As much fun as it is to write about the Class Clowns of North Miami Beach, a/k/a council members Phyllis Smith and Frantz Pierre, residents here should count our blessings that we don’t live in North Miami, where lawlessness is the order of the day.
For starters, there’s that silly little Conflict of Interest thing going on with North Miami mayor Andre Pierre, developer Michael Swerdlow and the ever present Cherubin Brothers, who are all somehow involved in both Biscayne Landing and a development project in Haiti known as Petite Cayemite. It was first reported in the Miami Herald on December 23, 2012 that the mayor was an “advisor” and that Swerdlow was an “investor” in the Cherubin’s development deal. Now they’re both crying foul and backtracking about how extensive an involvement they actually have in Petite Cayemite. According to the Herald’s latest article, Attorney: Swerdlow’s role in Haiti Petite Cayemite project pitch was overstated, both Pierre and Swerdlow are now conveniently claiming they have nothing to do with the Cherubin project. Never mind that they both took advantage of last month’s South Florida visit by Haitian President Michel Martelly by pitching the project to a room full of Haitian VIPs and potential investors. Both Swerdlow and Pierre gave the impression that they were heavily involved as either investors or potential investors. Swerdlow’s attorney now tells the Herald that “his client’s name was used unexpectedly by the Cherubins to ‘give the project a boost.’”
I guess False Advertising isn’t as heinous a crime as Conflict of Interest.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
According to an email I received from North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin, the Petite Cayemite project is only the tip of the Conflict of Interest iceberg.
Only hours before the meeting of the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) last night, the CRA attorney, Steven W. Zelkowitz introduced a new request to fund a beauty store by the name of PI Beauty Express, Inc., a Florida corporation formed only two months ago on November 6, 2012, by one Precile Lozama.
Coincidentally, Precile Lozama is also a principal in another Florida corporation called Sasarabi Investments and Management, Inc., along with one other principal by the name of Adlyn E. Lozama.
Coincidentally, Adlyn E. Lozama hosts a local radio show broadcast on WSRF 1580 AM, which radio station is owned by the Cherubin brothers.
Those would be the very same Cherubin brothers involved in both Biscayne Landing and Petite Cayemite.
Those would also be the very same Cherubin brothers who, back in September of 2011, asked the City of North Miami Beach to purchase a property they own on NE 19th Avenue, using our city’s CRA money, and then turn the property back over to them so they could build a hotel on the property. That way the Cherubins could basically keep control of the property without having those annoying responsibilities of ownership. You know, like real estate taxes. Or environmental cleanup. Luckily, North Miami Beach turned down this “generous” offer.
Those Cherubin brothers sure have a thing for CRA money, huh? Little wonder, considering that CRAs are one of the biggest money grabbing scams ever created. In my not so humble opinion, of course.
Councilman Galvin’s other concerns about this funding request were not inconsequential, either. For starters, PI Beauty Express, Inc. is merely a tenant and doesn’t own the property located at at 12350-12360 NE 7 Avenue, North Miami, Florida 33168. Mr. Galvin also noted that the owner of this property already received CRA funding within the last five years, which is all the CRA Rules allow. His final concern was that this newly submitted request was not included in the original CRA packet, but sneaked in at the last minute, nor was it advertised in advance in accordance with, yep, you guessed it CRA Rules.
Then again, this is North Miami we’re talking about, where Rules really were meant to be broken. Literally.
There is just so much wrong with this picture, that it defies all reason.
When it comes to his own city’s Charter regarding Conflict of Interest, or CRA Rules, or Miami-Dade County’s Code of Ethics, Andre Pierre just keeps doing whatever the hell the pleases knowing full well there will be no consequences whatsoever.
When it comes to grabbing all the goodies, courtesy of North Miami’s taxpaying residents, North Miami’s band of merry men, a/k/a Pierre, Swerdlow, Cherubin & Cherubin, PA, like to keep it All in the Family.
“Spreading the Wealth”