Other People’s Money? No Conflict!

Petite CayemiteDid you know that the City of North Miami actually has a “Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance?”  Neither did I.  Nor does North Miami’s mayor, Andre Pierre.  Apparently.

Had Monsieur Pierre bothered to check his own city’s Charter, he would have noted that Article XI, Sec. 2-310, spells out its Ordinance in glorious detail, citing:

“This article shall be applicable to all city personnel as defined below, and shall also constitute a standard of ethical conduct and behavior for all autonomous personnel, quasi-judicial personnel, advisory personnel and departmental personnel.”

Subsection (c) even more succinctly states:

“No person included in the terms defined in subsections 2-310(b)(1) through (6) and in subsection (b)(9) shall enter into any contract or transact any business in which that person or a member of the immediate family has a financial interest, direct or indirect with the City of North Miami or any person or agency acting for the City of North Miami, and any such contract, agreement or business engagement entered in violation of this subsection shall render the transaction voidable. Willful violation of this subsection shall constitute malfeasance in office and shall effect forfeiture of office or position.”

This Ordinance is further drummed into the collective intelligence of the North Miami’s “elite” by way of Article XVIII, Sec. 191, entitled “Personal interest in contracts of city,” which states:

“No member of the council or any officer or employee of the city shall have a financial interest, direct or indirect or by reason of ownership of stock in any corporation, in any contract or in the sale to the city, or to a contractor supplying the city, of any land or rights or interests in any land, material, supplies or services. Any wilful [sic] violation of this section shall constitute malfeasance in office, and any officer or employee of the city found guilty thereof shall thereby forfeit his office or position. Any violation of this section with the knowledge express or implied of the person or corporation contracting with the city shall render the contract voidable by the city manager or the council.”

Based on the above excerpts from the Charter of the City North Miami, it seems to me there’s been a whole lot of violating going on since Andre Pierre took office.  Considering that he still has nearly five months of his term to serve, I’m guessing he’ll have a whole lot more violating to do.

Andre’s not the only person in the City of North Miami who’s been conveniently ignoring this Ordinance.  As I reported in Honor Among Thieves, Public Works Director Aleem Ghany seems to have used his position to secure Bids for Friends and Family, most notably an $800,000.00 job at Biscayne Landing for Faustin Denis, Jr., the General Manager of IMECO, Inc., which company also managed to score a $99,000.00 sidewalk clean-up gig for North Miami as a precursor to a $$270,980.60 job entitled “Pioneer Boulevard Streetscape Improvement Project.”  As an aside, this would be the same Faustin J. Denis, Jr. who is scheduled to stand trial on February 4, 2013 on FOUR FELONY RACKETEERING CHARGES.  All that North Miami Taxpayer Money will sure come in handy when he gets his criminal attorney’s bill!

In North Miami, knowing the right people really pays off.  Literally.

Andre Pierre’s colleague, councilwoman Marie Steril, apparently hasn’t read the Charter, either.  Last summer she got caught also helping Friends and Family help themselves to North Miami Taxpayer Money.  First, she was able to obtain rent-free housing for six months for one of her good friends and fellow church members.  Then she was able to secure financing for her mother under a Neighborhood Stabilization Program run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Marie’s friend simply moved out of the North Miami home when she was good and ready, costing the taxpayers little more than chump change.  But in the case of Marie’s mother, the city is now being required by HUD to pay out a whopping $154,802.02 in penalties and fees because Madame Steril decided she didn’t have to comply with Federal Laws by disclosing her relationship to the buyer.  That buyer being chère vieille maman.  Aside from a completely incompetent staff headed up by Maxine Calloway, the city’s director of Community and Planning Development, who obviously doesn’t have the capacity to comprehend the North Miami City Charter, as an elected official of North Miami, Ms. Steril should have known better.

Then again, considering there will be ABSOLUTELY NO CONSEQUENCES to the councilwoman’s violation of the city’s Charter, she obviously does know better.  Marie “Antoinette” Steril keeps getting whatever she wants – silly little Ordinances be damned!  Considering this wasn’t the first time she’s violated the Conflict of Interest Ordinance (see here, here, and most recently, here), one wonders if she’s ever met an interest that doesn’t conflict with her own.  The interests she certainly does not look out for are those of the North Miami Taxpayers.  Let them eat cake!

As I reported to you on Christmas Eve in Feliz Noche Buena!, Andre Pierre is now under the gun for yet another Conflict of Interest with respect to a development deal in Haiti known as Petite Cayemite, and a development deal in North Miami known as (you guessed it!) Biscayne Landing.

