JANUARY 27, 2011



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Imagine that you were the Mayor of a city like Miami, and somebody filed an ethic’s complaint against you for failing to include all of your assets on the financial form that you’re required to fill out every year.

What would you do?  Would you just agree that you screwed up, and take whatever fine you would get regardless of whatever reason you gave, or would you decide to try and wiggle your way out by telling the Ethics Commission folks a tale of woe.

His Ignorance, Tomas Regalado, chose to go with option 2, and told them a tale of about how his house had suffered a “catastrophic water leak in 2006,” and because of the “lasting structural damage caused by the broken water line, “adjusters say the house is a total loss.”

Okay, so that’s a tale that while still leaving some dangling questions, merits some sympathy.

But then, instead of leaving it there, His Ignorance goes on to tell the Ethics Commission that the reason that he doesn’t have any money in the bank is because he supporting his son Jose, and his “recently divorced” daughter. How many years can you be divorced and still be considered “recently divorced?”

The Mayor also told them that because of his legal problems related to his campaign reports, he had to go out and hire a criminal defense attorney, and that to pay the attorney he  went and got a a home equity loan from his bank.

At that point, you got to stop a moment and say, WTF!!!

He owes $67,000 on this house, the “adjusters say the house is a total loss,” and yet Chase was willing to give him another $25,000!

Talk about your friendly, neighborhood banker!  Who else reading this thinks that if they were in the same situation their bank would fork over $25,000 on a house on that’s been tagged as a “total loss?”

Since a home equity loan of this size I’ve been told normally comes with an inspection, I wonder whether the bank sent someone over to go crawl around under the house to determine for themselves just how damaged this foundation really is?

Of course, from the record it appears that this information zipped right over the head of the intrepid Ethic’s Commission prosecutor Michael Murawski, who I guess has become so accepting of politicians abusing their power and exploiting their positions for personal gain, that it never dawned on him that the Mayor of Miami claiming that the value of his house is actually only the value of the property under it,  and that getting a bank to give him another $25,000, on top of the approximately $67,000 he still owes, might exceed the value of the property just never crossed his mind.  (UPDATE: Since I posted this story on Thursday afternoon, I was able to discover that the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser has listed the value of the property under Regalado’s house to be valued at $59,601, which is below the outstanding mortgage, and certainly well below the mortgage and the additional $25,000.)

At a time when millions of regular folks are in foreclosure, and when banks are looking for every which-way opportunity NOT to give them a penny, the notion that Regalado waltzed in and got $25,000 on a worthless house just shows you that in the land of Miami, Bitches! wondrous things can happen, especially if you’re  the idiot Mayor of Miami.