JUNE 15, 2013



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I almost feel sorry for Francis Suarez.  This week will probably turn out to be the worst week of his political life.  Unless of course, there are documents inside of Juan Palbo Maggini’s computer that go off like Roman Candles.

For the last 48 hours the focus of local news media has been on the 20 or so Absentee Ballot requests that Juan Pablo Maggini, Francis Suarez’ campaign Operations Director tried to apply for using the internet.

While that’s a news story, it actually NOT the real news story of il Affair de Suarez.

The real news story is that Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney and longtime protector and pal of Mayor Tomas Regalado got her hands on one of Francis Suarez’s campaign computers, that contains who knows how much inside information on the strategies, plans, personal lists of donors, supporters, and all of the correspondence that went to, from or was copied to the campaign’s Operations Director.

That’s actually an amazing story that zipped over the entire local news media’s heads because I am hard pressed to recall the last time that that ever happened, not only in Miami, but anywhere in the country.

Campaign investigations usually happen after a campaign ends, so the seizure of campaign computers and internal documents isn’t generally an issue.  But in this case, as the Search Warrant reveals, not only was Maggini’s computer seized, but also hard drives, scanners, flash cards, SD cards, digital watches, MP3 players, video game consoles, tablets, cellular phones, computer programs, software, monitors, printers, web cameras, digital cameras, slides and scanners.

Here is the copy of the Search Warrant:

The Search Warrant and the items listed are pretty far reaching for a case that supposedly centers on someone attempting to request 20 Absentee Ballots by using the internet.

Now of course, it’s always better to ask and get more information than less, and that’s a strategy that even I practice, but all of the additional information that would be contained on some of these items, like cell phone numbers, or a whole laundry list of private information on digital cameras, flash drives, SD cards, etc. ending up in the hands of a prosecutor - especially a prosecutor with the ethical baggage of someone like Katherine Fernandez-Rundle raises troubling questions, especially when it involves an ongoing political campaign one of her longtime pals.

All it takes is someone to plug in an external hard drive, do a little a little drag and drop, and slower than it takes in the movies but a damn site faster than it takes to get through downtown traffic after a Miami Heat game, and you’ve got a copy the computer’s hard drive, or copies of flash cards, or SD cards, or anything else with a retrievable memory that was seized.

If all you want is a copy of the computers emails, then a 32 or 64 gig flash drive will do the trick lickety split.


In Friday night’s El Nuevo Herald story about this incident both Tomas Regalado and Katherine Fernandez-Rundle tried to distance themselves from claims that they are long time pals but the record of their friendship cannot be denied, nor of Fernandez-Rundle’s repeated decisions that led to Regalado avoiding getting prosecuted for the gas credit card caper when he was City Commissioner, or his campaign report violations last year.

Nor can one ignore the fact that Regalado and Fernandez-Rundle are currently co-defendants in a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) case lodged against them by Miami City Commissioner Spence-Jones, who alleges that Regalado, Fernandez-Rundle and two of her assistants engaged in an orchestrated effort to have her removed from her City Commission seat in 2010.

What’s actually the most astounding revelation about all of this is that it turns out that the Search Warrant in the Suarez case was requested by none other than Robert Fielder, who happens to be one of the named defendants along with Regalado and Fernandez-Rundle in the RICO case.

For those not paying attention, Spence-Jones happens to be a supporter of Francis Suarez.

So, here you’ve got a State Attorney whose an alleged co-conspirator, along with the Mayor and one of her investigators in a case involving a City Commissioner whose a supporter of another City Commissioner whose challenging the Mayor for his job, pursuing a supposed Absentee Ballot case against the campaign Operations Manager of the Mayor’s opponent, and the Investigator in charge of the investigation whose who applied for the Search Warrant turns out to be aco-conspirator in the RICO case.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I was on drugs.

In a suspension of reality or rationale belief, neither the Mayor, nor the State Attorney want to admit that they’re friends or even pals, and wonder of wonders an unknown, but obviously significant treasure trove of internal documents and information about the campaign of the Mayor’s challenger is now in Fernandez-Rundle’s hands, which raises a very real and legitimate question of how long will it take that information to get in the hands of the Mayor?

I started this story by saying that I could almost feel sorry for Francis Suarez, but sad to say, this problem is largely one of his own making, and worse, he has to be aware of the information that I’ve written above. 

Yet, like so many other times when he should have stood up and been counted, he’s been sitting around for the last two days putting out a vapid, silly video and sending out silly tweets when he should have been calling a major press conference to not only defend himself and his aide - dumb though the guy obviously was - and making a really big stink about Katherine Fernandez-Rundle having all of his campaign material in her hands and demanding assurances that it would not be leaked to Regalado.

That’s what any savvy, smart politician with balls would have done. Instead, as I write this on Saturday morning, Francis Suarez is wandering around some neighborhood in Miami kissing old ladies on the cheek and talking about how “The Future is now.”

You’re right Francis, and while you’re out there on the sidewalk keep an eye out as it passes you by.

It’s Miami. Bitches!