Apparently, in PierreWorld, all Conflict of Interest roads that don’t lead to Haiti lead to Biscayne Landing.

Traveling right down that road with Hizzoner are the usual suspects, Michael Swerdlow and the Cherubin Brothers, who also have ties to both Petite Cayemite and Biscayne Landing.

None of whom obviously give a damn about the Charter of the City of North Miami.

As long as North Miami Taxpayer Money keeps rolling in, they don’t need no stinkin’ Charter.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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Feliz Noche Buena!

Basement CatThe year 2012 may be coming to a close, but dirty politics in Miami-Dade County continues from year to year.  Just about every day there’s a new story about yet another allegedly corrupt elected official lining his pockets or one more scheme being cooked up to re-elect the same crooks back into office.  Open the Miami Herald on any given day, and chances are there will be a story about one or the other.  Or both, as in the case of today’s edition.

North Miami’s mayor Andre Pierre is in the news once again.  Reporter Nadege Green might as well set up a cot at City Hall just so she can keep up with his antics on a near daily basis.  In addition to all his ongoing ethically questionable and downright embarrassing activities, which I’ve documented here, here, here, here, here and here (among others), today’s story reveals that Hizzoner’s connection to the infamous Biscayne Landing project is probably even more twisted than any of us realized before.

In North Miami mayor’s role in Haiti island project raises questions, the Herald uncovered previously hidden ties between Pierre and Michael Swerdlow of Oleta Partners, the developer of Biscayne Landing.  According to the article, Swerdlow is an investor in a firm that is trying to develop a tourist resort on an island off the coast of Haiti called Petite Cayemite.  The firm, Cayemite Enterprises LLC, is owned by the Cherubin brothers, Emmanuel and Jean, who are also “in charge of attracting minority-owned businesses to work on the Biscayne Landing project.  Swerdlow, the lead developer of Biscayne Landing, is an investor and advisor to the Cayemite firm.”  Although, “City rules prohibit North Miami officials from doing business with city vendors,” those silly little rules didn’t stop Andre Pierre from advising the Cayemite firm and expressing “an interest in investing in the project.”  After all, in North Miami, they only make rules for the sport of breaking ’em.

While nothing will stop Pierre once he leaves office in May (assuming he doesn’t succeed in extending the election until November as rumored he might attempt) from investing in any project he damn well pleases, “ethics experts say the mayor, at the very least, should have disclosed his relationship with the [Cherubin brothers] before voting on any city business involving Oleta Partners.”

Ya think?

The Herald stated that “Pierre joined Cayemite Enterprises in 2008, one year before he was elected mayor” and “Swerdlow joined the team as an investor in 2010.”  Swerdlow, however, was connected to Biscayne Landing long before that – 2002 to be exact, when North Miami first “struck a deal with developer Swerdlow to build a grand city-within-a-city,” according to a June 30, 2011 Bloomberg Business Week Magazine article entitled North Miami’s Condo Catastrophe.

Apparently, Swerdlow’s ties to North Miami, and Andre Pierre, run deep.  It certainly comes as no surprise to learn that both Swerdlow and Pierre are connected in the Cayemite development deal.  Who knows how many other deals the two of them are currently involved in or at least contemplating that have yet to be discovered?  The ethically challenged web of deceit spun by Andre Pierre is indeed tangled.

And yet, the Teflon Don of North Miami has never been prosecuted for anything at all.  I guess it really pays to be a politician in Miami-Dade County.  Literally!

Speaking of dirty politics, in an unrelated (and I use that term loosely) article, El Nuevo Herald reports Despite arrests, ballot brokers get ready for 2013 electionIs anyone shocked by this?  I’d be shocked if you were.

The August arrests of Hialeah ballot brokers Deisy Cabrera and Sergio Robaina have led to a lackluster prosecution by the Miami-Dade County’s Office of the State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has also been implicated by private detective Joe Carillo in “benefiting from operators like Deisy Cabrera.”

In a statement that almost begs to be investigated by a federal agency, an anonymous boletera said, “But I think it’s unfair that the politicians who hire us can simply wash their hands and not one of them has been arrested.”

Again, not shocked.

We may be preparing to open our Christmas presents and say goodbye 2012, but I expect that corruption and fraud in Miami-Dade County will be the gift that keeps on giving.

Feliz Noche Buena

Feliz Noche Buena!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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Enough already!

Both Republicans AND Democrats in Congress think we’re stupid. Every last one of them is unfit to serve. They are NOT public servants, they’re all out for themselves as witnessed by the 11th hour, five day break in negotiations they are enjoying while our economy is teetering on the edge of the cliff. We need to fire them all and replace them with people who are willing to COMPROMISE, period!!!

