Miami-Dade County Politics: Business As Usual

If you’re a corrupt politician in South Florida, no worries.  The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has got your back.

Go ahead and extort your city’s vendors for campaign bucks.  Feel free to violate municipal campaign sign ordinances.  It’s perfectly okay to collect $10,000.00 in campaign donations from someone in exchange for a “yea” vote when they appeal a fine.  Apparently in the eyes of the Ethics Commission chief, Joe Centorino, a crooked politician (and Jesus) is Just Alright by him.  The Doobie Brothers would be proud.

North Miami Beach EX-mayor Myron Rosner just got another free pass from Let ‘Em Go Joe.  Here’s the latest Myron story:

When Myron was running for re-election as North Miami Beach mayor in May of 2011, I discovered that he received a total of $10,000.00 in campaign donations from various companies owned by a man named Russell Galbut.  As you know, Myron lost that election, but what I didn’t know at the time was that Myron also held a seat on the Miami-Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals, having been appointed by the League of Cities.

According to the Board minutes for 2011, Myron attended only two meetings the entire year, one in June and the other in July.  By sheer coincidence I’m sure, ahem, those were the only two meetings at which the case entitled “Appeal #1: Appeal of Building Official:  City of Miami Beach, 1100 West Properties, LLC, d/b/a Mondrian South Beach, FBC Section 105.12, Miami Dade County Code Sec 8-12(c), Double Permit Fee” was heard.  The June meeting was a bust because of a lack of quorum, despite the Board’s attempts to delay long enough for members to arrive.  The hearing was rescheduled to the following regular meeting on July 21, 2011.  Apparently, Myron wasted gas to attend the June meeting, but at least he showed up for the first time that year.

On July 21, 2011, the case was heard.  The appellant, i.e., the Mondrian South Beach (a hotel), claimed that the City of Miami Beach charged them $1.8 million in assessment fees for work it did, when those fees should not have been more than $140,000.00.  The appellant’s attorney squared off with the Miami Beach City Attorney, with good old Myron pushing hard in favor of the Mondrian’s appeal.  A short eleven minute recess took place at 3:25 p.m., after which Myron moved to grant the appeal in favor of the appellant.  The motion was seconded and passed by an 8-7 vote, but only after the Board’s Chairman, Jesus Gomez stated on record that “he felt uneasy about what has happened.”

After extensive research on the Mondrian South Beach, I discovered that, lo and behold, Russell Galbut and/or his family members have an interest in the Mondrian South Beach.  Furthermore, Russell Galbut is registered with the City of Miami Beach as a lobbyist for 1100 West Properties, LLC, d/b/a Mondrian South Beach.  On Russell Galbut’s lobbyist application, he listed Abraham Galbut as the principal (owner) of the Mondrian Hotel.

Myron did not attend any more meetings of the Miami Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals after July.

As you can see, it certainly appears that Myron accepted campaign donations of $10,000.00 in exchange for help in granting an appeal for the Galbut family’s claim against the City of Miami Beach, thereby saving the Galbuts a grand total of $1,786,000.00 in assessment fees.  Not a bad return for a ten thousand dollar investment, eh?

What you and I clearly see as a Conflict of Interest, Let ‘Em Go Joe sees as Business as Usual.  The July, 2012 Meeting Summary of the Commission on Ethics reported:

“A complaint (C 12-30) filed against former North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner in connection with his membership on the Miami-Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals was found Not Legally Sufficient and dismissed.  A citizen alleged that while he was running for re-election in 2011, Mayor Rosner accepted campaign contributions totaling more than $10,000 from developer Russell Galbut, his family members and various corporations in which he has financial interests.   While he lost the re-election bid, Rosner continued serving on the Board of Rules and Appeals and voted in favor of Galbut at two meetings of that board.  The County ethics code permits elected officials who are also members of quasi-judicial boards to vote on matters related to campaign contributors as long as the member will not personally profit or be enhanced by the vote.”

The Commission also ruled on two other cases in July.  One case against a politician who used the “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” bully tactic on a Florida State Trooper was also dismissed, while another crooked politician was slapped on the wrist and fined a whopping $250.00 for breaking the “Cone of Silence” during a bidding process.  As I said, Business as Usual.

It probably also doesn’t hurt for a corrupt politician to be married to a Circuit Court Judge.  I’m just saying.

But the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust wants you to know they’re on top of corruption in South Florida.  To prove it, they also announced they are holding a forum entitled “Ethical Governance Day” on October 12, 2012, where they plan to “Educate the next generation of leaders!”

Lest we ever forget that South Florida has been dubbed the Most Politically Corrupt Place in America, Let ‘Em Go Joe will continue to remind us exactly why we deserve that title.  Wear it proudly.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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7 Comments

  1. bob white says:

    Right on point Steph. Thanks for having the intestinal fortitude to call out Let’em Go Joe. While he makes a great father and grandfather and probably a great neighbor, he is no more interested in prosecuting crooked politicans than an 16 year old skateboarder. Case after case of political corruption is dropped in his ap and yet he can never find enough evidence to move on the case. If you brought him a Galbuts briefcase full of $100 bills with Rosners fingerprints all over it he would tell you that its just a coincidence they are there. Joe realized a long time ago that if he were to make a career of his job, he would have to bury his head in the sand and keep his eyes and mouth shut if he wants to retire with a lucritive pension jsut like the State Attorney and half our judges do.

    Fortunately, ever so slowly, people are starting to realize that they don’t want business as usual anymore and are making the political changes themselves. Hopefully Joe will soon be collecting his lucritive pension and someone will be appointed in his place that actually cares about the law and fighting public corruption.

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  2. Dear Prudence says:

    The Commission on Ethics reported that “The County ethics code permits elected officials who are also members of quasi-judicial boards to vote on matters related to campaign contributors as long as the member will not personally profit or be enhanced by the vote.” Will not personally profit or be enhanced by the vote? OF COURSE MYRON WOULD BE ENHANCED. The city of North Miami Beach pays a salary to the mayor and council members. The mayor’s total package is around
    $ 30,000.00. I would call winning an election with the help of $ 10,000.00 in campaign donations a personal profit/enhancement. Fortunately for NMB, Myron LOST. And the fact that he lost doesn’t negate the fact that he could have personally profited if he won. And if he lost the election, why was he still serving on the board of Rules and Appeals through the League of Cities? Once he was out of office, he was no longer useful to the League of Cities. I’d like to know what would have happened on the vote regarding the Mondrian if Rosner hadn’t been there and or not been able to vote.

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  3. […] alone might be, the fact that you kept absolutely mum while your husband bullied city employees, vendors and residents for all those years speaks volumes.  You remained silent while he overbuilt your […]

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  4. […] Lindemann must have taken a page out of the playbook of another member of the Miami Beach jet set, Russell Galbut, who also donated $5,000.00 from 10 companies to North Miami Beach EX-Mayor Myron Rosner’s […]

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  5. […] accepting campaign donations allegedly in exchange for political favors.  However, as I reported a year later on August 16, 2012, Let ‘Em Go Joe gave Myron yet another pass.  I noted, “The July, 2012 Meeting Summary […]

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  6. […] Board of Rules and Appeals just so he could help his $10,000.00 campaign donor Russell Galbut win an appeal against the City of Miami […]

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  7. […] It took only $10,000 in campaign donations for Miami Beach developer Russell Galbut to persuade the Miami-Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals to rule in his favor. […]

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