Like the time North Miami finally got rid of Chief Lenny.
We had serious doubts that North Miami Police Chief Leonard Burgess would ever face any consequences at all from his disastrous missteps as the head of the department. In the end he did himself in. After two years of running the department into the ground, Chief Lenny’s NMPD FAILED its Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation assessment. Although he tried to worm his way out of admitting the truth, this was his last screw-up.
On May 2, 2016, he finally “resigned,” claiming he wanted to spend more time with his wife, who was retiring. As usual, Chief Lenny lied.
Later that month he took a job as Assistant Police Chief of the Miramar Police Department. We wished him well.
Okay, not really.
We closely followed the progress of the lawsuit filed by North Miami Beach city council candidate Michael Joseph against incumbent Phyllis Smith, alleging that she “won” her seat back by committing absentee ballot fraud.
Alas, even though the case is still pending in the courts, it has temporarily stalled, not for lack of evidence … but a shortage of funds. Lawyers don’t come cheap.
In the meantime, Phyllis Smith’s already bizarre behavior only escalated throughout the summer.
At the August 16, 2016 meeting, she actually thought it was a good idea to pour sand into Ziploc bags and market them as North Miami Beach’s non-existent beach.
This was her first “brilliant” idea since 2010 when she proposed the equally insane “Baggy Pants Resolution” designed to dictate fashion to teenage boys.
Two weeks later at the August 25, 2016 council meeting, Phyllis had a meltdown on the dais, walked off and deliberately broke quorum.
Fortunately, at considerable risk to his own health and limb (literally), Councilman Anthony DeFillipo saved the day, proving for once and for all that he deserves to be North Miami Beach’s next mayor.
Fortunately, Mayor George Vallejo finally put her in her place – and put a stop to all her nonsense.
Up in Lauderdale Lakes, trouble started brewing in January for then-city manager Kelvin Baker when the mayor and commission directed him to cut $2 million from the budget. They were also less than thrilled with his plan to suck $2.8 million from reserve accounts to balance the city’s budget. They had no one to blame but themselves for not doing their homework before hiring him. Kelvin did the exact same thing in Opa-locka, where he was previously employed, and in North Miami Beach before that.
In fact, the infamous Kelvin Baker Magic Budget Balancing Act nearly bankrupted Opa-locka, and destroyed North Miami Beach’s Fitch credit rating when he ran it’s finances into the ground.
Lauderdale Lakes officials, however, were not about to let Kelvin bamboozle them. They pressured him until he finally resigned his post in September, a month after he had already applied for a job as Assistant Public Works Director for North Miami, and just weeks before feds discovered that Opa-locka’s reserves had been tapped under his watch.
Kelvin took off, this time leaving behind his long-time crony, Lauderdale Lakes Finance Director Susan Gooding-Liburd, who had previously followed him from city to city. A month after Baker bailed, Gooding-Liburd was implicated in the Opa-locka scandal. She still has her job at the Lakes. At least for the time being. The Opa-locka investigation is still ongoing.
Kelvin Baker was recently spotted in Delray Beach, where he inexplicably made the short list for the position of city manager. Commissioners have not yet made their final decision. As of today Kelvin is still unemployed.
Over in North Miami, the search for permanent city manager began in January with 62 individuals vying for the position. A month later, the mayor and council chose its finance director Larry Spring, who was the former CFO for the City of Miami. While the pick was slightly controversial due to a prior SEC investigation of Miami under his watch, the city dodged a bullet when they rejected then-Interim City Manager Arthur Sorey, who desperately wanted the job.
In addition to Sorey’s prior arrest for Grand Theft Auto, and his questionable participation in North Miami’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to buy and finance his home (gouging $50,000.00 from taxpayers in the form of a note that will be forgiven), the City of North Miami also blew $12,800.00 on his “education.”
The city also paid an additional $1,969.47 for his travel, lodging and meals.
We assume, however, that he paid for his own entertainment.
In addition, as I already mentioned in a previous blog, “according to the public records of the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court, in 2012 Arthur Sorey was sued in a foreclosure action by his first mortgage company.” He was also “sued by Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. for non-payment of a credit card bill in the amount of $1,997.95. The Court eventually ordered him to pay $1,800.44 of that bill, plus court costs of $210.00, which he was permitted to pay in two installments.”
