OCTOBER 10 - OCTOBER 15

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OCTOBER 10, 2011

WHAT THE HERALD MISSED
MANNY ALONSO POCH SCREWING THE POOCH AND THE TAXPAYERS TOO
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

Even when the Miami Herald puts their hottest young writers on a story they manage to ignore more than they report.


Take the story that the Herald FINALLY decided to do on Saturday - the worst day to break a really important news story - about Manny Alonso Poch and his Charter School, Arts & Minds.


Among the “new” information they revealed was that Principal Kevin Sawyer had resigned. What the Herald’s wonder kids either didn’t discover, or decided wasn’t important enough to include was the message that Sawyer sent to the teachers the day he resigned that read:


        "I would like to take this opportunity to thank each

        of you for your support during my brief tenure.

        Regretfully, my personal moral imperative will not

        allow me to remain as Director. I have tendered

        my resignation effective September 30. I wish

        each of you the best in the future. Thank you.”


                                                      - My emphasis


You know you’ve got real problems when the principal of a school cites his personal moral imperative as the reason that he is resigning, and you would think that that nugget of information should have been included in a story about an institution with as many problems as Arts & Minds seems to have.


TAXES, WHAT TAXES, WE DON’T PAY NO STINKEN TAXES


Much of the Herald’s story about Poch and this charter school was about money. The story about Poch and the school has always been a story about following the money.


As the Herald, Dan Ricker of The Watchdog Report and I have all reported, Manny Alonso Poch has been the prime financial beneficiary of the public money received from the Miami-Dade School Board.


The  School Board pays Alonso Poch and/or the corporation that operates the school $2.4 million a year to operate the charter school.


Out of that amount, Alonso Poch receives $924,000.00 in rent, $147,000.00 as the food service provider and an additional $90.000 that the Herald revealed was a a new management fee that Poch started receiving in July after he created a management company that received the no-bid contract to start running the school. These payments come to $1,161,000.00, of the $2.4 million, or almost 50% of the taxpayers funds given to operate this school.


In the Herald article, Poch defended his receiving this money and went further by claiming that he was so committed to the school that he had even paid the mortgage payments on his property on occasion. Imagine that!  A property owner forced to pay his own mortgage.


Too bad the wonder kids from the Herald didn’t bother to check out our site - which I suspect someone at the Herald did as a prelude to assigning them to do their story - because while Poch claims he’s made some mortgage payments, he also managed to run up a hefty overdue tax bill for the school and the other property he owns that surround the school in spite of the almost $1 million annually he collects as rent.

At some point all of this is going to come crashing down on Alonso Poch’s head. The fact that he’s essentially self-dealing on the one hand, while at the same time has managed to stack the school’s Governing Board with family and political cronies, several of whom have their own unsavory baggage, only underscores just how screwed up the management of this school has become, and that’s before one considers the problems of keeping principals, teachers and even school books available.


The time is coming when one or more of those angry parents is going to come to the realization that one way to seek redress is to sue Poch and the Governing Board for damaging their child’s educational prospects because of the continual upheaval in the management of this school.


Of course, the final arbiter of all of this is the Miami-Dade School Board, who has as a member Raquelita Regalado, who’s already demonstrated her willingness to interfere in the process to support her Daddy’s pal Poch.


It’s just another case of It’s Miami, Bitches!

Contrary to his pious claims of benevolence it somehow got lost lost in the reporting done by the Herald that Alonso Poch is a property owner of a $3.2 million property in the center of Coconut Grove’s Business District, that has a charter school as a tenant and that his supposed acts of charity have nothing to do with this reality.


And while the Herald wonder kids revealed that the portion of the property that houses the school is tax exempt: “All of the property devoted to the school is not taxed.,” had they bothered to go to the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s website, as well as to our story posted on April 18th, they would have discovered a far more interesting story about how Alonso Poch has abused the system for profit.

Every dollar that Manny Alonso Poch doesn’t pay in taxes constitutes a profit because as the Herald revealed his mortgage is only $45,000 a month while he’s collects $77,000 a month in rent from the School Board.  So right off the bat he’s ahead of the game by $32,000 every month he collects rent from the charter school.


