NOVEMBER 26 , 2012



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

My first story this year was about the unethical Miami-Dade Ethics Commission,  Since then I’ve written 13 other stories, including the one last week where I revealed that I had filed an ethics complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against local ethic’s board member Kerry Rosenthal.

The Ethics Commission is supposed to be the ONE group who the community expects will act as a referee and honest broker when it comes to trying to impose some sort of behavioral norms on elected and appointed officials so as to slow them down from plundering and exploiting their positions at will.

Among the failures of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission - and we can start with the allegations that I made against Mr. Rosenthal - is that t the process is often rigged to produce the wanted result t.

At the last Ethics Commission meeting the Board rejected my claim that Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez had abused the power of their office by having 2 Sgt-At-Arms drive them to Versailles restaurant to have a private lunch with 2 lobbyists, a developer and Sarnoff’s wife.

I also raised the issue of the Mayor and his campaign manager and lobbyist, Armando Gutierrez, being chauffeured in a City SUV to the Ladies In White protest rally in Little Havana, and for good measure I also raised the issue of Commissioner Sarnoff, along with his wife being chauffeured to the election night victory parties of Commissioners Gort and Dunn in 2010, again, in a City SUV driven by a Sgt-At-Arms.

The first, and by far most serious allegation that I made was the one about the Sarnoff and Suarez luncheon at the Versailles restaurant.

I filed my ethics complaint based on a story that Dan Ricker, who publishes the Watchdog Report had written about going to the restaurant and discovering the Commissioners there. I went so far as to include Ricker’s entire story in my complaint:

“The Watchdog Report on Election Day decided to go     to Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana on Tuesday since Mayor Carlos Gimenez was scheduled to eat lunch there and he did. However, he was not the only one at the iconic restaurant and Miami Commissioners Francis Suarez and Marc Sarnoff were also there with a posse of “friends,” said Commission Chair Suarez. Suarez and Sarnoff the commission vice chair were with a number of heavy weight lobbyists, an affordable housing maven, along with Sarnoff’s wife Teresa and both commissioners were driven to the event by a commission sergeant of arms. Suarez when the Watchdog Report asked what brought this group together said there “was nothing illegal” in them getting together, it was just “friends,” and since both commissioners were attorneys.

    They both knew the limitations of discussing policy among themselves out of the sunshine of a public meeting, and they were just talking about “the elections,” he said. Some of the other people at the lunch were Steven Marin, a political operative and elections maven who also is a lobbyist, as well as veteran county lobbyist and attorney Richard Perez who also reiterated it was just “friends getting together.” And another luncheon member was Mathew S. Greer, the CEO of the Carlisle Development Group and while none of this is a violation of state law if no city commission business was discussed. The fact that Perez registered as a Miami lobbyist Jul. 3, for Grove Waterfront, LLC, as did Marin on Jul. 6 and the past controversial Request for Proposal was thrown out and is being rebid. It does make the gathering look odd though Greer is not a registered lobbyist with the city records show.”

                                                              - My emphasis

When the Commission receives a complaint, they farm it out to one of their investigator, who then does an “investigation,” which then gets turned over to the Commission’s Advocate, whose job it is to prepare a Memorandum recommending whether there is Probable Cause for the complaint to be heard by the full board.

The Commission’s Advocate is Michael Murawski.

I first start writing about Murwaski in January of 2010, when I did my 5 Part Series about the Ethics Commission’s investigation of the memos between then Executive Director Robert Meyers and his secretary Rodzandra Sanchez, that had been purloined from the Ethics Commission offices and sent to the then County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

Among the most amazing parts of that series was the portion of video tape that I posted in Part II of that Series, where the Commission’s Auditor accused the Commission of being an unethical place to work, and then went off on Michael Murwaski’s behavior.

Of the 110 videos I have posted in the last two years, this one became the 4th most watched overall, and for most of last year it was number 1.

In this 2:45 video clip, Ms. Seymour rips Murwaski a new asshole.

To have one of his fellow workers expresses these kinds of comments about Mr. Murwaski’s professional behavior - and believe me, I read the transcript of the deposition that Ms. Seymour was talking about -  Murwaski really is a slime-ball.

But, having written several stories over the last two years about Mr. Murwaski’s lack of professional behavior, it should come as no surprise that when it came to handling my complaint against Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez and the Mayor, he would engage in the kind of slight of hand, misrepresentation of facts and law that would once again support the claims that the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission is unethical to its core.


