Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've been struggling with internet connectivity problems all week only to find out yesterday that my entire neighborhood was offline.  With that said, have a Happy New Year folks and thanks to those of you who've been following our little blog over the last few years.  2012 is going to get off to a great start as a number of cases that we've been following are about to go to trial and most importantly, the alleged victim of our first mortgage fraud story, Bernardo Barrera, will be making an appearance on the stand as a states witness this January 17th.  I can't wait.  Till then, have a Happy New Year...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Send an email, GO TO JAIL!

Reid Welch
We're all aware of the ongoing feud between City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and Coconut Grove resident Reid Welch which last month culminated in Sarnoff getting a restraining order against Reid.  For those of us that have been following the story, we knew it was only a matter of time before Sarnoff figured out a way to get Reid arrested.  Well, last week that's exactly what happened, Reid allegedly sent Mr. Sarnoff an email and next thing you know according to the word on the street, six City of Miami cops (unconfirmed) showed up and arrested Reid.  Here's a copy of the arrest report...

Reid Welch Arrest Report

Does anyone see the problem with this arrest report?  I mean other than the fact that it states that the poor guy was arrested for simply sending an email?  Take a look at the text of the report...
On November 21, 2011, the defendant was served with an injunction for protection.  The terms of the injunction dictate that the defendant shall not contact the listed victim directly or indirectly.  In addition, the court order also stipulates that the defendant shall not contact the listed victim via e-mail or any in any other manner.  On 12-14-11, the victim discovered an electronic mail that was sent by the defendant to his e-mail account.  The e-mail is clearly identified with the defendant's name and his e-mail address information.  The content of the electronic mail leads the victim to a specific blog in which a clear message is sent to the victim.  The nature of the message is directly sent to the victim and it clearly describes prior episodes and specific information that would entail and describe the defendant's previous encounters with the victim.  The defendant's actions constitutes a violation of the injunction and his behavior serves as in irritant to the victim who has endured substantial emotional distress from a defendant who is unwilling to cease the harassment despite the active court order that prohibits him from engaging in this type of behavior.  The defendant was arrested.
Now, honestly, I don't mean any disrespect to the Detective that supposedly wrote that arrest affidavit, but I sincerely doubt that this affidavit was authored by anyone other than an attorney.  Am I the only one that thinks so?  Does that sound like a cop talking or a veteran attorney making a closing argument?  Could this arrest report have been written by none other than City of Miami attorney George Wysong who not only represents the City of Miami Police but in this case somehow represents City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff against Reid Welch as well?

This brings us to another point, back in November, we alleged that City of Miami attorney George Wysong's representation of Mr. Sarnoff against Reid Welch in the restraining order hearing was clearly in our oppinon a conflict of interest, from that blog post...
So Mr Wysong is the City of Miami police liaison, from his bio says his job is to "handle matters which affect the Police Department."  If that's the case, why was he representing Sarnoff at this hearing?  In fact, based on his bio, shouldn't he have been attending this hearing on behalf of the City of Miami police department who should have arrested Mr. Sarnoff for his assault on Mr. Welch?  Doesn't this constitute a serious conflict of interest for Mr. Wysong?

Now, this isn't the first time that I've found Mr. Wysong wearing two hats, there are several other instances where Mr. Wysong has found himself in places where he shouldn't be where there is a clear and undeniable conflict, we're going to have to wait a couple of weeks before we can reveal those stories.  Regardless, if this was any other city, I'd be shocked and appalled at Mr. Wysong's behavior but it's Miami so it's par for the course!
Jason Wandner
Well, apparently we're not the only ones that believe that there is a clear conflict of interest as a result of Mr. Wysong representing both the City of Miami's Police department and representing Mr. Sarnoff on a matter that nothing to do with his capacity as a City Commissioner.  Mr Welch's attorney, Jason Wandner, filed this motion with the court to disqualify Mr. Wysong from the restraining order matter, take a look... 

George Wysong Motion to Disqualify

Clearly this is a textbook example of a conflict of interest.  The motion speaks for itself, I find this part most damning...
4.  Moreover, the respondent intends to call certain police officers from the City of Miami Police Department as witnesses in the instant matter.  Attorney Wysong is the lawyer for those "independent" witnesses.  Representing both, a party to a case and an adverse witness, is inherently a non-waivable conflict of interest, especially if the "independent" witnesses' testimony is skewed toward the Plaintiff due to their relationship with his lawyer.
Even better...
5.  Moreover, the undersigned sent the defendant to the City of Miami Clerk to obtain certain documents in his defense in the instant matter, and needless to say, the clerk directed him to Mr. Wysong.  In other words, the opposing counsel is now aware of my trial strategy and has the authority to block access to public records.
DUH!  What the fuck is this shit Mr. Wysong?

