Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From a simple ethical lapse to a full blown cover up...




Yep, from a simple ethical lapse to a full blown cover up.  That's where we're at now with the story of the City of South Miami doing business with it's police chief's wife's company. This all started with us uncovering a number of transactions between the city and the police chief's wife's tag agency.  Simple enough, that is until we discovered that this relationship between the city and the chief's wife's company was strictly prohibited under the city's own ethics code...
(c)Prohibition on transacting business with the city. No person included in the terms defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (6) and in paragraph (b)(9) shall enter into any contract or transact any business in which that person or a member of the immediate family has a financial interest, direct or indirect with the city or any person or agency acting for the city, and any such contract, agreement or business engagement entered in violation of this subsection shall render the transaction voidable. Willful violation of this subsection shall constitute malfeasance in office and shall effect forfeiture of office or position. 
Fair enough.  Shortly after we reported on this ethical lapse, City of South Miami City Manager, Hector Mirabile, sends out an interoffice memo that speaks directly to the "related parties parties transaction"...
"A "Related Parties Transaction" form was developed for inclusion to the Vendor Registration process.  Vendors registering with the City must affirm their company or principals do not violate the City's code of Ethics as defined in Section 8A-1.  Completion of the form confirms that no employees, directors or officers of the vendor are related to any City personnel.  The form is under review by the City attorney."
Ok, so it's fairly obvious that our findings have gotten the attention of the folks over at City Hall.

Just a few days later our story gets the attention of the Miami Herald.  Several city officials, including the city manager, go on the record and claim that the police chief nor anyone else within the city had any idea that the city was doing business with the police chief's wife's company.  Fantastic right?  That is until we get the email that we posted on Monday, in case you missed it, here it is again...
I worked at Airways Auto Tag Agency for several years, and in one occasion I processed transactions for the City of South Miami.  At the time of these transactions three individuals from the city actually came in to the office to perform these transactions.  They introduced themselves as being coworkers that were refered by Orlando Martinez De Castro husband of Ileana Martinez De Castro and also chief of City of South Miami.  Before coming to the office a quote for the amount of the transactions was issued to the individuals representing the City of South Miami, and about a week later that individuals came to the office to process those transactions.  Those transactions were paid with a check from The City of South Miami for the amount of the quote. 
After receiving this email, I contacted the person who sent it to me and set up a meeting.  Needless to say, I met with the person who sent me the email and went over the story again and again.  Rest assured, they were able to identify the three people from the city that came over from the tag agency, their interaction both on the phone and in person.  I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of their story as it was backed up by other eyewitnesses that I was able to find that were familiar with the transactions in question.  The icing on the cake?  Everyone I spoke to regarding these transactions are willing to cooperate and give sworn statements to any agency that may be investigating this case.

So now what?  What about the "no on knew what was going on" statements the city officials gave the Herald?  What about the city manager, Hector Mirabile, assertions of the chief not knowing the city using his wife's tag agency?  Bullshit, that's what.  The chief knew exactly what was going on as did the city manager and everyone else involved.  What began as a simple ethical lapse has now turned into a full blown cover up orchestrated at the highest levels of the City of South Miami government and not just because someone has stepped forward saying so, there's more evidence coming in that's going to further bolster my claims, we'll hold back on posting these documents so we can watch everyone involved dig themselves deeper and deeper into the hole they've created.

Now, for those of you who have any hope that Joe Centorino's ethics commission will do anything about the goings on in South Miami, take a look at our friend Al Crespo's site and see how Mr. Centorino and friends screwed up the investigation into the Regalado's campaign finance case.

10 comments:

  1. What you have here is an orchestrated cover up. Typical dirty cop bullshit.

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  2. well well well this is just the icing on that cake this people just opened a pandora box i say that every cop has dirt on their backs and this one though has more shit than trash upppps got caught and with your own lies you will sink in hell. THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT TO THE LIGHT AND IT HURTS LIKE A BITCH

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  3. Again I salute you Mike for a GREAT article. You are amazing.I can't wait for the final chapter..

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  4. I hope justice is done. And that this case be a lesson to them that not to continue ruining the lives of innocent people.

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  5. CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI CHARTERARTICLE II CITY COMMISSION ARTICLE II (Cont’d) SECTION 9. Investigations Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Charter, the Commission or its authorized representative or representatives may make investigation into the affairs of this City and the conduct of any City department, Board, Officer or Agency and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence. Any person who fails to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these powers by the Commission shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
    15 SOUTH MIAMI CITY CHARTER AMENDED 11-02-10

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  6. City of South Miami Regular City Commission Minutes March 15, 2011 CALL TO ORDER: A. Roll Call:
    The following members of the City Commission were present: Mayor Philip K. Stoddard, Vice Mayor Valerie Newman, and, Commissioners Velma Palmer, Brian D. Beasley and Walter A. Harris. Also in attendance were: Deputy City Attorney Mark A.Stein, Deputy City Clerk Nkenga Payne and City Manager
    Hector Mirabile. PUBLIC REMARKS (5 minutes) Sharon McCain referred to a letter from the Mayor which was
    delivered to her by the police and that she did not opened; she said that this was a misuse of taxpayers’ money; she said that the Mayor got bad legal advice regarding the letter sent to her.
    4 CITY COMMISSION MINUTES March 15, 2011 4. Commission Reports, Discussion & Remarks (25 minutes)
    Vice Mayor Newman With regard to former City Attorney, Mr. Feingold, she said that she was very concerned about his interference with the appointment of a resident to the Planning Board, referring to Lorie Yanoshik; she said that it is not the place of a City Attorney to get involved in these things; furthermore, she said that even more disturbing than his involvement on this, was the very threat that the South Miami Hospital could put pressure on FP&L to terminate Ms. Yanoshik’s employment of 27 years, and unfortunately, she was in fact terminated from her job with FP&L two days after her appointment to the Planning Board in South Miami; She then referred to Ms. McCain, saying that in her opinion, the act of permanently trying to remove her from the Commission violated her First Amendment rights and that she will never support that.
    Mayor Stoddard: With regard to the above issue with Ms. McCain, he said that there was a case that has been referred to the Commission by Mr. Goldstein which shows that they cannot do that; therefore, he said that from this point forward they will take incidents of behavior as they come, unless further case law becomes apparent; 6 CITY COMMISSION MINUTES March 15, 2011

