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MAY 2, 2011

PHOTO OF THE DAY
PLAYING THE RACE CARD IN MIAMI
REVEREND COMMISSIONER 
DUNN AND SGT JAVIER ORTIZ 
OF THE FOP: MUD WRESTLING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIT

Last Friday night, CBS Channel 4 ran a story that had it’s beginning at last Thursday’s Miami City Commission meeting when Reverend Commissioner Richard Dunn, as part of his periodic campaign to highlight the possibility of impending civil unrest in District 5 over the killing of 8 Black men by the police over an 8 month period revealed that he had seen a photoshopped version of a mugshot photo of Durrall Miller, a 24 year Black man who had been killed by police the day after he had opened fire on two Miami-Dade police in Southwest Miami-Dade County, that was in the Reverend Commissioner’s words, “The most racist thing I have ever seen in my life.”


Here’s the CBS story.

CLEAN YOUR GLASSES AND CHECK YOUR SOUL REVEREND


First, let’s start with Reverend Commissioner Dunn: Is that REALLY the most racist thing you’ve ever seen in your life Reverend Commissioner?


If so, you have a very myopic and selective vision of racism. If you were really concerned about racism, a living, breathing example of racism was all but jammed in your face only minutes before you made the above comments, when Victor Igwe, the City’s Independent Auditor collapsed while answering questions about his employment contract, and Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, sitting 3 feet away from you announces, “He’s done that before,” and then he and some of your other fellow commissioners started joking about it.


Here is a portion of the video of the Commission Meeting what happened after Mr. Igwe recovered and the Commission moved on to dealing with your pocket item.

Where was your moral outrage when your fellow Commissioners were laughing at Mr. Igwe’s predicament?  How come you didn’t turn to any of them and say, “ Hey, that’s not cool.  Stop it!”


You didn’t even have the moral turpitude to echo Mr. de Leon’s comments, or thank him for speaking up. Like everyone else, you just slunk in your chair pretending that Mr. de Leon had not just shamed you for your behavior and cowardice.


Yet, you’re the same Reverend Commissioner who is quick to quote scripture, and jump on the first opportunistic moral equivalent of a one-trick pony to holler racism at almost every opportunity, as long as it’s directed at the police.


No, Reverend Commissioner you’re very selective when it comes to your concerns about racism, and even though you sit next to Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, who has all but put on Klan robes on several occasions as he spouts his racist nonsense, you, Reverend Commissioner - having all but sold your soul to Sarnoff and several of the other Commissioners for the campaign dollars they arranged for you to receive - meekly sit by as flagrant racist comments and actions occur on a regular basis during Commission and CRA meetings.  


And just to drive home the Sarnoff attitude about his lack of concern about Black folks, he left the Commission meeting when you introduced your pocket item about the police and District 5, claiming that he was late to a Candidate’s Night at the Coconut Grove Elementary School.


He never went to that event.  Here’s the headline of the story that appeared in the next morning’s edition of the Coconut Grove Grapevine: “Kate Callahan was the only candidate to show up.”


I’m sure that the photoshopped mugshot will soon be replaced by another more flagrant example of racism that you will cite as the worst example you’ve ever seen, but it’s all pretty much opportunistic bullshit with you.


Anybody who’d sit around while his fellow Commissioners joked as a senior member of the administration - who happened to be Black - lay on the floor, has far more to worry about than being insensitive to the racial implications of their actions.


You need to consider whether you’re even a real Christian. 


REALLY JAVIER ORTIZ, THIS IS HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME AS A UNION REP?


There are those who, with some resignation and despair bemoan the fact that Javier Ortiz, for better or worse represents the future of the Miami Police Department’s Fraternal Order of Police.


They have a point.


The photoshopped picture of this thug IS racist.  But it far more than that.  It’s the kind of image that warrants spending some quality time with the police department’s psychiatrist.


