Frantzie Watch: Livin’ Large on Our Dime [Updated]

Frantzie Stealing City Water

Frantzie Stealing City Water

The Buffoon of North Miami Beach, a/k/a Councilcritter Frantz Pierre, has been busy spending our money.  Just recently he took off for a vacation to his home country of Haiti and conned our City’s Finance Department into reimbursing him a “per diem meals allowance” totaling $777.00, under the guise of “Leadership & Management Seminar in Port-au-Prince.”

I googled the crap out of this so-called seminar and came up empty handed.  Our City Clerk also could not find a link or even a description of such a seminar, and advised me she’d have to ask Frantzie for information.  I can’t wait to see what BS he comes up with!

A North Miami Beach resident made a public records request asking for “itemized list of any city funds utilized by Councilman Franz Pierre for travel expenses, including, but not limited to, food, transportation, hotel, or any other city funds expended by him for the period October 1, 2012 to July 1, 2014, including his recent trip out of the country. If there are any reimbursements that have been submitted, but not yet reimbursed, please include them on the itemized list, identified as not yet disbursed to him.”

He received a response in an email which you can read by clicking RIGHT HERE.

During the previous fiscal year, L’il Frantzie P asked for and received expense reimbursements in the amount of $7,104.04.  In the first eight months and two days of the current fiscal year, The P Man has gouged our city’s coffers for a whopping $4,450.33.

Let’s take a look at how our hard earned tax dollars are being spent so generously by the zoot suited buffoon of NMB.  Aside from the $40.00 price of a ticket to attend the Miami-Dade County League of Cities Board of Directors meetings, which are considered to be legitimate expenses, some of the items for which we were charged are eyebrow raising at the very least.  Check these out:

1.  $500.00 sponsorship to “Celebrating the 45 years of Tabou Combo & the 50 years of Tropicana,”  more accurately described as “Orchestre Tropicana d’Haiti and Tabou Combo.”  Please tell me what this has to do with North Miami Beach.

2.  $1,000.00 sponsorship to Haitian Senior Stars Solidarity Group, Inc.  This is a “non-profit” that does … what?  I have no idea since it doesn’t have a website.  I also couldn’t find any advertising or articles about this organization, nor could I find a mission statement.  I did, however, discover that your Miami-Dade County Commissioners courtesy of Jean Monestime, doled out $4,000.00 to this “non-profit” on October 22, 2013 for a “Music Festival for community.”  According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Gift Giver’s Guide, Haitian Senior Stars Solidarity Group, Inc. has not reported any financial information.  I’d love to know how its donations are being spent.  Wouldn’t you?

Haitian Seniors Stars Solidarity Group3.  $1,000.00 donation to “Empowerment Church for toys and toiletries for needy families.”  According to Sunbiz.org, Empowerment Church, Inc. is located at 791 NE 167 Street, Miami Gardens, Florida 33169.  Except for the fact that that address is actually located in North Miami Beach and not Miami Gardens, why is Frantzie donating OUR money instead of his own?  (FYI, the pastor just happens to be Haitian.)

4.  $1,000.00 donation to a “Grant to provide snacks & refreshments to 92 at risk students.”  Wait, WHAT?  A Grant to whom or to what?  There’s not even an organization listed for me to research!  Could this be any more vague?  Did anyone in the NMB Finance Department check up on this request before handing The P Man a check for a thousand bucks?  Jeez, I hope so!  (Yes, I will be asking questions.)

5.  North Miami Beach taxpayers shelled out $2,609.87 so that Frantzie could attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC.  Isn’t that special?  Will someone please tell me how that vacation benefited our city in any way whatsoever?  Why do we have to pay for him to attend a function that the most of the rest of us who live and pay taxes in North Miami Beach couldn’t afford?  WTF is going on here anyway?

6.  $1,000.00 donation to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, which is sponsored by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  In case anyone isn’t aware, L’il Frantzie P is actually a teacher who works for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  Why are we funding a project for his employer?  Isn’t that a conflict of interest?  Paging Joe Centorino!

7.  $1,000.00 donation to Shalom Development Center, Inc., yet another “non-profit” in North Miami.  As with the Haitian Senior Stars Solidarity Group, this organization does not have a website or a published mission statement.  But it does have one thing two things in common with that other “non-profit.”  (1) Shalom Development Center managed to grab $500.00 of your Miami-Dade County Tax Dollars from the Commission also on October 22, 2013 for “Community Youth services;” and (2) the principles of the corporation are, you guessed it, Haitian.  NMB residents were screwed not once, but twice for another one of Frantzie’s “non-profits.”  Did you get kissed?  Me neither.

8. $500.00 donation to Roaring Tigers, which is a youth basketball team in North Miami for seventh grade boys.  Why are North Miami Beach taxpayers financing this North Miami team?

