AUGUST 15, 2012


For 10 years, Marc Sarnoff and his cousin Neil Bayer operated an illegal law firm out of a house that Sarnoff owned at 3000 Shipping Avenue. 

Just about every one in the Center Grove and the Diaz administration knew he was doing this. His neighbors, and visitors to the park across the street from his house knew because the cars of the people who came to the office often took up all the parking spaces in the area.

The members of the group that Sarnoff led in the fight against the Home Depot knew, because they went there for meetings.  City officials knew, because they too went there for meetings.

Yet, such was the perceived power of this petty thug, that everyone was afraid to actually challenge him on this.

There was never any question that what he was doing was flagrantly illegal, and even after John El-Masry, Stephen Murray and myself started demanding that the City do something about it, it took 6 separate Notice of Code Violations and photographs  showing how Sarnoff’s wife and cousin Neil’s cars were being moved around the neighborhood, before we embarrassed Sergio Guadix, then head of Code Enforcement, to file the final 2 Code Enforcement Violations that forced Sarnoff to pack up and move in with his pal Jay Solowsky.

Sarnoff, more than many new elected officials came into office with a clear intention to use his position to benefit himself and his political friends.

The very first thing he did was have to the Traffic Circle, that had been rejected by City and County officials, built at the intersection in front of his house.

When he got the Traffic Circle, he turned his attention into converting Blanche Park across the street into a dog park, and last year, had the City spend $250,000 to rebuild it because the City was so flush with money that a rebuilt dog park was the kind of luxury that he figured he and his neighbors deserved.

When it comes to lies told by politicians, Sarnoff has lied so often, and about so many things - starting with the claim that his grandfather was General David Sarnoff, the founder of CBS - that the Miami New Times singled him out - no small feat given the number of liars and lies that get told by politicians in Miami-Dade County - for a piece called: Lies Marc Sarnoff Told Me.

Then of course there are the deals like the 1814 Brickell Park, the unfinished Flat Iron Park, and the latest, the Related Group’s Icon Bay, that received the deed to the Eastern end of NE 28th Street to the Bay from the city for a public park, but which has now been revealed in the architectural renderings as actually being mostly under the building tower, with a restricted view.

All of these deals, along with the other deals like the 240 foot LED towers for his pal mark Siffin, that fell apart because it was a boon doggle from the beginning were steered through the City by Sarnoff on behalf of all his developer pals.

Sarnoff’s latest scheme appears to be a reach around for Pedro Martin, the new, deep pockets money partner with Scott Wessel in the deal over the Grove Key Marina that collapsed as a result of the incompetence and back-room scull duggery of the morons at City Hall.

Martin is close to tearing down the old Grand Bay Hotel to build several condo towers on the property, and the speculation is that Sarnoff’s actions at the last City Commission meeting demanding that Burn Notice leave the Convention Center so it could be torn down for a new city park, was really an effort to provide Martin and his real estate team the opportunity to hustle the lower floor condos looking towards the bay as having “waterfront views.”

The timing makes sense, and Sarnoff is nothing if not slavish when it comes to sucking up to his developer pals.

What’s also not surprising, is Sarnoff’s failure to comprehend fully how much the ground has changed since he had Jay Solowsky write a threatening letter over a silly comment posted in response to a story in the Coconut Grove Grapevine.

When Sarnoff had Solowsky send this letter, he obviously believed that he was a local “Master of the Universe,” and could threaten and bully at will.

Those grandious days of using a lawyer pal to threaten a local blogger are long gone. Now Punky is left with having to write whiny tweets when someone upsets him.

Below is the latest example of Sarnoff displaying his pique over a tweet sent by a guy named Rod Feldman, who for 30 days last August was the City of Miami’s Film Commissioner, before resigning and writing a smoker of a resignation letter.

That letter detailed the underhanded scheming of Sarnoff and Luis Cabrera trying to get him to split his time between working for the City and being the OMNI CRA’s private film commissioner/marketing maven.

Since Feldman left City service he has taken to sharing his thoughts on the character of both Sarnoff and Luis Cabrera.

Here are Sarnoff and Feldman going at each other.


Copy the link below, and it will be a permanent link to this page that you can post on Facebook, or anywhere else.

See, I’m not the only one that calls Commissioner “Ethics” an asshole.

In fact, a lot of folks have taken to calling him that, and worse.

The only difference is that I’m just not lucky enough to have Sarnoff write me a stupid letter or tweet.

The Commissioner has always been thin skinned, but the combination of the Grove Key Marina RFP being scuttled, the hostility of folks from the South Grove over the neighborhood crime problem, and the time frame related to Pedro Martin’s condo development, appear to have led him to believe that the only way to overcome all this hostility was to butch up and play his favorite role, that of a petty dictator.

Demanding that one of the producers of Burn Notice HAD to negotiate with him was one of those grandstand moments where if you have to demand that people HAVE to talk with you, then you aren’t as powerful as you think you are. 

While a final deal by the production company seems to have been reached that will increase their rent payments on the Convention Center to $450,000, Sarnoff actually lost this fight on several levels.

His first, and biggest loss was the refusal over the last several years of Burn Notice using the Convention Center to convince producers to go along with his demands that they would move into the empty warehouse that Sarnoff had the OMNI CRA purchase for $3.1 million, on the claim that it would become a film studio, and which will require another $11-14 million to turn it into a fancier empty warehouse.

Sarnoff’s bigger loss was being ridiculed by the producers for Fox television, who in an article in last week’s Miami Today ran a story quoted producer Leslie Oren, of Fox Television responding to Sarnoff’s demand that the studio would actually blow up the Convention center by saying:

        “With regard to the center, “While the special effects

        on ‘Burn Notice’ are great, the production does not

        actually blow up buildings,” she said. “I’m sure the

        City of Miami knows that we wouldn’t under any

        circumstances, blow up the Coconut Grove Con-

        vention Center.

Sarnoff will try and spin the increase in rent as his victory, but in fact, what it reveals once again is the abysmal failure of the City’s Asset Management Department to look out for the best interested of the City’s taxpayers.

There was every reason to allow the production company to have a low rent for the first couple years of their lease, given the additional expenses that they incurred fixing the Convention Center up in order to make it usable, but starting in year 3, and in every year since, the City could have demanded, and gotten a$50,000 - $75,000 increase in its annual rent.

That the City never even considered such a move, reflects badly on Asset Management and on the City Commission - most especially Sarnoff - for never even considering such a demand.

Sarnoff’s grandstanding also revealed once again that City Manager Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez, doesn’t have the strength and toughness required to be the City Manager.

When Sarnoff started with his “you have to negotiate with me,” nonsense, Martinez should have immediately responded that it was the City Manager, and the Director of the City’s Asset Management Department who were the ones legally responsible for negotiating any deals with the producers of ‘Burn Notice,’ and not the grandstanding District 2, City Commissioner.

What Sarnoff did, by demanding that the producers of Burn Notice negotiate with him, was a clear violation of the City Charter, but then again, with the gang of corrupt and incompetent morons like Martinez in charge of running the City, a sociopathic asshole like Sarnoff can pretty much bully them into anything, including pretending that District 2 has become a private kingdom.

Slowly however, folks outside of City Hall, are finally understanding that Sarnoff is really a putz, who like all bullies is really a scaredy cat who likes wearing Spandex.

It’s Miami, Bitches!