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  7. March 1, 2011 Add-on#1
    ADD ON Sponsored by Vice Mayor Newman
    1 RESOLUTION NO. _______________
    2
    3 A resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of South Miami,
    4 Florida, relating to the City Attorney; terminating Laurence Feingold, Esq. as
    5 City Attorney; and providing an effective date.
    6

    City of South Miami Regular City Commission Minutes March 1, 2011 CALL TO ORDER: A. Roll Call: The following members of the City Commission were present: Mayor Philip K. Stoddard, Vice Mayor Valerie Newman, and, Commissioners Velma Palmer, Brian D. Beasley and Walter A. Harris. Also in attendance were: City Attorney Laurence Feingold, Deputy City Attorney Mark A. Goldstein, City Clerk Maria M. Menendez and City Manager Hector Mirabile.
    At this time Mayor Stoddard read City Attorney Laurence
    Feingold’s letter of resignation. The Mayor added that under his
    contract, Mr. Feingold and Mr. Goldstein would have 30 days
    after the written notice, whereupon their employment with the
    City be terminated.
    Commissioner Palmer pointed out that one person of the
    Commission cannot act on his/her own and ask the City Attorney
    to resign. 1 CITY COMMISSION MINUTES March 1, 2011
    Mr. Feingold said to Commissioner Palmer that she was
    correct; however, he said that he had given his word and that he
    would not break his word.
    Mayor Stoddard said that the right to resign is the right
    of the employee and the employee has exercised his right.
    PUBLIC REMARKS (5 minutes) David Tucker Sr., after thanking the City Attorneys for their service to the City,
    Javier Baños thanked the City Attorney for his service, adding that he has not received any good reason for terminating him.3 CITY COMMISSION MINUTES March 1, 2011
    4. Commission Reports, Discussion & Remarks (25 minutes)
    Commissioner Harris:Said that we need a lot of volunteers for the boards; He thanked the City Attorneys for their service.
    Commissioner Palmer:Said that Commissioners were selected by the voters to do business on their behalf and to obey the Charter;
    however, she said to be very concerned because she does not see these things happening.
    Commissioner Beasley:He then thanked Mr. Feingold for the time he served the city, and urged to have an RFQ out as soon as
    possible. Moved by Commissioner Beasley to start with an RFQ process for a city attorney, seconded by Mayor Stoddard, the motion passed by a 5-0 vote: Commissioner Palmer:Yea Vice Mayor Newman:Yea Commissioner Beasley:Yea Commissioner Harris: Yea
    Mayor Stoddard: Yea
    Vice Mayor Newman Had no comments.
    Mayor Stoddard:He then thanked the City Attorneys for their service and advice, and for their friendship which will continue.5 CITY COMMISSION MINUTES March 1, 2011
    http://www.southmiamifl.gov/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=CommissionMeetingAgendas&category=Main

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  8. CHAPTER 112
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES: GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART III
CODE OF ETHICS FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES (ss. 112.311-112.326)
    112.311 Legislative intent and declaration of policy.-
    (5) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state that no officer or employee of a state agency or of a county, city, or other political subdivision of the state, and no member of the Legislature or legislative employee, shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect; engage in any business transaction or professional activity; or incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties in the public interest. To implement this policy and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of the state in their government, there is enacted a code of ethics setting forth standards of conduct required of state, county, and city officers and employees, and of officers and employees of other political subdivisions of the state, in the performance of their official duties. It is the intent of the Legislature that this code shall serve not only as a guide for the official conduct of public servants in this state, but also as a basis for discipline of those who violate the provisions of this part.
    http://www.ethics.state.fl.us/ethics/Chapter_112.html

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  9. Mirable was dirty at Miami - just take a look at his assertions on the 2007 union contracts that he negotiated and nearly broke the city.

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  10. Miami-Dade the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

    Report Fraud online
    http://www.miamidadeig.org/fraud.htm

    In response to the public’s demand for clean government, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners created the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is authorized to detect, investigate and prevent fraud, waste, mismanagement and abuse of power in county projects, programs or contracts.
    The County Commissioners took great lengths to insure that the Inspector General can carry out these goals while autonomous, independent and insulated from political influences. It is one of a few OIGs in the country that has jurisdiction to investigate officials at any level, including elected officials. By Agreement, the OIG provides similar services to the Miami-Dade Public Schools District.
    Our goal is to prevent misconduct and abuse, expose it publicly, and seek appropriate remedies to recover public monies. Above all, the OIG’s principal objective is to promote ethics, honesty and efficiency in government and to restore and promote the public’s trust in government.

    Report Fraud online or call our 24-hour Fraud Hotline: (305) 579-2593
    Office Telephone: (305) 375-1946
    Fax: (305) 579-2656

    Report Fraud online
    http://www.miamidadeig.org/fraud.htm

    ReplyDelete