Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cast a vote for City of South Miami police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro!

The holidays really aren't conducive to blogging as I'm sure you can imagine! 

In the mean time, take a moment to cast a vote for embattled City of South Miami police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro over at the New Times website for Miami's worst cop of 2012!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our readers perspective on City of South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro's taxpayer funded bariatric surgery and the Miami New Times gives us a mention.

The Miami New Times asked us to figure out what our favorite post of the year was, yesterday they included our pick in their "Miami Political Bloggers Pick Their Favorite Posts of 2012" story.  Ours was of course the post where we discovered City of South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro steering city business to his wife's tag agency, from the New Times story...
Mike Hatami, The StrawbuyerSome fun with Googlemaps and I need a favor, can someone help me find an auto tag agency near South Miami? March 7
"I'd have to say that the blog post where we exposed the South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro's unethical and illegal activities had to be my favorite post of the year because in one fell swoop we managed to turn the tables on the chief. Now the once mighty chief finds himself in a situation where he's fighting for his job and is having to defend himself against the charges filed against him by the ethics commission."
This post began a series unraveling Martinez de Castro's alleged unethical practice of steering work to his wife's auto tag agency, which is now the subject of a Miami-Dade ethics commission complaint. Hatami went after the chief after writing several posts about how his wife allegedly wrongly accused three of her former employees of theft.
I was all ready to put together a great post today about a witness that the Miami Dade Ethics Commission would have loved to talk to in regards to the City of South Miami Police Chief's upcoming ethics hearing but apparently our story yesterday struck a chord with some of our readers, some of which may be City of South Miami residents and taxpayers.

If you recall, yesterday we discussed the police chief's bariatric surgery which as we've come to understand was paid for by a loan by the City of South Miami.  

After we made our post, we received this comment...
I wonder if a resident or tax payer of the City of South Miami can borrow money from the City of South Miami to help pay for medical or personally desired health concerns?
Better yet, can the City of South Miami give a loan to its tax payers or defer the tax bill for those who are WITHOUT health insurance, much less than having a service that is not covered under a health plan?

Lay-off the damn donuts and leave the darn arroz con this or bistec con that alone and you will loose pounds. Now I want to know who approved of this shit without public input.
Does he not make over $140,000. a year in salary, benefits: vacation, medical, dental, vision, auto, gas, long/short and life insurance, All of which is paid by the tax payers? Whats going on here?

What an insightful comment.  Why should a police chief who makes well over $100k per year need to borrow money from the city to get this elective surgery?  As the commenter said, if you really want to lose weight...
Lay-off the damn donuts and leave the darn arroz con this or bistec con that alone and you will loose pounds.
You forgot to mention all this crap as well...

Honestly, wtf?!  

The commenter says it best...
Does he not make over $140,000. a year in salary, benefits: vacation, medical, dental, vision, auto, gas, long/short and life insurance, All of which is paid by the tax payers? Whats going on here?
Our next commenter then puts things in perspective...
the manager hector mirable approved this for his friend orlando martinez de castro. the combination of these two were very unhealthy for the city of south miami and for the residents.
Exactly.  With these two characters at the helm of the city tag teaming the citizens and taxpayers of South Miami, anything was possible, even something as outrageous lending the chief the money for an elective surgery.  

To be honest with you, we really wish the Chief would have asked us about our thoughts on dieting as we have a far cheaper alternative to surgery...

Regardless, I've put in several public information requests regarding the loan for the weight loss surgery as well as a whole host of other issues regarding the embattled chief, so we'll have to wait and see if the city is going to play ball or if we're going to have to sue them to get the records, as of now it's not looking like they want to cooperate with us.  That's all for now folks, I'll post up my story about that witness we discussed earlier on Monday then I'll spend the gap between the holidays summarizing our posts over the last year as they pertained to the Airways Auto Tag story and the City of South Miami's Police Chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Miami Herald scooped our scoop!

Last week we concluded one of our posts with this question...
For those of you over in South Miami, have you noticed how much weight the Chief has lost? You'll never guess who footed the bill for his bariatric surgery!
I intended to go deeper into this story and reveal just who ended up paying for the chief's surgery but our friend Andrea Torres ended up beating us to the punch in her article yesterday regarding the chief...
On Friday, Hatami wrote in his blog: “Have you noticed how much weight the chief has lost? You’ll never guess who footed the bill for his bariatric surgery.” After the insurance company denied coverage for the procedure, records show Martinez de Castro borrowed about $10,000 earlier this year from the city as part of a health care payment account to cover part of the cost of the surgery, which he has been paying the city back in installments.
LOL!  So the chief borrowed the money from the City to get his bariatric surgery done?!

I'm having a hard time comprehending that.  I'm going to guess that the chief must have demonstrated to the city in some way shape or form that the weight loss surgery was absolutely necessary and that he didn't have the financial resources to pay for the procedure on his own.  That seems fair enough, but why would the chief have to borrow the money from the city in these trying economic times?  Does that seem fair to his fellow city employees or for that matter to the taxpayers of the City of South Miami?  This doesn't sound kosher to me, in fact I have information that police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro was far from needing a loan from the city to perform this procedure, in fact I have evidence that the chief himself is flush and was actively loaning large sums of money on a routine basis to others.

I'll have to put in another useless public information request regarding this loan for the chief's weight loss surgery to see what we can come up with.  Don't hold your breath though as the city of South Miami's clerks office has been somewhat less than helpful to date.  

In the meantime, come on back tomorrow and check out the Christmas gift we're going to give our friends over at the Miami Dade County Ethics Commission to help them along with the chief's ethics investigation...

