The bombshell press release out of North Miami yesterday still has tongues wagging. The question on everyone’s mind is “Why is Marie Steril stepping down?” People who do know are not talking, and those who want to know are left with their own theories.
While only Marie knows the answer, it hasn’t stopped the gossip machine from cranking at full speed. Speculation ranged from her troubles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for creatively financing her mother’s home, to her being fined by the Ethics Commission for Mama Marie’s “free” upgrades, to the Internal Revenu Service audit of the city’s finances, which might have uncovered some unauthorized expenses.
While some of those theories sound plausible, none of them made all that much sense to me.
For one thing, her housing woes, and the subsequent HUD fines imposed on North Miami, are yesterday’s headlines.
Why would a story over two years old only now force Marie to vacate her coveted seat on the dais?
As for the Ethics Commission’s spanking, that was so four months ago. For all intents and purposes, it’s a done deal.
Even if the IRS audit were to turn up any expenses that Marie should have claimed as income (trips to Haiti, perhaps?), she could easily solve that problem by filing amended tax returns and paying any penalties and interest due. People don’t usually step down from public office for something as silly as unpaid taxes.
Just ask former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, who owed over $85,000.00 in back taxes when he was appointed. He still got the job.
Professional Race-Baiter Al Sharpton owes a whopping $4.5 MILLION in unpaid taxes, and yet he’s still got his gig with MSNBC.
Believe me, nothing the IRS could possibly dig up on Marie would even come close to what those tax evading deadbeats owe!
As the evening wore on, other, more nefarious, theories began to emerge among faithful Marie-Watchers.
The talk turned to North Miami’s most famous convicted felon, former Mayor Lucie Tondreau, currently in custody awaiting sentencing. Some folks suggested that Lucie might be desperately scrambling to make a deal in order to reduce her prison time. It’s common knowledge that there was no love lost between Lucie and Marie when they were colleagues on the dais. In fact, Marie was probably pleased as punch when Lucie’s guilty verdict was handed down. It sure is conceivable that if Lucie believes she has dirt on Marie, she’d throw it all out there hoping something would stick.
Another possibility to consider is that Ricardo Brutus, the nephew/campaign manager of former Mayor Andre Pierre, might have something to do with Marie’s decision. Ricardo is presently working out a plea deal with the State Attorney’s Office on a felony charge of unlawful compensation and five felony charges “including two for practicing law without a license, two for grand theft third degree, and one for organized fraud under $20,000.00.” According to the dockets, his original plea hearing was set for January 13, 2015, then reset for February 4, 2014, and then reset AGAIN for March 4, 2015.
Interestingly, after his arrest, the Miami New Times reported that “Brutus claimed Steril had rigged a $5 million bid to benefit a friend, a charge she denies.” Apparently, he’s more than willing to throw Marie under the bus, especially if doing so can sweeten the deal he is negotiating with prosecutors. Oh, to be a gadfly on that wall!
In any event, as Marie Steril noted in yesterday’s Press Release, despite the fact that she has “tirelessly worked to address concerns that impair residents’ well-being,” and “embraced District 4’s many challenges and transformed them into opportunities for the betterment of the community,” Saint Marie made the shocking decision to retire from public service even though her re-election was a given.
After all, even God rested on the seventh day, right?
Seriously, though, it’s quite obvious that Marie wouldn’t willingly give up such a sweet gig. Eventually the truth will come out, but my guess is that someone has something on her that she won’t be able to sweet talk her way out of. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if either Lucie or Ricardo is getting ready to sing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Ready, set, DISH!
“Spreading the Wealth”