 

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La Maison de Pierre, Part Deux (The Mystery Continues)

MysteryWhy bother having a City Code if no one complies?  Even more importantly, why bother having a City Code if it’s not enforced?

No, these are not rhetorical questions, although they probably should be.  In North Miami Beach, we have a building Code.  We really do.  It’s even published on the city’s website under “City Charter and Code of Ordinances.”

Therefore, they must mean business, right?

WRONG!

As I’ve blogged ad nauseam, most recently in L’il (Old Lawbreaker) Frantzie P, North Miami Beach councilcritter Frantz Pierre has nine (yes, NINE!) registered voters living in his three bedroom, two bath home.  That’s not even including his five (yes, FIVE!) minor children who presumably are not registered to vote.  You’d think it would be easy to get our city’s Code Department to verify whether or not there are thirteen (yes, THIRTEEN!) people living in a three bedroom, two bath home, right?

WRONG AGAIN!

I’ve been trying to find out the answer to this question since March 1, 2012 when I first discovered Frantzie’s little secret and published it in Instant Karma’s Gonna Get You.  To no avail.

On December 3, 2012, nine months after my first request, I sent the new City Manager Roslyn Weisblum the following email:

Dear Ms. Weisblum,

This letter will serve as a formal complaint that Mr. Frantz Pierre may in violation of City Ordinance No. 92-9 by having “more than three (3) of whom are unrelated to each other by birth, adoption, or marriage, and who are living and cooking as a single household. (Ord. No. 92-9, § 2, 6-16-92)”

According to the most recent voter rolls from Miami-Dade County, there are eight (8) registered voters living at 2120 NE 171 Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33162.  You can see all the details on my column from this morning at http://www.votersopinion.com/?p=7021.

If, in fact, you do determine that there are more than three individuals living at his home “who are unrelated to each other by birth, adoption, or marriage,” I expect that you and/or the Code Enforcement Officer will take appropriate action by citing the violation and making sure the violation is corrected within a reasonable amount of time.

Please notify me immediately once you determine whether or not a violation has been committed so that I may take further action, if necessary.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Stephanie Kienzle

Not surprisingly, I got no response.

On December 18, 2012, I followed up my original request with the following email:

Still waiting for a response to this complaint.  An acknowledgement would be nice.

Stephanie Kienzle

Finally, on December 19, 2012, I received the following email from Ms. Weisblum:

I am not certain as to what is required to receive a voter’s registration at a particular address.  I called the City Clerk’s office and it appears that in addition to a government photo ID, another document such as utility bill or bank statement with the name and address is also required.  However, I am not sure how a child of the owner of the property who has reached the age of majority would obtain a voter’s registration if they could not provide a bill.

I have not obtained any information that indicates that the Ordinance you mentioned below has been violated.

Sincerely,

Roz

Roslyn B. Weisblum
City Manager
City of North Miami Beach
17011 N.E. 19th Avenue
North Miami Beach, FL 33162
Phone: 305-948-2900
Fax: 305-957-3602

roslyn.weisblum@citynmb.com

Talk about evading the question, huh?  WTF?

I quickly shot back an email stating:

Ms. Weisblum,

You did not answer my question.  How many people live in Frantz Pierre’s house?

As I researched:

Under “Article II, Sec. 24-12 Language,”  which deals with the definitions of terms used in the the “North Miami Beach Zoning and Land Development Code.”  One of the items defined is the word “family” as:

Family:  One (1) or more persons occupying a dwelling, not more than three (3) of whom are unrelated to each other by birth, adoption, or marriage, and who are living and cooking as a single household. (Ord. No. 92-9, § 2, 6-16-92)

If Frantz has more than three unrelated adults, as described in the ordinance, living in his house, he is in violation of the Code.

Therefore, I ask again, How many people live in Frantz Pierre’s house?

Thank you,

Stephanie Kienzle

That was yesterday.  Today is a brand new day.  Let’s see how quickly I get a response to the question I actually asked.  I hope I don’t have to wait as long as it takes for Phyllis to finish a sentence.  I’m just saying.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

UPDATE DECEMBER 20, 2012 8:59 AM:

Ms. Weisblum sent me the following email:

I am sorry to say that I have no means of an answering your question.  Other than the knowledge that Mr. Pierre has a large family, I have no way of knowing the number of people residing in the home.

