JUNE 27 - JULY 2

RETURN TO FRONT PAGEWEBSITE.html

JUNE 27, 2011

THE END OF THE EXPOSITO AND ALVAREZ SHOW IS COMING SOON

I have to admit, I’m going to miss Chief Exposito and his sidekick Major Alvarez. They managed to drop kick Regalado through the goalposts on a regular basis, often in ways that I came to appreciate. 


Also, once they’re gone, then His Ignorance will have no one else to really focus his animus on but me.  Oh well, I guess that when I start seeing the Santeria dead chickens in my neighborhood I’ll know Regalado is pulling out all the stops.


In the meantime, as Johnny Martinez reshuffles the chairs on the deck of the Banana Republic Titanic while waiting for his pay package to get approved so he can send the letter to Exposito that he’s fired, I figured that as a public service, I’d post the official DROP Package amounts and dates for both the Chief and Alvarez.


This way there will be no confusion or rumors over what their DROP was, or wasn’t.


Below is a letter from the City’s Retirement Fund which I got a while back, and never had an opportunity to publish.  To look at a larger version, click on the document.

JUNE 27, 2011

BETWEEN NOW AND FRIDAY, STAY TUNED AS THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT HOPES TO BREAK A COUPLE MAJOR STORIES THAT WILL ABSOLUTELY MAKE YOU SAY,

ARE YOU SHITTING ME AGAIN!?!

IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING IN MIAMI, BITCHES!
NOTICE   NOTICE   NOTICE  

If you are using the latest version of Firefox, there appears to be a glitch that creates shadows and alters spacing.  I am sure will be repaired with a patch soon. 

IF YOU’RE ON A MAC, TRY SAFARI
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
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MARLIN’S STADIUM THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU SAY, WHAT THE FUCK?

For the last couple years, a half BILLION dollar, publicly financed baseball stadium has been under construction in Miami, and the local news media, instead of having the good sense to appreciate that with a project of this scale, normally comes problems of a similar scale, has all but pretended that the stadium has been under construction by magical elves, and that their only responsibility to the taxpayers stuck with the bill for this example of political hocus-pocus, has been to act as a cheerleader, instead of a public watchdog.


That is why, last week when it was revealed at a City Commission meeting that, “Hundreds of hairline cracks have appeared on support beams along exterior walls of Miami’s four parking garages at the new Little Havana ballpark for the Marlins.,” the news prompted a major front page story in the Miami Herald and TV News Anchors bleating like sheep about the fear that the parking garages wouldn’t be ready by the start of the season next year.


The biggest question - and the question that continues to be ignored by the news media in Miami every time a new calamity about the incompetence or example of corruption by local government is revealed, is how much more of this stuff is going on that nobody - especially the local media - wants to go looking for for fear of actually finding it?


Here at the Crespo-Gram Report,  I’ve been swamped by just trying to keep up with the day-to-day incompetence, cronyism and corruption that passes for governance by the Regalado administration.  It’s not that I haven’t been aware of problems with the stadium - believe me, I have - but I just haven’t had the time required to really go through the approximately 100,000 emails and documents that I’ve acquired that deal with the new stadium parking lots.


As a result of last week’s revelations though, I came up with a couple items that I think merit attention by the local news media.


HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF CRACKS ARE THERE?


On March 17th, CAP engineering wrote the Mariano Fernandez, of the Miami Building Department and informed him that:

That afternoon, Robert Fenton, the city’s Project Manager for the stadium parking lots sent out the following email.

Now, I’m not an engineer, and I’ve never even played one in the movies, but it seems to me that these two email reveals existence of more, and different kinds of cracks in the concrete than just the ones discussed at the City Commission last week.


The first big question that seems to have been fudged last week, is WHEN were the cracks FIRST discovered and efforts made to determine how big a problem this was.


The above letter, written on March 17th, clearly indicates that the cracks on the Stress Beams had already been identified before they undertook the task of looking for the Soffit  and floor cracks leading to the issuance of this letter.


Given the way these folks work, I think it’s reasonable to assume that these Stress Beam cracks might have been initially identified as far back as January, and or certainly by February.


If so, that means that Alice Bravo and Johnny Martinez, along with Tony Crapp, and who knows how many others in the administration have known about this for approximately 5-6 months, and not the 3 1/2 months implied in their presentation last week. 


Secondly, although Alice Bravo claimed at the meeting that the costs for repairing the Stress Beams would be covered by the contractor, who’s paying for all of the independent engineering evaluations like the one above?  And when are these payments going to be made?


This is the kind of story that a lot of newspapers would salivate over. A major construction screw-up; less than forthcoming revelations of this problem to both the City Commission and the public  - although given the joined at the hip relationship between Alice Bravo and Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, you can bet he knew - and add in the costs associated with fixing this problem, along with how and when will the city be reimbursed for their costs, and this becomes a real story that could even become a series.


The record indicates - as well as prevailing business practices during a rough economy - that companies and/or their insurance companies don’t like to pay for mistakes, and that they will often drag their feet until you have to write them threatening letters or sue them to get the money.


