 9th, Miami Police Major Al Alvarez, the head of Internal Affairs sent the following email to Sergio Guadix, the director of Code Enforcement that revealed their investigation.

A “public works related investigation in the area of 2516 SW 20th Street,” can only mean that the MPD started a criminal investigation of the illegally poured driveways.


Whether the investigation leads to prosecution unfortunately lies in the hands of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office who’s demonstrated an almost pathological aversion to going after anything other than politically motivated, selective prosecutions, but, at least in this case the MPD actually showed up to investigate.


The email from Major Alvarez, exposed a new and different set of violations at the 2516 property that underscores a persistent problem in Miami and the county.  Below is a photo that shows the illegal carport, and the front wall of the illegal bedroom.

On June 20th, Code Enforcement filed a Notice Of Violation.

I know from my own visit to Building and Zoning to look at the permit history of this property that there were never any permits pulled for either a carport, the creation of additional living quarters from a garage, or the construction of the illegal driveways.


The ultimate penalty for these kinds of violations is that the property has to be returned to its original state.


In discussing these particular violations with Sergio Guadix, the Director of Code Violations, he indicated that the probable outcome - depending on a final inspection - would be that the carport would be allowed to remain, and that the enclosed garage, would be allowed to be used for storage, but would no longer be usable as living quarters. Of course what that really means is that before the ink dries on the document rescinding the Notice of Violation, things will revert to how they were on June 8th.


What’s most revealing about this incident is the underlying revelation that Major Al Alvarez, went after Tomas Regalado, by going after Jose Marrero through Code Enforcement.


When it comes to sending a message, this was a very direct and loud bitch slap of the Mayor.  Way to go Al.  Don’t take any prisoners!  But you better get your best shots in ASAP, because Johnny Martinez has got to fire you and the Chief PDQ to make Regalado happy.


In the meantime, let’s see what the State Attorney’s Office does about the illegal driveways, although I’m not holding my breath.

BOO!!! - ALL THE CROOKED POLITICIANS BETTER WATCH OUT
JOE CENTERINO TO LEAVE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR ETHIC’S COMMISSION

Joe Centerino, whose known for almost 6 months that Tomas Regalado’s campaign reports revealed the receipt of illegal contributions from out-of-country contributors, as well as countless other serious violations, and who’s also refused to prosecute any number of other cases of criminal activity committed by Miami public officials in recent years was selected by the Board of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission on Tuesday, June 22nd, to replace the ethically challenged Robert Meyers, who resigned the day after the Crespo-Gram Report published Part V of my expose on the unethical behavior of the Ethics Commission.


It’s been no secret that Centerino was the inside choice for the job, given his track record as the head of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office of Political Corruption.  As Eye On Miami asked, “Is he trading one job that can't get anyone indicted for another job that is actually guaranteed to never get anyone indicted?”


While rhetorical, the answer from all of the corrupt politicians and public officials in Miami-Dade County who will now breathe an even bigger sigh of relief is a resounding YES!


The list of benefactors of Centerino’s prosecutorial non-performance not only reads like a Who’s Who List of Miami’s most notorious scumbags, but odds are if they got together and tossed a going away party for good old Joe, it would rival the party that the politicians gave my homebody and lodge brother Monty Trainer back in the day when he went to prison for screwing the City of Miami out of millions in tax dollars and his pals gave him a tennis racket to take along with him so he could take advantage of the prison tennis court.


A good going away present for Centerino might be a scrapbook of photos of all the people he refused to prosecute for public corruption over the years.


Centerino who’s been Katherine Fernandez-Rundle’s sock puppet as the head of the Political Corruption Office, will no doubt now use his new position to try and rehabilitate his reputation by issuing a flurry of ineffectual slap on the wrist Ethics Commission citations during his first months in office, but rest assured, a year from now, the Ethics Commission will be as dormant as a doormat.


The absolute best sentence in the Miami Herald’s reporting was this sentence explaining why Centerino would not be showing up at the Ethics Commission for a couple weeks. “You don’t just walk away from all the work you have been doing in one day,” Centerino said. “I have a commitment to the office.”


Yeah, right!  To bad he didn’t have a similar commitment to the citizens of Miami-Dade County.