 Roz

I responded with:

Apparently, then, the City of North Miami Beach has no way of enforcing its building Code.  Therefore, I am contending that any resident or business owner who receives a Notice of Violation need not comply.  If a CITY COUNCILMAN can allegedly violate the City Code with no consequences, everyone else is now feel free to do the same.

Thank Frantz Pierre for setting the precedent for the rest of us!  I’ll be spreading the word.

I notified my email list, too.  FREE AT LAST!

 

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North Miami Beach Police Department Press Release

Press Release – Press Release – Press Release – Press Release

City of North Miami Beach Police Department

Media Relations Office

16901 NE 19th Avenue

North Miami Beach, FL 33162

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     Larry Gomer – Chief of Police     December 19, 2012

Contacts:          Kathy Katerman – Police Major

(305) 948-2940

(305) 525-7014 Cell Phone

E-mail: Kathy.katerman@nmbpd.org

North Miami Beach Police Detectives arrest the shooter

in the basketball court homicide case.  2012-1201- 13

North Miami Beach Detectives worked tirelessly for the past 17 days on the basketball case homicide.  You may recall, on December 1,  a 21-year-old  black male was shot  4 or 5 times and killed in the middle of the afternoon while playing basketball with about  15-20 others.   When police arrived, the court was empty except for the deceased lying on the basketball court.

Police detectives began to contact the family of the deceased and possible persons that played basketball that day.  A nickname “Buzz” continued to come to the fore front.  Buzz was later identified as Nalord James Marc, a 19-year old from the same neighborhood.   After locating numerous witnesses, detectives were able to confidently determine Nalord as the gunman.  A few days later an arrest warrant for first degree murder was obtained.  Secret Service, Operation Wolfpack, and the US Marshals assisted in trying locate his whereabouts.  Further information this week led to his exact location and apprehension was made yesterday without incident at his home.   A subsequent interview of Nalord at the station was conducted and Nalord admitted to shooting the victim.  Police believe that on the same day just prior to the shooting, the two had a verbal altercation on the basketball court.

If the public has any additional information on this case or any case they may still call crime stoppers anonymous at 350-471-TIPS.

Suspect

Arrested :     Nalord James Marc  (his photo attached above)

“Buzz”  B/M

DOB   09/16/1993

2150 NE 169 St, North Miami Beach

Criminal History:  one misdemeanor arrest for marijuana

Charged on 12/18/12 with First Degree Murder (arrest warrant)

 

Victim / Deceased:      James Gelin

B/M

DOB 01/31/1991

1870 NE 167 St #6, North Miami Beach

 

For more information you may call Major Kathy Katerman at 305-525-7014.

 

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Fun With Frantzie – The Sneaky Pee (Air) of NMB

May 31, 2009:  Leaving City Hall at 11:30 PM

May 31, 2009: Leaving City Hall at 11:30 PM

As you all know, L’il Frantzie P has been the subject of five Internal Affairs investigations by the North Miami Beach Police Department.  I have already written about four of them here, here, here and here.  For your entertainment pleasure, I have finally gotten around to reviewing a fifth IA Report, even though this investigation took place several years before Investigating Frantzie became a routine exercise for Sgt. Silberman.  Now you can again enjoy the fruits of his labor.

In a Memorandum to (former) Chief Rafael P. Hernandez, Jr. from Sgt. Richard Silberman dated November 16, 2009, Sgt. Silberman noted fourteen separate days from May 31, 2009 through September 27, 2009, during which Frantz and assorted unidentified persons were caught entering and exiting City Hall at unusual times, sometimes carrying questionable items out of the building.  On several of those occasions, Frantzie also “accessed the city manager’s office,” carrying items in and out.  Mostly out.

Whether or not Frantzie was aware, his comings and goings were recorded by security cameras located in and around the building.  Let’s take a quick peek at some of the shots caught on camera for posterity.  Watch L’il Frantzie P as he parties hearty on our dime!

July 30, 2009, entering City Hall at 9:37 PM

July 30, 2009, entering City Hall at 9:37 PM – First Tour Group

July 30, 2009, Roaming City Hall at 9:38 PM

July 30, 2009, Roaming City Hall at 9:38 PM

July 30, 2009 at 9:56 PM - Second Tour Group

July 30, 2009 at 9:56 PM – Second Tour Group

July 30, 2009 at 9:58 PM - Just nosing around.

July 30, 2009 at 9:58 PM – Just nosing around.

