NOVEMBER 21 - NOVEMBER 25

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NOVEMBER 21, 2011

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC RECORDS LOG

DEPARTMENT  REQUESTS    DAYS OUTSTANDING

MAYOR                      1                                46

CRA                           1                                  5

POLICE                      3                          436/39/8

We’re going to start keeping a running tally of our outstanding public records requests so that folks can begin to understand that the City of Miami is a chronic violator when it comes to complying with these requests.

DDA                            1                                42

WHERE’S THE MONEY
THE POOREST MAYOR IN ALL OF AMERICA
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

For years, Tomas Regalado has claimed to be the poorest politician in the land.  When he ran for Mayor he claimed that his net worth was $5000. Almost nobody in the news media challenged him, even though that claim was clearly preposterous.


It was just another of those Miami things. The Mayor wanted to be one with the citizens of one of the poorest cities in the country, and so he proclaimed himself the poorest politician.


In 2008, the Miami New Times did a brief piece about Regalado’s claim about being poor they quoted him as saying, "I'm poor," he says. "I can't afford to pay to go to the performing arts center or see the Heat play more than twice a year. But I don't care; that's the way I choose to live."


In the two years that he’s been Mayor, Regalado’s net worth has gone from $5000, to  $7000, to $9300.


This year, after we revealed that the Mayor goes to all the Heat games and Boxing matches and other event he wants by having his aide Ada Rojas ask for tickets, the reaction from his office was to demand that the city’s IT Department find out how I got my hands on the emails.


Now, it’s been widely reported that in the past Regalado had some tax problems, but he claims that they ended in 2004, and he also claimed in the New Times story that most of his money had gone to pay for his children’s education.


Then again, the kids are not only grown, but Raquelita lives in a house that she claims is worth $375,000 although the property appraiser has an assessed AND market value of $121,225, and the house only cost $180.000 when she bought it in 2002.  Somehow, that house is not only under water, but you’d probably need a submarine to visit it.


Tommy Jr. according to several neighbors just bought a house in the Roads section for $265,000, and it appears that he paid this amount for a 2 bedroom 1 bath house in a neighborhood where the average house with similar footage and rooms are going for around $134,000. For more information on both of these kids houses, click HERE.


Jose, the youngest lives at home with his father and is a question mark when it comes to what he does to make a living.  He was a volunteer working in his father’s office last year, but with the new approach to shield as much information as possible from the public, the Mayor’s current website no longer lists the names  or job functions of his staff.


All in all though, after a 30 plus year career as a radio and TV host, along with 15 years as a City Commissioner and now Mayor, Tomas Regalado at 64, should be financially secure, and should certainly have a net worth of more than $9300.


HIS SALARY AND BENEFITS 


Below is a copy of his November 11th payroll account.  You’ll see that in addition to his salary of $89,538.48 as Mayor, he gets an annual expense account of $30,000 to do with as he wants, and a $3600 a year Cell Phone Allowance.  In addition, he gets a Sgt-At-Arms and a city SUV that pretty much takes him every where he wants.


The salary and expense allowances come to 123,138,48 before taxes, and $81,889,76 after taxes.


NOTE:  To view a larger copy of any of these documents click on them. The expense account and cell phone allowance are paid as part of the first check of every month.

The problem is that no where does the Mayor list his house as an asset although clearly, it is.



Instead, it appears that he tried to be cute by a slight of hand misdirection ploy claiming in the above financial report that, “Homestead is shared by Jose Regalado.” 


That’s a peculiar phrase, and in searching for a legal definition, as well as talking with folks knowledgable about property issues, it turns out that for legal purposes, Regalado could have substituted his dog or cat for any claim implying that “sharing a homestead” with his son qualified as his son as a co-owner and therefore someone sharing the value of the house for the purposes of lowering his own net worth, which appears as the only possible reason for using this terminology in his financial report/.


The fact that he failed to list the house’s assessed or market value, minus the outstanding mortgage is a clear violation of failing to provide a full and truthful accounting of his assets.


To establish that Regalado is the sole legal owner of the house, here is the latest information from the Property Appraiser’s office which identifies the Mayor as the sole owner of his house.

Now, $81,8889,76 isn’t a whole lot of money by today’s standards, but it is $6824.14 a month for a guy who leads a pretty quiet life, and gets picked up at the door every morning noon and night that he’s on the clock.


