Folks, I’m telling ya.  You can’t make this stuff up.  It’s life imitating art imitating life.  Here is my critique of the show:

Act 1 – The Art of the Deal

The latest scandal in North Miami, as reported in the South Florida Business Journal and the Miami Herald, involves the boondoggle development known as Biscayne Landings.  At Tuesday night’s council meeting, contrary to what many considered to be a done deal, the mayor and one of his two cronies on the council, Jean Marcellus, voted against a contract between the city and Michael Swerdlow’s company, Oleta Partners.  In a shocking turn of events, Pierre’s other crony, councilwoman Marie Steril recused herself from voting, as strongly recommended by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.  We already know she’s not concerned with actual ethics considering she has no problem taking “donations” from people who’d like her to vote a certain way.  Logic tells me that she already knew that Pierre intended to vote against the contract, so she figured since her vote wasn’t needed, it was a good excuse to score brownie points with the Ethics Commission.  Just a guess, mind you.

Jean Marcellus voted against the contract, according to the South Florida Business Journal, because his attempted $5 million dollar shakedown of the developer for “an organization the councilman championed” didn’t work.  Can you even begin to imagine the chuztpah?  Even former North Miami Beach mayor Myron Rosner, while still a councilman, didn’t think on such a grand scale.  His largest shakedown attempt that I know of was when he attempted to extort an additional $75,000.00 from a property owner who wanted to add a second story to his commercial building.  That was small potatoes compared to half a million bucks!  (Myron, you are SUCH a loser!)

In what can only be described as perhaps a senior moment, councilman Michael Blynn ended up being the lone “yes” vote on the deal.  Not one person I’ve spoken to has an explanation, but I posit that he wasn’t invited to the Screw the Sunshine Laws Party hosted by Pierre, Steril and Marcellus, so he didn’t know he was supposed to vote “no.”  Just a guess, of course.

Councilman Scott Galvin, apparently the only one up there with working brain cells, and also not invited to the party, decided that the contract was way too far from perfect to vote in the affirmative.  Specifically, Mr. Galvin protested the proposed $500,000.00 payment to a non-existent non-profit organization, to be formed by the City of North Miami and run by who-the-hell-knows for the purpose of WTF?  In the now famous words of our own North Miami Beach ASFCME President Janice Coakley, “I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT!”  Apparently, so did Galvin.

Act 2 – Behind the Curtain

This play would not have been possible without the diligent work of the Stage Crew, doing double duty as Bit Players.  Let’s all give it up for Director Andre Pierre’s faithful yes-men/clean up crew:

City Manager/former Police Chief Stephen Johnson, current Police Chief Marc Elias Jr., Interim City Attorney Roland Galdos, City Clerk (self-dubbed) “The Hon.” Michael A. Etienne, “Esq.,” and jack-of-all-trades/former adult education principal/radio host/”CRA Coordinator,” the omnipresent Lesley Prudent.

Okay, stop clapping and sit.

Act 3 – The Agony of Defeat

In the shocking finale to the high drama, developer Michael Swerdlow threatened to sue the city for not pulling off one of the greatest scams ever perpetrated on the residents of North Miami.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Swerdlow managed to extricate himself from his former company, Boca Developers, which already screwed North Miami once, and come back in a new incarnation with a new company, Oleta Partners.  Nice try.

But, alas, the necessity of filling a $6 million budget hole wasn’t enough of a draw for Pierre & Co. to get the deal done.

Even as the curtain closes, this play leaves more questions than answers.  For one thing, why did Andre Pierre back out of something he carefully orchestrated and manipulated for the last four months?  Did someone else give Pierre a better offer at the eleventh hour?  Will Michael Swerdlow follow through and sue the pants off the city?  Will Biscayne Landings sink into the mangroves before it even gets finished?

Obviously, a sequel is in the works.  Maybe even two.  Stay tuned.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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  1. George Gill says:

    Very Good …. Would more entertaining if it were not so SAD.


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Thanks. It is sad to be governed by clowns. Here in North Miami Beach we dodged the bullet last May by getting rid of a moron at the helm. I had high hopes for North Miami, but it was not to be. For now, I’ll do my best to entertain you so you can get through the pain.


  2. Suzanne Skeel says:

    I just love your column! Brilliant! Of course, you don’t have to be creative, that is make these things up, just report them as they are. And that must be a challenge, that is not to laugh so hard you can’t see the page. Don’t you just wonder?


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Some things are just so out there, you just gotta laugh.


  3. James B Tracton,J.D.,PhD says:

    I became friendly with Michael when he first applied. Then I worried when the Mayor at that time told me that he received $25000. to vote yes. I know that the three criminals on the council must have been paid off so I guess a bigger crook is going to pay them more or else Andre intends to set up his own group and take Biscayne. He has run out of money and he will be out of office, so that is a strong possibility.


  4. Dear Prudence says:

    Dr. Tracton! Please tell us you went to the authorities with that information when you heard it way back when. Of course if you did it would have been the typical he said/she said as I’m sure you weren’t wearing a wire. It’s hard to believe that the corruption in North Miami happens in front of everyone’s face and nothing can be done to yank these politicians from the dais to the jail cell. Shame on North Miami for not reading the newspaper or this blog as some of these issues could have been prevented had people voted. It’s amazing how citizens are as naive as the cows that walk into the slaughter house. Okay, not that anyone is going to die from the corruption, but WAKE UP everyone and take a stand for something instead of just living life in such a la dee da fashion.
    It’s this attitude that gets us the government we have all the way up the ladder. 😈


  5. James B Tracton,J.D.,PhD says:

    As far as our citizens go, they just do not care. At the election that put Andre in office I went around to our good citizens. Many did not even allow me to speak. Others said OK and then did not vote. The worst were the ones who had not even bothered to register and when I would offer them registration forms they had various excuses for not doing it, including I will take care of that myself, which they never did. They really deserve a crooked council that takes their money but they do not seem to care. They deserve a lousy City. Those of us who tried to keep our CITY CLEAN ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE TO SUFFER.


  6. Stephanie Kienzle says:

    The sad thing is that so many cities are in the same predicament. I find that the vast majority of people don’t even know who their own council members are! It’s not just North Miami, or even North Miami Beach. There are really but a handful of residents who get involved, show up and try to get the vote out. The rest are just apathetic. As long as their garbage is picked up and they have running water, they’re happy. They have no idea what’s going on at City Hall, nor do they care. The only time they wake up is if something directly affects them, such as an extremely high water bill or if something breaks. Once the problem is fixed, they go back to their lives and that’s it. You can’t make people care about something if they just aren’t interested.


  7. James B Tracton,J.D.,PhD says:

    You are so right!


  8. […] election, with The P Man’s encouragement and assistance, the North Miami City Council Players have decided to bring their own special brand of corruption to our city.  For starters, North […]


  9. […] make matters even worse, Lucie also works for the infamous Michael Swerdlow, of the ever evolving Biscayne Landing fiasco that would take years to unravel.  Geniusofdespair wouldn’t “want a Mayor linked to […]


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