Read more here:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The emperor has no clothes on! City of South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro is slowly losing his powers over at the city.

In a startling move last night, the City of South Miami city commission voted to relieve embattled police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro of two of his most important duties other than running the police department.  I'm not exactly sure why but up until last night the city's code enforcement office and the city's parking operations were under the command and control of the police chief.  This makes absolutely no sense to me, shouldn't the chief be busy running his police force rather than taking care of matters that really have nothing to do with his intended role?

As we saw several month ago, the police chief used his code enforcement department to illegally detain local handyman Warren Papove with allegations of "working without a permit" until Immigration agents were able to arrive and arrest him for immigration violations that had nothing to do with the alleged code enforcement issue.  We're going to learn a little later another major reason why the chief was in charge of code enforcement, but suffice it to say that he's no longer in charge.  The commission voted 3 to 2 to remove the code enforcement department from the chief's control.  As I understand it, they voted to remove the parking department from the chief's control as well but it has to go to another vote before it's finalized.  Little by little, it seems that the chief is losing his grip on the city, I suspect the next step is going to be the new City Manager showing him the door...

Now, we had an interesting comment on yesterday's post...
Oh this is an easy one.. I try to have the answer before I ask the question with my city. That way it is easier to prove they are lying.. I actually had to vist Ms. Rundle and her Public corruption staff many a time when I found the city to be lying.. The city was out on notice that next time i will sue their asses off. Re-submit your PRR with as many names as possible. When they search their mainframe it is based on keywords. Do yourself a favor and ask for all text messages and emails from the Chiefs city issued phone. Watch the sparks fly. The city will try and nail you with expenses but they cannot. The carrier has all this information and the client is entitled to it. The city is the client, therefore no work must be done.
That's a great comment, I had never thought to ask for the chief's text messages.  As far as being stonewalled by the city clerk with my public information requests, that's real simple.  I've been told that the IT people over at the city as well as the vendor that the city uses for their IT work are all friends of the chief so it's easy to understand why I'm not getting anywhere with my requests.  After all, doesn't it stand to reason that if there's incriminating emails that will paint the chief in a bad light that his friends would do everything they can to keep them from coming to light?  Regardless, if we don't get anywhere with these requests, we'll take a page from our friend Al Crespo's book and go ahead and sue the city for the documents that we suspect exist and are being kept from us.

On another note, I've been told from several sources that the Miami Dade County Ethics Commission has been sending out subpoenas to various city departments and employees  in preparation for his ethics hearing in January.  If anyone reading has one of these subpoenas, please get me a copy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm beginning to think that the folks over at the City of South Miami don't wan't to cooperate with me.

Is it just me or do the people over at the City of South Miami's clerk office not want to cooperate with me? I've sent over a few public information requests to the city clerk, the first few were ignored and most recently I got this response when I requested any and all email communications between City of Miami director of human resources Latasha Nickle and the police chief's wife, Ileana Martinez de Castro or any representatives of Airways Auto Tag Agency...
Regarding the Public Records request below for any and all emails between Latasha Nickle and Iliana Martinez de Castro there are no messages that come up on a search with that criteria. The PRR also requests that any emails from employees of the agency be included however without specific names that search cannot be performed. I have no information on the agency or it’s employees.
Thank you

That's strange, either I was vague about the scope of my public information request or there are no emails between the parties that I identified in my request or worse, the emails that I requested do exist and someone over at the City of South Miami is trying to keep anyone from seeing them.

So what's the big deal you ask about some possible emails between a human resources director and the police chief or his wife?  A quick search reveals a very interesting fact about Ms. Nickle, it seems that in addition to her job as a Human Resources director over at the city, Ms. Nickle is also an attorney who's office address is listed as the City of South Miami's city hall...

Now there certainly is nothing wrong with a lawyer being the director of Human Resources although I'm sure this isn't the job Ms. Nickle had in mind when she graduated from law school.  So what's the point of all this?  I'm guessing with a lawyer on staff over at the city, especially one that's in such close proximity to the police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, that there's a pretty good chance that the chief may use Ms. Nickle to do legal work that has nothing to do with the city or any city business.  After all, imagine the convenience of having a lawyer at your beck and call just a few steps away from you free of charge to you?  It's certainly a possibility.   What remains to be seen though is whether or not the chief actually had Ms. Nickle do any legal work for him and if he did so whether or not there were any email correspondences between them, if indeed there were then these emails would be subject to a public information request under Public Records Act, Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes.

We'll give the public information request another shot, perhaps this time we'll word it a bit differently and maybe we'll get lucky, if we do though then things are going to get a lot worse for the police chief...

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Friday!

I apologize to everyone for not having something better to put up today, too many leads, too much work and not enough time.  While I'm busy muddling through today, make sure you all go over to our friend Al Crespo's site and take a look at the latest jam our state attorney finds herself in, the possibly prosecution of one of her political allies City of Miami Commissioner Willy Gort who is being accused of almost the exact same charges that landed former North Miami mayor Myron Rosner in jail.  The difference between Rosner and Gort is that Rosner wasn't part of the "political machine" that runs this town.  We'll have to wait and see how the state attorneys office will wiggle their way out of filing charges against Commissioner Gort, perhaps much the same way they did in former Doral Police Chief Gomez's case that we discussed yesterday.

Regardless, I'm working on a number of stories regarding our favorite police chief over in the City of South Miami, Orlando Martinez de Castro.  For those of you over in South Miami, have you noticed how much weight the Chief has lost?  You'll never guess who footed the bill for his bariatric surgery!  Stay tuned, till then take a look at these delicious donuts...


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Doral police chief fired after prosecutors refused to press charges against him.

Check out the video from WSVN 7...