Multiple sources have told me that Arthur Sorey is doing everything he can in his power to undermine City Manager Larry Spring so he could steal his job. Mr. Spring is well aware of Sorey’s duplicity. And yet, instead of firing, demoting or transferring him to another department, he allows Sorey to keep his position as Assistant City Manager.
We suspect this won’t end well.
It took four long years, but the road to justice for North Miami Beach EX-Mayor/Convicted FELON Myron Rosner finally came to its conclusion. In February, Myron pleaded guilty to only one felony count of unlawful compensation. The four other felonies and five misdemeanors he was charged with were miraculously dropped.
Instead of doling out the punishment he deserved, corruptocrat State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle slapped him on the wrist with a measly sentence of three years of probation.
Then again, being married to CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE SARAH ZABEL has its privileges.
Being able to afford hot shot criminal lawyer, Benedict P. Kuehne, also helps.
In May of last year, Frantzie verbally assaulted a Code Enforcement Officer and threatened to have her fired for daring to serve him with a notice of violation. When Kuehne laughingly expected North Miami Beach taxpayers to foot the bill for his legal fees, to the tune of $650.00 per hour no less, he was denied.
In turn, he threatened to sue.
Kuehne then, of course, went on the offensive and tried to dig dirt on the Code Enforcement Officer, who was merely doing her job. Despite Kuehne’s intervention, last month the Miami Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust found Probable Cause against Commissionweasel Pierre.
Now, watch Ben Kuehne do what he does best … stall the proceedings for as long as possible.
In the meantime, watch Frantzie do what he does best … rip Ben Kuehne off.
Oh, karma, do your thing.
This was also the year that we discovered L’il Frantzie P stole $2,500.00 from a church.
We won’t hold our breath.
This was also the year we watched a long-time, highly respected public servant commit political suicide right before our very eyes.
In her bid for State Senate District 38, incumbent Gwen Margolis had a very public, and bigoted, meltdown at a local Democratic meeting in Sunny Isles Beach. The fallout from her tantrum forced her to drop out of the race and retire from politics altogether.
Which was a good thing.
The ultimate winner of the Democratic primary, as well as the general election, was the legally (and mentally) challenged Daphne Campbell.
Which is not a good thing.
Our condolences to all the residents of Senate District 38.
Back in North Miami, on June 16, 2016, Assistant Chief Gary Eugene was finally appointed as the permanent Chief of the NMPD. He immediately proceeded to clean up the department by making the necessary, and long overdue, promotions and appointments, and fixing the mess Chief Lenny left behind.
The Ghost of Chief Lenny, however, continued to plague the North Miami Police Department in July when one of his trained SWAT team members made international headlines … and not in a good way.
It was not the NMPD’s finest moment.
Because of their juvenile dislike and envy of Police Chief Gary Eugene and certain members of his command staff, instead of behaving like professional law enforcement officers, Assistant Chief Larry “You Might Be A Redneck” Juriga and his sidekick, SWAT team leader Angel Rivera, came up with the “brilliant” idea to accuse newly appointed Commander Emile Hollant of spurring Alleda to fire his weapon. Within days of the Illuminati’s bringing their bogus charges to the State Attorney’s Office, a close out memo was issued, exonerating Commander Hollant of all wrongdoing.
But, who didn’t see that coming?
A questionable hire to begin with (and Sergeant Rivera’s obviously under-trained SWAT “sharpshooter”), Officer Alleda was solely responsible for his screw up. No one else put that gun in his hand, and no one else pulled that trigger. He owns those bullets!
Due to Juriga & Co.’s incompetence, they were quickly and justly rewarded by being transferred out of the investigative unit.
He’s still smarting.
After a four month investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) finally issued its report last week, with copies being delivered to the North Miami Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office. Each agency will conduct its own investigation. NMPD’s Internal Affairs division will determine if proper regulations, policies and procedures were followed, and the SAO will decide if it will file criminal charges. This could take a while. Pop some corn while you wait.
July also saw Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman get her much needed, and long overdue, spanking when she attempted to help the equally irrelevant Village of Biscayne Park annex non-contiguous property so it could balance its silly little budget. Never mind that this ridiculous stunt would put a huge strain on its neighboring city, North Miami. Not very neighborly of them.
At a county commission meeting, Sally made a motion to allow the annexation, but not one of her colleagues proffered a second.