Consequently, in addition to the $1,161,000.00 he collects in various payments, he’s also benefiting from not having to pay taxes on the $3,154,973.00 of the property declared tax exempt.


Last year he increased his tax exempt prospects by successfully removing an additional $671,322,00 of property value from 3138 Commodore Plaza from the tax rolls. That’s pretty sweet, especially when you see below how he pulled off this stunt.   


In addition, given Alonso Poch’s pattern of behavior, you can bet that the charter school, and not Alonso, is most likely covering all of the maintenance costs as well as the property insurance on the property, as well as the payments to the Coconut Grove BID, which would constitute additional hidden financial benefits not revealed by Poch in any declaration of all of the benefits he receives from being the charter school’s landlord.


THE ILLEGAL CERTIFICATE OF USE PROBLEM


While the above actions of Alonso Poch could be considered the acts of a smart real estate investor - maximizing a property’s value while minimizing it’s costs, the biggest thing the Herald wonder kids failed to cover - again, based on information published on this site on August 18th - was that Alonso Poch had violated the terms of his Certificate Of Use for this property, which is how he managed to increase his tax exemption from $2,483,651.00 in 2010 to $3,154,973.00 in 2011.


Here’s what he did: The building was initially granted a Certificate Of Use as a multi-use facility, allowing for residential on the top floor, offices on the middle floor, and commercial retail for the areas facing Commodore Plaza on the first floor.


Alonso Poch has been slowly converting the entire building into a “school,” including the retail commercial spaces, that now have classrooms.


At the time that he obtained this change in tax exemption, the property was in clear violation of it’s Certificate Of Use, as evidenced by Notice of Code Violation served on the school on April 16th.


WHAT ABOUT THE SALOONS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD


There is also the issue that I raised in my post last week about Section 4.1 of the City Charter and Section 4-11 of the Miami City Code that prohibits a school from being within 1000 feet of an establishment that sells alcohol.  This school is surrounded on 3 sides by restaurant/bars all within 150 feet of this school.


PARENTS CALL FOR ALONSO POCH TO GIVE UP CONTROL


The accumulated drumbeat of complaints, Notices Of Non Compliance and videos of an arrogant and ignorant Governing Board in action have finally reached a tipping point where the parents have posted an open letter on their Facebook Page that calls for Alonso Poch to stop “exercising control over the school...”

WHATEVER  HAPPENED TO

On June 20th, we broke the story about Larry Spring getting an illegal severance package of $125,734.56

At the June 23rd, City Commission meeting, Commissioner Frank Carollo, raised the issue of this illegal severance payment - along with questions of other recent illegal severance payments - that resulted in the following action being agreed and voted on by the City Commission.

That was June 23rd.  This is October 10th.  Where’s the report? More importantly, where’s the evidence that the City Attorney carried out the City Commission’s instructions and went after all of those illegal severance payments?


Just how crappy is the City Attorney’s Office?  Below is a portion of the now infamous quasi-secret Executive Committee meeting of the Coconut Grove BID - the meeting where I had to chase Sarnoff’s Chief of Staff Ron Nelson down Bayshore Drive to Grove Isle in order to attend - where the members start discussing the quality of legal advise given to them by the City Attorney’s Office on a particular issue. 


Listen carefully to Commissioner “Ethics” and how he describes the legal staff of the City Attorney’s office, especially at around 1:39, where he states, “You would probably not hire any of our city attorneys.”


Even though he’s corrupt and has a heart as Black as coal, once in a great while Commissioner “Ethics,” like a stopped clock, is right.

RECOUPING THE GOLDEN PARACHUTE MONEY

OCTOBER 10, 2011

Anybody want to bet that the City Attorney’s office will say they can’t claw back any of these illegal severance payments?

THE DRAMA IS OVER, RAQUELITA PAYS THE CAMPAIGN FINE

After a total of 311 days of failing to file her final report and waiting for her to be served with a notice of violation, word from the Miami-Dade Election Board is that Raquelita Regalado paid her fine for failing to submit her final campaign report.


Now that that is out of the way, let’s see what happens when Daddy Regalado has to face the music for his own campaign violations.


Will he bite the bullet and take the rap, or will he make Raquelita his rap partner?