Honestly?  In what alternative universe is this nonsense supposed to fly?  Perhaps this may only make sense within the City of Miami Attorneys office and in Mr. Sarnoff's crooked mind but in the real world this is straight up bullshit.  If my guess is right, what we have here is a well coordinated conspiracy between Mr. Sarnoff and Mr. Wysong to railroad Mr. Welch.  From the suspicious arrest report, which in my opinion was not written by anyone other than Mr. Wysong, to this monkey grab ass bullshit where Mr. Wysong is representing the City of Miami Police department and also representing Mr. Sarnoff in a private matter before the court, this is a City of Miami Mob style inside job.  We'll have to wait and see what the judge thinks of this matter...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Responding to some of the blog comments regarding former City of Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur's sentencing...


I'm working on a very important story regarding some unethical activity between City of Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff and the City of Miami city attorneys office.  We'll have the story ready to go for tomorrow, in the mean time, let's look at some of the comments left over the last few days on our blog posts regarding  former City of Miami assistant fire chief and convicted fraudster Veldora Arthur.

Let's start with this comment...
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is she going to lose her city pension??? I really hope you follow this up. She need to lose this as well...
I believe she will lose all or part of her pension simply because she conducted most of these schemes while on City time while using city fax machines and in some instances even city letter head.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
If the city has an ounce of morality left in its corrupt conscience, it will stip her of everything. I did not see a restitution amount for ripping off 11 milion. If she continues with her pension, this will be merely a slap on the wrist. Corruption and greed at its worst!!!!
There will be restitution, there's going to be a separete hearing in February just for that purpose.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
This was a scheme that involved many condo buildings, not just the one in Wellington. She may not have been involved in more than one of them, but the other people indicted along with her, or in similar connected schemes, were involved in more than the Wellington frauds. The series of defaults, after the straw buyers got their money, caused other condo owners to have to pay increased condo fees and property values to go down significantly. So, yes, disgorgement of all money she collected is appropriate.
Correct.  According to the prosecutor, the frauds in this case were just a minor smattering of the many frauds that Ms. Arthur was involved in, we're going to look at least one other fraud that she was involved with but wasn't charged for soon, perhaps after the holidays so that we can highlight how indiscriminate the government is when it comes to charging people based on their ability to garner headlines.  As to the second part of the comment, the judge mentioned the same, even going so far as to say that people like Ms. Arthur were the root cause of the real estate meltdown and because of their bogus inflated property values and subsequent busting out of the properties that we are where we are today with most homes underwater.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
This convicted felon should lose her pension. She committed crimes WHILE ON DUTY. Send a message. Crime does not pay. What about the $120,000 she got while suspended?
That comments speaks for itself and I couldn't agree more.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
If she lose her pension or not it won't benefit you! My sister & our family are moving forward & you all should do the same. My sister is paying her time to society & I don't think there is nothing else to talk about.
I'm sorry for the position you and your family find yourself in today as a result of the crimes that your sister was convicted of.  I take no joy in seeing the family suffer because of a series of poor decisions that Ms. Arthur made, but at the end of the day she is where she is and nothing can change that.  I take issue with your statement though when you say...
If she lose (sic) her pension or not it won't benefit you!
In fact, you are wrong when you say that by losing her pension "it won't benefit you".  See, a significant portion of her pension is paid by the taxpayers, the same taxpayers that paid Ms. Arthur an exorbitant six figure plus salary when she was on city time and simultaneously conducting these fraudulent transactions that had nothing to do with her job at the fire department.  For the taxpayer to have to continue paying her pension after she committed these crimes is a further insult to the citizens of the City of Miami.  I'll make you a deal, how about we go and randomly pick out a handful of citizens of the City of Miami and let's ask them what they think.  Are you up for that?
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Chief Warshaw, the ex-police chief lost his from the City of Miami so she should lose hers too. Any bets she won't lose it...
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Straw Buyer, You keep pushing it she will lose her penison...Thank You so much....
That's a bit ridiculous isn't it?  I'm the least of her worries!  If you were in the courtroom during the sentence, did you take a look around and see who else was there?  There were a few members of the upper management of the City of Miami FD that had no love lost for Ms. Arthur who were all to vocal about how the rank and file felt about her tenure at the FD and how they felt about her pension.  Once again, let's not forget the citizens of the city who are appalled at the amount of money she was making on the job while they're working their asses off to make a fraction of what she was making at the FD.  While Ms. Arthur may have taken for granted the incredible pay and gold plated benefits she was getting at the taxpayers expense, most of us would kill to have the same kind of compensation so it's that much more appalling to see someone who had the world at her feet to get involved in this kind of mess.  Don't blame me if she loses her pension, she's got no one to blame but herself for that.

Now, till tomorrow, go back and read this blog post regarding our esteemed City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and local gadfly and Coconut Grove resident Reid Welch.  This is going to get interesting.

Friday, December 16, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! Veldora Arthur gets sentenced

As the title states, former City of Miami assistant fire chief and convicted fraudster Veldora Arthur was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison this morning after a five hour hearing before Judge Patricia Seitz (check out her bio, WOW!) that started at 8:30 this morning. In addition to the 57 months, once released she'll have to serve an additional 36 months of probation.