This is the kind of imagery - regardless of the skin color of the individual - that would give any reputable police department leadership pause when they discovered that it had been sent out to the entire FOP membership by one of it’s leaders. 


It’s a very troubling image, and no amount of bravado and trash talking can ignore or erase that fact.


Yes, the thug shot at cops, and yes the cops killed him.  That should have ended it.  It’s unseemly and unnecessary for police to gloat over a killing.  When police kill someone is should be in defense of themselves or the community, and it’s an act taken by professionals.


The photo that Ortiz sent out unfortunately is emblematic of the sick, twisted graffiti that one sees in jails and prisons as expressions of hate and rage and the demonizing of “the enemy,” whether it be members of other gang groups and/or police officers and judges.


The problem according to Ortiz was not the image, or it’s impact, but rather that “it was leaked out to the public.”


Ortiz’s attempt to defend his actions by blaming the fallout on his fellow officers who “leaked” the photo to the public, - and who were supposedly Black officers at that - runs smack into the problem that police departments - most especially the Miami Police Department - and society are now facing in trying to solve crimes - especially murders - as a result of thugs who have terrorized these communities into not cooperating with law enforcement by invoking “Stop Snitching” campaigns.


Only weeks ago, Miami-Dade prosecutors were forced to drop murder charges against two of three defendants accused of murdering Corrections Officer Ciara Lee and her 2 year old son. As reported in the Miami Herald, prosecutors conceded that, “We’ve had no help from the community, and the witnesses we had suspiciously and suddenly became unavailable and uncooperative,” Miami Sgt. Eunice Cooper, of the homicide unit, said Friday after a court hearing.


In a world of moral equivalence, there’s little to separate the stance of a thug who tries to stop his neighbors from talking to police about a crime, and a cop who blames some of his colleagues for revealing the existence of a troublesome photograph.


You can’t decry your fellow officers revealing wrong doing inside the police department, and then turn around and decry someone refusing to reveal wrong doing to the police.


Race relations have always been a BIG problem in Miami. The events of the last year have not made things better. The implied threats voiced by the Reverend Commissioner Dunn about his District being on the verge of an uprising over the unresolved killings, and a police department constantly being hammered, in large part for the behavior and decisions of the Chief and his top henchmen only underscores the embarrassing incompetence and cowardice of City Manager Tony Crapp, who even if for the most mundane reason of a lack of confidence, should have moved to replace Exposito months ago. This failure to act now hangs over the city like the impending clouds of a hurricane gathering along the horizon.


Real leadership is often more about restraint and prudent judgment than about bravado and trash talking.


Reverend Commissioner Dunn and Javier Ortiz both need to understand that if you decide to operate using the moral code of the street corner and the jailhouse, the consequences could be come calamitous for the City of Miami!


More importantly than attempting to get off the low road and getting on the high road, the best thing both of you can do for Miami is to get off this road completely!


And once again, SHAME to the Miami Herald for ignoring this story.

CHANTE SWEET: BUSTED

Last Friday afternoon, the US Attorney’s office announced they had arrested Chante Sweet, former City of Miami administrator for the Americorps Community Emergency Support Program, for allegedly writing checks to “ghost employees” totaling $21,932.43.


Sweet supposedly made $69,176.00 working for the city before she left under a cloud last summer.


If she was charged for allegedly stealing $22,000, I wonder when we’ll see Meredith Nation get arrested for allegedly collecting $80,613 as a no show employee?  Oh, my bad.  The feds arrested Sweet, and it’s up to The Queen Of Swag, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle to do something about Nation.  Give the Queen a bottle of wine, and some free tickets to the next big party and she’ll forget this incident ever happened.


In any event, rumor has it that Ms. Sweet and City Manager Tony Crapp were BFF’s and shared an interest in photography.  Perhaps the feds might wish to speak to Ms Sweet about F-Stops and Aperature openings, and see whether Ms. Sweet has any interesting tales she might like to trade for a reduced sentence.