It won’t be long now.  The clock is ticking, and the Fat Lady is warming up in the wings.

OCTOBER 10, 2011

OCTOBER 12, 2011

WHATEVER  HAPPENED TO

On June 9th, City Attorney Julie Bru made an open-ended request of the City Commission to allow her office to pursue “all legal remedies” against an unknown number of insurance companies that, from Bru’s description, might have been taking advantage of the city.


This is now October 12th.  That’s 4 months that the City Attorney’s office should have been working industriously to get to the bottom of whether the city had been hosed by any insurance companies.


Let’s see, on Monday I wrote about the City Attorney being instructed to go after all the illegal severance payments, and today it’s about insurance companies hosing the city out of who knows how much money.


I wonder whether any of the City Commissioners will take these issues on and ask the City Attorney for an accounting of these tasks?


Who knows, a couple thousand here, and a couple thousand there, and all of a sudden it turns out that the city’s been screwed out of a lot of money by various schemes and scammers, most operating under the assumption that the City of Miami was little more than a welfare operation for them and their friends.


Of course, Bru over the years has been responsible for her own brand of welfare by doling out millions to needy law firms so that they could represent the city in any number of cases that she claimed her staff couldn’t touch because of conflicts of interest.


It’s amazing how the City Attorney manages to find so many conflicts when it comes to representing the taxpayers who end up paying double for legal services that often turn out to be worth shit.

RECOUPING THE INSURANCE MONEY THAT THE CITY ATTORNEY TALKED ABOUT 
IN THE ABOVE  VIDEO?

OCTOBER 12, 2011

THE THRILL IS GONE
IS IT TRUE THAT MADELINE PACHECO IS CALLING ANGEL ZAYON BAD NAMES

They almost seemed like the perfect couple, Angel and Madeline. He helped her get a job in the city, she helped him keep the Mayor happy by providing him with....well, who knows what weighty subjects they talked about on her visits to City Hall.


She was assigned to the Grant’s Department, but spent her days - or whatever portions of those days that she decided to show up - in the Communication’s Department.


Then, just when she thought she would be permanently reassigned to Communication’s she learned that Zayon  had vetoed the deal because he had found himself a new playmate that was younger, hotter and made his hair stand up all lesbian-in-heat spiky.


As a result, Pacheco is now actually having to show up for work in the Grant’s Department, and she’s really pissed.


Word from inside the MRC is that Pacheco is badmouthing Zayon to anyone who will listen.


I’ll listen baby.  I’ll even buy you lunch.  Tell me all the secrets about you, Zayon and the Mayor and I’ll even buy you some Flan with whipped cream for desert.


Call me, baby, baby, baby.   You know I care for you, and you can always use my shoulder to cry on!

KEEPING AN EYE ON 
“THE WHOPPER”

Armando Gutierrez, The Phantom Mayor of Miami, continues to be a no-show around City Hall, but rumors have it that he’s been having quiet meetings around Coral Gables and like the real Mayor of Miami, has lawyered himself up with a criminal defense lawyer.


Maybe that explains those guys parked outside the Coral Gables Country Club looking like they were on a stakeout. 


Never can tell who’s keeping an eye on you now days can you, Armando.

OCTOBER 12, 2011

WHO’S THAT IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR
FORMER CHIEF MIGUEL EXPOSITO FILES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING THE CITY COMMISSION’S DECISION TO FIRE HIM
ROUND 2 BEGINS

As anticipated, former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito went to court today in an attempt to get a Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge to grant him either a Writ of Certiorari or a Writ of Quo Warranto.


Without having had an opportunity to read the actual filing by Exposito’s lawyers, I have to go on the assumption that the Writ of Certiorari is predicated on the 5 Day Rule which many believe the City Commission violated by failing to continue the hearing on Saturday, rather than postponing the hearing to the following Monday, which took the process beyond the 5 Day Rule called for in the City Charter.


The Writ for Quo Warranto is an action that would in effect challenge the right of the city to appoint Manny Orosa as the acting Chief of Police, because the action represents an illegal usurpation of Exposito’s legitimate right to be the Chief.


Of the two actions, the Writ for Quo Warranto is the most interesting, and one that should provide the most spirited legal arguments.