9.  $749.17 sponsorship to United Haitian American Artists, Inc., yet ANOTHER “non-profit” in North Miami.  [NOTE: I was just advised that this address, 15002 NE 12 Avenue, is located in Miami-Dade County and not in the City of North Miami.]  Again, no website, no mission statement.  Interestingly, my “research assistant” had previously done some digging about this organization and came up with this information:

The Treasurer of this organization is Farah Desgranges, whose maiden name is Farah Juste (a/k/a Farah Juste Soleil).  She is a famous singer from Haiti, as well as a political activist.

Farah Desgranges is also the namesake of Farah’s Angels Daycare, which is owned by the Registered Agent and President of United Haitian American Artists, Inc., Yanick A. Desgranges.  Both corporations have the same address of 15002 NE 12 Avenue.

The Secretary of United Haitian American Artists, Inc., Larry Lattimore, who is also Farah Juste’s son, is a convicted felon, who was sentenced to two years probation for “Fraud Use of Personal ID” on February 9, 2012.  His address as listed on his arrest record is the same as both corporations.

Here’s the thing.  If you google “United Haitian American Artists, Inc.,” you’ll be directed a single photo on the Facebook page of Farah Juste Soleil, which was posted well over a year ago, with the description:

United Haitian American Artist

Updated over a year ago
United Haitian American Artist (UHAA) is a cultural arts and entertainment organization that works in unison with the Haitian Diaspora. UHAA is a 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to highlight the works of Haitian Artist locally and aboard, while creating opportunities and an arena for new talent in all aspects of the Haitian culture. UHAA is continually searching for the best and the brightest artist in every age group.The organization was created by well know Haitian Activist Farah Juste in 2002 to celebrate Haitian Independence Day. For the past 21 years she has sponsored an event that not only celebrated the independence of Haiti, but it gives Haiti as a country a voice that has long been ignored. This event also provides Haitian Artist with the opportunity to showcase their talents. Farah Juste and UHAA are working to generate interest for humanitarian efforts locally and in Haiti to create a better life in the impoverished nation.UHAA is involved in every aspect of entertainment as it will be promoting its first film “Love, Hatred and Life”. UHAA is also promoting the Jazz Festival that is held annually in April at the newly constructed Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts, (formally the Carnival Center for Performing Arts) which will also feature local artist.
The organization plans to expand its operations from its headquarters in South Florida by creating a satellite office in Port-O-Prince, Haiti. UHAA promises to become vital part of South Florida’s economy and a positive vehicle the people of Haiti.

Try googling the film “Love, Hatred and Life.”  ZIP, ZILCH, NADA!

My researcher came up with the conclusion that “it looks like United Haitian American Artists is a family affair that promotes Farah Juste,” and is posing as a “non-profit.”

Think about this:  YOUR TAX DOLLARS WERE DONATED TO THIS ORGANIZATION!  Courtesy of L’il Frantzie P.

10.  $400.00 sponsorship for IHCD, Inc.  According to sunbiz.org, there is NO SUCH CORPORATION IN FLORIDA!  According to MerchantCircle.com, a company called “Ihcd, Inc.” is located at 1871 NE 167 Street, North Miami Beach, Florida 33162.  According to the Miami Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office and BeenVerified.com, THERE IS NO SUCH ADDRESS!

1871 NE 167 Street1871 NE 167 Street (Beenverified)Where did that $400.00 REALLY go?

11.  $500.00 donation to Actions for Better Future, Inc., which is located at Frantzie’s Infamous House of Non-Profits in North Miami Beach, and run by Karyne S. Pompilus, who attempted to grab money from the City Council a couple years ago for her to-this-day still do-nothing organization.  Her corporation is so pathetic, she couldn’t even scam the Miami-Dade County Commissioners out of a single dime.  Yeah, that is seriously pathetic!

Not surprisingly, Actions for Better Future, Inc. does not appear on the Department of Agriculture’s Gift Giver’s Guide.

Actions for Better Future

12.  $150.00 registration fee to the Broward Black Elected Officials.  This a group that likes to party.  A quick google search yields the fact that they give galas.  It created a Facebook page for its 2010 gala.  Interestingly, according to faqs.org, this is a Tax Exempt Organization, BUT, according to sunbiz.org – the OFFICIAL corporate website for the Florida Department of State, Broward County Black Elected Officials, Inc. was administratively dissolved in 2009 for the non-filing of its Annual Report.  Somehow, they still manage to conduct business, giving galas, COLLECTING NORTH MIAMI BEACH TAX DOLLARS.  SWEET!

13.  $75.00 for a ticket to the North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Vegas Night.  I’m thinking this is probably the only legitimate expense on the list.  This event actually benefited the City of North Miami Beach.  Well, HALLELUJAH!

