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.
“Spreading the Wealth”