When we get a copy of the actual court filing we will post it.


Until then, remember that I told you that the Fat Lady wasn’t singing on September 10th, she was just clearing her throat.

LOOKING OUT FOR RAQUELITA
DADDY’S GIRL GETS IN CAR WRECK AND GET SPECIAL TREATMENT?

City Files

No sooner has Raquelita Regalado managed to put her campaign reporting problems behind her than she managed this morning to get in a car wreck driving a car belonging to someone else, and low-and-behold, it turns out that Daddy’s Girl could be a poster girl for the kinds of crazy, irresponsible drivers Miami is known for.


It turns out that Raquel Regalado has 4 - YES THAT’S 4 - suspensions on her driver’s license for failing to pay traffic tickets.


Now, if you or me had 4 suspensions on our driver’s license for failing to pay traffic tickets and we got in a car wreck, that would earn us a one way trip to the county jail.


The fact that Raquelita is a lawyer would normally preclude her from claiming ignorance of the law, but being Papi Chulo’s daughter has it’s privileges.  Rumor has it that as soon as the word went out that it was Raquelita, none other than Commander Ricardo Roque rolled up on the scene, and the next thing you know Raquel skated away with just a summons.


Commander Roque is one of the cops Exposito wanted to demote, and who just got promoted to be one of the 2 Executive Assistant’s to acting Chief Manny Orosa.


Yes, folks, it’s the same shit, different day of insider dealings and covering the asses of the members of what is becoming to look like the Regalado crime family

OCTOBER 12, 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

OCTOBER 12, 2011

OCTOBER 14, 2011

IT’S CALLED ABUSE OF POWER
IS CHIEF OROSA USING INTERNAL AFFAIRS FOR POLITICAL VENDETTAS?

OCTOBER 14, 2011

POSTER OF THE DAY

Obie-Wan Kenobi has sent us a new poster. To download  any poster, click HERE.

MILLIONS HAVE BEEN LOST

As is always the case, when it comes to public money being squandered and wasted, it’s almost always the mundane, run of the mill abuses that really result in millions of dollars going down a rat hole.


So it is in Miami.  The above video of Julie  turns out to be as revealing for what she didn’t say, as for what she did.


You’ll notice that Bru doesn’t go into any details when she describes her efforts to go after medical insurance policies.  That was no by accident.


The date of this request was June 9th.  On April 28th, the City Commission had voted not to enter into a new contract with Independent Auditor Victor Igwe, but rather to have Commissioner Frank Carollo conduct an evaluation of Igwe’s office - something that he never did.


What Bru failed to reveal in her request was that the information about the insurance money was not information that she or her office had generated, but that it was part of a larger investigation conducted by Igwe’s office.


In short, because the long knives were out to stab Igwe, there was no reason for Bru to give credit to Igwe for uncovering another example of public money being pissed away, and in fact there was every reason to keep this information from the public who might then wonder why the Commission wanted him removed.


The problems described in the Inspector General’s Draft Report go to the problems that the city has had ever since it switched over to the Oracle Payroll System.


If you go to pages 29-33 of the below Draft Report, you will see how the problem is described, and on page 31, the report makes the following claim about potential abuse:


        “$2,303,737.43 may have been incorrectly included

        in the pensionable earnings reported to the general

        Employees and Sanitation Employees (GESE) and

        the Fire and Police (FIPO) Pension trusts during the

        audit period (October 1, 2007 through June 19,    

        2010)....”


This is just one of the MANY instances where the Oracle system has contributed to significant waste of taxpayer money.


Earlier this year I wrote about other problems with the Oracle Payroll System and how some members of the Fire Department had been underpaid by almost $1 million dollars, while at the same time other members of the department had been over paid by almost $250 thousand dollars.


The troubling fact is that it’s not hard to uncover examples of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars of mis-spent money by city departments over the years that have never been the subject of a real investigation or effort to recoup that money.


I remember last year when it was revealed that someone in the Finance department had supposedly been too stupid to send the required paperwork in to the IRS, and that the penalty was $100,000.  


You cannot have this kind of endemic misuse of public money and lackadaisical behavior about safeguarding the public’s money without their being a culture of abuse that starts at the very top. 