After an FDLE investigation there appears to have been some allegations of bid rigging and theft, allegations that were so serious that the FDLE special investigator even prepared an arrest warrant   for former Doral Police Chief Ricardo "Ricky" Gomez...

Gomez Affidavit

Once the FDLE investigation was concluded, the matter was turned over to our state attorney' public corruption unit who refused to file charges against him, the state attorneys close out memo can be found here...

Gomez Close-Out Memo

Specifically the prosecutor stated that:
There is no evidence that a crime has been committed.
How can this happen you ask, especially when the FDLE investigators report couldn't have been clearer regarding the crimes that allegedly took place?  Perhaps the words of former City of Miami police chief Miguel Exposito describing the state attorney sum it up best...
"The problem I have with her is that she is very aggressive against certain politicians or government workers, yet with others she takes the soft approach.  She gives you all the reasons in the world not to go after them..."
Well said, I think the Chief hit the nail right on the head.  Despite a scathing report and subsequent arrest warrant from FDLE somehow the state attorneys office found "every reason in the world" not to go after Chief Gomez.  

I don't know the relationship between our state attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and former Doral police chief Ricardo Gomez, all I know is that Gomez is a veteran of the Miami Dade PD.  Perhaps Chief Gomez has a history with the state attorney similar to the one that City of South Miami police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro claims to have?  It wouldn't be fair to speculate until we know if indeed there was some sort of relationship that would cause the state attorney to toss out the case against Chief Gomez but if there was, would anyone be surprised?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


We left off last Thursday discussing the possibility of a conflict existing between the State Attorney's office in the prosecution of a crime committed where the victim is actually a friend or relative of the state attorney.  If such an instance did occur, do you think it's possible for the victim to get a fair shake?  From our last post discussing the matter...
Indulge me for a moment, say that "friend" did make a call to Ms. Rundle and told her about the alleged wrong that had been done to them, would it be possible for Ms. Rundle to get personally involved in the case, perhaps maybe even taking the rookie line prosecutor that was handling the case off and reassigning a veteran prosecutor to make sure the case went down the way she wanted? 
Imagine for a moment if this very scenario did occur, can you imagine the tremendous amount of pressure that would be on the prosecutor to make sure he achieved a conviction against the alleged victims that supposedly committed a crime against the state attorneys friend or family member?  The possibility of failing to convict would leave me scared shitless!

So what's the point of all this talk of conflicts and such?  Is this a purely hypothetical situation?  I can't say for sure as I haven't been able to confirm but what I have been told by several different sources that are very, very close to City of South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro is that he is very, very close to our state attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle.  In fact, I'm told that the chief has told anyone that would listen that he was at Mr. Rundle's father's bedside when he passed away.  Can you get closer than that?

Now, if we accept the presumption that the chief and our state attorney are extremely close friends, perhaps as close as you can get without being related by blood, does it seem fair for her office to prosecute a crime that was allegedly committed against the chief or his family?  To me it seems like there's an obvious conflict of interest.  Somehow it seems to me that the prosecutors role might be compromised in this instance, what's that old saying about a prosecutors job?  Something about the "search for truth" rather than achieving a conviction no matter what, somehow with an obvious conflict like this one it seems like that "search for truth" may be second to "achieving a conviction no matter what".  While I'm not suggesting that would be the case with our state attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, it could certainly be a possibility.

With that possibility of a conflict of interest in mind, let's take a look at the Airways Auto Tag case for a moment.  For those of you who've forgotten about the case, it's where the City of South Miami's police chief's wife alleges that three tellers who worked for her stole tens of thousands of dollars while working at her tag agency.  Of course, the case is being prosecuted by our local state attorneys office, the same state attorney that the police chief says that he has a very close if not almost familial relationship with.  Am I the only one that thinks there's a possible conflict of interest here by Ms. Rundle's office prosecuting this case?  If nothing else, in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, shouldn't Ms. Rundle's office recuse themselves from prosecuting this case?  

I know if I was a defense attorney representing these tellers, that would have been my first move!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Police and prosecutorial misconduct all in one.

I watched an amazing heart wrenching documentary by Ken Burns yesterday called The Central Park Five, this is a must see documentary that whose subject matter is the wrongful prosecution of five innocent children who were wrongfully alleged to have raped a jogger in Central Park back in the late '80's.  The story is a textbook example of both police and prosecutorial misconduct.  Here is a trailer for the movie...

You can find a detailed account of what went on here...

The case is just another case study of an overzealous prosecutor overstepping their bounds and police who were all to eager to put together a case and make arrests regardless of the truth.  How many times does this have to happen before we put a stop to it?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Conflict of interest anyone?

Conflict of interest, it's a simple concept. Before we move on, let's be clear about what the term means, from Wikipedia...
A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.
Easy enough, right?  The definition goes on to state...
A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.
This bit is also very important...
...a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs.
Katherine Rundle
With that said, let's turn for a moment to our beloved State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, arguably one of the most powerful and best liked people in our county.  Considering how long Ms. Rundle has been at the head of the state attorneys office, one can only imagine how many people close friends she must have and how many people she's done business with.  It's safe to assume that at some point or another a situation arises where a friend or business partner unfortunately becomes the victim of a crime that her office ultimately will prosecute.  Now, I can't say with any certainty if there's an instance where that friend or business associate picks up the phone and tells Ms. Rundle personally about what's happened to them but can you imagine being the poor alleged criminal if that call was made?  YIKES!  I don't even want to think how that would play out.  

Indulge me for a moment, say that "friend" did make a call to Ms. Rundle and told her about the alleged wrong that had been done to them, would it be possible for Ms. Rundle to get personally involved in the case, perhaps maybe even taking the rookie line prosecutor that was handling the case off and reassigning a veteran prosecutor to make sure the case went down the way she wanted?  Although it's simply conjecture, it is certainly plausible.