Here’s the thing.  According to the Minutes of a Council meeting held June 1, 2010, Resolution R2010-41 was passed, which gave Council members a salary of $3,000.00 plus an Expense Account of $23,999.00, for a Total Compensation package of $26,999.00.  (The Mayor’s package is $31,799.00).  As such, L’il Frantzie P gets play money (a/k/a OUR TAX DOLLARS) of nearly $24,000.00 to do pretty much whatever he wants with.

The additional funds he asked for and received is OVER AND ABOVE the money he gets for his “Expense Account.”

Why?

I spoke with three different sources, who all seem to think the Council granted itself an additional $3,000.00 per fiscal year for additional expenses.  I am hard-pressed to find this policy in writing on the City’s website.  I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, only that I can’t find it.

But even if that is the official policy, Frantzie has already spent over and above that alleged $3,000.00 amount by $4,104.04 last fiscal year and $1,450.33 so far this year.

Why?

On top of that, as you can see, most of these expenses are questionable at best.

North Miami Beach Councilcritter Frantz Pierre has no problem spending our money.  The vast majority of our tax dollars that he is reimbursed for is for the benefit of Haitian individuals and organizations (legitimate and otherwise), or as in the case of his recent “seminar,” Haiti itself.

The bigger problem, however, is that Frantzie is only getting away with what the City of North Miami Beach is allowing him to do.  The questions we should be asking our city officials are:

  1. Why is he getting reimbursed for any of the above?
  2. Is anyone at all checking out that these reimbursements are going to legitimate causes that benefit our city?
  3. WHO IS MINDING THE STORE?

 

If it weren’t for the watchful eyes of the citizen activists of North Miami Beach, we’d never know that this crap has been going on.

So, the answer to Question #3 is:  “It takes a village.”

And a blogger, of course. 🙂

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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21 Comments

  1. NMBvoter says:

    This seems to be illegal. I think Fernandez-Rundle’s new team should be taking care of this. How much discretion should a council person have in giving away tax payer monies? Doesn’t the State Attorney’s office have a responsibility to handle this?

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Did you really use “Fernandez-Rundle” and “responsibility” in the same comment? Was that a joke? Even if it wasn’t, I’m still ROFLMAO!

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  2. ELLEN says:

    Looks like North Miami Beach could also use an independent forensic financial audit. How the hell do they get away with this crap?

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Good question! Now it’s up to the taxpaying residents to demand answers.

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    2. You R Right says:

      Ellen did you see we did not get a full financial audit? Read NED comments on a blog post two posts ago.

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  3. Voodoovague says:

    While it should be up to staff to look up whether the contributions and expenses are legit, it must be difficult for an employee to question their bosses. Your elected official owes you an explanation of these expenses as they were elected to oversee the responsible spending of our tax dollars. Why don’t you make a formal request to Councilman Pierre for a written explanation. In fact, why don’t all your NMB readers do that!

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Why don’t they? I hope they do now.

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    2. NMBvoter says:

      Really should take about 5 minutes for staff to look up. If the employees feel threatened, then they could make an anonymous call to the Governor’s office

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      1. barbix says:

        You sound like you have your heart in right place, but with all respect have you been paying attention to south florida politics or even the city to the south of you. I am not meaning to be mean, its just the hope you have that things like this are done – and that the states attorney office is on this (steph was ROLFLHAO above) – seem like nice but not what goes on around here. And a call to the Governors office?? It’s just not gonna help a thing. But it is good you want to be involved – come to meetings and voice your concerns/frustrations/exasperatations

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        1. NMBvoter says:

          I know the reality has been that nothing will happen, but it is promising that the Mayor of Miami is being prosecuted. It really is too bad people don’t take the streets screaming about theft of tax dollar.

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    3. Civics 101 says:

      Why on earth should it be up to “staff” to investigate the legitimacy of elected officials’ expenditures? The elected officials answer to their constituents. Staff has no oversight responsibilities in this regard. The manager and her staff are tasked with implementing the council’s legislation and directives, and providing the residents with services. And it would not just be “difficult” for an employee to question a council member’s expenditures. In fact, it would not be difficult at all. But he/she would probably be unemployed within a week’s time.

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      1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

        If staff has no oversight responsibilities, who does? I totally get an employee’s fear of losing his job by questioning a council person (see: Myron Rosner), someone has to be tasked with oversight. Expecting politicians to spend responsibly is the same thing as the expecting an alcoholic to drink responsibly. Yes, the legislative body is charged with making the laws, but if no one is charged with enforcing them, anarchy ensues. The same way there are consequences for drunk driving, there are (or should be) consequences for the misuse of power (and tax dollars) by politicians. In NMB, the city manager is supposed to be running the city. If the council fires her for doing her job, then the inmates are running the asylum.