At the end of Sgt. Silberman’s Memorandum, he noted:

“Items which raise questions are:

1.  The removal of cases of City bottled water.

2.  After hours use of council/City Hall facility for unknown business with other individuals.

3.  Allowing unescorted non-city employees access to the building.

4.  Unknown use of the City Manager’s office area.  (Council have their own copy/fax service equipment in the council office area.) “

In a separate Memorandum No. 10-115 from Chief Rafael P. Hernandez, Jr. to Joe Centurino, Division Chief of the Public Corruption United, dated May 3, 2010, the Chief summarized the investigation in detail beginning “on or about September 26, 2009,” with “a suspicious late hour alarm activation [that] occurred at City Hall.”  Mr. Baker had asked the Chief to “review the after hour visits to the City Hall Council Chambers, and the City Manager’s office area, by the Honorable Councilman Frantz Pierre.”

Yes, he did use the word “Honorable” in the same sentence as “Frantz Pierre.”  A little cop humor, I surmise.

Chief Hernandez gave a rundown of the sequence of events, his meeting with Sgt. Rick Silberman, the subsequent investigation, interviews of both Frantzie and Kelvin Baker, as well as Mr. Gregory Williams from Public Services, “who is responsible for the distribution of bottled water for the city,” and noting:

“A review of the surveillance video pictures reveals the Honorable Councilman Pierre and other individuals taking boxes of bottled water out of City Hall.”

Let’s take a look at some of those snapshots, shall we?

August 29, 2009 at 8:10 AM

August 29, 2009 at 8:10 AM – Water!

August 29, 2009 at 8:10:03 AM - More Water

August 29, 2009 at 8:10:03 AM – More Water!

August 29, 2009 at 08:10:05 - And STILL More Water!

August 29, 2009 at 08:10:05 AM – And STILL More Water!

The Chief showed Frantz all the surveillance videos and pictures and asked him about the events in question.  Some of the answers Frantzie gave for his bizarre tour-guiding behavior and taking of city property included (a) identifying the unknown individuals he brought into City Hall as “Wife, cousin, auntie and nephew,” (b) throwing former city attorney Howard Lenard under the bus by claiming that he gave Frantzie permission to “come at anytime, referring to City Hall, you can come in 24/7,” and (c) claiming that the pilfered bottled water was for donations “to churches.”  Never mind that there are specific request forms to be completed in order to take the bottled water, apparently only non-Frantzies had to comply with rules.  (Don’t you know who he is?)  The P Man claimed he received “verbal approval” from Greg Williams to take the water “when he was not able to complete the paperwork requesting the bottled water.”

When he was not able?  Is completing a request form really that difficult or time consuming?  HARDLY!  L’il Frantzie P obviously just didn’t want to be bothered.

Former city manager Baker, however, made it very clear, according to the Memorandum, that “council members have the authority to remove boxes of bottled water with prior approval.  He also stated that he was not aware that Councilman Pierre had received prior approval.”

Here’s another curious shot of Frantzie – all decked out in his finest Saturday night duds, taking water from City Hall in the wee hours of the morning.

September 26, 2009 at 12:51 AM - Did Someone Say ParTAY?

September 26, 2009 at 12:51 AM – Did Someone Say ParTAY?

When Mr. Greg Williams of Public Services was interviewed, he noted that “water is distributed to the various departments, including the delivery to our Honorable Mayor and Council members.”  He also concurred that the council members “have the discretion to distribute the water to non-profit organizations, churches and other entities.” However, he did state for the record that the city encourages the council members to allow those outside entities to request the bottled water directly so that the city can “track the reuse, uh, the recycling bottle, and we can also keep track of who got the water.”  Under oath, Mr. Williams told of the city’s protocol about issuing bottled water, how much they distribute, who usually receives the water, and the types of events at which the water is distributed.  One thing for sure is that Greg Williams knows his water!

Interestingly, Mr. Williams also stated that Pierre has on occasion filled out the proper forms, however, “there have been times that people who knows…that know him have tried to call names or tried to use their influence with knowing him to um, to get more water than we can possibly give them.  But I don’t allow that to work.  I, I let them know that this has nothing to do with Councilman Pierre.  That we have to look at how much inventory we have, the size of the event, and make a decision whether or not we can do it.”

Chief Hernandez wrapped up the interview with Mr. Williams with the following exchange:

Hernandez:  Mr. Williams, is there anything I have failed to ask you that…ask you that you would like to add to this statement?

Williams:  I just want to say, Chief, that, you know, at times um, uh, Councilman Pierre has called me for water, and I made it very clear that um, I have to get approval from my bosses.  And that I can’t just…if he asks me for…listen, I need 30 cases.  Well, I need to get it approved.  I can’t just deliver it.  I got to get it approved.  And so I made that very clear with him. So…

Hernandez:  And, that’s been what the process have been?