Instead of focusing on Ricker’s claim, and the quotes in his story from Commissioner Suarez and lobbyist Richard Perez, that the luncheon was “just friends getting together,” Murwaski’s Probable Cause Memorandum to the Commission members, along with his verbal presentation, completely ignored any reference to these individuals and instead referenced the mention in Ricker’s story about Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s “scheduled” lunch at the restaurant.

The implication was that Sarnoff, Suarez, Sarnoff’s wife, the two lobbyists Steve Marin and Richard Rodriquez were in some way part of the Gimenez lunch group.

In fact, it was worse, because Murwaski purposely left everyone other than Sarnoff and Suarez out of his Memorandum and verbal presentation.  It was like they were never there

What Sarnoff, and Suarez and the rest of their party did was have a private lunch, in a public restaurant, where any number of other people, including politicians such as the County Mayor, were also having their own private lunches.

If one were to take Murwaski’s reasoning to its logical conclusion - or in this case illogical conclusion - had the  Baby Jesus shown up for lunch, he would have implied in his Memorandum that they had all gone to the restaurant for a religious service.

So by framing his argument this way, Murwaski minimizes the “just friends getting together,” explanation of this “private” luncheon, and creates an illusion that this was somehow a political luncheon.

To further emphasis this argument, Murwaski devoted two paragraphs on page 2 of his Memorandum providing a historical overview of the Versailles restaurant’s place in America and Cuban American political history.

You can see it all here in this copy of his Memorandum.


So the first thing that Murwaski does, is undermine the fact that Sarnoff and Suarez are at the Versailles in a strictly private capacity.

Then he turns to the illegal use of City SUV’s and the Sgt-At-Arms driving them to this lunch, which was really the core of my Ethics Complaint.

Here is how Murawski deals with that.  He does it in two parts.  Here’s the first part.

Again, you see how he portrays lunch at Versailles as “a political event,” then uses that as a justification for Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez and Sarnoff’s wife being driven to this restaurant as “a legitimate use of the S@A.”

On November 6th, General Election Day, I too decided to have lunch at Versailles, along with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, his friends, Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo, his wife and I suspect several of his staff members, along with other politicians from other municipalities. 

By Murwaski’s reasoning, I too attended “a political event,” because these people happened to choose this restaurant to eat lunch that day, even though no one got up and spoke, or engaged in any other kind of “political activity” other than enjoying a good Cuban lunch.

But the issue is the illegal use City SUV’s and their being driven by Sgt-At-Arms that was the crux of my complaint.

You notice that in the last sentence above Murwaski’s writes “a function that Carvil stated would constitute a legitimate use of the S@A.”

Carvil, is Ray Carvil, who is the Mayor’s Sgt-At-Arms.  Carvil is a year or so away from retirement, and in one of those patented moves intended to benefit the chosen few, he was recently promoted to “Lead S@A,” along with an increase in pay that will in turn increase his pension when he retires.

However, even as the Lead S@A, Carvil is not authorized to supersede the written directives of the City’s APM’s nor of the City’s written policies for the Sergeant At Arms Detail.

In a Memorandum prepared by Ethics Investigator Bruno Penichet for Mr. Murwaski, the following claim is made:

    “The SOP” [Standard Operating Procedures] “ provides,

    among other things, that the S@As “provide protective

    coverage to City Commissioners at...public appearances

    and coordinate transportation for City Commissioners to

    meetings and special events and handling community

    oriented details/assignments as requested by individual


The only problem is that Commissioners Sarnoff and Suarez were not making a “public appearance.”  They  were - as stated by both Commissioner Suarez, and lobbyist Richard Perez - “just friends” getting together to have lunch.

Furthermore, the Sgt-At-Arms SOP, except in a case of an emergency, are superseded by the provisions of the City of Miami’s Administrative Policies issued by the City Manager, who is the ultimate authority over the Chief of Police and the Sgt-At-Arms.

In AMP-3-99, last revised on 10/27/06, here are the controlling rules for the use of ALL city vehicles, as it relates to this incident”


The language is plain and simple and the implications are crystal clear: wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, parents, children, friends and neighbors, including the wife of a City Commissioner, are not supposed to driven around in City vehicles, most especially for “personal business or convenience!”


The third part of my complaint dealt with the photograph that I’ve posted on several occasions showing lobbyist and Shadow Mayor, Armando “The Whooper” Gutierrez, getting out of a City SUV, while Major Raul Herbello stood at attention. Here’s the photo again.


When he was questioned about this incident and the photo one of the things Major Herbello claimed was that he thought the photo had been “photoshopped.”

More importantly, here are other issues more serious, starting with the APO above that says that “Non-city employees may only be transported in City vehicles only if they are participating in a City program or are involved in City related business.

Being driven to a protest rally is NOT City business.

