Orange is the new blue (Updated 2X)

Photo: Miami Herald

Photo: Miami Herald

All of South Florida is abuzz with the same news that I received a little after 2:00 pm today in the form of a text, “She’s been found guilty.”

The “she” is, of course, North Miami suspended Mayor Lucie Tondreau, who has maintained her innocence from the time of her arrest for mortgage fraud, among other charges, on May 20, 2014.

Apparently, the jury was unconvinced.

After I made a quick phone call to confirm the news, I literally pulled my car off the road to park and post a quick blog a couple of hours ago from my phone.

About an hour ago, the Miami Herald published an article, Suspended North Miami Mayor Tondreau found guilty of mortgage fraud, stating:

The 12-person jury, which deliberated for only two hours, convicted Tondreau of conspiracy and wire-fraud charges after a two-week trial. Tondreau, who was elected as North Miami’s first Haitian-American female mayor in 2013, now faces up to 30 years in prison at her sentencing March 20.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola refused to grant a request by her defense attorney, Ben Kuehne, to remain free on bond while she awaited sentencing. Scola said she used her “celebrity” and “hoodwinked” buyers into allowing their names to be placed on bogus loan applications in exchange for kickbacks in a “massive” fraud against various banks.

The judge, noting the fraud was committed before Tondreau was elected as mayor, said she was no different than any other convicted defendant and ordered her to surrender to U.S. Marshals in the courtroom while about 50 supporters watched in silence.

“I’m going to treat her like somebody who is what she is — a common criminal,” Scola said.

OUCH!

While supporters of Lucie Tondreau are disappointed, there are those who feel that she got her just deserts.  One person told me that Lucie’s conviction should put all politicians on notice that the public is not going to stand for corruption any longer.

Let’s hope.

Before we get too smug, let’s also take note that while Lucie went from “Indicted” to “Guilty” in less than seven months, it’s been two years, two months and twenty six days since North Miami Beach EX-Mayor/Felony Defendant Myron Rosner has been arrested.  He still has not been brought to trial!

This evening will be Myron’s third Chanukah as a free man after his perp walk.  He can thank Ben Kuehne for that.  In Myron’s case, Ben earned this tee!

Ben Kuehne TeeUnfortunately, Ben couldn’t work his magic for Lucie, who will be spending her first (and probably not her last) Christmas behind bars.

Ben, of course, cried foul.  He told the Herald that the verdict “is as disappointing as it is unexpected.”

Unfair BlindsideJudging from the reactions I’ve received so far, I’m thinking he’s the one of the few people who would call the verdict unexpected.

But what do I know?  I’m just a blogger.

In any event, her conviction should quash any rumors that Lucie will try to get her mayoral seat back or run against Mayor Smith Joseph next May.

Frankly, Lucie’s conviction does not make me happy.  I’m never happy to find out that an elected official is corrupt.  It only further erodes what little respect I have for politicians to begin with, and makes it even easier for me to be convinced that they’re all cut from the same mold.  Whenever a politician falls from grace, it only adds to my already low opinion of government in general.  If we cannot trust the people we elect to represent us and be our voice in government, why bother voting at all?

Then again, if it weren’t for corruption, we bloggers would have nothing juicy to write about.

So, yeah, the hell with all that moralizing.

Earlier this afternoon, U.S. Attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer made this statement:

“Today’s conviction against Marie Lucie Tondreau is a success in our continuing efforts to fight mortgage fraud that jeopardizes our nation’s financial institutions,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.  “Tondreau abused her prominence in the community to perpetrate the $8,000,000 mortgage fraud scheme, which thanks to the efforts of my Office’s prosecutors and federal and state law enforcement we successfully unraveled.  We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who engage in deceptive and fraudulent behavior, fueled by greed.”

Amen to that!

UPDATE:  The Miami Herald article was updated at 5:59 pm to include a statement issued by Ben Kuehne: “For a community conscience who has lived her life to serve the people, she was victimized by the fraud operation of a man she thought was both an honest businessman and her honorable fiancé.  She now knows the truth, and counts herself as yet another target of his fraud and deception. Lucie Tondreau asks the community to keep her in their prayers at this difficult time.”