Joe Centerino’s failure to aggressively go after crooked politicians is one of the prime reasons for the extraordinary levels of public corruption in Miami-Dade County, and nothing of consequence is going to change for the better by him going to the Ethics Commission!


Welcome to the Ethics Commission Joe, you and ethically challenged Board Member Kerry Rosenthal will no doubt soon become bosom buddies. 


Oh yeah, in the immortal words of your predecessor Robert Meyers, “Don’t forget to wear something nice.”

JUNE 24, 2011

HOW TO SAVE $217,000

At yesterday’s City Commission meeting there was a great deal of discussion, and some consternation, over the revelation by the Budget Director that contrary to the decision made last year about a hiring freeze the city continued to hire people.


Even Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff was surprised to learn that after imposing a hiring freeze, the city had hired approximately “200” new employees.  A union representative claimed that the number of closer to 300.


To help the city cut costs, I’d like to suggest that the city could immediately save at least $217,000 by firing the following 3 people.


ANGEL ZAYON: Was hired after both the hiring freeze and the qualification requirements were waived in January for $70,000, plus a car and phone allowance.


MADELIN PACHECO: Was hired only after a job was created for her, and after the hiring freeze was waived. She was hired for $67,000 after the original $55,000 wasn’t enough money for her.


RICHARD LA BELLE: The son-in-law of the aforementioned Jose Marrero in the story above, was hired after both the hiring freeze and the qualification requirements were waived.  He was hired for $80,000.


All of them also get the full benefit package, and were the subject of individual stories on this website that detailed with some specificity how they were hired, and how the rules were bent to do so.


So none of this should come as a surprise or secret to any of the Commissioners - all of whom either read this site - or have their staffs read the site on a regular basis, or so I’ve been told.


There are a number of other examples of individuals like these three who have been hired after a waiver of either the hiring freeze and/or a waiver after not having the qualifications for the job they were hired for.


In addition, the city’s personnel records are full of all kinds of individuals, starting with the members of the Mayor’s staff - like the Thuget - who have received salary increases, while the city’s rank and file employees have been forced to take salary reductions.


If the members of the City Commission are sincere in enforcing a hiring freeze, the termination of these 3 individuals would send a strong message to all the employees of the city that the Commission is actually serious this time in invoking guidelines that will be enforced fairly and equitably.

START BY FIRING ZAYON, PACHECO AND LABELLE

JUNE 24, 2011

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE
MOVING THE DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC

As predicted and expected, City Manager Johnny Martinez appointed his co-partner in crime, Alice Bravo to be the real Assistant City Manager.  Luis Cabrera, who also holds the title of Assistant City Manager is currently still trying to figure out who to appoint as the Film Commissioner. His choice is someone competent, or an ass kisser.  I wonder who he will chose?????


Johnny Martinez and Alice Bravo, as I have written previously, were part of a tag team recruited by Carlos Migoya, on the promise that they would end up in these positions upon his departure.


The funny thing is that this was early on in his tenure as the $1 a year City Manager, and towards the end, when Carlos decided that he liked being City Manager - one of the perks was that he could pretend to be a race car driver in his Porsche, and not worry about tickets inside the city limits - he went to Regalado and asked to stay on as long as he started getting paid.


By then, Regalado had caught on to Migoya’s cheating ways with Chief Exposito, Major Al Alvarez and Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, and when Regalado told him no, Carlos bided his time and then stuck a knife in Regalado’s back by taking the side of Chief Exposito on January 5th, in a Miami Herald article where Migoya claimed that Regalado had indeed tried to stop the police raids on the video gaming machines.


Now, 6 months later, Migoya’s hand picked replacements are sitting in the positions he promised them, and Regalado is once again at the mercy of people who don’t owe their loyalty to him, but to Migoya, and who have been carrying Sarnoff’s water bucket since they showed up.


I used to say that Harry Gottlieb was so stupid that he didn’t know he was stupid, but it’s now clear that the stupidest person in City Hall is none other than the Mayor of Miami, His Ignorance, Tomas Regalado!

JUNE 24, 2011

MOODY’S DROPS THE CITY OF MIAMI’S BOND RATING DAYS AFTER HIS IGNORANCE, THE MAYOR SAYS, “THE BUDGET WILL BE FINE AND SERVICES WILL CONTINUE UNABATED.”

JUNE 24, 2011

FRIDAY NIGHT  FLASH!