I was in utter disbelief as I sat through this hearing, even after being found guilty and having been incarcerated for several months, Ms. Arthur both through her own statements and through her attorney, Bruce Lehr, who gave a somewhat less than stellar performance, were still making excuses and were both pleading ignorance regarding her role in the fraud.  At one point U.S. Attorney, Armando Rosquete brought up another instance of mortgage fraud that she had committed in a separate straw buyer scheme that she was involved with but not criminally charged for.  In this instance Ms. Arthur orchestrated the scheme and put up the money (approximately seventy four thousand dollars) for the down payment, a couple of days after the closing (we'll discuss this case next week in detail) Ms. Arthur received the money back with an additional ten thousand dollar profit.  To his credit, the prosecutor eloquently described the transaction and provided the court with all the relevant documents regarding the down payment that she put up for the straw buyer, wire transfer authorizations, bank statements, etc all detailing the approximately $74,000 being wired out of her account and then the subsequent $84,000 being wired back into her account days later (the original $74k + $10k profit).  When the judge asked Ms. Arthur's attorney to explain this suspicious banking transaction, he explained that his client knew nothing about the real estate transaction nor the wire transfers both in and out of her account.  As ridiculous as that may sound, the judge actually went so far as to say that if Ms. Arthur didn't authorize the wire leaving her account and since she had no idea who had authorized the wire that it must have been a phantom or a ghost that did so!

Are you fucking kidding me?  $74,000 leaves your account without your knowledge or your consent then a few days later $84,000 comes back in and you don't even think to question it?  WTF?

Judge Patricia Seitz
The worst part of this hearing was bringing her family and friends into the courtroom and having them dragged through this mess.  Somehow Ms. Arthur and/or her attorney thought it was a good idea to have her emotionally fragile 15 year old daughter before the court to make a statement.  I can't begin to tell you how horrible I felt watching this poor girl stand before the court and have to be subjected to seeing her mother wearing khaki prison clothes and with shackles around her legs.  This was truly and utterly unnecessary.

I have to really question what Ms. Arthur and her attorneys were thinking when they decided to take this case to trial rather than take a plea, the government had a mountain of incontrovertible evidence against her, most in the form of damning mortgage documents that she couldn't deny.  I suspect if she would have plead out that she could have ended up with something in the neighborhood of 24 months rather than the 57 months she ended getting.  

Regardless of what Ms. Arthur did to get herself into this position she finds herself in today, I have to tell you, seeing her family suffer through this hearing made for one of the saddest days of my life.  I pray that Ms. Arthur and her family get through this horrible ordeal and get on with their lives.

We'll discuss this hearing and its outcome at length next week.   

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Veldora Arthur's attorney tries to tell the court why she shouldn't be put away for 57 to 71 months...


Veldora Arthur
Our favorite former City of Miami Assistant Fire Chief and convicted fraudster Veldora Arthur is about to be sentenced in federal court for her role in a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud scam.  As we discussed a few months back, after Ms. Arthur was found guilty for her role in this nefarious scheme, she quickly dropped her former attorney, Larry Handfield, and retained prominent criminal defense attorney Bruce Lehr to handle the sentencing phase of her case.  Now her new attorneys come before the judge and give a litany of reasons why the court shouldn't slam her with a 57 to 71 month sentence as dictated by the federal sentencing guidelines.  Let's take a look at the many reasons her attorneys offer for Veldora to get a more lenient sentence.

Reason #1, she's really not that guilty...
On September 30, 2011, defendant ARTHUR was found guilty of three (3) counts out of a five count Superseding Indictment. Specifically, ARTHUR was found guilty of one (1) count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and two counts of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§1349 and 1341, respectively.
Ok, I guess things could have been worse?  After all, she was found guilty of three counts rather than five, so she's not as guilty as she could have been?

Reason #2, she's really not that bad of a person and after all... is respectfully submitted that ARTHUR’s history and characteristics (which include
25 years of service as a firefighter), family circumstances, and need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparity, warrant a downward departure and/or variance from the sentencing guidelines. Prior to her arrest in connection with this case, ARTHUR, who is an extremely religious woman, had never been accused, arrested, or convicted of any crime.
I wonder how all that factored in when she was getting kicked back hundreds of thousands of dollars when she was closing on these fraudulent mortgages?

Reason #3, she's a hard worker...
After graduating from High School in 1982, ARTHUR enrolled at Miami Dade Community College where she took paramedic and EMT courses in the hopes of becoming a firefighter. In 1986, she was hired as the first female firefighter for the City of Miami Fire Department. For more than 25 years, ARTHUR was employed by the Fire Department and held numerous positions including Executive Assistant to the Fire Director and, ultimately, Assistant Fire Chief.
Yet somehow after all that hard work and rising to the command staff of the City of Miami Fire department and making close to $300k+ per year, it still wasn't enough.

Reason #4, she did real good in school...
ARTHUR simultaneously attended Barry University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in public administration in 2001.
After obtaining an excellent education and providing 25 years of honorable service and dedication to the City of Miami Fire Department, ARTHUR was relieved of her duties as a result of her arrest in this cause.
I beg to differ, she wasn't relieved of her duties, she was simply sent home for nearly a year while on the tax payers dime.  Let me know where I can sign up for the same deal.  On another note, if she was so dedicated to the fire department, why was she working as a mortgage broker, real estate fraudster, credit repairer, etc?  That hardly seems like someone who's dedicated to the Fire Department.  Perhaps some of her coworkers down at the Fire department would like to chime in and tell us just how dedicated she really was...

