…the culture of corruption?
We are already well aware that the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust is a useless agency, at best.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle picks and chooses, cafeteria-style, which corrupt public officials to arrest and prosecute, and which ones it would be more politically advantageous to ignore.
The Miami-Dade County Police Department’s Public Corruption Unit has been abolished. (Thank you, Kathy!)
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a full plate dealing with sex offenders, computer criminals, missing children, and you know, murders and stuff like that. Arresting politicians who commit perjury is hardly at the top of their list.
In fact, Florida government agencies have made it so easy for elected officials to succumb to, and engage in, corruption, little wonder so many politicians lie, cheat and steal with absolute impunity. They laugh at the electorate all the way to the bank.
One of the last avenues of hope for citizens and political activists who desperately try to rout out fraud and corruption, is to file complaints with the State of Florida Commission on Ethics.
Until now, that is.
It appears that the fine art of passing the buck has finally made its way to Tallahassee, leaving an unprotected public trust at the mercy of those who abuse the system and the power of their official capacity.
A perfect example of this abuse is when North Miami Beach Councilcritter Frantz Pierre decided to recuse himself from voting on a variance requested by the owner/builder of a home in Eastern Shores, under the guise that he was “a potential buyer of this residence.”
L’il Frantzie P actually expected us to believe that with an annual salary of approximately $83K, he would be able to afford a home worth over FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. He even said it with a straight face as if this fantasy of his was even remotely connected to reality.
As I reported in Frantzie Watch Begins,
“Of course, Frantzie’s being a “potential buyer” was merely a figment of his imagination. When interviewed by the Miami Herald’s Patricia Sagastume about The P Man’s intentions, developer Abraham Galsky said, “Frantz who?”
But on Planet Frantzie, anything is possible.”
The P Man even went so far as to ask “Madam Clerk” for Form 8B, entitled “Memorandum of Voting Conflict for County, Municipal and Other Local Public Officers,” so he could file it in lieu of actually doing his job as a legislator.
On this form, Delusional Frantzie wrote, “I am in negotiation with the owner of the item to be discussed under R2014-6,” and signed his name to said document on March 3, 2014, AS IF IT WERE THE GOSPEL TRUTH!
Never mind that two days later, the owner of the property told the Miami Herald that he had never entered into any negotiations with Pee-Aire regarding this property.
Anyone not living on Planet Frantzie knows there is no way in hell he could afford to buy a FOUR MILLION DOLLAR home. And yet, he persisted with his delusions of grandeur.
But, here’s the rub. Because L’il Frantzie P has escaped unscathed for the many lies he’s already told while in office, with absolutely no consequences whatsoever, he’s learned that when politicians commit perjury, NOBODY CARES!
Sadly, no one ever expects politicians to tell the truth anymore. We automatically assume they’re lying as soon as their lips start moving.
As a society we have become so jaded to politics, I’m amazed that anyone bothers to even vote anymore because the outcome makes no difference. One politician is just as corrupt as the next.
And yet, like sheep being led to the slaughter, we still head to the polls on election day, holding out a glimmer of hope that this time … this election … this candidate will somehow be different.
Good luck with that.
As it now stands, Article II, Section 8, of the Constitution of the State of Florida, states that, “A public office is a public trust. The people shall have the right to secure and sustain that trust against abuse.”
Quit laughing. It really does say that!
On March 25, 2014, I filed a Complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics claiming that Pee-Aire committed perjury by stating on Form 8B that he was in negotiations to buy a $4.2 million dollar home, when the owner of the property denied that claim.
I also asserted that Frantzie either committed perjury by signing a Form 1, “Statement of Financial Interests” (Exhibit F) on Jun 18, 2013, claiming his salary was approximately $83,000.00, or by signing Form 8B (Exhibit D), exempting himself from a vote by claiming that he could afford to buy a $4.2 million dollar house on a salary of approximately $83,000.00. I alleged, “Either Exhibit D or Exhibit F can be a factual document, but not both.”
Makes perfect sense, right?
Here’s the kick in the ass, though.
On July 30, 2014, the Commission on Ethics filed a Public Report and Order Dismissing Complaint against Frantz Pierre, stating that “The complaint fails to indicate a possible violation of any standard of conduct or disclosure standard within the jurisdiction of the Commission on Ethics.”
Obviously, the “standard of conduct” bar for a public official has been set really, really low.
And another thing. If unethical behavior is not within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission, pray tell, which agency is responsible?
In answer to that question, the Commission abdicated the responsibility by noting that “More particularly, perjury is a criminal offense cognizable by law enforcement authorities but not by the Commission…”
In other words, “Try the State Attorney’s Office. Oh, and good luck with that.”
But then, as if to really hammer the nail into the coffin, the Commission added, “…and perjury regarding a written document requires a verification, oath, or affirmation, none of which is part of the signing of either a Form 8B or a Form 1.”
Despite the fact that both forms require the signature of the person making the claims, neither represent “a verification, oath, or affirmation?”
This just begs the question:
WHY BOTHER HAVING POLITICIANS SIGN THESE DISCLOSURE FORMS IF THEY MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?
The even bigger joke is that Section (6) of Florida Statute 112.317, regarding the penalties for failing to file these USELESS disclosure forms, states:
(6) In any case in which the commission finds probable cause to believe that a complainant has committed perjury in regard to any document filed with, or any testimony given before, the commission, it shall refer such evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency for prosecution and taxation of costs.
Gee, isn’t that special?
By law, the Florida Commission on Ethics has the power to find probable cause of perjury. It even has the power to refer the evidence to the appropriate law enforcement agency for prosecution.
And yet, the Florida Commission on Ethics decided that in the case of L’il Frantzie P…
There are now apparently ZERO enforcement agencies in Florida willing to take on the arduous task of protecting us from the corruption perpetrated by the very people we elect into office.
By not holding politicians accountable for violating the rules of ethics or breaking the laws of the State of Florida, government agencies have sent the message that elected officials can do whatever the hell they want without any consequences whatsoever.
Yes, we could send our own message back by not re-electing the corruptocrats.
But, wouldn’t it be cool if we just refused to vote for anyone at all?
You know, just like government agencies lay off employees by “eliminating positions” no longer deemed essential, we should be able to eliminate elected official positions that we consider a waste of a seat.
Think of all the money we’d save by eliminating Frantz Pierre’s position altogether.
Especially if we get to stop footing the bill for his vacations to Haiti!
“Spreading the Wealth”