Williams:  Yes.  Yeah, but not…and largely because I, I let him know I can’t do it any other way.

Hernandez:  Yeah.  So that means he can ask, but if it’s not done properly, it won’t happen?

Williams:  It, it won’t happen, sir.  It won’t happen.  Not on my watch.

Good for you, Mr. Williams!  Don’t let the Putz Bully of NMB push you around!

Here’s the thing.  Ever since he was first elected in 2007, Frantz Pierre has been nothing but trouble for the residents of North Miami Beach.  He struts around City Hall as if he owns the place.  He has been the subject of FIVE, COUNT ‘EM, FIVE Internal Affairs Investigations.  So far.  Pierre has tried to throw his inconsiderable weight around by bullying employees and trying to get those who don’t do his bidding fired.  There are lingering, unanswered questions about his involvement with the “non-profits” that have finagled money from our coffers, and we STILL don’t know how many people actually live in his house.  The answer to that question will determine whether he’s violating our city code or breaking state election laws.  But, he’s definitely doing one or the other!

We now also know that Frantz Pierre likes to help himself to bottled city water.  And lots of it.  Whenever he wants it.

Dude, the water might be cheap, but it’s certainly not free.  Those little plastic bottles cost money, too!  At the rate The P Man takes liberties with our water, he’s racking up some tab on our dime.

Bottom line is, unless he’s finally arrested and convicted on one or more of any of the above alleged crimes, we are stuck with him until May of 2015.  I certainly hope that by then the residents of North Miami Beach will wake up and vote this joke of a “council person” out of office!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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The new “PC:” Politically Connected

There are some strange things going on at North Miami Beach City Hall.  As you know, the former City Manager Lyndon Bonner was given his walking papers at the end of his contract in September.  Instead of looking for a new City Manager, the Council decided to shuffle the deck and rehire/promote the Current Assistant/One Time Interim City Manager Roslyn Weisblum.  This is the same Ms. Weisblum who immediately handed out raises the minute she was handed the interim position to temporarily replace the former-former-and-fired City Manager Kelvin Baker.  Obviously, she was the perfect candidate to fill the new vacancy, right?  Uh, huh.

As current (and future ex, I’m sure) City Manager, Ms. Weisblum has made some changes.  For starters, she fired the CRA Director Dan Wick.  I don’t know the reasons why she canned him, nor do I care, since I think a CRA is another one of those questionable ponzi schemes that we should abolish altogether, but that’s for another day, another blog.

Good old Ros decided that we didn’t need another CRA Director because it would cost too much money, which was probably the only good decision she’s made so far.  Then she blew that political capital by creating a position called “CRA Coordinator” and figured that the job was worth at least eighty thousand bucks.  Boy, that sounds familiar.  Where did I hear about this before?  Oh, yeah!  That’s EXACTLY what happened in North Miami!  You’ll remember that our sister city’s mayor Andre Pierre created just such a position for his crony, Lesly Prudent, to replace its then CRA Director Tony Crapp.  Smells like nepotism to me!

So who did Ros pick to fill our newly created “CRA Coordinator” job?  Glad you asked.

A woman by the name of Rasha Soray-Cameau just happened to be available.  Her resume is fairly impressive.  She received a Masters in Business Administration from Florida International University in 2007.  Ms. Soray-Cameau claims she worked for the Human Services Coalition from 1997 to 2004, and cites her job description as “oversight of staff, finance, contract management, human resources, day to day operations, negotiations with auditors, contractors and [illegible].”  From 2004 to 2009, she worked for the City of Miami/NET, where she was again in charge of “oversight of staff, community programs, met with constituent [sic] to deal with issues” and the like.  In 2009 she was transferred to the City of Miami/Little Haiti Cultural Center, where her job description was to “develop programs for cultural center, oversight of faculty, staff, events, grants management.”

When asked to explain in her own words why she’s qualified for the position, she wrote simply, “I believe that my past work experiences dealing with constituent issues, economic development and issues [illegible] management and budgeting make me qualified for the position mentioned.”

Sounds qualified to me!

The fact is that I have no idea what qualifications are required to run a city’s CRA, or Community Redevelopment Agency.  Then again, I don’t have to know.  I didn’t apply for the job.  Considering that the word “CRA” does not appear on Rasha Soray-Cameau’s application, other than in the blank space after “Position Applied For,” I’m wondering why she thinks she’s qualified to run one.  But, more importantly, why does the City Manager think she’s qualified?

