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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JULY 24, 2012

REALLY BEND OVER THIS TIME
 WE’RE EVICTING YOU!  OH, NEVER MIND, YOU CAN STAY BECAUSE YOU’RE REGALADO’S BFF’S

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Last February, I did a story about a restaurant/party space situated on the property of the Miami Marine Stadium that most people know, or remember when it was called Bayside Hut.


I went into some detail in that story explaining who the original guys were that got the “Revocable Permit” from the City back in 1994, and how those guys fell on bad times, including falling behind on their rent, and how a new corporation formed by a son of former Miami City Commissioner Armando Lacasa got a sub-lease from the original permit holders, and how they in turn got sued by a guy who they had sub-leased the bar and outdoor party,  and how it all eventually became a bad situation for the City of Miami when no one would pay the rent.


Worse, no one paid property taxes either, because conveniently, the City had failed to separate the property that the restaurant sat on from the property that the Marine Stadium sat on, and therefore nobody at the Property Appraiser’s office had a clue that this place was another city owned property being used for private commercial gain.


Suffice to say, it was a classic giveaway of city property by prior city administrations, and what was occurring when I found out about it, was that the Lacasa’s, while raking in big bucks from staging all-night, weekend parties, were refusing to pay the City any rent, because they claimed that the City had refused to put up a sign on the causeway advertising the restaurant.


As a result of that failure, the rent hadn’t been paid from April of 2011 until March of 2012, when, after I came along and exposed the whole deal,  the city decided to do something.


In short order a letter was written informing the original holder of the “Revocable Permit”, that the City was revoking the permit.

The city had decided to butch up! They were going to evict these deadbeats, and not a moment to soon!!


Unfortunately, from all indications, City Manager, Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez, never sent the letter.  Instead, the following handwritten note was attached to the letter.

That was on May 12th.  Two months later, with nary a cocktail napkin to memorialize any of what took place between May and July, the Asset Management folks came up with another letter for “The Doormat” to sign.

Instead of evicting these deadbeats, the folks in Asset Management demonstrated their magnanimity of spirit and willingness to let the taxpayers get continue to get screwed over by cutting these folks a deal they couldn’t refuse.


How sweet was this deal?


They decided to continue charging them a whopping $2500.00 a month rent for a 6000 square foot restaurant, and additional parking lot. This is the same amount that the City originally agreed to charge these people in 1997.


In addition, they cut them a deal on the $47,825.00, in unpaid rent.  Instead of demanding the money in sizable installments, these guys get until 2017 to pay the back rent at $825.00 a month, and best of all, there are no interest or penalties for hosing the City by not paying the rent for 17 months.


This is where it gets interesting.  Back in 1997, the original holder of this “permit” Mr Rolf Gerstner, had also fallen behind in his rent to the tune of  $45,202.80.


Here’s how the City dealt wit Mr. Gerstner then.

Yep, for the lack of a piece of aluminum saying “Restaurant,”  these guys - meaning the Lacasa’s holding the sub-lease - refused to pay rent for 17 months, and the City rewarded them by cutting them a deal so that they could stay around until Don Worth and his gang get through figuring out how to do a deal with the Marine Stadium, thereby putting them in a position to be part of that deal. That’s what it means to be in the deal flow.


HOW MUCH MONEY IS THIS PLACE GENERATING


Part of the original “permit” for this property required the City to be paid 8% of the gross proceeds.

Here we are 15 years later, with another $47,825.00 owed the City in back rent, and this time, the morons in Asset Management, decide to give this guy a better payment plan, and decided to forgo imposing a late fee.


And best of all, unlike 1997, this deal wasn’t even memorialized in a revision of the “Revocable Permit,” that should have gone before the City Commission, but rather was just limited to this letter, because bringing this before the City Commission would expose too much information to prying eyes.


WE WANT A SIGN


The whole issue of why no one would pay the rent was predicated on a claim that the City had failed to put a sign up along the Causeway letting people know they were there.


So, in order to get them to start paying the rent, here is the sign that the city put up.

In February, as part of my original story, I wrote the following:


    “As a sidebar to what was becoming a crowd trying to milk

    money out of the Bayside Hut, a new player showed up at

    around the same time as the Lacasa’s, under the name of

    Prestige Restaurants And Entertainment Inc.


    Their deal was that they rented the “nightclub” part of the

    building from Bayside Restaurant/Bluegreen Bay Corporation

    to stage large parties and dances.


    In April of 2009, Prestige sold $25,000 of advance tickets

    to a big event, only to be barred from entering the property

     that night.


    It was, as you can imagine, a clusterfuck.  Prestige ended

    up suing everybody in State Court, which ended up in

    Federal Court.  Here‘s the best overview of the entire mess,

     with all the colorful allegations of racism, etc.”


The most revealing information was the sale of $25,000 of advance tickets to an event at this place.  That’s a lot of money before liquor costs are calculated.


Since then, the place has been a popular venue for weekend events that are billed as all night parties.  In addition, the place is now promoting a new Thursday night event.

To appreciate just how much of a sweetheart deal this represents, below the the provision for rent and return for the City in the recent RFP for the Grove Key  Marina/Scotty’s Landing.

