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convenient REPORT

MARCH 24, 2014

THE SARNOFF FOUNDATION
ONLY IN MIAMI COULD A CORRUPT POLITICIAN GET AWAY WITH CALLING A POLITICAL SLUSH FUND A FOUNDATION

Only in Miami, the undisputed center of money laundering during the heyday of cocaine smuggling in the 70’s and 80’s, could a Miami City Commissioner with limited liquidity, be able to create a “”Foundation shielded from public scrutiny  and pretend to be a magnanimous community benefactor, without so much as a blink from the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Miami Today, The South Florida Business Journal, The Daily Business Review, The Miami New Times, and all of the local TV and radio stations, both Latin and Gringo.


Since the announcement of the $36,000 donation to underwrite the first 2 years of rental for the location in the West Grove for a police sub-station last December, not one inquiry nor one story has appeared questioning why the City of Miami could not afford to pay the rent itself - given that the Miami Police Department has a $192,093,000.00 budget for fiscal year 2013/2014 that could certainly, with a little searching accommodate the $18,000 annual rental.


Given the money that the City Commissioners and the Regalado administration piss away, the notion that a supposed public safety need could only be met by a donation from a private foundation is ridiculous.


Instead, with hosannas of praise from his fellow Commissioners, Sarnoff announced last year that his Sarnoff Foundation would pick up the tab for the rent for the police sub-station in the West Grove for the first two years.


And just so that no one would fail to appreciate the generosity of the Commissioner, the front windows of the sub-station made sure that all who entered would be reminded.


Never underestimate how high-minded rhetoric can be used in the service of covering base political machinations.


The real reason that many believe that Sarnoff created this foundation was to use it to enhance his image through a handful of strategic donations that would portray him as a strong law-and-order politician in advance his his run for another political office once he terms out as a City Commissioner in less than 2 years.


A normal person probably wouldn’t express much interest in the nuts-and-bolts of how such a foundation might work.  Most people have a vague sense of how a foundation operates, that  today doesn’t necessarily reflect reality.


Nowadays, folks like Sarnoff can take advantage of operations like The Miami Foundation, that essentially provides administrative support and most importantly a firewall against nosy folks like me who might wonder who exactly is giving money to something called The Sarnoff Foundation.


I started trying to pry information about the Sarnoff Foundation from the Miami Foundation in January, which is how I learned that the Sarnoffs had created a “Fiscal Sponsorship Fund,” that was protected from public scrutiny  thanks to the firewall that the Miami Foundation provides for folks who want to give money away while being shielded from public scrutiny.

You cannot begin to appreciate how convenient it is for someone to avail themselves of the services and protections that the Miami Foundation provides with these walled off little boxes they call “Fiscal Sponsorship Funds.”


Not only do they not have to provide the IRS with any pesky Form 990’s, but they are also shielded from having to reveal who gave them money, or how that money was actually spent.


It’s all hidden from public scrutiny.


But, then again, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and in this instance I believe that I managed to persuade the Commissioner that as painful as it might be for him to provide me the documents I wanted, I would make it a lot more painful for him if he didn’t.


WHOSE MONEY, NOT SARNOFF’S MONEY


Just because it’s called the Sarnoff Foundation doesn’t mean that Marc or Teresa Sarnoff actually put any of their own money into helping to fund the foundation. 


They didn’t. 


In addition to providing legal cover to shield all the information on who, how much and to whom these “Fiscal Sponsorships Funds” gives it’s money to, the Miami Foundation appears have been quite willing to help in fundraising. 


Here is a copy of a solicitation letter that was sent out under the the Miami Foundation’s letterhead to an unknown number of potential Sarnoff Foundation donors.

As a new parlor game, might I suggest that you and your friends print out the above list and start trying to see how many of the names you can identify, and the votes and/or favors that Sarnoff  provided them.


I promise you can have hours of fun and learn a lot about how the City of Miami actually operates by getting some politically savvy folks in a room and getting them to play along with you


Alas, while Sarnoff had managed to raise $70,737.50, by January 31st of this year he’d managed to spend most of that money and was down to $10,256.08.


According to the Miami Foundation’s own rules, the Sarnoff Foundation was now under the minimum, mandatory $50,000, that these funds are supposed to keep on hand at all times.

Now, there are those who might look askance at a supposedly non-partisan, philanthropic foundation sending out solicitation letters on behalf of a “foundation” created by a politician that was clearly created to burnish his image, but hey, this is Miami, right? 


Whether the letter is strictly legal or not, it clearly points to how the the Miami Foundation was willing to help the Commissioner raise money, and more importantly, it also signaled to sophisticated donors that their donations would be shielded through the Miami Foundation from public scrutiny.


But, I managed to get the list, and it turns out that those who contributed gave a total of $70,737.50 as of January 31, 2014, and that as expected these donations came from the usual collection of developers, billboard companies, lobbyists, lawyers and nightclub owners who’ve benefitted over the years from any number of votes or favors from the Commissioner.


Here’s the list

http://alturl.com/p5xhkhttp://alturl.com/p5xhkshapeimage_15_link_0

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

WHAT IS THE SARNOFF FOUNDATION?


It’s a political slush fund created by Sarnoff, his wife and his legal patron and law partner Jay Solowsky. In the self-promotional press release issued by the City  to announce the opening of the new police sub-station in the West Grove, this is how the Sarnoff Foundation was described.

Naturally, I wrote to Juan Soto, the Executive Director of the Miami Foundation to enquire about this obvious problem, but alas, he has not responded.


So, if you’re a regular supplicant at Miami City Hall, you might soon get a solicitation letter from either the Miami Foundation or the Commissioner asking you to donate to his “Foundation” because he’s still got a lot of work to do to try and convince voters that he’s really not a lying, weasel dick sociopath.


Getting other people to give him money so he can pose as a philanthropic, socially conscious public servant is just part of Commissioner “Pussy’s” game plan to become a local  Master Of The Universe.


It’s Miami, Bitches!