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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

NOVEMBER 1, 2012

TAX COLLECTOR SUES CITY OF MIAMI OVER GROVE KEY MARINA’S UNPAID TAXES
CITY ATTORNEY JULIE BRU SHOULD BE FIRED FOR HER ROLE IN THIS SCANDAL

From July 9th, at the very beginning of my reporting on the scandal involving Scott Wessel’s refusal to pay almost $2.9 million in property taxes on his lease of Grove Key Marina and Scotty’s Landing, I have repeatedly focused on the role that City SAttorney Julie Bru played in this fiasco.


Bru, as an Assistant City Attorney had written the legal opinion that determined that the Marina and restaurant was liable for paying the property taxes on the property back in the 1990’s.


After she became the City Attorney, the City continued to submit the annual tax assessments to Wessel, and his attorney kept sending them back essentially telling the City to go screw itself.


Throughout those years there is evidence that folks within the administration, especially within the Facilities Management Department raised concerns about the refusal of Wessel to pay the taxes, and that Julie Bru and her assistants, refused to follow up and press Wessel for payment.


When I broke the revelations over the unpaid taxes as part of the story on the embarrassing RFP debacle over what to do with Grove Key Marina and Scotty’s Landing, Julie Bru continued to argue that Wessel was not liable for paying the taxes, and refused to do anything other than try and be as obstructionist as she thought she could get away with being. 


Of course, folks within the administration thought that she was carrying out the orders of Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, and lobbyist Steve Marin, who Wessel had hired to help him either win the RFP award, or better yet, get him an extension on his Lease for the properties, while the haggling over the RFP took place.


It was all sleazy, and finally, when the Miami-Dade County Tax Collector became aware of what had been going on, and threatened to sue everyone, there was a meeting held between The City, Scott Wessel and his attorney, and the Tax Collector.


At this meeting EVERYONE agreed that taxes were owed on the property, yet NO ONE accepted the responsibility of paying them.


In response to this sorry state of affairs, the Miami-Dade Tax Collector filed A Third-Party Countersuit against the City of Miami on October 22nd.  (Another story that the intrepid Miami Herald reporters seem to have decided was not IMPORTANT ENOUGH FOR THE CITIZENS TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT, but which you can bet they’ll claim credit for breaking once they read it here.)


Here is the salient part of the lawsuit.

Understand this:  Over all the years that Scott Wessel refused to pay property taxes - property taxes that would in part have come back to the City of Miami, always in need of money - Julie Bru, for the length of time that she has been the City Attorney, lifted not one finger to do anything about collecting one thin dime from Wessel.


Now, that the Tax Collector has sued the City, the citizens of Miami will see their tax money being used to defend the City against this lawsuit, while the City continues to refuse to go after Wessel for the property taxes he owes, AND might see the Court decide that the City (taxpayers) are responsible for the taxes because of the refusal of the City to do anything all these years.


HOW FUCKING, ABSOLUTELY INSANE IS THAT!!!!!!!


At the next City Commission Meeting, the 5 Dwarfs should declare that they have a lack of confidence in Julie Bru’s professional competence, and her refusal to look out for and protect the interests of the City and it’s citizens, and they should DEMAND that she resign immediately!


This is beyond Banana Republic behavior, this is the scummy, unprincipled behavior of a lawyer you would expect to be chasing ambulances rather than representing the City of Miami!


It’s Miami, Bitches!


HERE IS A COPY OF THE COMPLETE LAWSUIT FILED BY THE MIAMI-DADE TAX COLLECTOR

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