Reason #5, she's worried her son may not be able to get a job...
Additionally, it is significant to note that Arthur’s son expects to graduate as a paramedic in December of next year. Because of the publicity surrounding his mother’s case, he feels it may difficult to find employment in South Florida.
And why exactly should that concern the court?  Perhaps Ms. Arthur should have taken all that into consideration before she decided to engage in fraudulent activities?

Reason #6, she's not feeling so good...
As noted in the PSI, Defendant ARTHUR is a 46 year old woman with an extensive history of medical conditions, including Sjogren’s Syndrome, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, two herniated discs in her lower back1, hypertensive heart disease, and mitral valve disease.
Ok, and?  Is being healthy a prerequisite for serving the appropriate prison term?  She seemed pretty healthy when I saw her running around in Larry Handfield's office.  Again, I have to wonder, was she brought into the fraudulent closings in a wheel chair?

Reason #7, she went to the feds first...
It is respectfully submitted that ARTHUR’s voluntary disclosure to authorities was an act consistent with someone who was not aware that her actions were illegal. It was not a subsequent remedial measure taken by a defendant who is facing imminent prosecution. At the time ARTHUR disclosed her actions and the actions of others to her attorney and to the Government, there was no pending investigation against her. ARTHUR’s candor, which ultimately subjected her not only to criminal liability but to the loss of her freedom, warrants a downward departure from the sentence suggested by the advisory guidelines.
No kidding?  To me this sounds like someone that's simply won the race to the prosecutors office, not an "act consistent with someone who was not aware that her actions were illegal" but instead the actions of someone who knew they broke the law and was trying to save their own ass.

In summary...
Defendant VELDORA ARTHUR respectfully requests that this Honorable Court sentence her below the advisory guideline range based on her history and characteristics, 25 years of service as a firefighter, family circumstances, and unwarranted sentencing disparity. Additionally, Defendant ARTHUR respectfully requests that a downward departure be granted based on her medical condition and voluntary disclosure of the offense to government authorities.
Come on now.  I guess her attorneys have to give it a try considering the pile of money they must have gotten from Veldora.  I can understand all these wonderful reasons why the court should throw the book at her, but what I can't understand is if all of these things were true, why the hell did Ms. Arthur put herself in this position to begin with?  I'll be honest with you, if I was in her shoes, I would have been perfectly content making over $300k+ per year working over at the FD.  Easy administrative work, take home car, the best medical coverage money could buy as well as a fantastic pension package.  Ms. Arthur finds herself where she is today, behind bars, for one reason, GREED.  

Through this amusing narrative and these wonderful excuses her attorneys have provided the court, she's hoping to get her sentence reduced to something in the 24 to 30 month range.  I personally hope the court throws the book at her and gives her the maximum sentence of 71 months, if nothing else to send a message to anyone in her former position or anyone else in a cushy government job thinking about doing something as ignorant as she did and in turn throwing away an unreal job that took her 25 years+ to get.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An update on the case of disbarred attorney Sally Sawh...


Some of you  may remember the story of disbarred attorney Sally Sawh who the Florida Bar accused of misappropriating over two million dollars of her clients money that she held in her law firms trust account, we discussed her story several times over the last few years ( here, here and here ).  The Florida Bar did their own investigation and found that there were several millions of dollars worth of clients funds missing from her firm's trust accounts, there findings can be found here in this report...

Sally Sawh Disbarment Sally Ann de La Casa

Shortly after this report was filed on October 3, 2008, Ms Sawh was arrested and charged with Grand Theft for charges stemming from this report, after three years of delays, her criminal case finally went to trial last week.  To be honest, I had all but forgotten about Ms. Sawh until we received these two comments on previous blog posts last night...
Today this woman was found UNAMOUNSLY INNOCENT by a jury. So all of the above is simply based on someone's wild imagination or a possible stalker.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sally who?":

UNANAMOUS Jury verdict 100% innocent 12/12/11.She testified so all of this nonsense of her fledding was just that NONSENSE AND MAKE BELIEVE but I guess made good reading.

Take a bow for all looking like fools! And the french fled the US on Friday when their money laundering was made public to the IRS.

Also Growing Leaders is an AUDITED Foundation so also all of that make beleive about the Foundation IS JUST THAT, MAKE BELIEVE! Shame, shame , shame.

Hope Straw Buyer has the courage to now APOLOGIZE for creating a blog on this woman BASED ON PURE FICTION! 