As a bonus round, during the meeting it was revealed that the Little Village That Couldn’t had planned to build a Trump-like wall along the railroad tracks between its own border and the parcel of land it wanted to grab. Despite emphatic denial by village officials, we dug up the public records of its intention to build this wall in order to reduce the “risk of damage to community by train wreck caused by sabotage or accident.”
In the end, North Miami won!
By a landslide.
Karma, baby. Gotta love it.
Across the pond … well, actually, across the Intracoastal Waterway, the City of Sunny Isles Beach’s commission election was not without its drama.
SIB’s Resident Lunatic Condominium Association President Greg Capra ran against incumbent Commissioner Dana Goldman for a seat on the dais.
Without going into the gory details again, suffice it to say that Capra and his, ahem, lovely wife, Nikolina, have a long history of engaging in battles with neighbors, during which the police are frequently called, and which typically involve accusations of “public intimidation and retribution,” “verbal derision and disdain,” and “inebriated verbal assaults.”
Ah, Sunny Isles Beach … home of Condo Commandos, Trump Towers and North Miami Beach’s Beach.
Also gotta love … the late-breaking stories about dirty political antics coming out of Hallandale Beach, where North Miami’s toxic troublemaker, Shady Boy-Lobbyist Evan Ross, has been wreaking his own special kind of havoc.
In Red Broward’s (redbroward.com) Tom Lauder’s latest installment, Developer Gave $50K For Pet Project Plus Campaign Cash To Hallandale Beach Commissioner Days After Mega-Project Vote, he revealed more of Commissioner Michelle Lazarow’s Gulfstream Park-connected donations to her campaign, as well as her “shakedown” of developers.
“It’s easy to say this is how politics works in 2016 Broward. Developers fund candidates and their pet projects in the hopes of getting projects approved by local government. Slick lobbyists like Steve Geller know how to play the game. But Michele Lazarow painted herself as the second coming of Trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt. She promised to fight for the little guy against the big bad developers. She told anybody who would listen that the Diplomat Hotel would fail at its $125,000 bid to beat her at the polls. Her lawyers told the media that her political enemies spied on Lazarow, Anabelle Taub and fellow Commissioner Keith London. Lazarow attorney Brian Silber said the GPS tracking device allegedly placed on Lazarow’s car was no “coincidence.”
Does a corruption-fighting politician shakedown developers to fund pet projects?
Does a muckraking pol take campaign contributions from developers and special interests while claiming to be the victim of political opponents funded by different developers and special interests?
Michele Lazarow was right, Hallandale Beach voters do deserve honesty.
They deserve answers too.”
They sure do.
Then again, we would have missed this, um, ahem, gem.
Aside from the few, small political “victories” we achieved in 2016 (see Chief Lenny, Kelvin Baker, Fred Jonas, Greg Capra), there are still far too many corruptocrats occupying seats in government.
As long as public and elected officials such as Arthur Sorey, Frantz Pierre, Kelvin Baker, Daphne Campbell, Phyllis Smith, Sally Heyman, and Michelle Lazarow, not to mention Larry Juriga and Friends, are still on the payroll and in office, taxpayers will continue to be ripped off of their hard earned dollars.
As long as parasites like Shady Boy-Lobbyist Evan Ross continue to receive special privileges from elected officials who align with him, the needs of residents will be brushed aside in favor of pocket-lining, bloodsucking special interest groups.
As long as the corrupt Miami State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle turns a blind eye to the crimes committed by elected officials (like Frantz Pierre and Phyllis Smith) in order to further her own political career, everyone in the county will continue to get screwed.
Quasi-judicial agencies, such as local and state ethics commissions, as well as the Florida Elections Commission, can only do so much. They have the power to fine public officials and political committees when they find probable cause. Unfortunately, they don’t have the power to arrest and prosecute.
Although it may seem hopeless at times, South Florida residents do have the power to break the circle of corruption … via the ballot box.
We at VotersOpinion.com fervently urged you to hold your elected officials accountable for their actions.
We implored you to contact your representatives, attend council meetings and voice your opinions.
And, most importantly, we begged you to VOTE RESPONSIBLY!
Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
Even though the asteroid apocalypse failed to put us out of our own self-destructive misery this year, SMOD does offer up some sage advice for 2017.
WARNING: As a new year approaches, resist the temptation to make an utterly meaningless emotional investment in politics.
— Sweet Meteor O’Death (@smod2016) December 27, 2016
Well said, SMOD. Well said!