Unfortunately, the City of Miami follows the same business practices, which only underscores why it’s kind of important to nail down payment for these costs. 


This below letter, demanding ($27,585.93,) for a job done 3 years ago on the Orange Bowl Press Boxes, does not represent a confidence builder that anyone in the City actually pays much attention to keeping track of who is owed, or who owes money from the city.  Not good, given the ethical lapses of many of these people when it comes to screwing the taxpayers over for the benefit of their cronies.

The Miami Herald reported that the sub-contractor has “accepted responsibility” for the problem, and that it might end up costing $1 million.  The city accepted responsibility to pay Mr. Taylor his $27,585.93, and three years later was still giving him the run-a-round.


“Accepting responsibility” is what sleazy politicians do when they’re caught sticking their weenie  where it doesn’t belong.


Perhaps the Miami Herald, or some other news outlet might want to try and nail down the specifics of who’s paying for what on this screw-up.  After all, it is the taxpayers who are on the hook for all of this.


WHO IS STEVE FENTON? IS HE RELATED TO ROBERT FENTON?


A review of emails reveals that a Steve Fenton, Project Manager, is working for SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION, the supervising contractor on the city parking lots.

Is Steve related to Robert Fenton, the city’s Project Manager on the stadium project?  When did Steve start working for Suffolk?  If they are brothers, what roll if any, did Steve have with overseeing the problems with the Stress Beams?  Has Steve worked for other construction companies in the past where - if Robert is his brother - Robert has been the project Manager for the City?


Inquiring minds think that the public needs to get answers to these and other questions should these guys be related, which again is a reasonable assumption given that this is Miami, and tribal behavior trumps competence, fairness and transparency almost every time.


DERM AND OTHER ISSUES


The email below is a year old, and I’m sure that the issue of Arsenic has probably been resolved.  However, any project of this magnitude can, and should be monitored by the news media, because ignoring and brushing aside environmental problems in the rush to meet construction deadlines is a time honored practice that comes back to bite the public in the ass time after time.

The Superfund Landfill site in North Miami remains a classic in the annals of how not to pay attention to an environmental  catastrophe in your back yard until it’s too late.


THE CUBAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME


We learned a few months ago that Tomas Regalado is an avid sports fan - as long as some gives him free tickets.  Now, thanks  to the below email, we learn that ever a sports supporter, Regalado is all for supporting the creation of a local Sports Hall Of Fame for Cubans at the new Little Havana Marlin Stadium.


Now, don’t get me wrong, one of my Grandfather’s did a damn sight more for Cuban Independence that a whole lot of these whiny, chest-beating “Professional Cubans” that have made a financial career of being anti-Castro agitators, and  I had an uncle who was one of that group of Cuban big-time baseball stars from the 40’s and 50’s who would be included in any such museum.


I know my cousin would be proud to be there to see her father’s place in Cuban baseball history memorialized, but Miami has a far richer sports history of Whites, Blacks, Cubans and a whole lot of other folks who actually lived and even accomplished some of their memorable achievements in Miami.


To create an EXCLUSIVE Hall Of Fame for folks from another country - even if they are Cubans, and the ball park is in Little Havana - begs the question of why should a facility paid for by everyone’s tax dollars become the exclusive location for a Hall Of Fame for one exile group?


You have to watch Regalado like a hawk, because an initial solicitation for “grant writing” support can soon become the nose in the tent for Regalado and his cronies to figure out other ways to try and screw the pooch, and if there’s ever been one sleazy politician in Miami who has made a career of playing the “Cuban Card” for fun and profit, it’s Tomas Regalado.

So these are just a few items from the Crespo-Gram Email Archives that warrant a little looking into by the local media. 


When you consider that the City of Miami is ONLY responsible for building the parking lots, and that it is Miami-Dade County who’s actually responsible for building the stadium, then a dollar to a donut says that if you turned loose a pack of 5th graders inside the County Building and gave them a week to look for stuff, they’d probably find enough questionable deals and construction fuck-ups to keep a major newspaper busy writing stories till the opening day of the stadium, and beyond.

NOTICE   NOTICE   NOTICE

Will a new Film Commissioner for the City of Miami be announced this week?  Will the choice be a Sarnoff toady that has no actual film production experience, but will be part of the Movie Studio “team?”

JUNE 27, 2011

EXPOSITO_ALVAREZ_DROP.html
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
MOODY’S DOWNGRADES CITY’S BONDS  AND DROPS OUTLOOK TO NEGATIVE

Last Friday evening, I posted a headline announcing that Moody’s had downgraded the City of Miami’s bond ratings.   What Moody’s did was reduce 2 sets of bonds from A3 TO A2, and from A2 to A1 and revised their outlook from stable to NEGATIVE.


I figured for sure that - with or without my posting - this news would get picked up and amplified by the “real” news media by Monday morning, since the downgrading of a city’s bond rating is a serious issue, especially Miami’s, given all the other financial problems the city is facing. The fact that these bonds were intended to retire a loan that the city had received to bail itself out of a previous problem makes it even more important.