Another instance of a possible conflict of interest for Ms. Rundle would be if one of her friends or business associates was accused of some sort of wrong doing.  A most recent example of just such a case was when there was an investigation into the Absentee Ballot Broker scandal, Ms. Rundle explained it best in her press release...
Now that the arrest of Deisy Penton De Cabrera has been accomplished and she is facing a felony and two misdemeanor charges related to absentee ballot fraud, I have today asked the Governor’s office for an Executive Assignment of this case to another prosecutor’s office.

Unsubstantiated allegations have recently been brought to my attention that a person who has been assisting in my campaign was alleged to have been seen in the company of this defendant. I am therefore taking this action to avoid even the possibility that my pending election will cause any distraction to the prosecution of this case. I am also doing this with the intent of toning down the rhetoric so that this case can progress in a normal and expeditious manner for the benefit of our community.
While I don't know about the "unsubstantiated allegations" part, we know that Ms. Rundle employed a consultant named Al Lorenzo who some were alleging had links to the ballot broker that was arrested son in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, Ms. Rundle recused herself from the case.  Any reasonable person would agree that this was the right thing to do.

So, where am I going with all this?  The astute among you already know exactly what I'm talking about and exactly who has a conflict of interest in several of the cases that we've been writing about.  I'm off today to confirm that these conflicts do exist and I'll report back tomorrow.

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones opens up a can of whoop ass on State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle!

We've discussed City of Miami Commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones, and her legal struggles over the last several years many times throughout the course of our blog.  Following her legal battles with the state attorneys office was especially tough for me as I saw many parallels in how they dealt with her with how the state dealt with my wife's case from back in October 2008, fabricated evidence, coercion of witnesses, lying prosecutors etc.  Most damaging though was the loss of reputation and standing in the community not to mention the financial devastation that was visited on my family and I'm sure the Spence-Jones household as well.

If you're fortunate enough to have your criminal case either dismissed or go to trial and be acquitted, everyone tells you to be happy, put it behind you and go on your way and try the best you can to put your life back together.  That's really tough to stomach as a victim of a wrongful or malicious prosecution, how can you sit back and have your life be ruined and then not want to get revenge when you're vindicated?  Even worse, when people tell you that you should be thankful to the state attorneys office for dismissing the charges against you?  WTF?  Luckily, our friend Michelle Spence-Jones wasn't having any part of that nonsense and yesterday she took the first step in finding justice and punishing those who tried to destroy her by filing this lawsuit in federal court...

Michelle Spence-jones Lawsuit Against Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Tomas Regalado

Take the time and read the complaint, it's incredible.  Someone has finally memorialized what we have all known to be true here in Miami, that there is a political mob that runs this town that all work together to cover each other and to go after what they perceive as common enemies.  More on this later, as I believe that this lawsuit speaks directly to several of the cases that we've been writing about recently.

Also, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you who both publicly and privately have sent me messages regarding the passing of my father.  I can't tell you how much it means to me to know that there are people out there who I've never even met, let alone know, that took time out of their day to think about me.  Thank you friends, you guys are the reason that I keep moving forward.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The police chief speaks out!

Or so we're to believe.  Someone using the user name "OMC" made a post over at the Leo Affairs website under the thread title "The Chief is in really deep $hit!", it reads as follows:

Re: The chief is really in deep $hit!

Postby OMC » 11/29/12 23:15:24
No, I am not! I am not going anywhere either, and IF the honorable mayor and commissioners want to force the incoming manager to fire me, go ahead and pay my exit! Until then, I am staying right here, doing what I do best . . . serving and protecting the citizens of South Miami.

No kidding?  If we are to believe that the person who made this post was indeed embattled City of South Miami police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro, this would make it the first public comment by the chief regarding the ongoing scandal that has arisen from the ethics investigation stemming from the alleged steering of city business to his wife's tag agency.

We also also have a hearing to look forward to this morning in the criminal case that is still pending against the chief's wife's three former tellers from her tag agency that were alleged to have stolen tens of thousands of dollars.  From all indications, the case is quickly falling apart as we speak and I'm told that if it does go to trial, it will do so within the next week.

On another note, I think it only fair to our readers for me to mention that I have been out of the loop since last Wednesday, my father passed away unexpectedly and I've been preoccupied dealing with his death and spending time with my family.  I'll do my best to keep up with the most recent developments with our stories but if you see that I don't post for a few days here and there at least you'll know why.

Till next time!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Miami Dade County Ethics Commission slams local politicians...