The notion that the payment on Gross proceeds starts only after the first $500,000, is just absolute bullshit, and while they got away with it in 1997, the failure of the morons in the Asset Management - given the behavior of these people over the years - not to rewrite this provision to demand 10% of gross proceeds starting with dollar 1, along with a late fee only serves to underscore the phony claims that the City must bend the employees over the barrel for the 3rd year in a row because there is no where else for the City to find any money to cover the new $40 plus million deficit expected in this year’s budget.


So what kind of money can the City expect from the 8% Gross receipts? Who knows, because besides not paying rent, nobody’s provided the City with a report on monthly sales since April of 2011.

Last Thursday night I took a spin around the parking lot around 11 PM, to see what was what.  Although it was dark, the place was filled with cars and motorcycles, and they had even unlocked the gates that separate the restaurant parking lot from the road and ramp of the City of Miami Marina next door to accommodate all the motorcycles.

As you can hear, a good time was being had by all.


WHAT’S REALLY NASTY ABOUT THIS DEAL


If you go to my February 17th story about this deal, you will see that the original “Revocable Permit,” and the 2 subsequent amendments to the permit -dealing with the first time that the rent payments fell behind, and when part of the property caught on fire and an adjustment made to the rent payments - were memorialized as amendments to the permit, and brought before the City Commission for final approval.


NOT THIS TIME! 


This time, the changes were made in a letter, and the City Commission was left completely out of the decision making process.


A somewhat similar deal was done with the recent one year “Revocable License” granted to Grove Key Marina.


The “license” was done by Asset Management, reviewed by the City Attorney’s Office, and final approval was by the City Manager.


There was a time when ALL major property deals were automatically brought before the City Commission.


Under the Regalado administration, that has changed, and these permits, licenses and whatever else they want to call these land giveaways, have been dealt with as quietly and secretly as possible.


What would make both the Grove Key Marina and the Bayside Hut/Vero’s By The Bay deals so special that they needed to be withheld from the public scrutiny of having them brought before the City Commission for final approval?


MONEY AND POLITICAL FAVORS!!!!!!


With Grove Key Marina it’s the $2.9 million in unpaid taxes and the $333, 492.00, in fuel tax payments that they owe the City, and with Bayside Hut/Vero’s By The Bay, it’s the flagrant sweetheart deal I described above where these people were allowed to get away without any penalties or sanctions for illegally withholding rent payments, and their portion of the gross receipts, for the last 15 months.


On the Grove Key Marina issue, it’s Commissioner “Ethics” pulling the strings behind the scenes to protect Scott Wessel and others, and on Bayside Hut/Vero’s By The Bay, it is Regalado doing the string pulling for his old pal Armando Lacasa.


I ‘ll leave you with this to think about.


In both the Grove Key Marina and this Bayside Hut/Vero’s By The Bay deal, you’ve seen a City Manager and his top staff including the newly appointed Director of Asset Management stumble, bumble and trip over their feet as they managed to screw up the RFP process on Grove Key Marina, and give a reach around to the Bayside Hut/Vero’s By The Bay people, on what amounted to a flagrant series of actions that should have resulted in the permit for that property being revoked, as it almost was until Regalado interceded.


Not only was the permit NOT revoked, but it was allowed to continue in spite of the fact that when City Manager Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez signed the letter approving the deal, he and the City were still in the dark as to how much money these people were generating in gross sales, and how much they owed the City of Miami as their share of those sales.


ASK YOURSELF HOW COULD ANY GROUP OF PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATORS, MAKING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN COLLECTIVE SALARIES,  AND WITH A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE TAXPAYERS, APPROVE THIS DEAL WITHOUT THAT CRITICAL INFORMATION BEING MADE AVAILABLE TO THEM BEFORE THE DEAL WAS APPROVED????????????


I CONTEND THAT IT COULD ONLY HAPPEN IN A CITY WHERE THE MAYOR IS CORRUPT, AND AT THE VERY LEAST A MAJORITY OF THE CITY COMMISSIONERS ARE EQUALLY CORRUPT AND REPEATEDLY WILLING TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THESE ASSAULTS TO THEIR AUTHORITY AND TO THE FINANCIAL WELL BEING OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THEM IN OFFICE.


YOU CANNOT HAVE CONTINUE TO HAVE EXAMPLE AFTER EXAMPLE AFTER EXAMPLE OF THESE KINDS OF SCUMMY, UNDERHANDED, BACK ROOM DEALS OCCURRING WITHOUT THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COMMISSIONERS BEING IN CAHOOTS, AND AS A RESULT, TURNING OVER  FOR CHUMP CHANGE, THE RESOURCES OF THE CITY TO A HANDFUL OF POLITICAL CRONIES.


SOME FOLKS MIGHT ASK WHY THE GREAT CIVIC PROTECTOR NORMAN BRAMAN, DOESN’T SPEAK OUT AGAINST THESE KINDS OF ABUSES


IT’S BECAUSE, HE’S GOT REGALADO IN HIS POCKET TOO.


AS LONG AS REGALDO DOES WHAT BRAMAN WANTS - YOU’LL NOTICE HOW REGALADO CHANGED HIS POSITION AND FALLEN INTO LINE AGREEING WITH BRAMAN ON THE CASINO ISSUE - BRAMAN, LIKE ALL RICH GUYS WHO USE THEIR MONEY TO PROMOTE THEIR OWN PERSONAL AGENDAS, WILL BE ALL TOO HAPPY TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO THIS LEVEL OF CORRUPTION IN THE CITY OF MIAMI!


PHONY IS,  AS PHONY DOES!


It’s Miami, Bitches!