These comments were obviously left by none other than Ms. Sawh from her hotel room at the Hilton in downtown Miami.  While we have to congratulate Ms. Sawh and her attorneys for convincing the jury to find her "not guilty" of grand theft, I'm puzzled about this bit...
She testified so all of this nonsense of her fledding (sic) was just that NONSENSE AND MAKE BELIEVE but I guess made good reading.
I guess the forensic accountants who conducted the investigation for the Florida bar must have been nuts when they concluded that there was over two million dollars that had gone missing from her firms trust accounts?  Since Ms. Sawh actively reads and comments on our blog, perhaps she'd like to tell our readers why in addition to the missing two million dollars that was the subject of her criminal case, the bar audit also found another nearly $800,000 missing from her accounts as well?

I don't know, perhaps it's all fiction.  Maybe those nasty people over at the bar had an axe to grind with Ms. Sawh, maybe she just decided to give up her license to practice law for shits and grins as well, who knows, perhaps Ms. Sawh is innocent after all and all this fuss about money missing was just a big misunderstanding.  

We'll take a closer look and see what we can find...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The bad news doesn't seem to stop for Veldora Arthur...

Just when you think things can't get any worse for former City of Miami assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur who was recently found guilty of a bevy of federal charges stemming from her involvement in a number of real estate and mortgage scams, it looks like there's a chance that they will.  While she sits in federal custody in downtown Miami awaiting her sentencing, the government has come before the court and is asking the court to impose a stiffer penalty on her because of an instance of alleged obstruction of justice.

As one of Veldora's bond conditions, she was not allowed to contact anyone who the government designated as a witness in her criminal case.  True to form, it seems like she did just that right after she was indicted, even worse she did so in an email that the witness immediately turned over to the prosecutors...

DUH!  Especially when it clearly states on her bond conditions that she can't contact a government witness except through her attorney!

So why was Veldora so anxious to contact this witness?  It turns out that this witness owned the company whose name Veldora used to create fake proof of employment documents for the fraudulent mortgages that she obtained for the commission of the frauds she was found guilty of.  From the government's motion...

Ms. Smith provided this e-mail to the government during its trial preparation. A bit of background on Ms. Smith is appropriate. As this Court will recall, the fake employment on the loan applications that the defendant signed in this case was Gateway Associates, LLC (“Gateway”). Gateway was a company owned and operated by Ms. Rosalind Smith. Ms. Smith testified that the she knew the defendant, that they talked about starting a business by the name of Financial Solutions, LLC and that Ms. Smith had no other relationship with any other defendant in this case. Obviously, based on the fact that Ms. Smith was the sole owner of Gateway, Ms. Smith was the critical witness who could testify that the defendant never worked for Gateway thereby establishing that the defendant misrepresented her employment and income on the loan applications.

Further, she attempted to persuade Ms. Smith that her “signature was forged on some documents and I was mislead about the validity of the investment deals.” Id. In an effort to buttress her claims, the defendant even attached to the e-mail a polygraph report that she allegedly undertook through a polygrapher who the defendant hired and paid. The defendant concluded the e-mail by stating that the polygraph report “confirm[ed] [her] position.”

Here, the defendant unlawfully contacted a witness in this case in violation of this Court’s bond order and conditions. The witness was a critical witness, which the defendant attempted to influence by, among other things, attaching a polygraph-examination report that purported to prove in some allegedly empirical way that she was telling the truth.

If you're going to do something this stupid, why the hell would you do it in a manner that could be traced like an email?  How about having someone else go talk to the witness?  Or how about saying nothing at all?  Considering the government has identified this person as a witness, you know that they're already talking to her and have more than likely scared the shit out of her, there's nothing you're going to say that's going to persuade her!

The prosecutor sums up this instance of Veldora's stupidity brilliantly at the end of the motion...

Plainly, the defendant’s actions demonstrate—at a minimum—that she has little respect for this Court’s rules and, consistent with her overall conduct in this case, views herself as someone who is above the rules of fair play, fair dealing and honesty.

Exactly, this is the same cavalier attitude that she's exhibited during her tenure at the City of Miami Fire Department and the same "I don't give a fuck" stance she's taken throughout the commission of her crimes all the way through till the very end her federal trial.  Once again, I have to say to the prosecutors, especially Mr. Rosquete, well fucking done.  You guys hit this one out of the park.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In case you missed it...

Throughout the inception of our blog, we've watched cases developed where people have been prosecuted for as little as simply lying on their mortgage applications or as much as being involved in multi million dollar mortgage fraud schemes.  Time and time again we've watched prosecutors determined to put people, no matter how small their rolls were in these schemes, behind bars regardless of the tactics that they have to use, perjury, fabricating evidence, coercing testimony, threatening defendants families, etc.  You would think based on what we've seen the government do in their quest to punish those involved in these financial crimes that they'd go after the banks with the same zeal, as we've seen though, that simply hasn't been the case.  

To this day there hasn't been a single criminal prosecution of a single person from the banks, the same banks that caused the real estate and economic meltdown.  Sixty Minutes did a segment on just this topic last night that really nailed it.  Take the time in case you missed it and watch through the whole segment...

Part 1

Part 2

What gives folks?  Can anyone give me a single reason why the government has refused to go after the real culprits behind our real estate and financial crisis that has brought our country if not the world to it's knees?  Think about what the bankers behind this mess did, it's not too different than what the government has gone after borrowers for, yet the government refuses to nail these guys.  WTF?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A rare glimpse into the selection process for the next City of Miami police chief...


