Maybe it was the fire truck that irked me.
Yeah, I know. I’m not a big fan of fire trucks in the first place.
But for some reason, the mystery behind Kevin Burns’ campaign fire truck really annoyed me.
Just like North Miami Beach EX-Mayor/felony defendant Myron Rosner’s campaign bus benches – the ones that ultimately led to his arrest for campaign finance fraud, among other counts – this whole fire truck thing just didn’t pass the smell test.
The fact that Kevin had been cavalierly driving that truck around the City of North Miami for at least four months without a legitimate license plate was odd enough.
Even more troublesome was that the tag displayed on the back of the truck appeared to be one of those cheap plastic hand stenciled plates that the city keeps on hand in its fleet department.
Why no one at the North Miami Police Department even blinked at this obvious violation was curious indeed.
The reports he did manage to file, anyway.
Which brings me to another item of interest.
Between June 1, 2014 and November 24, 2014, the candidates were required to file Campaign Treasurer’s Reports for sixteen reporting periods.
Dr. Smith Joseph, who ultimately won the election, filed all sixteen CTRs.
Kevin Burns, on the other hand, decided he only needed to file the first ten. The last one he filed was for the period ending September 26, 2014.
When I asked City Clerk Michael Etienne about Kevin’s last six missing Campaign Treasurer’s Reports, he told me that Kevin simply didn’t file them.
Here’s a person who asked voters to elect him to the highest office in the City of North Miami, and assume all the responsibilities that come with the privilege of being Top Dog, yet he couldn’t manage to follow the rules or obey the laws.
So, yeah, the dude was beginning to remind me way too much of Myron. Something just didn’t feel right. So, of course, I did some digging.
That’s when things got interesting.
Some of you might remember that in 2010 Kevin Burns ran for Florida Senate District 35. He filed on May 10, 2010 and appointed himself as Campaign Treasurer.
According to the public records of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, he got slapped with his first “Fine Letter” on July 26, 2010, for filing his July 23, 2010 CTR a day late. His fine was $50.00.
Two days later the Division sent him an “Audit Letter,” advising him that his previous report dated July 16, 2010 was incomplete, and that he had three days to “file an amended report supplying the missing information or provide an explanation for the entries.”
On August 9, 2010, he was issued another “Fine Letter” for filing his August 6, 2010 CTR a day late again, and slapped with another $50.00 fine.
On August 24, 2010, the Florida Division of Elections sent Kevin a “Fail to File Letter,” advising him that the Division still had not received his report due August 20, 2010, and that he was being fined $50.00 per day until filed. He was also advised that “for the reports immediately preceding each primary and general election, the fine shall be $500.00 per day for each late day.” This letter also noted that the failure to file required reports “constitute a violation of Chapter 106, Florida Statute,” the penalty for which may be “up to $1,000.00 per count for each willful violation.”
Like Kev cares, right?
Apparently not, because on August 27, 2010, the Division sent him a “Second Notice” about the $50.00 fine assessed when he filed his July 23, 2010 Campaign Treasurer’s Report a day late, which he presumably still had not paid.
By this time, Kevin had already lost the August 24, 2010 Democratic Primary to incumbent Gwen Margolis, who easily whooped his ass with 65% of the vote.
On September 7, 2010, the Division gently reminded him, per a “Second Notice of Failure to File” his August 20, 2010 report, again threatening him with a potential $1,000.00 civil fine.
On September 8, 2010, the Division sent Kevin a “Second Notice” to pay the $50.00 fine assessed when he filed his August 7, 2010 return a day late.
On November 29, 2010, the Division sent him another “Fail to File” letter regarding the non-filing of his November 22, 2010 report.
A “FINAL NOTICE” was sent by Certified Mail on December 2, 2010, advising Kevin that he still had not paid two $50.00 fines previously assessed.
A “Second Notice” that he still had not filed his November 22, 2010 return was sent on December 23, 2010.
You’d think the Division would have given up by now, but you’d be wrong, because…
On March 16, 2011, the Florida Division of Elections still wanted its $100.00 in fines and referred the matter to the Florida Elections Commission for enforcement.
All for a total claim of unpaid fines in the amount of $100.00.
You gotta wonder, right?
Unbelievably, the Florida Department of State sent Kevin a “Fine Letter” on May 13, 2011, reminding Kevin that he stilled owed $100.00 in fines, and threatening him with “involuntary wage deductions” if he didn’t pay within ten days.
I’m not sure which is more laughable…
That the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections spent who the hell knows how much money attempting to collect $100.00 from an apparent deadbeat.
Or that Kevin had a regular salary to garnish.
But, I digress.
In addition, the Florida Elections Commission presented Kevin with a Final Order dated February 19, 2013, slapping Kevin with a $1,000.00 civil penalty for his failure to file the reports due August 24, 2010 and November 22, 2010.
To date, Kevin has not filed his missing Campaign Treasurer’s Reports, nor has he paid the fines levied. Had he done so, the FEC would have posted a “Response to Fine Payment,” similar to the one issued to State Senate Candidate David H. Abrams.
Obviously, Kevin lost interest in complying with Florida elections laws once he lost the race. He barely complied while he was still running.
Aside from the sad commentary on the fiscal irresponsibility of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, the fact that Kevin has never filed the required CTRs with the City of North Miami should not surprise anyone.
If he scoffs at state law, what’s to stop him from completely disregarding all those pesky little city ordinances?
Especially a city of which he wants to be Mayor.
Which makes it that much harder for me to get how anyone could vote for a person who has such little regard for doing the right thing.
But especially, I’m completely dumbfounded that anyone in law enforcement would support a candidate who apparently has no regard for the law.
So, yeah. Maybe it was the fire truck that got my attention. Stranger things have happened.
But now that my curiosity has been piqued, well, who knows what we’ll dig up next?
“Spreading the Wealth”