Nobody’s every accused the Mayor of hanging out till 3 or 4 in the morning getting drunk and partying in some nightclub.


So the big question is what does he do with this money if at the end of he year he claims his net worth is only $9300?


HIS HOUSE


He does own a house. It’s latest assessed value is $139.085, and the market value is $172.324.

Like most home owners though, Regalado has a mortgage on the house.  The outstanding obligation according to the latest financial report he filed is that he owes the bank $67,000.


That leaves an equity of $105,324 on the market value that would be considered part of his net worth.

In addition, here is a listing of all of the Jose Regalado’s in Miami-Dade County who are property owners.  The Mayor’s son is not listed.

In addition there the issue of personal goods including furniture, jewelry, art work, etc., that the Mayor failed to account for.  I’m sure he and Jose don’t sleep on the floor and eat with their fingers, and there’s the question of whether the supposed Rolex watch he wears is real, but no matter what the total value of all of these items are, there is clearly some value to the accumulation of all of the things that are in the house, and the value of those things needed needed to be aggregated and listed.


So there you have it, the Mayor claims his net worth is $9300, yet, over the last 2 years that he’s been Mayor he’s netted $163,779.52 in salary and unrestricted expense account payments, and at least for several years before that he also collected $104,000 a year before taxes as a City Commissioner, after the change was made to pay Commissioners the equivalent of a full-time salary.


Even though I’m sure he a caring and generous father and grandfather, the question still remains that unless he’s got some secret vice, his financial report should list a net worth of more than $9300.


Just the market value equity in his house should increase his net worth to $114,624.

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
DID THE MUD WRESTLER
STAGE THE ASSAULT FOR MEDIA COVERAGE, AND WILL FERNANDEZ-RUNDLE GIVE HIM A PASS?

A lot of crazy things happen in the waning days of a political campaign, and given that we’re in Miami, things just naturally are always crazier here.


As crazy as it gets in other places, nothing in recent memory can match what happened in Coconut Grove on the Saturday before the election when Commissioner “Ethics” came running out of his house, across the Traffic Circle intersection and another 50 feet or so to tackle Reid Welch for spray painting one of his campaign signs.


In typical Sarnoff fashion, he was quick afterwards to stand in front of TV cameras proclaiming that he was the real victim, and that he had only jumped on Welch because he was trying to “defend himself and his neighbor.”

In none of the documents that I’ve been able to look at is that neighbor identified, but I’ve been told that it was Sue McConnell, who lives in a condo next to the dog park, and who has been Sarnoff’s number one supporter and confidante for years.


If it was McConnell, she’s capable of bitch-slapping both Sarnoff AND Reid Welch without assistance and certainly not in danger from Welch. Whoever it was, Welch has stated that the woman was across the street standing on the sidewalk  by the dog park, 30 to 40 feet away when Sarnoff ran up and tackled him.


In the days that followed this incident I have been trying to get a copy of the Incident report, and last Friday I was finally successful.


Along the way I also discovered that in the days leading up to this assault, and on the day after the election, Sarnoff filed complaints with the Miami Police Department that resulted in Incident reports being written about Welch vandalizing more of his campaign signs.


On none of these other days did Sarnoff feel the need to go running across the street to “defend himself and his neighbor.”


In the diagram below I’ve pieced together the approximate locations of where everyone supposedly involved in this incident was, or in Sarnoff’s case, where he came from to reach Welch.

Now, I want to be very clear that I don’t condone or support what Welch was doing. It was stupid shit being done by some guy high on propane, and its evident that Welch is in many ways his own worst enemy, and clearly someone  - whether its the guy he lives with or whoever is giving him walk-around money - needs to step up and assume some responsibility for trying to get him cured of this propane addiction.


At the same time, what he was doing was an act of vandalism, understandably aggravating to Sarnoff, but something that had been going on for some time as evidenced by the previous complaints filed by Sarnoff, and something that had become part of a ritual between Sarnoff and Welch as Welch has documented in his many YOU TUBE videos of these incidents.


What Sarnoff did on the other hand - even if he was justifiably pissed off over Welch’s repeated vandalism of his signs - was a physical act of assault.


Welch’s behavior, spurred on by his addition to huffing propane can get old very quick, but what’s sometimes lost is that he’s an addict in denial that he’s in the grip of a very serious, and perhaps un-reversible addition.