I’m also wondering why someone who thinks she’s qualified to be a CRA Coordinator believes that this position has anything to do with constituent issues.  Last time I checked, the management of a city, or its CRA, has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS!

Unless, of course, the person seeking to fill this position just happens to be Politically Connected.  Like Lesly Prudent, for example, whose political radio show helped Andre Pierre win his election as mayor of North Miami.  Just who’s political career is this new hire advancing?  I’m just saying.

Whether or not Rasha Soray-Cameau is qualified for the job, she sure is Politically Connected.  Her list of Facebook friends is quite telling.  For starters, she’s friends with two women with the last name “Martelly” – Rosa and Midge, and a man by the name of Ralph Martelly.  As you know, “Martelly” just happens to be the last name of the president of Haiti, so I’m wondering if any of them are related to him.

Speaking of President Martelly, you’ll remember the hoopla during his visit stateside in July, when the City of North Miami shelled out $8,800.00 for police protection so that he could attend a gala at the Renaissance Ballroom given by Francois Adrien, owner of “Pikliz.com, a popular Haitian website.”

In a coincidence of all coincidences, one Francois J. Adrien just happens to be one of Rasha Soray-Cameau’s Facebook friends!   The fact that Francois J. Adrien lists http://www.pikliz.com on his Facebook page leads me to believe he’s the same Francois Adrian, owner of pikliz.com, who hangs with the Haitian Prez.  How cozy.

For Ms. Soray-Cameau, it sure doesn’t get more Politically Connected than that!

On December 2, 2012, ten days ago, I sent an email to North Miami Beach City Manager Roslyn Weisblum asking her questions about this new “CRA Coordinator” position, including the job description, whether or not it was advertised, and copies of all the other applicants’ resumes.  So far, just like ignored public records requests in North Miami, I have received no response.

What I do know, however, is that in the month or so that Ms. Soray-Cameau has been an employee of our city, she’s done little more than sit at the receptionist’s desk in the City Manager’s office and answer the phones.  Considering her resume, I’m sure she’s highly qualified to do just that.

Then again, so am I.  If I had known that this position offered a salary of EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, I would have applied myself!

Then again, I’m not Politically Connected.

But since no receptionist, no matter how well she can answer a phone, is worth EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, one just has to wonder what the hell is going on around here.

Enquiring minds want to know!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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Put some Gratitude in your Attitude!

Some of you may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but not me.  I prefer spending the holidays (and every day of the year) in shorts and flip flops.  Luckily for me, we’ve been having lovely weather – not too hot and, thankfully, not too cold.  I could do without the hair-frizzing humidity, but that’s just a minor complaint compared to what some people around the country are experiencing this time of year.  Take Wisconsin, for instance.  This does not look like fun:

 

Here in North Miami Beach, we are so fortunate that we can simply hop in our cars, drive around town without snow tires and earmuffs, and enjoy all the colorful Christmas lights.

Sure this is pretty to look at, but can you find the car?

Would you rather have a cold brew on this lawn?

Or this one?

Here’s a typical tropical SoFla Christmas.

And a very typical, not at all tropical Wisconsin sight.

Frosty the Snowman enjoys an evening under the palms.

Even Frosty’s not having any of this!


Rudolph & Co. are so not going back to the North Pole!

Run, Rudolph, Run!

Just remember, even if Santa leaves a lump of coal in your stocking, there’s always something to be grateful for.

At least our home games aren’t at Lambeau Field.


And there’s certainly no danger of the Dolphins going to the playoffs at Foxboro Stadium.

Cheers!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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Did you know…

And you thought it was OUR library! Silly you!

…That the president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, a/k/a North Miami mayor Andre Pierre’s “Our President,” is coming to our shores on Monday?  I bet you didn’t!

Apparently, it’s a huge secret since not one word of it was printed in the newspaper OR on our City’s website.

What’s that, you say?  What does North Miami Beach have to do with this event?  Glad you asked that question.

Instead of gracing the sacred ground of Andre Pierre’s Home Away From His Real Home with his presence, El Presidente is coming to North Miami Beach!  Isn’t that special?  And, he’s commandeering your library for the entire day!

If you take a gander on the NMB website, you’ll see a notice about our library stating simply, “The City of North Miami Beach Public Library will be closed on Monday, December 10, 2012.  The Library will reopen on Tuesday, December 11th. We apologize for any inconvience this may cause.”

(No, I did not misspell “inconvenience.”  Whichever genius posted this non-informational comment did.)

Well, now you know why the library is closed.  The event includes seminars and speeches all about Haitians and Haiti.  Andre Pierre (and his Pod-mate Frantzie) must be ecstatic!  The public is not invited.

