OCTOBER 16, 2013


Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m all in favor of good government initiatives, and Miami-Dade County is in need of all the initiatives that can be organized to try and hold back the tidal wave of public corruption that now seems, on an almost weekly basis to be growing larger and more menacing to the community.

Last week’s video taping revelations of the entire Hialeah city government marching in and out of a back-room just before a City Commission meeting that dealt with the city’s budget - a budget meeting that the Miami Herald reported lasted only 25 minutes, and resulted in a $110 million dollar budget that critics claimed included numerous errors caused by the last minute back room dealing that would seem was a violation of Florida’s Sunshine Law.

Then there’s the clown circus in Doral where Mayor Luigi Boria first gave his children millions of dollars so that they could buy a portion of a real estate deal in Doral, and then gave them more money so they could loan it to their partner who used that money to buy them out of the deal, and then got into a shouting and pissing match with always colorful Doral City Manager Joe Carollo, who promises more revelations regarding Boria’s petulant and at times embarrassing behavior from the dais.

And then of course there are my own multiple weekly tales from Miami City Hall, as well as the antics of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, that only last week forwarded my complaint to the Miami-Dade State Attorney involving 3 of the members of the Ethics Commission violating the Sunshine Law.

So yes, there’s more than enough public corruption going on in Miami-Dade County to keep an army of folks busy either trying to get some of these people arrested, and/or trying to convince others that the road to public service is littered with examples of supposedly “good people” gone bad, and that they should not allow themselves to join those folks.

As part of that effort on Thursday there will be a luncheon for the Brickell Avenue crowd sponsored by Kate Sorenson’s Good Government Initiative.

Yes indeed, “Public Corruption - When Will It Stop?”

Probably, when hell freezes over. 

Until then, public corruption will continue to flourish because going to luncheons where the goal is to “discuss public corruption and the roles of the enforcing agencies,” instead of talking about the kinds of public corruption being committed and who is committing it, is little more than a pretext for allowing some of the very people who have played a part in sanctioning the kind of public corruption we have in this community pretend that they are the good guys rather than enablers of this activity.

In Miami-Dade County we’ve gone way past the need to talk about “the roles of the enforcing agencies,” and instead focus on just why some of these agencies, starting with the Miami-Dade State Attorney and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, selectively go after the corrupt politicians considered as outliers, while those who are recognized as being on the Family and Friends Plan continue to operate with impunity, aided and abetted by these same agencies, and by two of the panelists at this luncheon. 

Specifically, I’m talking about  Joe “Let ‘em Go” Centorino and Howard Rosen.

In the stories that accompany today’s post, I provide two examples of the kinds of public corruption that goes on quite frequently in Miami-Dade County, and the refusal of the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit to prosecute these activities, except on a very selective basis.  That unit is currently headed by Assistant State Attorney Howard Rosen. 

Last year I wrote a detailed story based on FDLE investigative reports, emails and deposition transcripts of how Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and his daughter, School Board member Raquel Regalado, were allowed to evade criminal prosecution for campaign finance violations that occurred during Regalado’s 2009 campaign for Mayor because of the actions of Howard Rosen and Joe Centorino.

The scheme that allowed them to evade prosecution was based on allowing the statute of limitations to run out on the criminal violations, thereby making them only liable for an Ethics Commission fine.

The same thing now appears to be in play with the Willie Gort case, where the statute of limitations will expire on November 5th.

This same argument about the Statute of Limitations playing a role in the inability to prosecute Congressman David Rivera was trotted out by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.

After her staff, in conjunction with the FDLE prepared a rough 52 count indictment in August of 2011, the case, under the control of Joe Centorino, then head of the Public Corruption Unit, was shelved until April of 2012, when Fernandez-Rundle in a press release bemoaned the fact that the Statute of Limitations prohibited her from acquiring enough evidence to prosecute Rivera.

During that period, Centorino left to become Executive Director of the Ethics Commisison and Rosen took his place as the Chief of the Public Corruption Unit.  It was like changing chairs on the Titanic.

But the truth was far different. Emails that I obtained from the FDLE, and that have never before been published,  indicated that the case was on a very fast track in June and July of 2011, when this email from Jose Arroyo, Fernandez-Rundle’s Chief Assistant spelled out that she wanted a rough arrest warrant ready within a week.

Instead of an arrest warrant, the case suddenly became radio active, and the following February after, what I was told was a refusal by Fernandez-Rundle to answer any phone calls from Gerald Bailey, the Director of the FDLE, he sent her the following email.

The following month, when Fernandez-Rundle’s Chief Assistant, Jose Arroyo continued to refuse to respond to inquiries from the FDLE about the Rivera case, they saw the handwriting on the wall an closed their files.

These emails, and other information I have received from sources close to the investigation all point to the fact that the State Attorney and her staff refused for months to talk with anyone from the FDLE, because it was clear that the case had been fixed, and no one wanted to have to answer questions as to why.