Yet, here it is Monday night and not a peep anywhere about this story.  Inquiring minds can only wonder why?


So, since it seems that folks like myself must not only go out and research this kind of information, but also serve it up on a platter, here is the first page of the Moody’s Report:


(To read the PDF copy of the Report that disparages the City’s administration, click on the page.)

MOODY_DOWNGRADES_CITY_BOND_RATING.html

What’s both equally intriguing and disturbing is the story posted by Investigation Miami on Monday morning about how the City of Miami, under the direction of Mayor Tomas Regalado, may have attempted to commit a fraud against potential bond holders by going through the song and dance about bringing on Scott Simpson from the Miami Parking Authority to assume the role of interim Chief Financial Officer, as a way to placate the bond market.


Simpson has not been seen anywhere in the vicinity of the MRC BUilding, much less the Chief Financial Officer’s office, and there are very serious questions of his willingness to cooperate in any scheme devised by Regalado, given the Mayor’s efforts last year to abolish the MPA through a referendum.


It’s an eye-opening story, that taken together with Moody’s action raises very serious questions about just how far Tomas Regalado is willing to go in an effort to evade revealing the truth of how dire the city’s financial situation really is, and perhaps, even going so far as to try and hoodwink potential investors through an act of fraud and misrepresentation.


Last time I checked, those kinds of activites are frowned on and can even land someone in jail.


To read the Investigation Miami story, click on the button.



   ENTERMOODY_DOWNGRADES_CITY_BOND_RATING.html

FITCH ALSO ISSUED A NEGATIVE OUTLOOK FOR CITY OF MIAMI BONDS ON MONDAY.  TO READ ALL ABOUT IT ON INVESTIGATION MIAMI, CLICK HERE.

PHOTOS OF THE DAY
ANGEL ZAYON PIMPS HIS RIDE

Angel Zayon, the Mayor’s “4th son, and occasional chauffeur for Madeline Pacheco, has had quite a thing with cars since becoming a city employee.


Right after he was hired, he got a new Mercedes to cruise around town, but then that car disappeared and he started showing up every couple days driving a different car - like he was afraid of being tailed - and then he went whining to Papi Chulo and the next thing you know he got a brand new Ford “Fuckus.”


If you notice in the top photo the car has the City ID number on the trunk, and the windows are untinted. Also notice that the car has no City Seals on the doors, which is supposedly a no-no.  Then Zayon decided he needed to pimp his ride, so he had the ID number removed and the windows tinted. 


This is his 24 hour, take it home, free gas little pimpmobile. 


As the City Commissioners ponder the costs of the 200-300 people who were hired after the hiring freeze - including Zayon, The Idiot Of The City - they also need to factor in the costs of these little perks that the Mayor has made sure that all of his little flunkies get as part of their employment packages.


A car here, an SUV there, cell phones and other little benefits, and before you know it another million dollars has been pissed away by the “peeples” Mayor.

HERALD MISSES THE REAL STORY
REGALADO VIOLATES CITY CHARTER - SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH CRIME
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

I hate to chew on Chuck Rabin’s ass so soon after he was nice enough to give me a plug for breaking the Larry Spring severance package story, but damn, this is an in-you-face violation that anyone who has covered City Hall for as long as Chuck has should have jumped all over.


So here’s the deal:  On Tuesday night Chuck broke with a story about a memo that Regalado signed on February 14th - Valentine’s Day - agreeing to give Tony Crapp “sic (6) months of administrative leave with health insurance coverage during the same time.”


Here is a copy of the memo.

In the article Chuck quotes Regalado as denying that the memo actually gave Crapp the equivalent of 6 months of severance, saying, “The only thing he ever wanted was health coverage,” said Regalado. That, the mayor said, was “the only thing I agreed to.”


The only problem with the Mayor’s claim that that was “the only thing I agreed to,” is that the Mayor doesn’t have any authority to agree to anything, much less to be signing off on memos authorizing payment of so much as one Red cent.


The Mayor had no authority to give Tony Crapp anything of financial value.  That is the responsibility and perogrative of the members of the City Commission.


In short, the Mayor violated the provisions of the City Charter in signing this memo, and like so many other things that he’s done since he’s been Mayor, this memo represents direct evidence that the he committed a crime punishable by a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.


The Herald needs to amplify and correct this story to reflect this information, and at the same time, what’s up with the Herald refusing to publish any stories about the Bonding Agencies reducing the city’s bond ratings, and issuing a Negative outlook.


Jeez, this represents millions of dollars in increased dividends  that will be owed to bond holders.

JUNE 29, 2011

JUNE 28, 2011

JUNE 29, 2011

JUNE 30, 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
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE US ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT

JUNE 29, 2011


Mr. Wilfredo A. Ferrer

US Attorney For The Southern

District of Florida

Miami, Fl


Dear Mr. Ferrer:


I take this extraordinary step of writing you this public letter because my private efforts to contact members of the FBI - and they me - have not gone well.


I am a flawed vessel for the task that I find myself engaged in, but sometimes you have to look past the messenger and accept that the message is what’s important.  I think that this is one of those times.