On top of that, I’m told that the city’s library employees were given a day off with pay.  On top of that, I’m told that Monsieur Martelly will be also using the amphitheater on Monday night to give his “State of the County” address.  WTF?  I had no idea that the president of Haiti knows anything about the state of our County, which is still called Miami-Dade last time I checked.  Even though I’m sure Andre Pierre would love to rename it Port au Prince County.  I’m just saying.

In any event, the library is off limits to all residents of North Miami Beach on Monday, so don’t even bother trying to check out or return any books.  If this “inconvience” causes you to incur any late fees, just put it on Martelly’s tab.  I understand he’s running one, courtesy of Assistant City Manager Mac Serda.

What’s that you say?  How much is this event going to cost the taxpaying residents of North Miami Beach?  For starters, Mr. Serda received a check in the amount of $25,000.00 dollars from the Haitian Embassy, which I’m told is a 50% deposit for all our costs.  I’m also told that the Haitian Ambassador was highly insulted that we had the audacity to ask him to pay any of it in advance.  The very NERVE of us!

I’m also told that the cost to babysit, er, um, bodyguard Martelly is approximately $40,000.00.  I’m guessing that means most, if not all of our cops will be on security duty.  If that’s the case, don’t bother calling 911 unless your house is on fire, since our fire service is provided by the County and not the city.  If it’s a little old burglary, purse snatching or car theft, well, that’s what the Second Amendment is for.  Be prepared.

IF the $25,000.00 check clears, which we won’t know until at least Monday (when it’s too late to cancel and kick everyone out of the library), we’ll then have to wait and see if the Haitian Embassy will pony up for the balance due.  If not, guess who will be stuck with the tab?

Considering that it was like pulling teeth just to get a deposit, I’m not holding my breath.  Are you?

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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Happy Holidays to you, too, Myron!

In typical Myron Rosner fashion, the EX-mayor of North Miami Beach’s long awaited trial for several FELONIES and misdemeanors regarding his alleged campaign finance fraud, including the FELONY of grand theft in the third degree, has managed to get his case postponed twice.  The first time was due to the recusal of the original judge about a month after his arrest, which pushed the trial from October to November.  The first trial was set for November 30, 2012, however, on October 26, 2012, the court docket shows, “DEFN ZIP CODE & ST CHANGED BY FINALIST PURSNT TO CLERK.”  Then on November 6, 2012 the court docket shows, “DEFN STREET CHANGED BY FINALIST PURSUANT TO CLERK.”

WTF?  Did Myron move?  This just begs speculation.  Did his wife, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE SARAH ZABEL, finally throw the bum out?  That certainly would be a juicy bit of gossip, eh?  I’m just saying.

Moving right along…

Also on November 6, 2012, Alternate Judge Bertila Soto was assigned to the case.  On November 8, 2012, a Notice of Hearing was scheduled for November 20, 2012, at which hearing the Judge set a trial date of January 28, 2013.  In addition, a “Telephonic Hearing” is scheduled for December 10, 2012.

Since I am not, nor have I ever been a criminal, I can’t tell you for sure how much of this is the usual and customary course of business in FELONY trials.  We all know that Myron is the King of Continuances when it comes to matters of the law.  He delayed his trial before the Ethics Commission for nearly three years, which resulted in a NO DECISION, despite the fact that Myron claims to have been exonerated.  He’s also currently appealing the City of North Miami Beach’s ruling about all his code violations in order to avoid bringing his property into compliance with the code.

It’s not surprising he would attempt to pull every string, including the My-Wife-Is-A-Judge Card, to delay facing the music for FELONY charges and standing trial for his CRIMES.  The fact that he managed to finagle a “Telephonic Hearing” instead of making an appearance in person like every other CRIMINAL defendant in America, leads me to believe he also played the Poor-Me-I’m-Disabled Card and claimed it was a hardship to get in his van and drive to the courthouse.  Of course, it wasn’t such a hardship for him to drive all over the City of North Miami Beach spying on residents and issuing them Fake Notices of Code Violations last summer!  He obviously got immense pleasure out of scaring the hell out of people and destroying their lives.  But showing up for a hearing?  Where’s the joy in that?

After all his years of driving the residents of North Miami Beach nuts and making us miserable, Myron is finally getting his payback.  There are no fake Happy Holidays bus benches in his future.  Hopefully, the next time we see his ugly mug it’s on the front page of The Miami Herald after he’s convicted on CRIMINAL charges and sentenced to prison.  That would definitely be a collector’s issue worth framing!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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