It didn’t start with Tomas Regalado, but it is evident that under his term as Mayor the pace and level of abuse has increased dramatically, and the people whose responsibility it is to safeguard and oversee these activities have all but surrendered their oversight responsibility as the corrupt Regalado cronies turn the city’s finances and services into a cornucopia of gifts for their friends and campaign contributors.


Nor are the members of the Regalado administration alone in being responsible for this activity.  Look at the video again and appreciate that not a single City Commissioner expressed the slightest interest in asking a single question about Bru’s reference to millions of dollars that could have gone south as far back as 2005-2006.


Either they have no interest, or they’ve been secretly briefed by the City Attorney and her staff which would constitute a brazen violation of the Florida Sunshine Law.


For the most part, I believe that the Miami City Commission essentially pass the buck by voting to approve these issues without expressing any interest, and when shit hits the fan they pretend to be offended by being left in the dark by the administration. 


So much for looking out for the public’s money.

MORE INFO ABOUT THE INSURANCE MONEY THAT THE CITY ATTORNEY TALKED ABOUT IN THE ABOVE  VIDEO?
PART II

OCTOBER 14, 2011

THE SINS OF THE FATHER
THE CAR WRECK STORY GETS MORE INTERESTING
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
IT’S NOT NICE NOT TO SHARE
THEY’RE CALLED PUBLIC RECORDS FOR A REASON

OCTOBER 14, 2011

OCTOBER 14, 2011

Since I wrote my first post about Raquelita and the fender bender on Tuesday night I’ve gotten some interesting emails taking me to task for writing about the rumor that Commander Ricardo Roque was somehow involved in arranging for Raquelita not going to jail for driving with a suspended license.


So, here’s what I now believe night have happened as provided to me by someone claiming to have first hand knowledge of what actually went down on the corner of SW 15th Street and 17th Avenue on Tuesday morning.


Raquelita got into a minor fender bender.  The officer who responded to the call issued a ticket to her as the person being responsible for causing the fender bender.


Since the cars were drivable, both drivers got in their cars and left.  After the scene had cleared, the officer proceeded to write up his report, and it was only then that he ran Raquelita’s driver’s license through his computer and discovered that she was driving with a suspended license. (Don’t write me telling me that that’s not proper procedure.  I’m just passing on what was explained to me.)


On discovering this, the officer wrote her another ticket, this one for driving with the suspended license and drove to her house and gave it to her.


Now, mind you, that’s what I have been told happened.  I always want to get it right, so if this is in fact what happened, then I’m happy to publish the information to set the record straight.


Of course, for me, and for a lot of other people, the issues of how Raquelita was treated in this instance is merely another example of how celebrities, rich people and politicians and their families get special treatment.


I know that having a cop drive to your house and hand deliver you a ticket is not something that a lot of Crespo-Gram readers have experienced, but that’s the reality of being the child of the Mayor.  Just like her brother Tommy gets to go to the Ocean Reef Club to celebrate his wife’s birthday party.


To me the thing that’s a lot more revealing is how this facade of this very smart, accomplished woman who’s a working mother, lawyer, School Board member and Daddy’s capable right hand advisor has managed to come crumbling down so quickly.


In less than 2 months she’s become an obvious target of a criminal investigation over her role as the Treasurer of her father’s campaign.  During the same time it was discovered that she had failed to comply with the legal requirements to submit her own final campaign report for her School Board election, and just last week was forced to pay a $3,526.28 fine.


She also, to all appearances was fired from her position with the white-shoe law firm that she liked to use as an example of her prowess as an attorney.


Now it turns out that on top of all of these issues she was driving around like some Trailer Trash Baby Momma in a car that she was “buying” from the son of one of her Daddy’s aides, and to top it off she was doing all of this with a suspended driver’s license.


This woman’s coming unraveled faster than a ball of yarn thrown out of the window of a 30 story building.


To me that the real story, and in it’s own way its a cautionary tale of the sins of the father being visited on his children.  These are the kinds of stories that don’t get much coverage because they tend to reveal the clay feet of the politicians that hold themselves out as examples of someone with the wholesome vales of traditional morality.


Tomas Regalado has long been corrupt and sleazy, and sadly, this child appears to be paying the price.