For the last year or so, I have been publishing a website about the political goings on in the City of Miami, and in the process have gathered both a following, and more importantly, a group of individuals who, with some risk to themselves and their careers, have chosen to honor me and my efforts by entrusting ever more damaging and explosive evidence of criminal and political wrong doing within the administration of Mayor Tomas Regalado.


I have become for those individuals, and many others, their last hope of ferreting out and exposing the criminal behavior of the Mayor and others within his administration and through these efforts and hopefully bringing much needed attention to these activities.


My efforts to date have met with some minor success, and as a result it has emboldened some individuals to dig deeper, and find even more incriminating documents and evidence to assist my efforts.


I’m sure that you are more than aware of the on-going battle between the Mayor and Miami Chief of Police Exposito, and it is this confrontation that I write about to you today.


On January 12, 2011, realizing that he did not at the time have sufficient votes on the City Commission to remove Chief Exposito, Mayor Tomas Regalado called Police Chief Exposito to his office, and in an effort to get him to leave voluntarily, allegedly offered him a bribe of $400,000 to be paid with 2 separate checks.  It is my understanding - which can best be verified by the Chief -  that the Mayor showed the him the first check for $200,000 and allegedly told him he would be given it that day if he agreed to resign,  with another $200,000 check to be given him the next day after he had resigned.


The Chief reportedly told the Mayor  “No,” and allegedly labeled the offer nothing more than a bribe.


There have been rumors about this meeting and this offer of money for months on the blogsphere, but until now, no one has been able to provide concrete evidence.  I do so now.


Here is a 2 page copy from the City of Miami’s Oracle’s Payroll system that documents that a $200,000 check was cut on January 12, 2011, in the name of Miguel A. Exposito, and that the money was deducted from the city’s General Fund, check number is 17603.


(To see a larger version of these documents, click

on either one.)

The 2nd page, below, identifies the account from which the money was taken - which it the City of Miami Police Department.

The day after meeting took place, the check was voided, and the money was returned to the General Fund.


The fact that a real check was not only prepared, but that the money was removed from the General Fund would bely any claim by the Mayor and his attorney that he attempted to entrap the Chief in agreeing to accept a bribe. 


Had this been anything other than an attempt to bribe the Chief, a fake check would have worked just as well.  The proof of intent I believe lies in the money being withdrawn from the General Fund to cover the check.


I have no way of knowing whether Chief Exposito has shared any of this information with you, your staff or the FBI,  but I would hope so.


If he hasn’t, well, consider this a civic duty on my part.


The interesting thing about this situation is that supposedly the physical check - or checks, since there was supposedly a 2nd check cut for another $200,000 - are still floating around.


There are only a handful of individuals within the Regalado administration who are considered trustworthy enough to be made the guardian of these checks, and I believe that that list would include the following individuals:


City Attorney Julie Bru

Assistant City Manager Alice Bravo - newly appointed

Assistant City Manager Luis Cabrera - the Godson


As much as they’d like to destroy this evidence, the Oracle System, even with all it’s faults has made that impossible, and while none of these individuals has ever exhibited much respect for the Public Records Law, I do not believe that the checks have been destroyed, and have made my own public record’s request for check 17603.


Nor for that matter, do I believe that any of the lower rung individuals who were a party to this activity are willing to go to jail over this incident.


While I don’t wish to presume what you might do with this, and/or any other information that your agents have been collecting on the Mayor and his posse of gangsters, I think that I can speak for just about all of the hard-working, honest city employees who feel put upon and abused by what has transpired at the hands of these people during the last year and a half in saying, do you think you could speed things along and indict some of these sorry assholes?


Even for the sorry level of political corruption that is endemic in this Banana Republic, this is all really getting out of hand.


I am,


Respectfully yours,

/s/al crespo

Al Crespo

BECAUSE OF THIS BREAKING STORY, TODAY’S STORIES HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THIS WEEK’S STORIES.

EXPOSITOS_BRIBE_CHECK.html
SHOWDOWN ON THE 7TH FLOOR
MIAMI INTERNAL AFFAIRS REMOVES MATERIAL FROM VICTOR IGWE’S OFFICE

A day after the Gang Of 4 showed up at the office of Independent Auditor Victor Igwe to inform him he was no longer employed by the City of Miami, detectives from Miami’s Internal Affairs showed up at the MRC Building to take away what can only be hoped was evidence against Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff and others that were part of whatever investigation Commissioner Sarnoff found so disturbing that he persuaded his fellow Commissioners to agree to denying Igwe’s ability to release any results until after Commissioner Carollo completed his “review” of Igwe’s office.


It’s now evident that this whole “60 day extension” the Commission granted was nothing more than a way to evade a “public” firing of Igwe, and instead allow the Gang Of 4 to do the dirty work.


The arrival of the IA detectives was not without its own drama, as the Crespo-Gram Report has learned, there was a little repartee between the police and city officials who initially attempted to deny them access to Igwe’s office.


The police prevailed, and now we’re left to see what, if anything becomes of this latest nasty piece of business.