Moreover, given Sarnoff’s deviousness and the well documented manner in which he lies, the quickness with which he was to play this incident off to the news media as an act of “defense” against a guy with a “box cutter,” is ample reason to suspect that Sarnoff purposely took advantage of Welch’s act of vandalism to generate a little pre-election coverage to bolster his image as a standup guy willing to fight to defend his community.


In other words, this was more about show business and image management than an act of terror in the Center Grove.


What bolsters my argument is the Incident Report, and what happened afterwards. Here is the report.  You’ll notice that the police officer who prepared it, identified Reid Welch as the “victim.”


To read a larger version, click on any of the pages.

After the initial interviews at the site of the incident, Reid Welch was taken to the police station where he was “interviewed” for several hours. In addition, numerous individuals who witnessed the incident were interviewed and I have been told that the police have witness statement from a number of them that clearly support Welch’s claim that Sarnoff assaulted him.


At the end of being questioned Welch was not arrested, but was sent home. That single act, above and beyond everything else, supports the claim that Marc Sarnoff was the attacker in this incident, and that in turn bolsters Welch being identified as the “victim” in the Police Incident Report.


By rights, if it had been any regular person who had done what Sarnoff did he would have been arrested, booked and charged with assault that night.


Here we are 23 days after the incident, and the State’s Attorney Office has done nothing.


Why?  This isn’t rocket science here.  A guy sees someone doing something that pisses him off, he leaves his house, runs across the street and jumps on the other guy and threatens him.


Similar things happen in Miami and every other city in the country a couple times a week.  It’s a straight forward case of simple assault, and when it happens the attacker is arrested, and if it’s a first offense is often offered a deal that will wipe his record clean if he takes some anger management classes.


But, when it involves a politician who is also one of Fernandez-Rundle’s regular phone pals - they’ve been known to share gossip - and, as I previously wrote in my last piece on the DDA, someone whose sandbox playmates are already becoming early financial supporters of Fernandez-Rundle’s re-election campaign, then this becomes a problem for an unethical prosecutor who’s willing to put friendship and political expediency ahead of enforcing the law evenly.


Put it all together, and The Queen Of Swag, instead of either recusing herself - something that she should start getting in the habit of doing on these political cases - or just telling Sarnoff that this time she’s got to uphold the law, sits in her office spinning like a top.


It’s shameful behavior that underscores just how cowardly and corrupt the Miami-Dade State Attorney has become.


There’s every reason to believe - given his history and the other stunts that took place during this campaign - that Sarnoff staged the assault as a way to generate some last minute media coverage for his re-election campaign portraying a candidate ready to physically “defend” his community.


It was stupid and unnecessary act, and although Reid Welch was a useful enabler by his obsessive and crazy behavior over Sarnoff’s signs, the law is the law, and as an attorney who likes to brag about how much he knows about the law, Sarnoff, like everyone else should be punished for breaking it!

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION

November 21, 2011


Dear Members of the Commission:


Last Friday, there was a Sunshine Law notice of a meeting between 2 City Commissioners posted at various locations in city buildings that stated that a meeting between at least 2 Commissioners would be held in the Chambers of the Miami City Commission that afternoon.


When I arrived at City Hall, there was another notice pasted on a wall that said the meeting was being held in the room behind the Chambers.


The room I entered was packed, and instead of finding several City Commissioners sitting around a table, I discovered that for all intents and purposes a full-scale City Commission meeting was taking place that included all of the City Commissioners except Willie Gort, and that also included the Mayor, the City Attorney and one of her assistant City Attorneys, both Assistant City Managers, the Assistant Executive Director of the SEOPW CRA, the Executive Director of the DDA, and numerous representative from city, county and private agencies.


Missing from this event was any representative of the City Clerk’s Office, and any audio or video recording equipment to memorialize the discussions that took place during this event.


The reason that Sunshine notices are posted for meetings between elected officials is because the possibility exists that during the course of discussion there will be issues discussed that will come before the officials for a vote.


Often times, a meeting between a couple Commissioners will involve them traveling to visit a location or to an event where recording their meeting is difficult, and it is expected at the very least that the news media will have at least one representative in attendance to monitor and/or provide a report for the public.


Unfortunately the traditional news media in our community has abrogated its responsibility to serve as a watchdog for the public’s interest, and some public officials feel that gives them even more opportunity to evade or ignore the law.


