Dark Princes, Puppetmasters and other Fairy Tales from the Crypt

Once upon a timeAs I’ve said before, desperate people do desperate things.  North Bay Village Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps must be getting really desperate.

The election is just around the corner and there is the distinct possibility she will lose her coveted seat at the head of the dais to a political virgin.  That desperate fear could be the only possible reason that she keeps scraping the bottom of the barrel.

First she commissioned Randall “Prince of Darkness” Hilliard and his pet Demon, Mitchell Edelstein, to send out that god-awful, amateurish hit piece claiming that her opponent’s neighbors “don’t like him.”

And how did they come to that conclusion?

Because a lawyer said so.

Well, then!  It MUST be true!

After all, the Condo Commandos at the Kennedy House didn’t want Jorge Brito turning over too many rocks lest something vile slither out.  So they hired a lawyer to send him a Cease and Desist letter.

Then the brain trust over at Floridians for a Strong Future  used that letter as the focal point of an attack ad intended to scare the registered voters of North Bay Village into voting for the incumbent.

All 3,300 of them.

Of the $18,691.75 that Floridians for a Strong Future expended since it started raising money on August 19, 2014, it shelled out $9,059.75 on a pointless mailer, which I estimated cost about $2.75 a pop to design, print and mail.

Now that’s scary.  Stupid scary if you ask me.

As nutty as that scenario was, along comes yet another Electioneering Communications Organization, with yet another attack ad that’s even dumber than the first one.

One would think that the peeps behind the ECO Common Sense would have more, well, um, common sense than to produce and distribute what is probably the most ridiculously laughable hit piece in the history of South Florida elections.  See for yourself:

Chervony Mailer Page 1Chervony Mailer Page 2

“Commissioner Richard Chervony is supporting Jorge Brito for the mayor’s seat and Mario Garcia for a commissioner seat so he can control the North Bay Village Commission?”

Richard Chervony?  Puppetmaster?  Huh?

Jeez, that’s a stretch!

Even more of a stretch is that instead of using a tried and true Ripped-From-The-Headlines strategy, the central point of this ad campaign is a small excerpt from a relatively insignificant column I wrote over a year ago.

Dudes, I’m flattered.

But, get a grip!  You’re quoting a BLOGGER!

Granted, most bloggers are more credible than lawyers.

But in the world of hard hitting, investigative journalism, blogs like VotersOpinion are considered slightly more credible than the Weekly World News.  At least I’m not screaming that ALIENS ARE COMING!

Unlike yours truly, there are professional blogger-slash-journalists who do take their jobs seriously.

They also get paid.  I’m not one of them.

I’m just a yenta.  With a website.  And an opinion.

Not to mention the right to change that opinion whenever I damn well feel like it.

And yet, an entire attack ad was based on an old blog about an even older incident in the life of a man I have never even met.

Now, that’s just pathetic.

There is absolutely no logic to the accusation that “Richard Chervony is trying to control the Commission” because he was arrested.


In 1987.

Twenty seven years ago.

I don’t know about you folks, but I did some wild and crazy things in my younger days.  Stuff I’m not too proud of.  Fortunately, I never got arrested.

I’m pretty sure that Richard Chervony didn’t wake up one morning twenty seven years ago and say to himself, “I might run for office some day, so let me just blow all my political capital right now by getting arrested today.”

Even so, the poor schmuck did manage to get himself arrested.  Luckily, not on a felony charge.  Not even for a misdemeanor.  It was for a violation of a municipal ordinance.  Which wasn’t even prosecuted.

Shit happens.  That hardly makes him Public Enemy Number One.

Truth is, you’d be surprised to learn how many prominent public figures in South Florida in recent years have been investigated, arrested and/or humiliated by scandal, yet whose careers remain unscathed.  Just to name a few, check out Kendall Coffey-1996, Ben Kuehne-2008, Ron Book-2011.  As far as I know, none of them have ever been foolish enough to run for public office.

And, as the latest hit piece points out, Richard Chervony didn’t even run for office – he was appointed to his seat.

Which fact still has nothing to do with anything at all.

Unlike Floridians for a Strong Future, Common Sense has been around a while (since 2010 to be exact).  This ECO has also raised nearly three quarters of a million dollars from contributors not only all over Florida, but from states as diverse as Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, California, New York and Texas.  It appears that the ECO Common Sense was used for major elections over the years.

The last big push in fundraising and expenditures appears to have been for the August 26, 2014 Florida primary election.  Once that election was over, Common Sense took in no contributions and had no expenditures until September 10, 2014, at which time Common Sense paid $900.00 in legal fees.  The only other payment was made on September 24, 2014 to a firm in Tallahassee for advertising in the amount of $2,000.00.

Unless Common Sense reports additional contributions and expenditures during the next reporting period, we can reasonably assume that this “Anti-Brito” mailer only cost $2,000.00, and was paid for with contributions received for previous elections.

What’s really curious is that since the inception of this Electioneering Communications Organization and of the entire $716,159.85 it has raised, NOT A SINGLE CONTRIBUTION CAME FROM NORTH BAY VILLAGE, FLORIDA!

I have no way of knowing if Randy and Mitch have anything to do with Common Sense.

Either literally or figuratively.

The Registered Agent for both Electioneering Communications Organizations, however, is the same lawyer by the name of Mark Herron, of the firm Messer Caparello, P.A., located at 2618 Centennial Place, Tallahassee, Florida 32308.

Also, considering that Randy and Mitch were Connie’s go-to guys for the first mailer, there’s a fairly good probability that they commissioned Common Sense to put out this second attack ad.

Rather than publish a silly mailer designed by someone as clueless as the hilariously misnamed Randy “Prince of Darkness” Hilliard, the admen for Common Sense would have done well to learn from the “Master of the (Dark) Universe” himself, Keith Donner.

Pay attention, Dudes.  ‘Cuz this is how it’s done.


Just saying.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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  1. Judge Marc Mogil says:

    Nicely written piece! Glad I don’t live in North Bay Village or NMB! Trying to rid Sunny Isles Beach of geriatric yes-men and electing Bud Scholl is time-consuming enough….outright stupidity and thievery is quite another issue. Keep it up!


  2. Ruth says:

    Very informative. Glad I don’t live in North Bay Village. I have been living in North Miami Beach so many years and until I started reading your blog, I wasn’t aware of all that was going on. When you work and are raising a family, it’s hard to stay up to date on the issues in the city. Now that I’m retired, I’m glad to have discovered your blog. It’s very informative and entertaining.


  3. J. Lopez says:

    The citizens of North Bay Village should see through the negative smoke screen. I will never vote for a candidate that employs those types of tactics in their campaign.


  4. […] we last checked in on the North Bay Village election, Team Connie’s Bad News Bears were conjuring up fairy tales about imaginary puppeteers.  Her Electioneering Communications Organization (ECO), Common Sense, […]


  5. […] except for Gonzalez and his teammate Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps, who are both desperately trying to hold on to their seats.  Gonzalez seems to have conveniently […]


  6. […] kinds of dirty campaign tricks, including “hit piece” mailers full of lies, paid for by shady Electioneering Communications Organizations with money slated for other […]


  7. […] That name rang a bell, and I quickly realized that this is the same ECO that engineered the North Bay Village election last November, and which is the ECO utilized by none other than Randall “Prince of […]


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