…when I inadvertently got sucked into the North Bay Village election.
I know, right? What was I thinking?
The reason I ventured so far from home is that I was following the Mitch Edelstein money trail, which led me to the Campaign to re-elect Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps. Mitch Edelstein, you may recall, is a regular character at North Miami Beach City Hall. When he’s not lobbying for strip clubs, he’s mismanaging the campaigns of hapless schmucks who have no clue that Mitch is a putz.
I have no sympathy, though, for two of his former clients, North Miami Beach EX-Mayor/felony defendant Myron Rosner and current Councilcritter Frantz Pierre, who paid Mitch a combined $5,354.86 during the 2011 City Council election.
Myron, whose share of that total was $4,000.00, lost the election. Obviously, Myron did not get his money’s worth.
Luckily, Mitch sucked at whatever he was paid to do for Myron.
For the North Bay Village election, Mitch teamed up with Randall “Wannabe Prince of Darkness” Hilliard to help re-elect Leon-Kreps for Mayor. Randy and Mitch used all kinds of dirty campaign tricks, including “hit piece” mailers full of lies, paid for by shady Electioneering Communications Organizations with money slated for other cities.
Mitch didn’t suck that time because Connie ended up winning 60% of the vote, proving that when it comes to elections, honesty, integrity and a desire to be of service are nowhere near as important as having enough money to make your opponent look bad.
Over in North Miami Beach, L’il Frantzie P was busy recruiting MIRAMAR resident Pradel Vilme to run for office against his colleague on the far side of the dais, Councilwoman Marlen Martel. Always on the look out for carpetbaggers, I spent a lot of time digging up proof that Vilme will not be qualified to run in the May 2015 election based upon his LACK OF RESIDENCY in North Miami Beach.
In order to claim a valid residency, a candidate must prove that he or she was a bona fide resident of NMB prior to Friday, March 28, 2014, which is exactly one year before the deadline for the qualifying period for next year’s election.
For one thing, Broward County Tax rolls show that Vilme claimed his residence in MIRAMAR as his 100% Homestead:
For another, Pradel Vilme’s Real Estate License lists his “Location Address” and “Main Address” as 16843 SW 50 ST MIRAMAR, FL 33027. As of today, December 31, 2014, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation STILL reflects this information.
Well, that’s one potential faux candidate safely eliminated from the NMB 2015 council race. (Y’all can thank me later.)
Over in North Miami, Councilwoman Marie “Antoinette” Steril finally, really, for sure this time, got her just deserts in the form of a $4,900.00 fine (as originally reported) levied by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.
Yes, my jaw dropped, too.
When all the details were made public, the Miami Herald reported that “Marie Steril will have to pay more than $5,000.00 over the next five years.” This comes out to $87.00 a month, while Marie’s mother gets to keep the taxpayer funded $7,700.00 upgrades for the taxpayer funded $154,000.00 house that Mama Marie already bought for one third that price.
As I reported, “The City of North Miami acquired a home for a total of $154,802.02, then turned around and sold it for $100,000.00, or for a loss of $54,802.02. On top of that, North Miami took back a second Purchase Money Mortgage for $51,000.00, which Marie Enare Charles-Brutus will not have to pay back.”
And that’s pretty much how things work in North Miami under the Friends & Family Plan.
During the home stretch of 2014, however, the main event was the North Miami Special Election, where the race was too close for comfort – for either candidate. By October, the rumors and outright lies started flying on Haitian radio, while City Hall was dealing with a mysteriously ill-timed IRS audit.
And like most months in North Miami Beach, October ended with a shooting.
Between gentlemen, of course.
…in North Miami finally ushered in the long awaited (and overdue) mayoral election to replace the suspended Lucie Tondreau.
But not before a big red fire truck dropped from the sky and landed on Kevin Burns’ campaign trail.
Which he had been driving since August.
With a bright and shiny yellow CITY ISSUED license tag.
Aside from the fact that he’d been sporting that illegal tag for nearly four months without once being cited by the NMPD, the real unsolved mystery is how Kevin got his hands on that tag. Which North Miami city employee handed it off to him? Was it in exchange for a promised promotion “when” Kev became the Mayor?
So, tell me. How’s that “promotion” working out for you?
Oh, wait? It didn’t?
And quite handily, I might add.
And, thus, a New Era of Governance descended on the City of North Miami.
Moving right along. In…
…Charles M. Baron, Esq. was up to his old litigious tricks at North Miami Beach City Hall.
Try as he might, good ol’ Chucky could not put the kibosh on development in NMB. A city in which he doesn’t even live. But, mark my words, you haven’t heard the last of him.
Although the first half of the month was characteristically quiet, that tranquility was shattered when the news broke on the 16th of the month that Former-Arrested-Suspended North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau was found guilty on all charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.
North Miami residents were stunned by the swiftness with which justice was doled out.
Even more stunning was that three days after Lucie’s conviction, Ben Kuehne’s other current high profile client, former Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman, was sentenced to 22 months in prison after being convicted three months earlier for abuse of power.
Needless to say, on the criminal defense front, Ben Kuehne wasn’t having much luck.
Or, as North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin aptly put it, it was…
And, just to let you know that she is still alive and kicking, North Miami Beach Councilwoman Phyllis Smith wrote a letter to the editor three months after she was busted by the Miami Herald for her Montana license plates.
She vehemently defended her position by publicly announcing that she absolutely, positively, without a doubt, is not involved with her husband’s Hummers.
Christmas came two days early for NMPD Chief Executive Assistant Gary Eugene when it was announced that he was being promoted to Assistant Chief. While his promotion may have ruffled the feathers of a few, there is no doubt that Chief Lenny Burgess finally made the right decision.
But, hey. Better late than never.
Sometimes we all need to be gently reminded to do the right thing.
As we close out another fun-filled year, I wanted to share some final words inspired by a comment I saw on – where else? – social media.
A friend posted, “Everyone seems to have all the answers but no one has any solutions! The current state of our politicians. Let’s pray and hope that this changes for 2015!”
Um, let’s hope not.
Because, face it. When it comes to blogging, bad politicians are good for business.
To that end, I’d like to send a great big thank you to all the once and future ethically challenged, and outright corrupt, politicians in North Miami and North Miami Beach.
“Spreading the Wealth”