We received a press release from the Miami Dade Ethics Commission yesterday detailing several cases that they've brought against local politicians.  From the press release...
The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today found Probable Cause that North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre exploited his position from October of 2009 through January of 2012 by avoiding payment of rental fees at a municipal athletic field used by his soccer club. Mayor Pierre engaged in this activity even though a resolution was unanimously passed by the North Miami City Council in April 2010, which established policies for park rentals and limited fee waivers to certain qualified organizations for only one no-cost use per year. The complaint (C12-35) charged that Pierre’s group, the “North Miami Taxpayers Soccer Club,” used the fields more than 100 times without paying. Mayor Pierre objected to the accusation through his attorney, who argued the mayor was following proper protocol by utilizing the facility for “pick-up soccer games” and claimed the usage was consistent with “community service” activities of the city. The case will proceed to a public hearing.
It's about time someone brought some sort of an action against this character. Unfortunately local authorities have chosen to ignore Mr. Pierre's most egregious crimes and somehow latched onto this infraction. Oh well...
Also today, the Ethics Commission found Probable Cause that Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo exploited his official position by calling the Miami police chief after being pulled over for a traffic violation in Coconut Grove this past August. The investigation shows that, after being pulled over, Carollo called the chief, who subsequently called the area commander, who then told dispatchers to have the officer call him. The officer let Carollo go with a warning. The determination found that Carollo may have used or intended to exploit his position to influence police officials, which is a violation of the Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance. Through his attorney, the Commissioner contended his phone call was intended to determine why several police vehicles and a city recycling truck were blocking the road. Carollo also claimed that he never asked for special treatment or expressed concern with the officer’s stop. Another part of the complaint (C 12-32) accused Commissioner Carollo of using his position to have trees planted in the swale near his home. Since the trees were part of a larger distribution through the district and did not solely benefit Carollo, No Probable Cause was found on that portion of the complaint by the Ethics Commission.
Get pulled over by the cops then call the chief to get you off.  Wouldn't there have been a better way to deal with this?  What a dick!  If I'm not mistaken, we can credit our friend Al Crespo for bringing about these complaints against Mr. Carollo. Nice work Al!
The COE also found Probable Cause on a complaint (C 12-41) against Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, accusing him of failing to properly disclose a gift. Sarnoff traveled to Brazil for activities associated with the Volvo Ocean Race at the stop prior to the race’s arrival in Miami last May. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reimbursed Sarnoff for all of his expenses. The COE disagreed with the Miami City Attorney who had opined to the commissioner that, because he was partaking in an official activity, he did not need to report the trip as a gift. During the investigation, it was learned that Volvo Ocean Race reimbursed Sarnoff for his wife’s roundtrip airfare. Prior opinions had determined that payment for a spouse’s expenses should be reported as a gift by an elected official. The Ethics Commission voted to issue one Letter of Instruction to the City Attorney clarifying when a business trip must be reported as a gift and another Letter of Instruction to Commissioner Sarnoff advising him to report reimbursement of his wife’s travel expenses as a gift to him.
That's it? Considering all the questionable behavior that Mr. Sarnoff has been involved in during his tenure as a City of Miami commissioner, this is all they could come up with? Regardless, once again, we can credit our friend Al Crespo for bringing this story to the public.

Having the Ethics Commission finding probable cause against these local politicians is all well and good but what's the point of all of this if all they're going to do is give them a slap on the wrist, a minor fine and then send them on their way?  In the instance of City of South Miami police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro and his pending ethics case, if he's found guilty of any of the charges brought against him, he automatically loses his job as per the City of South Miami code of ethics ordinance... 

Willful violation of this subsection shall constitute malfeasance in office and shall effect forfeiture of office or position.

So what remains to be seen is how the Chief's ethics case plays out, will he proceed to a full public hearing and risk getting found guilty of the charges filed against him or will cut a deal at the last minute pleading to a lesser charge and hope to keep his job?  Who knows, but no worries, before we get there, we have to get over to the ethics commission and discuss some of the chief's newest ethics violations, one of which definitely rises to the level of criminality.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fired City of Miami police chief Kenneth Harms pens a rather peculiar letter to City of South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard.

It looks like someone over at the City of South Miami finally started to pay attention to my public information requests!  A few weeks back I requested a copy of a letter former City of Miami Police Chief Kenneth Harms sent to City of South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard regarding the alleged lewd behavior that occurred at the mayor's home right after an exchange student staying at his home discovered that the home had been broken into.  For those of you who don't know who Mr. Harms is, this article from back in 1984 sums it up nicely...

Essentially Mr. Harms was at the helm of the City of Miami police department during the race riots of the 1980's where the predominately white City of Miami police force was perceived to have an anti black bias.  Regardless, Mr. Harms was shit canned and sent on his way.  Since then Mr. Harms has been working as some sort of reserve officer in different police department and has been employed as an investigator for different attorneys and most notably as an investigator for the City of South Miami.  What's most troubling about this last part is that during Mr. Harm's tenure as an "investigator", he was never licensed by the state of Florida as a private investigator nor did he have a current law enforcement certification.  In fact, the only license that the Florida Department of Professional Regulation shows for Mr. Harms is a sales associate for a realator from back in 1994...

Whatever.  Since his firing back in 1984, Mr. Harms has made appearances in the media as a so called expert in law enforcement affairs, it's not uncommon to see one of the sorry excuses for evening news to go to Mr. Harms for a soundbite when there's something law enforcement related going on in the news.  

Another past time for Mr. Harms since his firing has been to interject his opinions on local affairs by writing letters to politicians and the media when he perceives that there's been some sort of wrong committed, case in point, the letter he recently wrote to City of South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard regarding the break in at his house that occurred nearly two years ago.  Take a look at the letter for yourselves...

Kenneth Harms Letter to Mayor Phillip Stoddard

What in the fcuk?  Have you ever read anything as slanderous as this piece of dreck?  First off, Mr. Harms claims to have reached the conclusion that the mayor engaged in some sort of lewd conduct in front of his daughter and a visiting exchange student based on the facts that he found in the police reports.  The fact that Mr. Harms chose to memorialize these slanderous allegations in a letter despite the very police reports he cites not supporting his allegations is laughable to say the least.  Last week we dissected the very same police reports that Mr. Harms references and proved that there was nothing of any substance to prove any of the allegations that Mr. Harms and his cohorts were making.  In fact, City of South Miami Detective King even went so far as to state in one of the reports that...
"At the time of my investigation (exchange students name redacted) didn't make any statement that lead me to believe that there was any illegal activity was (sic) taking place between Stoddard and (exchange students name redacted)."
We went on to conclude that if indeed something untoward had happened at the Mayor's home that morning that the everyone from the City of Miami PD that was present should have been fired and possibly charged criminally for their inaction considering the gravity of the allegations that are now, two years later, being levied against the Mayor.