Again, here is the page from Murwaski’s Memorandum that deals with Herbello, Gutierrez and the City SUV.


I’m sure that after reading this you would assume that the photo I took was when the Mayor and Gutierrez arrived behind the stage where Gloria and Emilio Estefan, along with all of the other folks were already there, speaking to the crowd.

You would be wrong.

Here is the photo I took of the Mayor when he arrived and was entering the area in front of the stage.


I took this photo at, 5:52:45.

I took the photo of Major Herbello standing at attention at, 6:09:21.  The assumption that Herbello and the Ethics Commission’s investigator made was that I took the photo when they were arriving, they weren’t, I took it when they were getting ready to leave.

The next photo I took was this one.


The guy in the baseball cap, whoever he was, was also along for the ride.

As for the guy leaning on Regalado, he, like Angel Zayon looks like another of Regalado’s “sons.” I think you can even see the resemblance.

Once again, when it comes to investigating the complaints there are several unanswered questions that the Major was not asked to answer, such as, if he was asked to transport the Mayor and Armando Gutierrez 5 blocks down the road, how did the Mayor and “The Whopper” get to SW 8th Street to begin with?  They didn’t take a bus, so they were obviously driven there, and why would the vehicle that brought the Mayor to the event to begin with not be used to transport them these 5 blocks?

Since the photos I took were when the Mayor, “The Whopper” and the guy in the baseball cap were getting ready to leave, it would now be interesting to learn where did the Major take them next?


I don’t much like the people on the Ethics Commission, and they don’t like me.

But putting that to the side, filing a complaint with them about the misbehavior of some elected official is in some ways like going to a casino.  When you go through the door of a casino, you have to have an expectation that the dealers in the casino, no matter what they think of you,  are dealing from the top of the deck, and not the bottom.

I think I’ve established that in this case, Advocate, Michael Murawski dealt from the bottom of the deck.

With the exception of the complaint that I filed about Regalado’s financial reports, which was so blatantly obvious that they just could not get around the fact that he had violated the requirements, every other complaint that I have filed has failed the test of a real and honest investigation on the allegations of the complaint.

In this case, the investigator(s) interviewed Major Herbello and Ray Carvil, but never bothered to interview Dan Ricker, who wrote the story that I based my complaint on.

Ricker was at Versailles restaurant and he could have provided a first person, eye-witness account of where Sarnoff, Suarez and the others sat, and where Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez  and his party sat, along with everything else that occurred during the time that he was there.

If you’re going to really investigate what happened in a particular location, then you at some point you would expect the investigators to go and interview the guy who was actually present and wrote the story, right?

Well, if you’re a regular reader you know I like endings with a twist, and this is one of those endings.

On the day that the investigator went to interview Sgt-At-Arms Ray Carvil at City Hall, he was accompanied by none other than Michael Murwaski himself.  What better way to insure that the investigation leads to the conclusion you want than to be part of the investigation that asks the questions.

As they entered City Hall, who was there but Dan Ricker.  Ricker told me that he asked them why they were coming to City Hall, and they told him they were there to interview Ray Carvil.

I found this out because I called Dan to ask him if he had ever been contacted by anyone with the Ethics Commission about my complaint.

So when Dan told me that he had run into Murwaski and the investigator, I asked him whether or not they had asked him about his story about Sarnoff and Suarez, or had asked to interview him at a later date.

You guessed it, the answer was NO!

But had they bothered to do so, they would have learned this additional bit of interesting news.

When Ricker came upon them at the restaurant, and got into the conversation with Francis Suarez and Richard Perez that led to the quotes in his story, he said that he had asked Suarez whether or not it would be polite to sit at the table next to them.

Suarez supposedly said that he had no problem, but that Sarnoff probably would. Respecting their claim that this was a private lunch among friends, Ricker sat further away where he could  watch them. 

The claim that these guys went to the restaurant as part of some tribal gathering of politicians on Primary Election Day, was a completely unfounded construct created by Murwaski as the excuse to reject my complaint.

Like I said at the beginning, when the goal is to reach a pre-determined conclusion, you’ll only go looking for the “facts” that support that conclusion.

Michael Murawski has been, is, and will continue to be a low-life, scummy and completely unprincipled hack who personifies why the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission is the Unethical Ethics Commission!

When the card dealer continues to deal from the bottom of the deck and no one does anything to stop him, that’s when you know that the casino is crooked.

I’ve got two ethics complaints still pending, one against Commissioner Carollo for abuse of power, and the other against Commissioner Sarnoff for failing to file a FORM 9 report on his trip to Brazil.

I can’t wait to see how Murawski handles both of them.

It’s Miami, Bitches!