JUNE 29, 2011

THURSDAY UPDATE

Earlier this week when I wrote that I hoped to post a couple stories by Friday that would make folks say, “Are you shitting me!?!” I had no idea that I’d be writing about the Chief and the bribe.  That story wasn’t even on my radar then.  Goes to show you what a difference a great tip and a day makes.


I’m currently on a project, and will not be following my regular schedule of posting on Friday. I hope to post new stories on Saturday.


In the meantime I strongly recommend that you visit Investigation Miami this morning and read their update on the Chief/bribe story because they’ve covered some interesting and important angles to this story that needed to be introduced and discussed.


I have an outstanding public records request for a copy of the now infamous check, along with other documents, which I hope to receive from the city by next Tuesday - along with Univision, which has also requested these documents.


Thanks and welcome to the folks who have started visiting the site and doubled my readership this week, those who’ve expressed kind words, along with those who have called and written offering information and guidance.  Keep that up! 


Go check out Investigation Miami, and come back on Saturday for the continuing crazy adventures of these whack jobs who’ve captured City Hall in America’s only Banana Republic, better known here as It’s Miami, Bitches!

JUNE 29, 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
MOVE ON, NOTHING TO SEE HERE
I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING...OH WAIT, YEAH, I WAS THERE. SO WHAT.

In what will go down as a classic It’s Miami, Bitches! moment, Mayor Tomas Regalado and former City Manager Tony Crapp on Thursday afternoon reversed a day and a half of denying that they knew anything about the $200,000 check that was waved in front of Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito’s nose in an alleged attempted to bribe him to leave his job, and in a stunning - only to the uninitiated - shift, are now quoted in the Miami Herald as not only knowing about the check, but more importantly admitting to having taken part in the meeting they had previously denied knowing anything about, along with former Chief Financial Officer Larry Spring, who has been identified as the person who made the call requesting that a $200,000 check be cut immediately.


        “It was Tony, Larry and me, and we were talking

        about the possibility of him retiring, and that’s it,”

        Mayor Tomas Regalado said Thursday, referring

        to then City Manager Tony Crapp and then CFO

        Larry Spring.


Equally stunning - again only to the uninitiated - is the Herald’s claim that the US Attorney’s Office has “no intention of investigating the matter.”  In addition, “Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Ed Griffith said it’s never been brought before his agency.”


What!?!  No investigation!?!  The same federal officials who sometimes take months to determine whether medicare fraudsters warrant being indicted for ripping off Uncle Sam  of millions were able to determine in less than 36 hours that there wasn’t a basis for “investigating” a possible bribery attempt of the Chief of Police of a major American city?  That’s not the equal application of justice, that’s an application of screw you!


If ever there was a sign that a corrupt group of thugs has been given free reign to pillage and plunder a major American city, this is about as good as it gets.


I started out writing about this fight between the Mayor and the Chief back in January by stating that I thought that the Mayor deserved to be removed from office and the Chief of Police should be fired. 


I still stand by those words, but having said them, I must now in all fairness offer some words of defense for the Chief, and further on explain why this decision by the US Attorney’s Office is so flagrantly a sell out.


I have spoken to Chief Exposito once in my life at a City Commission meeting last July for about 1 minute.  I have never spoken to any of his Assistant Chiefs or other supporters, so what I am writing is speculation and not colored by any contact with the Chief or anyone around him. My support is based on a better than average understanding of the law and human nature, which I believe when you read it, I hope you will understand and possibly agree with me.


WHY THE CHIEF DIDN’T DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION


I believe the Chief when he says that he turned down the offer of the $200,000.  He most likely did so impulsively, as most folks would do when presented with a situation that offended their dignity or sensibilities. However, by not taking the check, he walked out of the meeting with Regalado, Crapp and Spring without a single piece of hard evidence to support any claim of being offered a bribe.


I believe that within minutes of leaving that meeting, the Chief communicated with his senior staff about the bribe offer, and lamented that he didn’t have the presence of mind to take the check as it would have been the single best piece of evidence he could have used to support his accusation that he had just been offered a bribe.


The next day, there was a very contentious City Commission meeting, where Commissioner Dunn called on the Chief to resign several times.


In the days that followed, I believe that the Chief probably told the tale of the bribe offer to both his contacts with the FBI and the State Attorney’s Office.  But at that point it was just a story  by a guy who had just been pillaged by several City Commissioners and the Mayor.  While they might have believed him, there wasn’t anything concrete that they could use to start an investigation.


And so it fizzled out until I published my letter to the US Attorney and included the 2 pages from the city’s Oracle Accounts Paybill System.


Those 2 pages became the hard evidence everyone, including the Chief, believed and expected would support the initiation of an investigation, and based on the publication of those pages, the Chief finally felt comfortable in admitting in public that the incident took place.


Now, some people will say that the Chief could have made a public records request, or even used his inside contacts to try and find some documents proving his claim. 


I will agree that there was some slim chance that maybe he might have gotten lucky, but I don’t think people understand that the Public Records Law is not some silver bullet that always achieves the desired result.