If those allegations weren't serious enough, Mr. Harms then goes full retard and starts attacking the Mayor personally.  Here are some of the highlights of the letter...
  • Mr Harms calls the mayor "an elitist academician nerd"
  • Mr Harms says the City of South Miami is in "Good Hands" under former city manager Hector Mirabile and soon to be former City of South Miami police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro.
  • Mr Harms believes the system of the community democratically electing its politicians is "seriously flawed" and that the process "rarely results in qualified, competent and honest people"
  • Mr. Harms opines on the "conduct of public officials" as an expert witness
... and blah, blah, blah, blah.  So the mayor is a nerd, the city is in good hands with former city manager Mirabile and ethically challanged chief Martinez de Castro and elections are nonsense and result in the selection of buffons to run the government.

But the best part comes when Mr. Harms refers to the police report for the burglary at the Mayor's home:
"Given the inconsistencies in the report I have serious misgivings about a burglary being visited upon your residence as your (sic) reported"
Wait, what the fuck?  As a "trained law enforcement officer, investigator and manager" Mr Harms should have seen right through those "inconsistencies" in the reports, but he chose not to as the people that wrote those reports with the most slanderous allegations were part of his camp.  Mr. Harms goes on to spew more bullshit regarding the alleged lewd behavior at the mayor's house and finishes up with this...
"...while you are obviously different and out of the main stream of contemporary thought and behavior you should agree to a polygraph to help people decide whether or not you are a sexual predator.
I would also strongly suggest and encourage you to submit to a psychosexual evaluation to determine if you are a further risk to minor children"
In this instance, Mr. Harms is beginning to sound a lot like this asshole...

Honestly, what's crawled up this guys ass and died?  It's simple, you see, former city manager Hector Mirabile and police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro were cronies of Mr. Harms from back in their City of Miami days.  Harms, Martinez de Castro, Mirabile and their backers had a plan for South Miami, a brilliant plan where they were going to control and rape it like their own little fiefdom.  Unfortunately with the firing of city manager Mirabile and the eminent firing of police chief Martinez de Castro their grandiose plans for this sleepy little suburb are now in the toilet.  I can't reveal the details of this "plan" as of yet as I'm still researching and digging up evidence, trust me though, if I'm right, anyone who hears what these guys were up to will be appalled at their actions. 

On another note, if Mr. Harms is so concerned about what's going on in South Miami, why the hell did he wait till November 12, 2012 to review the case file on a burglary that occurred at the Mayor's house nearly two fucking years ago?  Isn't it strange that Mr. Harms waited till the day before he knew that his friend City Manager Mirabile was going to get fired before he dug up the police file on the burglary at the Mayor's house then wrote this nonsensical letter and distributed it all over god's creation shortly thereafter?  Sounds a bit retaliatory to me and a desperate bid to try to help his buddy get his job back, no?

In the mean time, I'd suggest Mr. Harms take that letter that he wrote and have an attorney friend take a look at it.  If I were a betting man, I'd say this isn't the last we're going to hear about this letter and the slanderous allegations that it contains.  It seems to me that Mr Harms was so upset about the eminent collapse of his carefully crafted ambitions for South Miami that he didn't think about what he was putting in that letter.  

Another suggestion for Mr. Harms?  Don't fuck with academician nerds...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The New Times gives us a mention!

Happy Thanksgiving! Our friend, Francisco Alvarado, gave us a mention over at the New Times today, take a look for yourselves. We were honored to name soon to be former City of South Miami Police chief our ham! From the article...

Mike Hatami, the Strawbuyer: Orlando Martinez de Castro, South Miami Police Chief
"I don't have a turkey, but I do have a big ham. Martinez de Castro acts like a general running an army in a third-world dictatorship. He has abused his official position to pressure the state attorney's office into prosecuting three innocent women who worked at his wife's auto tag agency.

The Miami-Dade ethics commission recently found probable cause that Martinez de Castro also violated South Miami's prohibition on transacting business with relatives and the county's conflict of interest and ethics ordinance because he had the police department use his wife's tag agency to get tags and titles for forfeiture vehicles.

When several South Miami elected officials got wise to his shenanigans, Martinez de Castro used his officers to attack his political enemies. For instance, he had Warren Popove, a Canadian national who did odd jobs for Commissioner Bob Welsh, picked up by ICE. Now poor Papove is sitting in a jail cell at Krome Detention Center.
In June, Castro arrested Mayor Phillip Stoddard's friend Michael Davidson-Schmich for resisting arrest without violence. Castro was upset that Davidson-Schmich had the gumption to make a hand gesture to the chief for making an illegal turn.

These are tactics employed by secret police officers in Cuba. It's no coincidence Orlando shares the same last name as Fidel."

LULZ! Have a happy holiday folks, we'll see you on Friday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BUT WAIT! There's more...

Considering that today is the day before Thanksgiving, I really didn't feel like going into another diatribe about the goings on at the City of South Miami, so we'll keep it short today.  Considering the political hatchet job the people behind the scenes are attempting to pull off against the City of South Miami's Mayor, Phillip Stoddard, you'd think they'd at least be a little more sophisticated in the execution of their ill fated plans.  Yesterday we discussed their bogus attempt at discrediting the mayor with phony allegations of impropriety during the burglary of his home, pulling out one of the most damaging allegations possible, lewd conduct in front of underage children.  The execution of said plan was laughable to say the least, with a bogus police report that was thrown into the case file sixteen months after the incident occurred then a follow up letter in the file that contradicted the bogus supplemental report.