The Unknown Photoshopper strikes again!  Whoever this person is, they continue to get better and better at zeroing in and capturing the essence of the craziness at City Hall.  Because these photos have garnered so many comments, I have arranged it so that you can download copies that you can stick up in your office and/or cubicle.  Click HERE.

MAY 2, 2011

MAY 2, 2011

NOW THAT YOU’VE READ MY STUFF, TAKE A COUPLE MOMENTS AND GO READ THE EXCELLENT PIECE AT INVESTIGATION MIAMI ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING TO VICTOR IGWE, THE INDEPENDENT AUDITOR FOR THE CITY OF MIAMI.


    IMhttp://investigationmiami.blogspot.com/
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
WORSE THAN A TOADY
SIFFIN TURNS CRA INTO HIS PRIVATE REAL 
ESTATE AGENT

People who read this site on a regular basis sometimes comment to me that on occasion they think I go a little over the top in exaggerating my description of some of the folks I write about.


Take for example Pieter Bockweg, the Executive Director of the Miami CRA who I have on more than one occasion labeled as one of Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff’s toadies, and who I recently described in relation to his being given the CRA top job as being the guy who “was a toady who turned over his office and his responsibilities to 2 private lawyers who came in and rewrote the city’s mural ordinance to benefit their client!  Having proven himself as a reliable ass-kissing toady, he was being given a job where he could kiss even more ass and, and allow more scummy deals to be done.”


In this post, I must admit that I was wrong in my assessment of Bockweg’s behavior, because it seems that in his efforts to obey the wishes of his benefactor Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, he has managed to wedge his nose so far up Mark Siffin’s ass that every time Siffin opens his mouth, you can see the tip of Bockweg’s nose wiggling about.


BOCKWEG BECOMES A SHILL AS THE PRIVATE REAL ESTATE AGENT FOR MARK SIFFIN


In the expanding story about Mark Siffin’s efforts to breathe life back into his dream of building 500’ tall LED billboards, Siffin has been casting about for some time now looking for an alternative site to the 3 Miami Herald Parking lots which supposedly cost him upwards of $45 million dollars to date, and which he reneged on paying a $7 million termination fee in January when he chose not to finalize the original $190 million deal.  These problems have led both the McClatchy Corporation, the parent company of the Miami Herald, and realtor Edie Laquer, who claims that Siffin stiffed her on a $700,000 loan she gave him to help pay a fee to McClatchy, to sue him.


The Crespo-Gram Report was the first to break the news on April 14th, of Siffin’s wooing the Miami Firefighter’s Union with a bogus pitch to guarantee them $10 million if they supported Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff’s re-election bid, and then on April 18th, we exclusively broke the story of how Siffin’s pitch to the firefighters was actually a misdirection ruse, and that he was actually trying to put together a deal inside the boundaries of the OMNI CRA.


Today, we are breaking the news of how Mark Siffin in late March turned Pieter Bockweg and the OMNI CRA into his private real estate agency in an effort to get the Miami-Dade School Board to sell the CRA 2 parking lots on the West side of NE 2nd Avenue, between NE 13 and 14th Streets that Siffin would convert to a parking garage and base for his LED billboards.


Here are copies of 2 letters, both dated March 25th, in which Siffin instructs Bockweg’s on how to structure a deal, and then Bockweg’s to Alberto Carvalho, the Superintendent of the Miami-Dade School system Bockweg repeating Siffin’s requirements.


To view a larger version of all of the documents referenced in this piece, click HERE.


LETTER FROM SIFFIN TO BOCKWEG

LETTER FROM BOCKWEG TO CARVALHO

Bockweg’s copy/paste of Siffin’s detailed instructions all but makes him Siffin’s private real estate agent in what is nothing more than a ploy to SHIELD BOTH THE ULTIMATE OWNER AND THE REAL PURPOSE OF THE DEAL from public scrutiny.  That the CRA, after using public money intended to eliminate “slum and blight” to purchase this property would turn around and sell it to Siffin is indicative of how the CRA, under the direction of Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff has become nothing more than a personal piggy bank to structure deals and give public money to his friends and political allies.