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  4. No Country says:

    Sporkweasel Pierre is only part of the problem here.

    If anyone bothered to check, you would find Phyllis Smith has spent the most city money on her junkets and pet causes. She also is addicted to freebies (Waste Management’s famous dinner parties at Florida League of Cities, shaking down special interests for event tickets, sponsorships, just showing up with her husband at events others paid for, etc., etc.).

    But Phyllis is from Eastern Shores, so we look the other way and everything’s just fine. That’s how it works in our city.

    The Sporkweasel is an easy target. He deserves scorn and ridicule, but not at the expense of everyone ignoring the BIG problem here, folks.

    The BIGGEST and most expensive scam far and away is LIFETIME BENEFITS for former Council Members.

    Sporkweasel Pierre and Phyildiculous Smith are running for re-election so they can get a seat at the all-you-can-eat NMB buffet for former Councilmembers.

    Why doesn’t our City Council vote once and for all to end this expensive perk. Phase it out over the next year or two, so the former Council Members can plan ahead (a.k.a., get a real job instead of trying to get a piece of all the real estate deals going on in the city).

    Just saying.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      I’m already on to the lifetime health insurance that a previous administration voted for themselves behind closed doors. That’s a separate issue that will, hopefully, be addressed in the near future. The cost of this boondoggle is approximately HALF A MILLION A YEAR of taxpayer dollars.

      However, you are absolutely correct that both Frantzie and Phyllis will be eligible to receive it if they are re-elected next May. Phyllis has already stated publicly that she will take it because she feels entitled to it. Frantzie claims he won’t, but we all know he’s not capable of telling the truth.

      FYI, this lifetime health insurance policy was abolished a few years back, but Frantzie and Phyllis made sure they were grandfathered in. Just saying.

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  5. forthelifeofwhat says:

    I understand too that something is a whiff in the air as far as lifetime health insurance is concerned. How lovely is that? Not only do past civil servants elected to office receive this perk, but also past civil servants who were employees as well. At least there is a new pack of council people willing to take this on and really get out from the dusty closet, all the covered up collection of gimmes these people think they are entitled to. It is known to many in this city that activists have been trying to get their hands on information for this outrageous benefit so that something can be changed. After so many years of their pressing, it looks like their voices will finally be heard. Now it is still up to the residents to fight this tooth and nail with the city council to make sure that this nonsense comes to an end once and for all.

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  6. barbix says:

    Steph thanks for what you do. I feel like some progress is being made in North Miami, with people like Carol Keys full of integrity to do the right thing. (Results to be seen and the mayor race will see how the balance of “intention” may shift). But it is going to take bloggers and citizens to keep shining lights. Thanks for doing what you do!

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  7. gimme take me buy me says:

    Isn’t it incredible what these politicians get away with, at least for now? It is my hope that this administration will do what’s right and stop the stealing of our tax payer money. I say stealing, since to my understanding, this giveaway was never brought in front of the people of this city.
    There is a generation of involved residents slipping away and a new generation is not coming forward to take over their role of activism. It is Important for people to stay involved so that these issues do not get out of hand like they seemed to have done already. I wonder what it has cost us in the years since this policy was enacted. Hopefully this council will put an end to it, the only problem is you will automatically get two no’s from two council people who are in the receiving end come May ’15, and one councilman whose father has been on the receiving end since he was a councilman and part of the group of them that gave themselves this entitlement.

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    1. Dont underestimate us says:

      So where was this generation of involved residents when this was actually being orchestrated twenty or thirty years ago? I am going to guess they were working and raising children with little or no time to be involved in anything other than surviving, as many of us are today. Don’t worry, new generations of involved residents will follow, as soon as we have time.

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  8. Public Records says:

    Actually, on a somewhat positive note, at least you got a response from your city clerk and access to public records, lets see if North Miami can take some note of that! Huh Etienne?

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  9. NMB Lady says:

    Twenty or thirty years ago there was no Internet sp it was much harder to check things out. I will hazard a guess that it has been this way since miscreants could file for reimbursement. The difference is now anyone at all can find information on these supposed “non-profits”, they just don’t. I don’t understand how anyone gets reimbursed for a personal “donation”. If they get their money back then it is the city that made the donation, not the councilperson. It they use it as a tax write-off, they are committing a crime. Additionally, if a person has 100% lifetime medical insurance and still claims a medical deduction, it is another crime. Double-dipping seems to be a part-time job around here and worth a second glance.

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  10. […] I needn’t have worried because North Miami Beach Councilcritter Frantz Pierre found his way into the spotlight again when it was discovered he was squandering NMB taxpayer money. […]

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