Whatever!  I'm getting the feeling that we haven't seen the last of the pro Mirabile and Martinez de Castro clan's attempts at disparaging the Mayor and the other City of South Miami commissioners who voted to fire the city manager.  Regardless, it's turkey time, so until next time, GOBBLE GOBBLE!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The anatomy of a political hatchet job.

I really didn't want to make mention of the overall ugliness that has followed the firing of City of South Miami's city manager, Hector Mirabile, but the events following the manager's firing have proved to be difficult to ignore.  Let's not forget that the city manager wasn't fired by a lone crazed commission member but was instead was fired by a majority of the city of South Miami commissioners despite what certain political operatives within the city may have its citizens believe.

What's most disturbing now that the City Manager has been fired is the coordinated effort by people behind the scenes to discredit and smear the reputations of those on the commission who chose to fire the manager. The first to feel the wrath of this campaign turns out to be none other than the Mayor of South Miami, Phillip Stoddard.  In a lame attempt at character assassination, City of South Miami commissioner Valerie Newman staged a horrible attempt to distract the citizens from the subject of firing the city manager by bringing up a burglary at the mayors home that occurred back in March 3, 2011 during the commission meeting that was convened to fire the manager, conveniently in front of TV cameras from WSVN channel 7.  I attended that meeting and didn't think much of the cameras that were present, frankly I thought they were simply there to cover the firing of the city manager, that is until a few days later when they aired this lame excuse for journalism...


So in an instant, Commissioner Newman turns this hearing into a circus by changing the focus of the hearing from the firing of the city manager to something about a burglary and the mayor being naked in his bedroom in front of two minor children.  From the WSVN story...
Commissioner Valerie Newman who opposed the firing, went after the mayor bringing up an incident that happened at his house.
Valerie Newman: "About him being naked in his room with with two minor girls."

How the hell did we get from there to here?  Once again from the WSVN story...
Police reports obtained by 7News indicate Stoddard admitted to being naked at the time.
Stoddard said the exchange student and his daughter were sleeping in his bedroom in a makeshift bed because the mayor's parents were in town and using the girl's room. 
The exchange student told police she saw a man in a green mask and, "That she screamed and ran into the bathroom until she heard Stoddard's voice," when she came out of the bathroom, "She noticed that Stoddard was not clothed."

Well, with something as salacious as that, we were left with no choice but to get these "police reports" WSVN was referring to and see for ourselves what went on.  

Before we move on to the police reports, let's summarize what the WSVN story tells us about this incident:

  • Mayor Stoddards's home gets broken into.
  • An exchange student and the mayor's daughter were sleeping in the mayor's bedroom.
  • The exchange student discovers the burglar inside the home, screams then locks herself in the bathroom.
  • Upon hearing the scream, the mayor runs out of his room naked and the burglar takes off.
  • The mayor allegedly tells police offices repeatedly that he sleeps naked in his "nest".

According to Commissioner Newman, all these statements are facts because as she says they are "right here in the police report" as she waves around what we can only presume is the police report although it looks to be a blank sheet of paper...

Regardless of what's on that piece of paper that Commissioner Newman is hysterically waving around, let's look at the actual police report which allegedly contains all these nasty "facts" about what went down at the Mayor's home.  We'll begin with the original police report that was written when the incident occurred.  Make note of the date the report was written, March 3, 2011.

Mayor Stoddard Burglary Police Report

Ok, very well, to me this police report written by Officer Hechavarria of the City of South Miami reads like any other burglary police report, nothing out of the ordinary, basically the report states the following:

  • An exchange student residing at the mayor's house walks into the living room and spots the burglar.
  • She screams then runs into the bathroom and hides.
  • The mayor hears the scream, bolts out of his bed and into the living room to see what happens.
  • The mayor discovers the exchange student barricaded in the bathroom then calls the cops.
  • The mayor lists the items that were stolen.
  • The mayor then states that had found his back door open and says that he had locked it the night before.
  • The mayor's parents state that they had left the front door unlocked when they left the house.

Simple enough right?  The intruder comes in the unlocked front door, the exchange student sees him, freaks out, screams then locks herself in a bathroom, the mayor hauls ass out of his room to see whats going on and calls the cops.  Nothing strange here, right?  No mention of nudity, no mention of anyone sleeping in the same room as under aged girls, etc.  We even manage to learn how the intruder got in and how he left the house.  Nothing untoward going on, just an unfortunate burglary and a scared shitless exchange student.

Next in the police file we find a document that's labeled "NARRATIVE CONTINUATION", at quick glance it looks like it's part of the original police report until you notice that it was actually written and added to the file over SIXTEEN MONTHS LATER on July 12, 2012!!!  What in the fcuk is that about?  Were things so slow over at the South Miami PD that day that this Detective Lopez decided to write this supplement? Whatever.  Let's look at this supplement as it appears in the file...

Mayor Stoddard Burglary Report Continuation

WHOA!  Suddenly 16 months later, there's a whole lot more in the way of details than when the original report was written.  Let's summarize what this report alleges:

  • Detective states that the point of entry was the front door and exit was the rear door.
  • Mayor was asleep in his room till he heard the exchange student screaming.
  • Mayor runs out of his room naked and possibly scared off the burglar.
  • Mayor states that his parents had left the front door open.
  • Mayor states that he had left the back door open for his dog to go in and out.
  • Exchange student screams scaring the burglar then runs into the bathroom.
  • Mayor states that "they" were sleeping in his bedroom when the exchange student walked out to get ready for school and encountered the burglar.
  • Sgt James stated that from outside the mayor's home he managed to spot the mayor putting on his pants.

