OCTOBER 22, 2012


When I first became aware of the way the City of Miami had created all of the sweetheart deals through the use of “Revocable License” agreements with connected folks who ended up with valuable City property for chump change, I focused on the Bayside Seafood Restaurant/Vero’s On The Bay deal that was a real skanky deal benefiting the Lacasa family.

Another deal that caught my eye at the time, but which I never found the time to focus on was a deal that allowed Steve Perricone, the owner of Perricone’s Restaurant and Marketplace, located in the Mary Brickell Village, to use part of the Allan Morris Park, next to the restaurant as an outdoor extension.

That changed after last week’s Planning and Zoning meeting over the land swap for the little park on SE 10 Street. The reason for that was that that little park is 1/2 of what is actually the Allan Morris Brickell Park that sits on both the South and North side of 10th Street.

In 1974, Alan Morris deeded this property to the City requiring “the Properties be utilized for public park purposes.”  Here is the  waiver portion of the original contract between Perricone and the City allowing him to use a part of the park as outdoor seating for the restaurant.

Because the Park was public property, the original deal did not allow Perricone’s to sell alcohol A year later there was an Amendment made to the contract that allowed alcohol to be sold.  Here is a copy of that contract amendment.

What the original contract also included was a rendering of the space within the Park that Perricone could use for outdoor seating.  Here is that rendering.

For the use of this 1,144 sq.feet of Park space, Perricone has been paying 2052.24 a month, or $24,629.00 a year.  Here is portion of the latest list of City owned properties that are managed under Revocable Leases.

This list was prepared last month at the request of Commissioner Spence-Jones, and includes a calculation of what the market price would be if the property were rented on the open market.

You will see that the City’s Facility Management Department calculated that the current annual rent for the property is only $6000 below what the market costs would be.

Once again, you really got to wonder about the folks in Facilities Management, because it’s really not realistic to try and cut out 1,144 feet of space out of a 7,780 foot space.

On the other hand, to their credit, and unlike a lot of the contracts, the City inserted provisions that Perricone’s is responsible for paying AD Valorem taxes.

Yet, when you check the Property Appraisers records you find, just like Vero’s On The Bay, that the property is listed as tax exempt.

Because the City of Miami is both the owner and the landlord, it is their responsibility to inform the County about the tax status of these properties that are being licensed out to for-profit companies. The failure to do so is at minimum gross incompetence, and more likely this failure is nothing less than a conscious effort to allow these favored folks to avoid paying taxes on these properties.


The contract between Perricone and the City is very clear and specific about how much of the Park he could use for  outdoor seating for his restaurant.  Here is that provision of the contract.

For years Stephen Perricone has wiped his ass with this contract.  In the series of photographs below that I have taken over a period of time - the latest being last Saturday evening - you will see that Perricone has taken over the entire Park and converted it for his personal use.

When it threatened to rain, a tent would go up.

On nice nights, like last Saturday night, the tables were set all the sidewalk areas of the Park

The portion of the contract above is also very clear about the fact that Perricone could NOT have exclusive use of any of the Park property.  Here is that provision.

Below is a photograph of the portion of the Park property that was the the original portion of the Park that was identified in the architectural rendering I posted above. 

The build out of this area would by any reasonable judgement would also have to be considered a direct violation of this provision.  In fact, look closely at the floor under the chairs it appears that you can see where the original wood of the outdoor patio floor was.

And just to demonstrate just how much Perricone has come to consider this City Park his private property, here is what he does with all of the tables, chairs, and portable bar during the day.

There is no way that this flagrant abuse of the terms of the contract that allowed Stephen Perricone to use a portion of a Public Park in the way he has, could have occurred without there having been an effort to willfully ignore all of the signs that none of the acts established in the above photographs were allowed to be done without a single City Inspector not stumbling across any of them.


I’ve often written about the two degrees of separation that continue to pop up in the dealings of City of Miami politicians and the recipients of political favors.

In this case, let start with the fact that not only is Stephen Perricone a financial supporter of Commissioner Marc Sarnoff  - besides donating to his campaigns, he held a major fundraiser at his home in Belle Meade during last year’s campaign as well -  but Sarnoff  has reciprocated the favor by being a financial supporter of Stephen Perricone over the years by hosting numerous luncheons at his restaurant.

Then there’s the Jay Salowsky connection. 

When Sarnoff was forced to shut down his law office that he had operated illegally for over 10 years in his house in Coconut grove, it was to Jay Salowsky who he turned to, who then provided Sarnoff with space in his offices in downtown Miami.

Salowsky has served as Sarnoff’s lawyer, and Sarnoff has served as Salowsky’s lawyer, and for good measure, Sarnoff appointed Salowsky as the outside counsel of the DDA, which he Chairs, and also to the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority Board.

Salowsky in turn has been a business partner with Perricone in numerous deals, including having been part of the group that owned the Flat Iron property - the subject of my other story today - before they sold it to Carlo Salvi and Mallory Kauderer for $18.8 million.

I raise all of this, because in my story on the Flat Iron deal that went before the Planning and Zoning Board last week, I referenced the alleged complaints that were made by the holder of the lease on the Baru Urbano restaurant about being harassed by City Inspectors supposedly as a way to pressure him to agree to vacate the property so the building could be torn down.

If these allegations are true - and I’m not saying that they are, although I am saying that the people who told me about them are reputable, and volunteered this information without any prompting from me - then City Inspectors have been spending a fair amount of time in the Mary Brickell area, at a building across the street from Perricone’s.

Even if the allegations are 100% false, City Inspectors should be spending time in the Mary Brickell area because of all the other restaurants and businesses in the area, and the failure to not pick up on these flagrant violations of the contract between the City and Perricone over the permitted uses of this City property raise questions of either their gross incompetence, or their willingness to turn a blind eye to what is clearly visible to anyone who walks by the park and just turns their head to look inside.

The bottom line however, is that based on what one waiter told me when I mentioned to him that there were a lot of tables set up in the Park, Perricone’s book approximately 100 tables for dinner on an average Saturday night.

Based on the evidence, a size number of those tables - and the money that they generate - have been generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by set up illegally on City property.

Let’s see whether the Regalado administration has the balls to put a stop to this.

If it turns out that Perricone has exceeded the 1,144 sq. feet he’s allowed to use by building out what has now become a permanent extension to his restaurant, will the City demand that he tear it down like they demand that people tear down other illegal build-out?

As to all these tables that are set up in the Park every weekend, and are left on the property during the week, will the City demand that all of this stop immediately, and will they slap a heavy fine on Perricone for this flagrant abuse of public property!

And let’s not forget the Ad Valorem taxes.  Let’s see how fast the City notifies the County Property Appraiser and the tax Collector that Mr. Perricone has been renting and using a portion - if not all of a City Park for a for profit venture since 1999, and that he should have been paying property taxes for that use.

This is one case where we will see very quickly whether or not the Regalado administration is prepared to protect the public’s interest, or continue to allow one of Commissioner Sarnoff’s pals to treat the city and its resources as his personal piggy bank.

It’s Miami, Bitches!


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