If you're going to play hardball politics you got to bring your A Game, and in the street fight between Joe Carollo and Alfie Leon, Joe Carollo showed that love him or hate him he shows up with hardballs, while Alfie Leon, the champion of the millennial whiners of Miami, showed up with a desperate, ill-conceived and poorly researched lawsuit filed by attorney JC Planas, who literally emailed it in.
So here's the deal. On Tuesday morning, as folks were beginning to show up at polling places to cast their vote in THE RUNOFF ELECTION between Joe Carollo and Alfie Leon, word was circulated by the Leon camp that Alfie's attorney, JC. Planas had filed for an emergency temporary injunction against Carollo claiming that he was illegally running for the District 3 Commission seat because he hadn't lived in the District the required 1 year period.
The very first question, and perhaps the single most important issue that points to this being little more than a political stunt, is why wasn't this "lawsuit" filed before the first election on November 7th, or in the days between the first election and the Runoff?
We'll get to all of that soon enough, but for now let's focus on the fact that JC Planas filed his complaint at 11:02:48 PM on Monday night, and the complaint was filed in such a rush that whoever typed it up, misspelled Alfie's name: ALFONSO "ALFIR." LEON.
Now, if you're filing an "EMERGENCY COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF." on information that you've just gotten your hands on, not only do you rush to file your complaint, but if you're playing hardball politics, you make sure you got someone at the courthouse when the doors open to pay the filing fee so that you can then get a Process Server to serve the complaint on the person you're trying to get the temporary injunction against.
First, because a lawsuit isn't a lawsuit until it's been served on the opposing party, and secondly and far more importantly because this was a political lawsuit where generating negative PR against Carollo was a part of the process.
That means you would have had a Process Server standing by to be told where Carollo was - remember this was Election Day and Carollo was out and about all day - along with a photographer to accompany the Process Server so that the photographer could get a couple photos of Carollo being served by a Process Server, preferably while standing in front of a Polling Station.
And if the folks behind Alfie Leon were really as savvy as they want you to believe they were, they would, for good measure, also have arranged for a handful of "voters" to come along to stand in the background - strategically placed - to make faces when the Flash went off so that you could pass the photos on to all the local TV stations and the mullet wrapper that passes for a newspaper, The Miami Herald.
But none of that happened, because these guys were amateurs.
Filing for emergency injunctions is nothing new in political battles, but the pros know that it's a one-two punch that starts with filing the complaint, and ends with getting a photo of service being served on the candidate being sued.
For me, the proof that this was little more than a bullshit stunt intended to try and generate some last minute negative PR against Carollo, was that besides the poorly written complaint and the failure to serve Carollo was the way that Francis and Xavier Suarez's Greek Chorus of millennial ass-kissers, Billy Corben, Alfred Spellman and Danial Suarez - 3 less than savvy nitwits who have taken to hanging out like magpies on Twitter were quick to jump on this story and to start hawking the "lawsuit" as the "Smoking Gun," that would undo Carollo's election victory.
Like I said at the beginning, if you're going to play hardball politics you better bring your A Game, because whether love him or hate him, Joe Carollo has always played hardball with real hardballs - which I suspect is one of the reasons that he's made the enemies that he has over the years - because Miami politicians do not like to play hardball, instead they are all about backroom deal making, payoffs and keeping the dirty deals that they do secret.
So because Carollo, being the hardball player that he is expected over a year ago that the question about his living in an apartment in District 3, while owning a house in District 2 would become an issue that someone would try to exploit, showed up at the office of the Miami City Clerk on September 23, 2016, to file to run for City Commissioner with a copy of the lease to the apartment, along with a copy of the deposit check.
Even City Hall stenographer David Smiley picked up on the fact that the lease was within the timeline required by the City Charter to establish residency - although Smiley now an ardent Click Bait employee of the Miami Herald chose to make it sound like Carollo just managed to slip under the wire by signing the lease agreement one day before the time requirement for candidacy would have come into play - included a link to a copy of the lease in is story.
