Little Towns, Big Troubles

tiny townThe Town of Golden Beach is getting serious about drinking and driving, and has issued a press release today announcing that its “Police Department will be conducting a Multi-Agency DUI Sobriety Checkpoint.”

The news release cites the date (April 11, 2014) and even the location (399 Ocean Boulevard) where this checkpoint will be situated, thereby alerting drunk drivers to avoid the area.

The media has also been invited to provide live coverage of the action.

GOLDEN BEACH PRESS RELEASE

Just in case there aren’t any shootings in North Miami Beach, news crews will at least have something exciting to do on a Friday night.

I don’t know about you, but I always get a kick out of watching drunks try to walk a straight line.

Not a whole hell of a lot happens in the Town of Golden Beach since, like the Village of Biscayne Park, there are no bars, restaurants or any other commercial businesses located within its boundaries.  And like Biscayne Park, Golden Beach has also been beset by police problems.

Golden Beach may have its share of the rich and famous who call it home, but over the years this sleepy little coastline town nestled in six tenths of a square mile in the extreme northeast corner of Miami-Dade County has had more than its share of scandals.

In 2011, three officers were arrested and charged with organized scheme to defraud for working off duty jobs while on the clock with the PD.

A year later, one of those three cops, Omar Paez, got himself in even worse trouble for sexual assault, but prosecutors refused to press charges because the victim was a prostitute, as reported by the Miami New Times article on March 29, 2012.  Miraculously, he kept his job.

Only last month, charges of official misconduct, fraud and grand theft stemming from a January 5, 2011 arrest were dropped against the ringleader of the double-dipping scheme, Lyndean Peters.  A similar fate awaits Paez and his cohort, Yovany Diaz.

But no good deed goes unpunished.  There’s the story of Tammy Valdez, the whistle-blowing cop who successfully sued the Town of Golden Beach for “wrongful termination” after exposing the police corruption.  She received $233,000.00 in damages in September of 2012.  The New Times reported:

“Another Golden Beach cop, Roberto Barrio, was allowed to remain on duty while he awaited trial for felony battery and false imprisonment charges. He was finally fired only after being convicted in 2010.

Meanwhile, an honest cop who tried to expose the racket was shit-canned and now Golden Beach taxpayers will have to pay her for it.”

Too bad the story didn’t end there.  As it turns out, Valdez was not so honest after all.  A scant two months after her lawsuit was settled, she and her Hialeah cop husband were arrested for selling illegal guns.

Folks, I really couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

But wait, there’s more!

The list of Golden Beach scandals includes a still employed Town Manager with his own history of DUIs and other traffic related tickets and arrests.  As reported by the New Times on June 25, 2012, Alexander Diaz was arrested a second time for driving under the influence.  When stopped the first time in 2009, he told the officer, “I am the city manager, bitch!”  The article reports:

“Diaz says that DUI was “totally dismissed,” and records of the charge have been destroyed. But a search of his driver’s license reveals a total of 32 moving violations since 2000, including 13 speeding tickets as well as penalties for driving with a suspended license, going the wrong way on a one-way street, and running red lights and stop signs.

Diaz vaguely claims, “My driver’s license was used in a fraudulent manner,” resulting in the “bulk” of the tickets. But he declined to specify how the license was misused, and there’s no indication that anyone else was charged.”

On second thought, I hope the media does attend the Checkpoint party.  Seriously, how much fun would it be to watch the Town Manager get arrested for drunk driving … by his own Police Department … in his own backyard … on the 11:00 o’clock news?

Yeah, I’d LMAO!

I had every intention of merely posting the Golden Beach Police Department’s press release as a public service and nothing more.  But once I began researching its history, one thing led to another, and I became intrigued by all the big troubles crammed into this tiny town’s legacy.  At half the size of Biscayne Park’s six-tenths of a square mile, and one-third its population (all 919 of them, as tallied in both the 2000 and 2010 census counts), Golden Beach has had a lot more trouble – and way more than its share of ink since it was incorporated in 1924.

Who knew?  Certainly not me.

I keep myself pretty busy covering the news in North Miami and North Miami Beach.  Most of the time I can successfully avoid dealing with whatever happens in Biscayne Park, Golden Beach, Aventura, the County, and even Sunny Isles Beach.  But every once in a while I get sucked in by news about our neighboring towns and feel compelled to write about them.

If only to take comfort in the fact that when it comes to fraud and corruption, we are not alone.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

(H/T to RP for the Press Release.)

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10 Comments

  1. To serve and protect says:

    Yeah that Tammy. She was real winner.

    http://forums.leoaffairs.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=156348

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  2. And now for the NMB connection... says:

    One of the biggest eyesores along NE 19 Avenue is owned by ex-commisioner Al Paruas. At any given time you will find 8 to 10 cars parked along the swale of this property and neighbor’s properties, blocking visibility to traffic and ruining the swale. And don’t get me started on the chickens, the loud parties and everything else that comes when a single family house is illegally turned into multifamily. This house is rented out by the room, if not by the bed, with zero concern for the neighborhood. I wonder if Mr. Paruas would like this nightmare next to his fancy Golden Beach house.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      And of course we can count on Code Enforcement to crack the whip!

      Yeah, right.

      I got the address from the tax rolls and I’ll drive by there today to check it out. Thanks!

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    2. prem says:

      I’ve biked, driven, and walked 19 from Miami gardens to 163 and not noticed this eyesore. Where’s it?

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      1. And now for the NMB connection... says:

        NE 19 avenue is no Granada Boulevard; so while it may not stand out like a sore thumb, it is certainly at the lower end of an already pretty sad group of contestants. But it does have what I would consider to be the most eroded swale along the avenue.

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      2. Stephanie Kienzle says:

        17471 NE 19 Avenue. I intend to drive by there over the weekend to see for myself.

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          1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

            Yes, that’s the house. Cars are not supposed to be parked on that swale. Notice how none of the other houses have cars parked on the swale. That swale is definitely eroded because of it.

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          2. Prem Barbosa says:

            please fill me in one what you mean when you say, “cars are not supposed to be parked on that swale”?

            Is this city, county ordinance?
            Speaking of 19th avenue, at first I was confusing what you were talking about with various houses on 18th avenue between miami gardens and 191 st. I don’t personally mind cars parked on swale other than the unfortunate resulting destruction of the swale, however there are a few houses who regularly park partly on the swale and partly in the sidewalk.
            I recently called Miami-Dade Police over a house-party which had i think it was 7 cars all covering the sidewalk. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

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  3. […] Oh, those wild and crazy little towns. […]

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