The closer you come to seeking really explosive documents, the harder it becomes to pry them loose, even from employees who are sympathetic to your efforts. I’m currently after some “explosive” documents and while I know they exist, I don’t think that even a lawsuit will make them appear.


In the Chief’s case he had no way to determine whether the check he was shown was even real - in his mind that check could have been nothing more than a setup to entrap him -  nor do I imagine he was provided much opportunity to hold it and memorize the check number or anything else that would have assisted in going after any public records that would have proved that the check was real.


So for those who have been questioning why the Chief didn’t immediately report the bribe, or why he didn’t demand an immediate investigation, I believe this is the reason why.  He didn’t have anything concrete to back up his claim.


I know some people will continue to believe that the Chief shoulda, coulda marched into the offices of the FBI and/or the State’s Attorney and demanded that they go and arrest the Mayor, Crapp and Spring, but the real world doesn’t work that way.


Everyone should be happy that it doesn’t.


Real investigations need to start with evidence, and until a source provided me with the document, and I published it, no one had a single piece of evidence to support the notion that the Chief wasn’t making the story up as a way to get back at the Mayor.


What is really amazing is that on Thursday morning after categorically denying that he had any knowledge of any meeting, or who authorized the issuance of the check, Regalado and reverend Commissioner Dunn hypocritically ridiculed the Chief for not immediately reporting the offer, only in regalado’s case to concede several hours later that he had in fact participated in the meeting, and that Tony Crapp, according to Larry Spring, was the one who authorized the check being cut. To see the full NBC 6 clip, click HERE.


THE MAYOR, TONY CRAPP AND LARRY SPRING


There is no question that two of these individuals in their own way were stunned by my publication of the Oracle pages.  I also suspect that one of these three was in all likelihood the original source of the pages that I received, although I can state unequivocally that neither I nor my source is in any way connected to any of these three individuals.  I pretty much know which of my “sources” are double agents, and this person isn’t one.


Under pressure, it’s been my observation that Tomas Regalado’s first instinct - as is the case with most people - is to immediately deny whatever allegation is made against him, and he was quick to deny any involvement in this incident on Wednesday afternoon. 


Behind the scenes however, everyone around Regalado was operating at Defcon 5.  The first question that those close to Regalado wanted an answer to was who had given me the documents.


It had to be one of three people.  Tony Crapp, Larry Spring or Diana Gomez.  There were others who could have gotten access to the documents in the Oracle system, but  besides access, there had to be motivation to do it now.


That would have narrowed it down to Crapp and Spring.


Both of them have/had legitimate reason to be very upset about my story about the $125,734.56 Golden Parachute that Larry Spring walked out with several weeks ago. Spring is upset because the City Commission last week demanded the City Attorney go after his $61,824.00 in severance money.


Tony Crapp is as upset, if not more so, because I have been told by several people close to him that he fully expected to collect that 6 months of accumulated leave promised him in the memo signed by Regalado which would have resulted in an extra $85,000, minus taxes, he would have walked away with.


My story about Spring took that payoff out of play, which has been offered as the reason why Crapp resigned so suddenly on the Monday afternoon after being told he could not get that money.


So again, while this is speculation, I believe that Larry Spring is the one who leaked the document, and that Regalado’s people also reached the same conclusion.


In the first story that the Miami Herald did on Wednesday night they quote Larry Spring implicating Crapp being in on the deal and the meeting.


       “But Spring said Crapp was well aware of the

       negotiations, and, with Regalado, had asked

       him to set up the meeting. “The manager was

       involved in those discussions, and ultimately

       the chief decided he did not want to leave,”

       Spring said.”


Crapp not only denied being part of any meeting, but went even further:


        “I never attended any of those meetings and

        no one ever indicated a number to me,” Crapp

        said of the $400,000 figure. “I never had to sign

        off on anything because the chief didn’t resign.”


Because Regalado and his people concluded that Larry Spring was behind the leak, he conveniently became unavailable on Thursday as Regalado and Crapp spun their new, revised version of what happened for the Herald.


Read the story closely, and consider what monkey wrench Larry might have been able to launch once he learned that these guys not only changed their story, but provided Chuck Rabin with the copy of the email Spring wrote Diana Gomez authorizing the $200,00 check to be prepared.


        “At 5:34 p.m. Jan. 12, Spring emailed the city’s

        finance director, Diana Gomez, saying “per city

        manager please prepare a check in the amount

        of $200,000 payable to Miguel Exposito.” The

        check, written from a non departmental account

        used to pay various types of settlements, was

        processed almost immediately.”


This email makes Larry Spring the fall guy. In the article, Crapp never takes responsibility for Spring’s claim that he he was acting in Crapp’s name, and instead the Herald says:


        “Crapp said he never expected Exposito to quit,

        and he never would have signed off on the buyout

        without first meeting with commissioners, “but it

        never got to that point.” He said that Spring, as

        CFO, had the authority to order the check.


The former “City Manager” continues to deny any knowledge about the check or how it came to be made out for $200,000.