He was able to to that because Carollo wanted to make sure there would be no question when the time came about this issue so he made sure that the lease and the check were time stamped, and made part of his candidacy filing record with the City Clerk.
So why didn't JC Planas include the complete copy of Carollo's "Affidavit of Candidate," that included these documents as part of his EXHIBIT A?
Because the signed lease and deposit check established with more than reasonable certainty that Joe Carollo intended to live in the apartment he rented, and that that "intent" is further bolstered by the $7000 deposit check.
Words matter, so pay attention millennials.
I became aware of the issue of "intent" when it comes to the issue of residency earlier this year in my own fight with Miami Shores Village Council Vice Mayor Steven Zelkowitz's decision to live outside of the Village for over a year.
Although the Zelkowitz case is different in several significant ways, which can be better understood by reading the ethics complaint I filed against him in October, the fact of the matter is that case law in Florida will support Carollo's contention that his failure to change any of his documents such as his drivers license or Voter ID in a timely a manner as Leon's complaint alleges would not be reason enough to decide that that any such arguments superseded the evidence of "intent" established by the signed lease and deposit check.
Furthermore, to prove that Carollo was not "living" in the apartment on or before September 22, 2016, would require that someone had spent a fortune in private detectives to try and establish that fact at that time, and had that happened then the emergency lawsuit that JC Planas filed would not have been done on the fly, at the last minute, but rather would have been written and filed a couple weeks before the election as part of a larger strategy to knock Carollo out of the box, and it would have been detailed and filed with every legal citation that could be found, and with Alfie's name being spelled correctly.
The Voter ID question only becomes a legal issue - as Carollo pointed out in his own complaint about Alfie Leon's maintaining his Voter ID at his parent's residence for a period of time after he himself moved into the city - if during the time that Leon claimed to live at one address, he voted at another address that had a ballot that included different candidates than the ones he was legally entitled to vote for.
That becomes voter fraud, but in order to commit it, you either have to live in one city and vote in another - like say the City of Miami and Coral Gables - or maintain multiple voter registration cards and vote using those cards.
Just so you understand that this isn't just me talking out of my ass, here are two cases that you can read, and that surely JC Planas knows about and furthermore that you can expect Carollo's attorney will whip out before the judge at the first hearing on this case that pretty much undermine Leon's case.. Perez v. Marti, 770 So. 2d 284,289 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2000) citing Walker v. Harris 398 So. 2d 955 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981), and Bloomfield v. City of St Petersberg Beach, 82 So. 2d 364, 368 (Fla. 1955.)
Besides being relevant to the case, why are these cases so important, and why do I say that JC Planas called this complaint in?
Simple! Look at his complaint and you'll see that he DID NOT INCLUDE a single legal citation, or for that matter any Florida Statute that speaks to legal residency to bolster his arguments.
Ask any lawyer and they'll tell you that when you have the law on your side, you argue the law, and when you don't have the law on your side, you go with the bullshit. JC Planas went with the bullshit.
Much has been made over the years of calling Carollo, "Crazy Joe," but people who do that are morons, because Joe Carollo, who you can have every right to love or hate, is a guy that no one should ever underestimate.
Any guy who is capable of thinking a year out, like he did in not only thinking that he might be challenged over the apartment issue, but who purposely planted the documents that he would need to counter that challenge and then sat back and waited, is not someone that you ever want to sell short.
Now, you'll get no argument from me that Joe Carollo can be a handful at times, but when you look at the fights that he's fought, he's not lost many, and the ones that he's won were righteous fights.
It was Xavier Suarez who was removed from office for Absentee Ballot Fraud, not Joe Carollo. It was the US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals who said that Joe Carollo was right in his fight against the City of Doral, not Luigi Boria, and it was Donal Warshaw who went to jail for his bullshit, not Joe Carollo.
It's Miami, Bitches where a long overdue season of political hardball will be starting very soon, and I for one can't wait to see Joe Carollo on the dias as the new Commissioner for District 3.