As we mentioned yesterday, a selection committee been assembled to pick out the next City of Miami Police Chief, among those on the selection panel is none other than City of Miami Fire Chief Mo Kemp.  That's the same Mo Kemp that was rumored to be former City of Miami Assistant Fire Chief and convicted mortgage fraudster Veldora Arthur's love interest.  Regardless, today we get a rare glimpse of Chief Mo in action while helping select the next Police Chief...

I guess the guy in the suit is the next Police Chief! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guess who's going to help decide who becomes the next City of Miami Police Chief?

I just about fell out of my seat when I heard who's going to help pick the next City of Miami Police Chief, from the Herald article...

Ten candidates have made the list of finalists to become Miami’s next police chief, following the spectacular firing two months ago of disgraced former Chief Miguel Exposito.
Among the contenders: a retired high-level state police special agent, several prominent former Miami police command staffers and the man who replaced Exposito in an interim role.
A selection committee headed by Miami-Dade Police Director Jim Loftus will begin interviewing finalists Wednesday, and will continue next week.
So far so good, I have the utmost respect for the Miami Dade County Police Director, James Loftus, he's alright by me.
The finalists are: Adam L. Burden, Thomas W. Cannon, Frank G. Fernandez, Michael J. Gugliotti, Rafael P. Hernandez Jr., Roberto Hylton, Manuel Orosa, Amos Rojas Jr., Gerald Speziale Jr., and Louis A. Vega.
Earlier this month, the selection committee picked the finalists from 71 applicants. Nearly 50 had already submitted their applications before Exposito was fired; his contract had been set to expire at the end of the year.
A sharply divided city commission voted to fire Exposito on Sept. 12. City Manager Johnny Martinez had suspended the ex-chief six days earlier for insubordination, saying Exposito overstepped his authority by moving forward with administrative demotions the manager had explicitly placed on hold.
We all remember that circus don't we?
The list of finalists features several candidates that are well known in South Florida law enforcement circles.
Orosa, considered a candidate before Exposito was named chief, has headed the department in an interim position. Burden and Cannon, former Miami assistant police chiefs, retired after Exposito demoted them and a slew of others in December 2009.
Fernandez is the former deputy chief under Chief John Timoney. Vega, a former assistant chief under Timoney, also served as the police director in Camden, N.J.
Rojas recently retired as FDLE’s regional special agent in charge after eight years in the post. Hernandez, a former Miami-Dade police officer, served as chiefs of police in Sweetwater and most recently, North Miami Beach.
Gugliotti is the longtime chief of police in Waterbury, Conn. Hylton, the former police chief in Prince George’s County, Md., is listed as law enforcement advisor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Speziale is the former sheriff of Passaic County, N.J., who later became the deputy superintendent of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority.
Blah, blah, blah...
The selection committee is made of Loftus and Addy Villanueva, now the special agent in charge of FDLE’s South Florida office; Hugo Barrera, the special agent of Miami’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives...
Sounds good up until here...
...and Maurice Kemp, Miami’s fire chief.

Chief Mo Kemp
Maurice Kemp, the City of Miami Fire Chief is going to help pick out the next Police Chief?  This would be the same Maurice Kemp who sent his former assistant Fire Chief Veldora Arthur home collecting over $100k while under federal indictment!  The same Veldora Arthur who was rumored to receive preferential treatment throughout her career because of her alleged personal relationship with Chief Kemp?  This guy should be looking for a job himself rather than sitting on a committee that's going to pick out the next police chief!
Committee members will conduct the interviews with five people appointed by city commissioners to ask questions an provide input. But only the four committee members will pick the top five finalists.
From those choices, Manager Martinez will select the next chief.
Another bullshit dog and pony show.  There is no doubt in my mind that Mayor Regalado and his cronies have already picked interim police chief Orosa to be the next police chief, what we're seeing here with this selection committee is a sham proceeding to make it look like Orosa was chosen through a fair and equitable selection process.  Hopefully I'm wrong but somehow I doubt it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Former City of Miami Assistant Fire Chief Veldora Arthur was paid $120,000 while under federal indictment waiting for trial!

Veldora Arthur
That's right!  While federally indicted mortgage fraudster Veldora Arthur was sitting home out on bail awaiting trial, she picked another $120k from the City of Miami for doing absolutely NOTHING!  From Melissa Sanchez's excellent article from El Nuevo Herald via Google translate...

The City of Miami paid more than $ 120,000 to the Deputy Chief of the Fire Department, Veldora Arthur, waiting at home to be prosecuted for mortgage fraud, even though a rule municipal states that non-union employees should be suspended without pay or transferred when they are accused of a crime.
From February to September, Arthur had to stay home from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. I could only go out for a lunch break and had to call this office twice a day.
Sorry to hear that Melissa, I don't even get to go out for lunch...
Roberto Suarez, president of the firefighters union, said he did not understand why the City does not reassigned to Arthur while awaiting trial. Arthur was convicted of three counts of fraud on September 30. He was eventually dismissed on October 5.