How sweet a deal is that?  And more importantly, how legal is a deal like this?


Even though the above letters represents an agreement to proceed forward on this deal between Siffin and Bockweg, this was not done on the spur of the moment, nor was it done without some preliminary efforts to first try and slip this past the public during a City Commission meeting, or more importantly, to seek out legal cover for so odious a deal.


THE MARCH 24TH CITY COMMISSION MEETING


Before Mark Siffin wrote his letter of instruction to Pieter Bockweg, he wrote a similar letter to City Manager Tony Crapp, who, like Bockweg, dutifully wrote a letter to Alberto Carvalho.

On March 24th, as promised, the City Commission agenda included an item about the Media Towers.

The item was withdrawn by a motion from Commissioner Sarnoff.

The significance of this withdrawal is that it establishes a specific time when Sarnoff knew about Siffin’s activities - although in reality, nothing that Siffin has ever done has not been known and/or discussed between Sarnoff and Siffin - at times communicated by Bert Berlin.


This withdrawal lends credence to the concerns expressed that Sarnoff was uncomfortable with anything coming before the City Commission for discussion and/or vote, given the opposition to these LEB billboards by a growing number of homeowners and condo boards in the area, and also explains why, after the item was withdrawn, the decision was made to try and run this deal through the CRA in a more secretive manner.


You will notice that all of the letters are carbon copies expressing a desire to meet the “needs of a growing Entertainment District,” and excluding any mention that this parking garage would be the base for these LEB billboard towers.


LOOKING FOR A LEGAL JUSTIFICATION FOR SPENDING CRA MONEY ON THIS DEAL


The CRA  - and especially the OMNI CRA - has come under increased scrutiny as it attempts give away money earmarked for the reduction of “slum and blight” to pals and campaign contributors of Commissioner “Ethics,” as evidenced by the attempt at the last CRA meeting to give a $148,000 grant to the new restaurant CITY HALL, on 20th and Biscayne Boulevard, owned by political insiders Steve Haas - Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chef Tom Azar.


The grant was put on hold at the last minute, but not for want of trying to give this money to his pals by Sarnoff.


So, because a deal where the CRA would act like a cut out and behave like a shill in buying these parking lots from the School Board before then turning around and selling them to Siffin, for a measly $300,000 profit, even Bockweg realized that he would have to try and cover his ass on a deal this smelly.


So he turned to the CRA’s outside counsel Holland & Knight, to see what legal cover they could provide him. The complete 3 page Memorandum of Law they provided him can be viewed by clicking HERE.


For purposes of this article, here is the most important part of the Memorandum

Stripped of the legalize, the highlighted portion means that if what they want to do is illegal, then they have to re-write their community redevelopment plan in a way to make the deal legal.


That’s the way the big boys get around the law, and abuse the system - if not downright rape it - to get what they want.


ROSARIO KENNEDY WALKS THE SCHOOL BOARD HALLS


When it comes to lobbyist Rosario Kennedy, Mark Siffin goes almost nowhere without her. In the photograph below, Kennedy and Siffin are sitting to the right behind the speaker at the podium at the April 21st Emergency Commission Meeting.

One of the School Board parking lots Mark Siffin wants the CRA to buy.

The Crespo-Gram Report has been told by extremely reliable sources - although we have not been able to confirm - that Rosario Kennedy has begun lobbying members of the Miami-Dade School Board on Siffin’s behalf telling them that Superintendent Carvalho, and other members are on board supporting this deal.


The notion however, that in the middle of a real estate meltdown - with the resulting depressions in appraisal prices - the School Superintendent, much less anyone on the School Board would consider this a good time to sell these valuable lots without a very pressing need for a couple million dollars, would result in their being considered co-conspirators in this sleazy deal.