In this instance, this was a flagrant abuse of the Sunshine Law and Meeting Notice procedure for meetings between 2 elected officials, in as much as you chose to hold this meeting with this many elected officials and senior administration members in City Hall where the resources were readily available to record this meeting, but instead chose to hold it in a cramped back room, away from equipment capable of recording the meeting and resulted in at least 6 people having to stand for lack of seating.


Now, in principal, I  happen to think that the meeting, which dealt with trying to solve, or at least minimize to some extent the current high-levels of unemployment, especially in the Black community, was not only overdue, but that hopefully it will produce some worthwhile results.


Having said that however, the sorry history involving at least several of you in recent years in willfully trying to evade the Public Records Law by conducting public business through private email accounts, as well as the blatant manner in which again, at least several of you on a regular basis violate the Sunshine Law during Commission meetings, I believe demands that you cut this nonsense out and start following ALL of the requirements of the Sunshine and Public Records Law, instead of only the ones that you find least obtrusive.


I strongly urge you to try and not be cute, or look for loopholes, but to start strengthening your adherence to both the spirrit and application of the laws that govern you as well as principals of sound public policy management.


The operation of Miami City government has become both a shambles and an embarrassment under the Regalado administration, and you, as elected officials have a responsibility to demand from the administration, and from your own practices to do better in an effort to undue this destructive pattern of behavior.


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m not going to sue you over this meeting, but if you engage in another effort to conduct this kind of meeting without it being recorded for the public, I will sue you for violation of Florida’s Sunshine Law.


So that were clear on this, to paraphrase Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff when he was asked his explanation as to why he had sponsored his ethics ordinance, this letter might might not make you behave right, but it will remove your defense of claiming you didn’t know better if I’m forced to ask a judge to impose criminal sanctions if you do this again.


You know I love you all.


Happy Thanksgiving,


al crespo

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

UNLESS SOMEBODY GETS ARRESTED, THIS WILL BE OUR ONLY POST THIS WEEK.  ENJOY THE HOLIDAY.  SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

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MAYORS_FINANCIAL.html
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UPDATE     UPDATE     UPDATE     UPDATE

I have just been informed through a second hand source that the meeting that I describe below might have been recorded by an audio tape recorder somewhere in the room.  I will endeavor to verify in the morning, although the Clerk’s website has no mention of this meeting on Legistar.

JUDGE CONTINUES CASE

FOR FINAL RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST REID WELCH FILED BY TERESA SARNOFF

At a hearing held this morning before a Miami-Dade Circuit Judge, Teresa and Marc Sarnoff were dealt a blow when the request for a final restraining order filed against Reid Welch by Teresa Sarnoff on November 7th was not ruled on, and the hearing was continued until January 6, 2012.


Here is a video of the original order being served on Reid on November 7th.

MONDAY UPDATE ON CITY COMMISSION MEETING

This morning I went to the City Clerk’s office where I learned that I was wrong in my allegation that the meeting last Friday had not been recorded.


It turns out that the Clerk’s office uses a laptop computer to record these kinds of meeting, and I obviously am too old school to spot anything other than a tape recorder with standup mikes.


I also learned that a member of the Clerk’s office was in attendance, but he was around the corner from my vantage point and therefore never saw him.


While I’m happy that the meeting was recorded, and that a copy of the minutes will be posted, and that as I stated in my original post that the members of the City Commission are taking some initiative to do more than be enablers for the antics of the Mayor, I still believe that in the midst of trying to do good the policies required to ensure transparency are followed, and that doing good, doesn’t also justify anybody thinking that that justifies “doing well,” as part of the deal.

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

The apparant strategy in seeking the restraining order was to establish Welch as a dangerous person, which could then, it is believed, be used by Marc Sarnoff as part of his defense against being charged for assaulting Welch over the  campaign sign incident.


Mrs Sarnoff was represented by Jay Solowsky, long-time Sarnoff pal who allowed Sarnoff to move into his suite of offices when Sarnoff was forced to move his illegal law firm operation from his house in Coconut Grove.


The ploy would have probably succeeded were it not for the last minute decision by well-known Miami criminal defense lawyer Jason Wandner, who stepped in to represent Welch.


For more information on what took place today, contact:


Jason Wander

786.412.1505

REVISED FROM ORIGINAL POST