At this point, I would assume that Regalado biggest worry is trying to get this incident over with while trying to keep Larry Spring pacified.  Spring, as I and others have repeatedly written, is the guy who knows where a lot of bodies are buried because he’s the one who used the shovel, and might not appreciate being identified as the guy who email has been made public. Chuck Rabin only got it because Regalado gave it to him.


Of course, if we were living in a place where law enforcement really cared about public corruption one of the first questions that warrants investigation and answers is how many other checks like this has Larry Spring asked Diana Gomez to issue, and was Major Al Alvarez right to say back in his May 5th letter rebutting the Mayor’s questioning of his cashing in some vacation time that, “It is my sincere belief that this would be a perfect time for an independent  forensic audit of the City of Miami’s finances.” 


Perhaps the best place to start would be with the specific account that the $200,000 check was drawn on.


The other big problem facing Regalado was gaming out the legal issues surrounding the allegations of bribery. Evidence that a strategy was quickly formulated was apparent in the way both Regalado and Reverend Commissioner Dunn attempted to deflect the allegation by their comments to the local news media about the Chief’s failure to immediately report the “crime” to law enforcement, thereby implying that he knew no crime had been committed and was just making the story up out of spite - see the NBC6 Report, viewable above.


While this was going on, legal feelers had to be going out to the US Attorney’s office about whether they would undertake an investigation, based on information posted on a blog by an ex-con, bank robber.


I’d love to have tapped those phone conversations, because there’s nothing more fun that listening in on sleazy lawyers trying to convince other lawyers that they should ignore the possibility of criminal behavior by public officials. 


By Thursday afternoon Regalado and his posse had gamed out what they figured was their best workable strategy. 


Admit that a meeting took place.  Deny that it was a bribe.  Claim that there was no harm, no foul because the Chief declined the offer, and muddle the waters with misstatements, all with the knowledge that the feds wouldn’t investigate, and that Katherine “Queen Of Swag” Fernandez-Rundle, who’s campaign guru and close personal friend Armando Guterriz is credited with making sure that her office only prosecutes Miami City officials who aren’t on the “Get Out Of Jail Free” list.


The news media would soon move on, and a week from now it would all be a joke at the next Commission meeting, although before the joke could be enjoyed, Regalado would have to endure Commissioner Carollo asking some hard questions, and Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff would give one of his patented soliloquies.


But in the end everybody will agree that there’s nothing they can do and that what is really important is the $54 million budget deficit, and how, after the US Transportation Department just ruled against the city and the hanging of “murals” on almost any wall bigger than a postage stamp, another $4 million would be disappearing from the budget.


THE BASIS FOR THE CRIME OF BRIBERY


In the Miami Herald stories on this incident, Tony Crapp in each story implies that because the Chief did not take the check, he, Tony Crapp, didn’t do anything that could be interpreted as being illegal. 


          “I never attended any of those meetings and no

          one ever indicated a number to me,” Crapp said

          of the $400,000 figure. “I never had to sign off

          on anything because the chief didn’t resign.”


For the uninitiated, this is known as the “No Harm, No Foul” theory of criminal defense.  It often leads to great quotes, such as this one which is one of my favorites:


         “Hey, I did walk in and try to rob the place, but

         nobody had any money, so I didn’t really rob

         anybody.”


There a problem with that line of reasoning. Here again, is what the Thursday Herald story said about how the check was issued.


         “At 5:34 p.m. Jan. 12, Spring emailed the city’s

         finance director, Diana Gomez, saying “per city

         manager please prepare a check in the amount

         of $200,000 payable to Miguel Exposito.” The

         check, written from a non departmental account

         used to pay various types of settlements, was

         processed almost immediately.”


Below is a copy of Page 1 of the Oracle payroll document I first published a couple days ago


To the right, under Exposito’s name is an empty box, that required the Taxpayer’s ID. That would have been Exposito’s Social Security number.  It was blank because no taxes were taken out of this $200.000, and by not including a Social Security number there wouldn’t be any carry over of this payment into Exposito’s permanent payroll account.

The reason there no taxes taken out was because Larry Spring had to have told Diana Gomez in very specific language why no taxes were to be taken out: In short, that the money was being given as a “special” payment.  Which means that Diana Gomez went into the process of having the check cut with the knowledge that she was engaging in something at least questionable if not downright illegal.


These people long ago learned how to communicate in shorthand as evidenced by the email that Diana Gomez wrote to Larry Spring last February after receiving an SEC subpoena, over the scheme of using restricted funds to balance the city’s books.

In short, Diana Gomez knows what the IRS law is on deductions and what is required of monies given to city employees when it comes to following the requirements of the IRS.


So her failure to deduct any taxes from the check she was told to cut for Exposito not only creates the basis for establishing overt “intent,” when it comes to the crime of bribery, but even worse for Diana Gomez, her failure to extract the required 25% lump sum tax - $25,000 - means that she knowingly violated the Federal Income tax laws in the furtherance of an act intended to bribe a public official.