AS BRIGHT AS 4 FULL MOONS


A topic that Siffin and his supporters continue to try and ignore or misrepresent is the impact of these massive LED billboards would have on any area where they might be erected.


In a study commissioned by the CRA last summer in advance of Siffin’s original efforts to get the City Commission to approval these billboards being erected on the Miami Herald property, the study claimed that the light emitted from these LED towers would be the equivalent of 4 Full Moons.  Here is the 2 page report.  A larger copy may be viewed by clicking HERE.

At the time of the City Commission vote last year an article by the Daily Business Review, detailed an exchange between Siffin and community activist Barbara Bisno where she claimed he denied any problems: "He said the lighting would not disturb anybody, it would not shine into your bedroom and disturb your quality of life."


More importantly is the impact on what this kind of lighting would have on the immediate area, and how it would affect the overall development of this area - which today, contrary to the claims made in the various letters is not part of a growing “Entertainment District,” is little more than an area full of vacant lots.


At the end of the day though, what is evident beyond any reasonable doubt is that the CRA under the direction of Pieter Bockweg, and guided by the OMNI CRA Chairman Marc Sarnoff, has demonstrated an almost slavish willingness to curry favor, and carry out the wishes of a guy who’s track record of broken deals, lawsuits and charades like the mis-direction ploy against the Firefighters Union, makes him someone who only a bunch of double-dealing scumbags would feel comfortable dealing with.


In Miami, those kinds of folks are called Commissioner Sarnoff and Executive Director Bockweg.


Welcome to Miami, Bitches!

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Karol Jananis tapes a wanted poster of Osama bin Laden on the radiator of his backhoe on Nassau Steet in Lower Manhattan, several days after 9/11.   

     __                                        Photo: Al Crespo

                                              HERE IS NEW YORK - 9/11

MAY 3, 2011

MAY 3, 2011

MAY 6, 2011

ONLY IN MIAMI

I wonder why they didn’t include Crapp’s fondness and interest in photography.  The guy does have to occupy his time while he refuses to make decisions as City Manager

STILL LUNCHING WITH RODZANDRA ON THE PUBLIC DIME
PART VII
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

Earlier this year I did a 5 part series about the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission that resulted in Robert Meyers, the Executive Director submitting his resignation.  He claimed that he would leave at the end of April, but left open the possibility that he would stay longer if needed to help in showing the new Executive Director the ropes.


Well, we’re now into May, and the process to select the new Executive Director has yet to begin. The submission of resumes doesn’t stop until May 13th, and then who knows how long the selection panel will take to go through the resumes.

In the interim, things still remain the same at the Commission.  Meyers and his “close friend” and secretary, Rodzandra Sanchez, still have opportunities for lunch dates as they show up at various “ethics” events together.  I’ve been told that she always wears “something nice.”


Kerry Rosenthal, the ethically challenged former chairman is still on the board, which should tell you just how insular and resistant to real change the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission continues to be.


Last month, Michael Marwaski, the Commission’s Prosecutor tried to move on by applying for the position of Broward County’s Ethic’s Chief.  He didn’t make it, but it’s only a matter of time before hopefully he and several others vacate the premises one way or another.


Just because they tagged Larry Spring with 1 Count of failing to file his financial disclosure forms last week and charged him $500, don’t believe for a minute that that signaled a new willingness to bitch slap some of the local politicians.


Spring might be a sacred cow inside City Hall where he not only knows, but actually dug the holes for a lot of bodies, but outside in the larger world, he was a patsy they used to make themselves look courageous and tough.


When they slap fines on the Mayor of Miami and all the City Commissioners for accepting free tickets by the fistful and refusing to file FORM 9’s, then, and only then, will this gang look like they’re getting serious about ethics violations in Miami-Dade County.


Don’t hold your breath.

MAY 6, 2011