Friday, June 18, 2010

Look who's in the news again, Frank Vecin! Also in the news, more federal mortgage fraud arrests...

You all remember Mr. Vecin of the Miami Dade County Police Department don't you?  We discussed Mr. Vecin and the MDPD Green fund a few months back, now it seems like Mr. Vecin has found himself in quite a mess!  Jim Defede does a great job covering the story here, from the CBS4 story...
A Miami Dade police commander, with close ties to Mayor Carlos Alvarez, has allegedly been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by developers to expedite their request for permits and provide access to top county administrators, according to a CBS4 News investigation. 
Somewhere in the neighborhood of $625,000 from one developer alone since 2007 to be exact!  Close ties to Mayor Carlos Alvarez no less!

We digress...
Miami Dade Police Chief Frank Vecin is now under criminal investigation by both the Miami Dade State Attorney and the Inspector General's Office. 
That explains all the blog traffic we've been getting from different state and federal law enforcement agencies googling his name.  
Richard Sharpstein, an attorney for The Terra Group, one of the developers that hired Vecin, acknowledged that the developer had recently been served a subpoena for contracts and financial records relating to Terra's involvement with Vecin. 
No es bueno...
...he was also in charge of the police department's Intergovernmental Bureau, which is responsible for investigating illegal contractors and criminal violations of the county's building code. 
Can you say conflict of interest?!
In one instance, according to e-mails obtained by CBS4 News, the Terra Group used Vecin's clout and status inside the police department to initiate an investigation into a condo board member who was giving the developer trouble. 
...Vecin's fees would range anywhere from $2,500 a month to $50,000 a month depending on what he was asked to do. 
SHAZAM!  When the hell was all this work being done?  Wasn't the PD job a day job?  WTF?
This is not the first time Vecin's conduct has been questioned. Earlier this year, CBS4 News exposed questionable spending by the police department's environmental task force. Vecin was in charge of the fund and monies that were supposed to be used to investigate environmental crimes – such as illegal dumping – were instead used to purchase new computers and hybrid SUVs for police commanders. Vecin even provided one of the SUVs to the mayor. After the news reports surfaced, control of the environmental funds was taken away from Vecin. 
Uh, yeah?!  You all remember former chief legal counsel for the MDPD Glenn Theobald and that "Green Fund" mess don't you?

The county ethics commission even goes so far as to tell Mr. Vecin...
"As a county employee you are not allowed to interact with county officials or county employees representing third party clients,"
In case he didn't get the message the first time, the ethics commission made sure to tell him again the next day...
"I just want to reiterate that you are not permitted to have conversations with county employees or officials at any point in time as a representative of the owners," 
What the hell is going on over at the PD?  How are all these high ranking cops finding the time to fight crime and run other businesses?  Considering that according to this report Mr. Vecin was getting paid as much as $50k per month, is it conceivable that he was doing the work to earn that money during breaks or days off from his job at the PD?  WTF people?!  We're in the throws of one of the worst economic downturns in the history of our country and we have people working part time at the PD while making up to $50k per month at their day job full time at the PD that are pulling down $50k per month on the side?  Come on folks, enough is enough! 

Considering how long Mr. Vecin has been at the PD, the question that begs to be asked is does he have enough dirt on the command staff to stop any kind of meaningful investigation into his "side" business and the allegations of wrong doing or will the director of the Miami Dade Police Department, James Loftus take the initiative and root out this sort of corruption from his department?

Moving along, we've read several press releases stating that there was some sort of huge nationwide mortgage fraud crackdown, one account suggests that nearly 500 people were charged while another suggests that there were 1200 people charged?  Regardless of whether it was 500 or 1200, the feds mean business, this isn't the old Koztrzewski/Baluja dog and pony show we're used to!  In spite of the federal crackdown though, a quick look around Miami Dade county reveals the same characters that orchestrated these frauds still at work ripping people and banks off, just with a different bag of tricks...

Back to mortgage fraud hijinks on Monday, have a great weekend! 

1 comment:

  1. The county owned generators in Vecins backyardJune 18, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Nothing to see here, keep moving.