Now, this version of events chronicled in this police report written SIXTEEN FUCKING MONTHS after the original incident occurred is radically different than what was described in the original police report.  First off we have the first mention of any nudity, this report written SIXTEEN FUCKING MONTHS after the initial report clearly describes the mayor sleeping nude in his "nest" with the exchange student.  We now also have the allegation that the mayor scared off the burglar with his phallus, imagine that.  This second report also contains a contradiction of events as stated in the first report, now in this second report we have a "sliding glass door partially open for his pet to go outside" which is in stark contrast to the way the door was described in the first report which stated that the door was locked the night before and found open after the burglary.

It's this second police report that the hysterical news people over at WSVN latched on to and then decided to create this sensational segment labeled "Naked Truth".  If the morons over at Channel 7 would have taken a few moments and really thought about the two conflicting police reports, perhaps they would have been able to see what really happened.  To understand why the two reports are so different, one has to understand what happened in the period of time that transpired between the two reports.  

Back in March of 2011, police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro could do no wrong, according to the city manager, the chief single handily cleaned up all the crime in the city, got the police department on the straight and narrow and generally straightened out all of the problems the city had ever experienced, lol.  Since then, due to the efforts of some asshole with a blog, a new image of the chief has emerged  we now see a chief that seems somewhat less than ideal, one with several ethical lapses, some that may rise to the level of criminality, a chief that allegedly orchestrated the framing of three innocent girls for steeling tens of thousands of dollars from his wife's business, etc, but most importantly a chief who is on the verge of losing his job in disgrace.  In my opinion that makes him a desperate chief that will do anything to save his job, perhaps by creating a scandal involving one of his biggest detractors, Mayor Stoddard, but how do you do disgrace a guy who's got a spotless record?  In my opinion the people behind this mess latched on to the only thing they could which turns out to be this burglary, why not turn this whole incident into something more sensational and what could be more sensational than alleging the Mayor is parading around his house naked in the presence of under age children?  

Let's not forget these allegations were made SIXTEEN FUCKING MONTHS after the incident had occurred, which brings up another salient point.  Let's assume for a moment that the allegations contained within the second supplemental report were actually true, this leads us up to an issue far greater than the mayor parading around his house in the nude.  If indeed these events did occur as Detective Lopez would want us to believe, I'm going to suggest that every member of the City of South Miami police department present at the crime scene should be stripped of their law enforcement certifications and thrown in jail.  Why do you ask?  If they knew that the mayor was running around naked in front of any underage girls then their simple failure to call the Department of Children and Families immediately should constitute the automatic loss of their police certifications.  Think about it for a moment, what kind of cop would hear this story of a grown man running around naked before minor children then leave the scene without either arresting the adult  who he alleged was nude or at the very least calling DCF?  

The fact that neither the mayor was arrested and nobody called DCF in my opinion is proof that the allegations in the second report were pure bullshit, nothing more than a slanderous fictitious attempt at disparaging the mayors reputation.  The problem is that the people behind this scheme are idiots who couldn't scheme there way out of a wet paper bag.  The best part of this failed scheme to defame the mayor?  The best part of it is this third page that's part of the case file that's labeled "INTER-OFFICE MEMORANDUM", take a look for yourselves...

Mayor Stoddard Burglary Report Memo

I'm not sure why this memo was created as it negates the allegations that were made in the supplemental police report.  This memo confirms the events as described in the original report and also confirms that the Mayor was sleeping naked in his bedroom, yet makes no mention of any underage children sleeping in his bedroom.  

So think about it for a moment, you're in your own home, in your own bedroom sleeping how ever the hell you like when all of a sudden you're awoken by someone screaming, it's understandable that your first instinct is to run out of bed and find out what's going on.  In this case who could fault the mayor for running out of his bedroom when he heard the scream?  Perhaps in the instant it would have taken to put his clothes on, something unthinkable could have happened, those seconds it would have taken to throw on a pair of pants could have been the difference between life and death!  And what happened when the poor guy did run out of his bedroom and into his living room in his birthday suit?  He found the burglar had run away and the exchange student that discovered him was locked in the bathroom shitting bricks.  Most importantly, what's the take away from this "interoffice memo"?  To me it's the following part that Detective King concludes her report with:
"At the time of my investigation (exchange students name redacted) didn't make any statement that lead me to believe that there was any illegal activity was (sic) taking place between Stoddard and (exchange students name redacted)."
With that statement Detective King basically wipes her ass with the supplemental report that Detective Lopez concocted  SIXTEEN FUCKING MONTHS after the original police report was written.

So now that there seems to be a plausable explanation to this lame attempt at a political hatchet job, the question that we're left with is how the hell did Carmel Cafiero from WSVN, who is someone that I used to respect, fall for this steaming pile of shit and who fed her this nonsensical fairy tale?  Once again, the answer lies in her own report...
Handwritten police notes about the case provided by commissioner Newman...
And therein lies the answer.  Handwritten notes that according to the author of the "inter-office memo", Detective King,  appear to have disappeared.  From Detective King's memo...
When I looked into the file I noticed that my final case notes were not present.
Wonderful.  So a veteran new reporter decided to do a story smearing a sitting mayor based on notes provided by a commissioner who is a political enemy of said mayor.  I guess taking the time to go through the police reports and researching the subject matter aren't part of Carmel's m.o., too much work for that third rate swill that Ms. Cafiero calls reporting.

Tomorrow we'll examine the hysterical high faggotry exhibited by a former City of Miami police chief whose sole intention it was to detract attention from the firing of one his cronies from back in the City of Miami days and to get people talking about a nude mayor running around his house in front of underage girls...