North Miami to Joe Celestin: “We got that lawyer fee.”

we got thisJust how ridiculous is former North Miami Mayor Joe Celestin’s lawsuit against the city?

So ridiculous, that when he filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief on March 12, 2015, the judge denied his Motion the very next day.

When the North Miami City Council voted unanimously to terminate its contract with his company, Joe Celestin Civil Engineer & General Builder, LLC, he had a very public meltdown.

Joe completely disregarded the fact that Article 8.1 of the original Property Management Services Agreement specifically states that “The City shall have the right to terminate this Agreement, in its sole discretion at any time, without cause, including the availability of funds by the City, upon (30) days written notice to Property Manager.”

Joe also completely disregarded the fact that according to the the most recent extension of the Agreement, the Second Renewal to Property Services Agreement, the “additional Renewal period of one (1) year commencing on November 1, 2014, through October 31, 2015, may be granted with the Mayor and City Council approval.”

It did not say that a renewal period “is  granted.”

It did not say that a renewal period “will be  granted.”

It said that a renewal period “may be  granted with the Mayor and Council approval.”

Which is loosely translated as:  A renewal period “may not be granted if the Mayor and Council don’t wanna do it.”

Joe also tried to claim that he didn’t receive notice of, or be given the opportunity to cure, any problems with his performance.

Aside from the fact that he never provided the required reports, insurance certificates, or his actual presence on the job, Joe was clueless that his non-performance had nothing to do with the city’s right to terminate the Agreement “upon (30) days written notice.”

Joe got his notice.

But he wasn’t happy.

So, he sued the City of North Miami in an attempt to force the city to abide by an Agreement that was legally terminated and no longer in force.

Yeah, I know.  Some people just don’t get it.

According to the court docket, Joe filed his lawsuit on March 12, 2015, along with a Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief, which means he asked the Court to force the City of North Miami to honor the imaginary Agreement.

Fortunately, the judge saw right through this ploy and, as I mentioned above, Joe’s Motion was denied.

Which is loosely translated as:  “STFU and get outta my courtroom!”

It will be interesting to see if this lawsuit goes anywhere or simply gets dismissed based on its lack of merit.

In the meantime, Joe Celestin has bigger problems than losing a sweet, taxpayer-financed $300k gig.

Channel 10 reported on February 4, 2015 (and I previously blogged) that Celestin “and his partner Ricardo Rodriguez, Manager of RRR Z Developer, LLC, and how they ‘failed to obtain a permit to commence work filling’ Lake Carmen in northwest Miami-Dade County.  The article noted that Miami-Dade County issued Civil Violation Notice Number B180227 to RRR Z Developer, LLC for “non-compliance with field notice to correct waste dumping violations dated 1/07/15.”

It gets worse.

On March 10, 2015, Channel 10 followed up that story with another, Developer dumps possible carcinogen in Lake Carmen, inspectors find, and reported, “Government regulators found two possible carcinogen in contaminated construction materials illegally dumped into a lake in a residential northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, records show.”

Channel 10 also posted a letter dated February 20, 2015 from Miami-Dade County to developer, stating that “sample results from soil sampling of the fill material revealed levels of arsenic and Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons in excess of Miami-Dade County soil cleanup target levels.”  The timeline of events regarding the contamination of Lake Carmen, which was first documented in November of last year, was also published on March 10, 2015 by the news station.

Just yesterday, the Miami Herald followed up on this story in To developer, former North Miami mayor, residents say ‘enough,’ and reported:

On March 31, concerned residents and members of home owners association met with county representatives from the Florida Department of Health and the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (DERM) to make sense of a four-month dispute between the residents, the county and Ricardo Rodriguez, the listed manager of RRR Z Developer, LLC who bought a lot of land in the neighborhood last year.

Emotions were high during Tuesday’s meeting, especially after recent events. Residents were notified by the county that the developer breached the terms of a “soil improvement permit” by filling in parts of Lake Carmen, located from Northwest 22 to 17 Avenues, and 115 to 119 Streets. Even worse, inspectors found pieces of reclaimed asphalt, tile, lead and traces of arsenic and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in some areas.

Rodriguez and former North Miami mayor Joe Celestin, who Rodriguez list as a partner for the project, say they were unaware of any illegal actions taking place.

This is the same dynamic duo who, until recently, were working together at North Miami’s Biscayne Landing development, an already historical toxic wasteland in its own right.

Ironically, Joe Celestin was the Mayor of North Miami in 2002 when the city “struck a deal with developer Michael Swerdlow to build a grand city-within-a-city called Biscayne Landing,” according to a June 30, 2011 Bloomberg Business article, North Miami’s Condo Catastrophe.  The article pointed out:

The waterfront parcel has a haunted history. In the 1960s, North Miami designated it for a futuristic Pan American theme park called Interama that was never built. In 1971 the city contracted with a now-defunct firm called Munisport to build an Olympic-caliber sports complex. The city allowed Munisport to bring in clean construction debris to raise and shape the land for a golf course. At some point, Munisport started accepting municipal, medical, and toxic waste—so much that in 1982 the Environmental Protection Agency declared the development a Superfund site, having unearthed drums of chemicals and at least a dozen noxious gases, heavy metals, and other toxins.

According to the website of Poor Oleta, an environmental group trying to stop all future development on the property, not much has changed from then until now.

The group claims, “The native soil was removed decades ago to make the first dump followed by clearing the majority of the trees. The remaining mangroves and aquatic life were poisoned by chemicals and toxic wastes. The groundwater is still polluted. The 194,000 tons of dirt with aluminum is planned to be “sprinkled” around to act as a cover for the underground lurking chemicals and gases. There is a cost of $35 million dollars of cleanup work, maintenance and equipment installation for toxic waste removal just to start a development on this land site. This amount doesn’t include the cost of past cleanup efforts paid with taxpayers dollars (most of whom cannot even afford to live in the Biscayne Landing Development).”

While the Poor Oleta group is radically pro-environment, and even more radically anti-development (which they refer to as “pimping the land” for “greed”), they do make the very valid point that Biscayne Landing was built on a former toxic landfill.

What could possibly go wrong?

Joe Celestin and his partner Ricardo Rodriguez are already in hot water for illegally dumping toxic waste at Lake Carmen.  Allowing them to be involved in the development of Biscayne Landing is just asking for trouble.

But that point is beyond moot since Joe Celestin’s contract has already been terminated.

Joe Celestin’s pathetic lawsuit against the City of North Miami, if not outright dismissed altogether, will most likely turn out to be a very costly and time consuming mistake … on the part of the plaintiff.

Not so costly for North Miami, the General Fund of which just picked up a savings of $300,000.00 a year by terminating Joe’s Agreement.

“Well, heck!  We got that lawyer fee now!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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