"Why pay you to do anything when you can put to work"? Suarez said. "Some days? Maybe. Do some weeks? From time to time. But what months? I know of another similar case. "
Not sure what he's saying, I guess Google Translate isn't perfect...

On 3 February, the Federal Attorney's Office charged Arthur and four other people to participate in a mortgage fraud of $ 11 million. Arthur was arrested on February 11 and released the same day on bail of $ 120,000.

The rule states since 1998 municipal non-union employees accused of a crime shall be suspended without pay. Employees cleared of charges should be reinstated to their jobs with back pay. If desired, the administrator can assign these employees to other tasks while waiting for their day in court.

Unionized employees are not subject to the rule, due to different agreements between management and unions. For example, according to a 1989 agreement, firefighters may receive paid leave in such cases. However, Suarez said that in most cases these unionized firefighters are reassigned to other duties.

Arthur ceased to be syndicated by assuming a high administrative position for more than a decade. At the time of his arrest was deputy chief in charge of payroll and quality control.

According to Maurice Kemp, head of the Miami Fire Department, Arthur had been able to recover its previous position of lieutenant, which is covered by the union. If they had, would have decreased his salary of more than $ 184.000. In addition, a pension of $ 167,000.

According to Chief Mo Kemp?  Wasn't that Veldora's boyfriend?
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, who was administrator and former Miami fire chief, said Arthur could top having lowered to its previous non-administrative position, so that was protected by the union.

After the arrest of Arthur, his superiors took no action. Kemp said he had been evaluating the charges since 12 February.

"Because Arthur had been out of the office on leave, using their personal days for all days but one February, there was an urgency to reach a decision on their status," Kemp wrote in a recent e-mail to El Nuevo Herald.

On 21 February, blogger The Straw Buyer, was the first to write about the case. The next day, the local press started asking questions to Kemp. At that time, Kemp wrote a memo to Arthur allowing you to continue in office even restricting their access to funds these days departamento.En Kemp met with city administrators to determine what to do with Arthur. Both the then manager, Tony Crapp Jr., as the then chief financial officer, Larry Spring, and others involved in the decision said they preferred not to comment on the case. Johnny Martinez, the current administrator, as the Department of the City Attorney, referred questions to Kemp.

On March 2, Spring Kemp sent an email in which Arthur ruled that separate out their duties with pay.

"This is based on our previous conversations and a review of the rule," wrote Spring.

According to Giménez, administrators can exercise their discretion in applying the rule.

"Right, wrong, indifferent, they came to a decision," he said. "Did you follow politics? Yes, because they have that discretion. "

Beverly Pruitt, Director of Employee Relations of the City, said he did not have records of employees who have been placed under license with or without pay because of an indictment.

Suarez said many firefighters believe that Arthur was treated favoritism. He said the media attention on the case determined that perhaps sent home.
 LOL!  Would that be the media attention that we caused?!

"There are many positions to which they could be assigned as being in charge of the 911 call center," said Suarez. "Apparently, someone in the administration of the City does not want to deal with the drama of her in the office."

Kemp said he was aware of the growing media interest, but felt that did not influence the decision.

That's not what I heard MO!
Arthur also took 125 hours of accrued vacation leave in excess of $ 11,000. During the trial, used three-week vacation. Mayor Tomas Regalado said he wants the Office of the City Attorney investigate the issue to see if it can recover all the money paid to Arthur.

"Having been found guilty, she should return the money," said Regalado.

Arthur remains jailed in Miami while awaiting sentencing on December 16. He has hired a new lawyer.
What?  Here we go again with the idiots from the City talking about clawing back hundreds of thousands of dollars only after the money had already been dolled out!  What a bunch of shit.  I don't know what's worse, the Mayor's bullshit reaction about Veldora picking up $120k for sitting on her fat ass at home or the fact that once again to get real news we have to turn to the Spanish language El Nuevo Herald rather than the English language Miami Herald.  FUUUUUUUK! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Conflict anyone?

By now all of you here in the City of Miami must be familiar with the ongoing feud between long time Coconut Grove resident Reid Welch and City of Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff which culminated in Mr. Sarnoff violently attacking Mr. Welch a few weeks back.  Our friend Al Crespo covered the story, here is the Police incident report where Mr. Welch is clearly identified as the "victim"...

That's all well and good until Mr. Sarnoff's wife decided to serve Mr. Welch with a restraining order...

Ok, whatever.  Now this is where things get interesting, on Monday Mr. Welch had to appear before a Miami circuit court judge regarding this restraining order where the judge continued the case till January 6, 2012.  Mrs. Sarnoff was represented by an attorney named Jay Solowsky while Mr. Sarnoff was represented by a City of Miami attorney named George Wysong, this is where things get a little interesting.  Let's take a look at Mr. Wysong's bio from the City of Miami website...
Mr. Wysong serves as the Police Legal Advisor for the City of Miami Police Department. In that capacity, he handles matters which affect the Police Department, and provides counsel and advice to the Chief of Police and his staff, litigates contraband forfeiture cases, prepares legal bulletins for dissemination to the sworn police officers, provides advices and counsel to the City's Emergency Operations Center in times of emergency. In addition to those duties, Mr. Wysong also reviews contracts and agreements relating to the Police Department and drafts legislation relating to quality of life issues.
So Mr Wysong is the City of Miami police liason, from his bio says his job is to "handle matters which affect the Police Department."  If that's the case, why was he representing Sarnoff at this hearing?  In fact, based on his bio, shouldn't he have been attending this hearing on behalf of the City of Miami police department who should have arrested Mr. Sarnoff for his assault on Mr. Welch?  Doesn't this constitute a serious conflict of interest for Mr. Wysong?