If Ms. Gomez, Mr. Spring, Mr. Crapp or the Mayor takes umbrage and offense at these claims and wishes to sue me for slander and libel, I would welcome the opportunity to argue this before a civil jury. 


The US Attorney’s Office might stick their thumb up their ass and decide not to investigate or prosecute, but even a dummy, pro se public records plaintiff like me could take these crooks before any jury in this country, and based on the available evidence, and on what would be uncovered during discovery, clean these scumbags clock. To whit:


1. The process that led to this check being cut circumvented all the city’s procedures and ordinances for the issuances of checks of this value. 


2. The preparation of the check and the “withdraw” of the money from the city’s account represents an overt act that supports the claim of intent to bribe.


  1. 3. The fact that no taxes were taken out of what Tony

Crapp claimed was a “buyout” constitutes another overt criminal act in the furtherance of the intent to bribe. 


4. The Chief’s comments made on TV during the last 2 days, on their face support the claim that they attempted to bribe him.


5.  The videos of Regalado flip-flopping like the poor little goldfish in the TV commercials gasping for breath, while denying any knowledge of anything having to do with this sorry incident, only to recant and admit that he not only knew, but participated in the meeting, not only would establish duplicity - not necessarily a crime - but with the additional evidence and witnesses, all but guarantee that any reasonable jury would conclude that Regalado, et al, were morons who couldn’t even bribe someone without screwing it up. 


If a US Attorney in Illinois could indict, and get a jury to convict the former Governor of Illinois for trying to sell the Senate seat of Barak Obama, and not even for actually selling the seat, but just for talking about it; and if The Queen Of Swag could indict Michele Spence-Jones over a $25,000 fraud on the basis of what initially appeared to be a forged signature, the notion that no one would undertake to go after a pretty straight forward, uncomplicated $200,000 attempted bribe of a Chief Of Police is a fiction that could only be perpetrated in this Banana Republic.


For all of those who will be offended when they learn of this bullshit, and realize that the US Attorney’s Office has decided to jump in the tank, while the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney is so politically devious and susceptible to polite bribery by taking tens of thousands of dollars in “gifts,” then I have no answers for any of you other than telling you to take it to the streets.


Organize a protest, and march on the State Attorney’s office, or march to the US Attorney’s Office.


Any belief in honesty and fair play go out the window when scumbags like Regalado, Crapp and Spring could think that there was even a 50-50 chance that the Chief of Police would take a $200,000 bribe and walk out the door.


I’ll be back next Tuesday with new stories that will make you say, What The Fuck! because I know a lot of you have come to depend on me. 


After today however, those of you who are trying to lead honest lives, raise your kids and believe that public service is something to be proud of better start rethinking whether you want to continue doing any of those things in Miami.


Police Chief Miguel Exposito is no knight in shining armor,  and I still think he needs to go, but if crooked politicians can get away with trying to bribe the Chief of Police, then folks, we’re no longer in Kansas, and if I had a child, this is the last place I’d want them to learn about civic responsibility and public integrity.


Shame on the US Attorney’s Office, and shame on the Miami-Dade County’s State Attorney’s Office!

“Should you wish to discuss please let me know.”’  This is how the rats get their stories straight before getting grilled by the feds, and the fact that she sent this email instead of just calling Larry up was a way for her to send a signal to a lot of other folks in the city.


On the issue of the missing Social Security number I can say with complete confidence that this was knowingly done to evade taxes because I wrote Diana Gomez when I was working on my story about Larry Spring and his Golden Parachute last week, and I asked her whether any taxes had been taken out of that money.  Here was her response:

NOTICE!  NOTICE!  NOTICE!  NOTICE!


READ THIS MORNING’S MIAMI NEW TIMES STORY BY TIM ELFRINK ON REGALADO’S LATEST VERSION OF WHAT HAPPENED.  HE’S CLEARLY LOSING HIS MIND.

JULY 1, 2011



CLICK HERE
http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/07/regalado_payout_offer_to_expos.php

JULY 2, 2011

SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE #2

Earlier this afternoon I covered portions of the below story because I discovered that I had included some wrong information regarding the tax exemption issue. 


I initially felt that it would be best to block out the whole lower part of the story until I could address this mistake and write a new story that would not only correct the mistake, but also provide new information.


I did so because I try very hard to be accurate in my reporting, and when I discover a mistake I try to be as quick as possible in both acknowledging my error and also to provide new and correct information.


On reflection, I have decided to unblock the portions that include the mistake.


First, while it’s a significant mistake, it’s not fatal in the sense that it undermines the overall argument that an alleged bribe appears to be been offered the Chief of Police, and also because the new information that I am working with actually raises even more significant issues of possible wrong-doing.


If this seems a little scatter-brained, I plead guilty.  This is a very significant story and one I do not want to screw up on, and also because of my limitations of space, time and ability to post an on-going narrative that has some continuity, I figure that the piece below still provides information that is 95% accurate and saves me from having to rewrite the whole piece that might end up just confusing folks.


I’ll deal with my error in my next post.


I apologize for being spacey today, but I’ll plead the excuse of running a fever with whatever summer bug I caught.


Thanks,


al crespo