Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taking another look at Armando Codina's second deposition for the Michelle Spence-Jones bribery case.

We discussed certain elements of Mr. Codina's deposition last Friday as outlined by our friend Francisco Alvarado in his Miami New Times article.  Specifically the New Times story discussed Mr Codina's displeasure with the prosecutor who took a statement from him regarding his donation to Dade Community Foundation that was to be used for a charity event to honor Barbara Carey-Schuler after telling Mr. Codina that the event never happened and that Spence-Jones pocketed the money for her own use.  
The problem is that the event did happen and once Mr. Codina found out, he said the prosecutor had mislead him...
"You told me there had not been an event," Codina told Scruggs. "You told me that the charity was a fake and that she had used the money as her own piggybank...that no event had taken place and that she had pocketed the money." 
The prosecutor went ahead and based his case against Spence-Jones on this flawed testimony from Mr. Codina, while several other people have written about the first part of the deposition where Mr. Codina confronts the prosecutor for misleading him, no one has mentioned anything about Mr. Codina's cross examination by Spence-Jones defense attorney Peter Raben, take a look for yourselves...
Q. My client has been charged with grand theft in that acquiring $12,500 contribution from you in March has been charged under the Florida statute saying it was a theft.  As you sit here today, do you believe that you were the victim of a theft by my client?

A. No.

Q. Okay, do you believe that you donated money or you made this contribution as a result of fraud, a willful misrepresentation or false premise by my client?

A. I made the contribution because of what was on that e-mail, and as I know it today, my money was deposited at the Dade Community Foundation, so I would have to say no.  
Can it get any clearer than that?
THE WITNESS:  I said, as I know today, the money was deposited in the Dade Community Foundation, so I would have to say no, I don't think that I was defrauded.
Just in case it wasn't clear enough!
Q. When you say you think you were defrauded at one time, is that based upon the statements that were made to you by Mr. Scruggs when you met with him?

A. Yes, sir.
Q.  Okay, and in terms of what the money was going to be for, would you agree that it was an unrestricted gift to the charity to be administered at the discretion of  the Dade Community Foundation?

A.  Yes.  If  Dade Community Foundation deemed it to be a legitimate charity, I'm perfectly okay with that.  I can't replace my judgment for theirs.
Q.  You trusted their judgment? 
A.  Yes, I trust them.  I trust the Dade Community Foundation to a large degree.

Based on the testimony we just read, where does that leave the states case against Spence-Jones?  If indeed the testimony Mr. Codina originally gave was obtained by the prosecutor lying and misrepresenting the facts that lead up to her arrest then it seems to me there's nothing left.  

Let's see what the jury thinks...


  1. Thanks for telling the story the Herald won't.

  2. Hallelujah! The truth come out! The prosecutor is on a witchhunt! He has nothing other than a complete disregard for justice. He is out to get Michelle regardless of her innocence. Thank you Strawbuyer for setting the record straight.

  3. Another piece of INCREDIBLE EVIDENCE: (from which is local 10's website)

    " Codina's leasing agent, Jack Lowell, denied knowing of bribes for the vote.

    "Brickell Avenue is known as the Park Avenue of the South, and particularly for the international banking community, a Brickell address has always been preferred," Lowell said.

    The street the developers wanted renamed actually was under state jurisdiction. A memo is part of evidence showing that Codina and his associates knew that and knew that Miami commissioners did not even have a say.


  4. wtfitsawitchhungMarch 2, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Just saw this on the Herald blog:

    The following quote is from

    Scruggs admitted he withheld key information from attorneys on both sides of the Smith case as well as from a New Times reporter. It was all part of an effort to convict Smith for allegedly stealing more than $10,000 in county grant money.

    "Very unprofessional," Judge Beatrice Butchko scolded Scruggs on Friday. "Not only did you need to call them, you needed to draft a letter explaining exactly what happened... That didn't happen."

    Scruggs cut his teeth in Miami's U.S. Attorney's Office, sending to prison some of the worst criminals in county history. He is prosecuting not only Smith but also suspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

    Butchko's scolding came after Smith claimed the case should be dropped because the prosecutor failed to immediately reveal that a police officer had secretly taped two interviews with the pastor.

    Butchko ruled the recordings could not be used, which was a blow to state prosecutors. She also admonished Scruggs for his dealings with Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts. "I couldn't believe," the judge said, "you testified in court that you intentionally tried to get around complying with a lawful public records request because you don't like the practice. You can't do that."

    WTF does that say about this prosecutor???? Get with it people this guy is not interested in justice. All he wants is to score a win on the back of Spence Jones. She is the stink that people smell, he is...

  5. You fail to disclose that Spence-Jones kept the $25,000 in a drawer for six months. She wanted to divert the money to herself. When people began to investigate she finally deposited the checks and had the proposed event.

    Report the six month delay.

    Don't forget the $50,000 Spence-Jones took from
    Miami-Dade County. Don't forget the unpaid rent to the landlord of her failed business.

  6. 9:58, That's fine, so why wasn't the case based on those facts rather than on a coerced statement from Armando Codina? Same deal with the other case, if it's about the misappropriation of the $50k why did the prosecutor have to build his case on the bogus testimony of Barbra Carey-Schuler?

    I'm not defending Spence-Jones, if she's a crook the she needs to be brought to justice but not through a prosecution based on lies and fabricated testimony. What's the problem, doesn't the state have enough "legitimate" evidence to bring her down?

  7. Unfortunately anonymous 58, You are just like the prosecutor. Because the check (not cash) was not immediately deposited doesn't prove a thing. There is no evidence at all that she intended to divert the funds for herself. Your saying it doesn't make it so.

    The 50k that went to her company prior to her being elected was all done above board and there was no forged letter as the prosecution contended.

    This is all a political witchhunt by a prosecutor.

  8. What is up with the Herald???? Look at their coverage of Codina's testimony today and that of CBS local

    They don't even seem to care if they come off bias.