2nd UPDATE:  Click to read the U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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9 Comments

  1. Brenda Starr says:

    Not all politicians are cut from the same cloth, having said that, there are many that are though. She is from the same ilk of disgusting opportunist of the worst kind, the ones that prey on their own. When will some citizens realize that just because a politician is from your same ethnic background doesn’t mean they are for you and your municipality. Guilty was written all over her face when she was first taken into custody. Her smug demeanor and statements were so obvious. If many of us were accused of something we didn’t do, I’m sure we wouldn’t be looking all stoic. I know I for one would probably be shaking uncontrollably and hysterically wondering how could this be happening.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      I can’t even imagine how I’d react if I were arrested. Fortunately, I don’t break laws, so I’m guessing there’s very little chance of that happening. You are right, though. I’m sure I’d be crying like a baby, too.

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  2. CosmicMiami says:

    The bigger question is “where is the money?” Is Big Ben being paid with ill-gotten booty? Isn’t that money laundering? I’m sure the dough is being held in a few offshore accounts. If they didn’t, the US Attorney’s Office should have tried to find out where all the money was stashed and seize it if they could.

    Stephanie, I work at 20. I see the horrendous conditions in which many Haitian-Americans live in North Miami. Coco Duce likes to say she is an advocate for “her people” yet she did not use her power as mayor to improve the conditions of “her people.” Code Enforcement officials should be out in force on all the shithole apartment buildings in NoMi. That’s what I would do if I were Mayor of NoMi and even more so if I were a Haitian-American Mayor.

    We’ll see how Mr. Joseph does.

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  3. Will says:

    Shame on Lucie for doing this to her community and more importantly her children. Helluva a Christmas gift for her kids.

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  4. Brenda Starr says:

    Lord, I can’t believe the quote by Mr. Kehuene. She’s a victim, ha ha ha. If she was that stupid and had no idea what her boyfriend was up to, imagine her running the City of NoMi. Mr. Kehuene, shouldn’t bother with a quote, he is a smart man, has a job to do, but seriously…….

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  5. Jose Lopez says:

    I guess for Ben, fooling the U.S. Attorney’s Office is not as easy as pulling your weight through the halls of the State Attorney’s Office. As long as Kathy Fernandez Rundle is in office we will not see any movement on the Myron Rosner case. This is due to the fact that the case will bring up the old ghost of Al Lorenzo and absentee ballot fraud- something Kathy has been trying to move away from for the last three years. The Rosner case is indicative of a useless State Attorney’s Office, only in place to prosecute those deemed as political enemies and protect those who are deemed as “friends of the office” (as Kathy likes to say). The State Attorney’s Office needs a cleansing. If there is ever an important political office in this county it has to be the office of our State Attorney. All the corruption (or lack of fighting it) stems from there. Kathy controls Joe Centorino at the Commission on Ethics and Mary Cagle at the Office of the Inspector General. That, along with the county mayor controlling the MDPD and destroying its Public Corruption Unit is the perfect trifecta. Luckily, FDLE SAC Addy Villanueva, another one of Kathy’s puppets was just removed by FDLE as head of the Miami office. Hopefully now, FDLE will get off its rump and do something about local corruption. Funny thing is, you would not know about SAC Villanueva’s removal unless you read it here. The complicit Miami Herald is willing to let that story lie so the corruption dance can continue like business as usual. In order to fight corruption you need several elements in place that include a strong and independent State Attorney’s Office, Ethics Commission, OIG, MDPD and FDLE plus a local newspaper willing to support and report corruption investigations. Today, none of those elements are in place. We are drowning in corruption and no one sees or hears anything. We have to strive to be better than that.

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  6. […] Tondreau, was found guilty on several charges on December 16, 2014 and is presently in custody awaiting sentencing on March 20, […]

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  7. […] most famous convicted felon, former North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau, currently in custody awaiting sentencing.  Some folks suggested that Lucie might be desperately scrambling to make a deal in order to […]

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  8. […] Bandoo’s criminal lawyer (and Phyllis Smith Campaign Donor), Seth LaVey was no match for South Florida’s Prosecutor Extraordinaire, who regularly racks up wins against the best in the business.  (See Ben Kuehne-slash-Lucie Tondreau.) […]

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