Now, this isn't the first time that I've found Mr. Wysong wearing two hats, there are several other instances where Mr. Wysong has found himself in places where he shouldn't be where there is a clear and undeniable conflict, we're going to have to wait a couple of weeks before we can reveal those stories.  Regardless, if this was any other city, I'd be shocked and appalled at Mr. Wysong's behavior but it's Miami so it's par for the course!

On another note, for those of you that have been following my story regarding the "body wire at attorney's office", things are about to get a lot more interesting.  It seems as if the attorney whose privileged conversations were recorded at the behest of assistant state attorney Bill Kostrzewski isn't too happy about those recordings being made...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meanwhile back at the City of Miami...

Forgive me folks, I've been sick as a dog and haven't been able to attend to the blog over the last couple of days.  While we're doing our best to recuperate, take a look at our friend Al Crespo's site where he's been discussing how the City of Miami somehow managed to miss it's payroll a few weeks back.  Considering the overwhelming majority of employees over at the city aren't fat cats making six figure plus salaries, most of the folks over there are hardworking people living paycheck to paycheck on menial salaries, one can only imagine how devastating it must have been for them to have missed a paycheck.  

Considering how many employees must have been ticked off about not getting paid and the financial turmoil the city is in, does City Manager Johnny Martinez's choice of vehicles to drive to work give you any kind of indication about his mindset?  Take a look at Mr. Martinez's ride...

Nice.  While the city is in financial turmoil and the budget is being balanced on the backs of the city's employees, the City Manager rolls into work in a $100k+ BMW.  Martinez's choice of vehicles only tells me one thing...

Who cares whether or not Martinez has a $100k+ car or not, but why take it to work when you're asking the city employees to make tremendous sacrifices in order to balance your budget?  Even worse after you've managed to screw up and missed paying them?  Couldn't he have had someone give him a ride or take a city vehicle over to City Hall?  I've always been told it's all about appearances, especially when you employee people who make less than you.  Why in the world would you want to flaunt a vehicle like this that's worth three or four times more than the majority of your employees make in a year?  Like I said, it just seems like the people in the upper echelons of the City of Miami just don't give a fuck.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like it never happened...

Stephen Orchard
You all remember attorney Stephen Orchard, don't you?  Mr. Orchard was one of the two attorneys that were federally indicted as part of the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud case who on the eve of trial was given a sweetheart deal by the prosecutors and sent on his way.  Let's not forget that Mr. Orchard was accused of committing among other things conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice for his part in the over sixteen million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that the feds labeled "Operation Copout".  I'm not sure how, but somehow this evening I stumbled upon Mr. Orchard's law firm's website and couldn't help but wonder what's happened since the government cut him loose from the criminal case.  From the looks of the website, Mr. Orchard seems to be doing just fine, but I wonder, what happened to the investigation into Mr. Orchard's involvement with the alleged frauds involved with the Plantation cops case?  A quick glance at Mr. Orchard's bar page reveals no disciplinary actions...

 That's all well and good for Mr. Orchard but what about his former boss and fellow defendant attorney Steven Stoll who was also federally indicted for his role in "Operation Copout", we know the government chose not to retry him after his first trial ended with a mistrial, but what about the Florida bar?  From Mr. Stoll's bar page...

David Rodriguez
You guessed it, NADA.  What's the big deal you ask?  No big deal I guess, I just wonder, why is there such great disparity in how the organization that regulates and disciplines attorneys handles different cases?  Those of you who've been following our blog for a while surely remember attorney David Rodriguez who was the target in one the Miami Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task force's first cases.  The cops had Mr. Rodriguez dead to rights, after all he was negotiating the crooked deals with an undercover cop who just happened to be one of the members of the Task Force!  Surely by now nearly four years after his arrest and subsequent plea, Mr. Rodriguez must have been disciplined by the Florida bar, right?  Once again, from his Florida Bar page...

Anyone surprised?  Four years after his arrest, four years after a plea and the subsequent sealing of his criminal record, not a single action from the bar.  

Once again, what's the big deal about any of this?  No big deal I guess unless you've picked up on the fact that whether it's the Florida Bar or the state attorneys office, their choice of prosecutions seems to be highly selective.  While some people are put through the ringer, others aren't even investigated.  Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm of the belief that if an attorney pleads out to a crime, they should receive some sort of discipline from the appropriate professional governing bodies.  Let's see if they still sit back and do nothing after we get done filing our complaints.