There has been much speculation as to why this case, which if you read the various crimes alleged to have been committed in the draft indictment could have easily gone forward WITHOUT relying on the counts affected by any State of Limitations on campaign violations, did not do so. 

The betting money was always on the suspicion that the case was dropped as a political favor for U. S. Senator Marco Rubio, who as Rivera’s best friend, roommate and at the time potential Vice Presidential choice for Mitt Romney would have been hurt by revelations tying him to Rivera.

Joe Centorino and Howard Rosen have been at the center of every public corruption case in Miami-Dade County for over 25 years, and while they have prosecuted crooked politicians and public officials, the big questions that need to be asked and answered about their behavior and their so-called commitment to ending public corruption in recent years is not about the cases they prosecuted, but about the cases that they did not prosecute.

The example that I provide in the accompanying story today about how former North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner and City of Miami Commissioner Willie Gort have been treated differently for committing essentially the same crime, as well as the behavior of 3 members of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, of which Centorino has now been the Executive Director for the last two years,  and who was sitting not 2 feet away from Lawrence Schwartz when he initiated his secret conversation with the other Commission members and DID NOT DO ANYTHING TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING are just part an parcel of a longer and more detailed history of the misbehavior within the Miami-Dade State Attorneys office, some of her staff and various politicians in Miami-Dade County who have been in cahoots to conspire with each other break or, evade the law.

There is no one who has spoken out more harshly about the antics of Miami City Commissioner Michelle “Date Rape” Spence-Jones since she returned to the Commission after her acquittal than me. 

Yet, one cannot ignore the amazing Civil RICO lawsuit that Spence-Jones filed against Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle,  Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and two of Fernandez-Rundle’s assistants that included this page, among the other 106 pages of her orIginal complaint.

As I have written previously on other occasions, none of the individuals named in this complaint woke up one morning and decided that was a good day to start plotting to remove Spence-Jones from office on a whim.

There was certainly enough evidence and allegations of questionable behavior by Spence-Jones from that period for Tomas Regalado, and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff - who is an unnamed participant in at least one of the meetings that took place - to want her to be removed from the City Commission, but one cannot read the complaint, which reads in part like the pilot for a TV series, to not appreciate that if the allegations are anywhere near accurate, then the participation of the Miami-Dade State Attorney is this scheme  is enough for her and her aides to be disbarred and all of these people to go to jail, much less to be found guilty of civil RICO violations.


Yet, Katy Sorenson, better known as “Little Miss Sunshine” in some quarters, and the initiator of this little luncheon thought that the best way to deal with addressing the issue of Public Corruption in Miami-Dade County was to invite a couple of the foxes who’ve been guarding the hen house to talk about how good a job they’ve been doing.

As the director of such an organization Katy either had some knowledge of all of these activities, and chose to look the other way, or she was clueless, which then raises a question of why someone who is so clueless would be running a “good government” program.

There are a lot of people in Miami who claim to be as smart as a rocket scientist until someone shows them a rocket.  Then when it’s revealed that they are  stupid when it comes to knowing how rockets work, they fall back on claiming that they are well intentioned, and that should make up for being stupid.

Last month I must admit to being hard on Katy in comments I made about her on another blog, and afterwards I wrote to get information on her organization’s finances.  Here is what she wrote me back.

As someone who self-finances my quixotic activities with a dinky Social Security check and part-time work I’m always kind of amazed when I discover professional do-gooders making well beyond the median income whining about how little they make trying to save us from the Barbarians At The Gate, when in fact most of what they spend their time doing is lunching with the ladies and trying to mooch money to keep on financing the lunches.

Now, what I do is not genteel, and it’s not for the faint of heart, and for some I am an acquired taste, but then again, the kinds of public corruption that goes on in Miami-Dade County and the level of screwing over of folks who have no voice is pretty brazen also, so I do on occasion write with a certain vitriol.

In going out of her way to try and convince me that her measly $90,000 a year without benefits was something that I should bow down in admiration of, good old Katy forgot to mention those 16 years she spent as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner, and the benefits she accrued as a result of that activity.

And why was there a need to refer me to a website about CEO Compensation pay? Was she looking for someone to support her asking for more money? To paraphrase Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, “The lady doth whine to much, methinks.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, Miami-Dade County needs all the help in can get to not rid itself of public corruption, because that’s never going to happen, but just to try and slow it down a bit, and goo-goo groups like Katy’s can play an important part.

To do so however, folks like Katy Sorenson needs to start with a reality check about the corrosive levels of public corruption, and how it could have only gotten this way because the people entrusted to stop it, or at least slow it down have gotten into bed with the crooks, scammers, schemers and assholes who make up much of the political class in Miami-Dade County!


It’s Miami, Bitches!



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