Last year, I wrote 12 stories about the openly and transparently corrupt RFP process orchestrated by the Regalado administration in their effort to give the Rickenbacker Causeway Marina property to the Robert Christoph Sr. and his son Robert Christoph Jr.
It was an especially skanky deal that involved Regalado's private negotiator and fixer, Stephen Kneapler, a fraudster who's unsavory reputation is based on being barred from ever having anything to do with a publicly traded company after the way he and his brother looted Richmond Industries, and a host of other unsavory and questionably illegal activities involving tax evasion and partnering with former Mayor Manny Diaz when they attempted to rip the city of Miami off for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and taxes during the time they had the lease on the city's owned Monty's Seafood Restaurant and Marina..
Kneapler is just one of an unknown number of Regalado cronies who operate in a shadowy backroom world where they use their connections to the Mayor to wander around the world negotiating private business deals using official business cards issued by the Mayor's Office proclaiming them to be official representatives of the City of Miami.
Last year's effort, was so blatantly corrupt that after two Special Commission meetings involving several questionable and/or self-serving actions by Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon, finally voted to reject the the whole process.
From the beginning, the Rickenbacker Marina deal has been seen as little more than a giant Piñata by Regalado and his cronies. Structured around a 99 year lease agreement worth as much, if not more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS to the winning bidder, the deal was always seen as a vehicle to provide Regalado and his cronies one last, and golden opportunity to cash in while walking out the door.
I will forgo attempting to detail all of the minutiae that happened from the issuance of the second RFP back in March until the effort to hold a Special Hearing of the City Commission last Monday in a last ditch effort by Regalado to get the proposal approved by the Commission as a Referendum for placement on the November ballot.
Those of you who have been following this deal know that that effort failed because only Commissioners Hardemon and Gort showed up for the meeting. Commissioners Russell, Suarez and Carollo, for various reasons could not, or chose not to attend the meeting.
Consequently Commissioners Hardemon was unable to bring a meeting to order because there wasn't a quorum.
As a result, the "meeting" ended up providing Regalado, Hardemon, and Gort the unfettered opportunity to spout a lot of self-serving bullshit and platitudes about good governance and honoring one's word. Gort even had the gall to proclaim that, "I have a family emergency, but I'm here, because I think this is important."
These words from the same Willie Gort who in the middle of the first Special Meeting last year, when it looked like the vote might go against the Christoph's stood up after Commissioner Russell called the question, said he had another meeting to go to and walked out, forcing the meeting to be adjourned.
There are no acts or words of hypocrisy to big or too small for these assholes to spout when the need arrises.
The lack of a quorum did not deter Regalado from asking whether this non-meeting could be recessed, nor for Commission Chairman - and attorney and graduate of the Elmer Fudd School of Law from agreeing that the best thing was to recess the meeting until Friday.
In order to conduct any business, the City Commission requires the attendance of at least three members to have a quorum. Only two members were present, which means what was done and said inside the Commission Chambers had as much validity as if it had been said and standing on a street corner.
There was no meeting because there was no quorum. To Recess the meeting first would have required that the meeting be called to order, and secondly that at least 3 members be present to vote to Recess.
None of that happened.
Yet, if you go to the Public Meeting's link of the City's website you will find this notice of today's meeting.
How can you continue "discussing from the August 28, 2017 Special Meeting," when there was no official meeting held on August 28, 2017?
That may or may not become a discussion issue at today's meeting, but issues like proper notice of meetings, or factual correct statements and public notices are the least or the concerns that the citizens should have about today's meeting.
IS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN HARDEMON PEDDLING HIS VOTE FOR BACKROOM DEALS?
In this week's Miami Today, there is a front page story that starts out:
"If enough Miami commissioners attend a special meeting
Friday to make a quorum and review a multi-million-dollar
marina redevelopment, Chairman Keon Hardemon says
money from the winning bidders for affordable housing would
go a long way to secure his vote."
The story continued by detailing just what Hardemon had in mind.
"Everyone should have the opportunity to live in decent
housing, Mr. Hardemon told the Virginia Key LLC
representatives. He suggested they have a conversation
with the city's department of real Estate and Asset
Management about financial contributions for housing
"We look forward to having that conversation with you. For
me, personally...it could make or brake a decision," Mr.
Hardemon said Monday."
Make or break a decision as how Hardemon will cast his vote? That sounds like little more than extortion, couched around a noble sounding sentiment that "Everyone should live in decent housing."
The problem is that the Commissioner, since he's been in office has set himself up as the self-appointed champion of looking out for poor people by putting the bite on rich developers.
In 2014 he stiff-armed Jeffrey Berkowitz in a backroom deal to cough up $350.000 for the Liberty City Redevelopment Corporation, as a condition for his vote on Berkowitz's Skyrise project.
If you really want an eye-opening view of how that money was handled, here is a video of last year's Liberty City Redevelopment Trust's meeting that was held to give away that money. Understand that the board members you see in this video were appointed by Hardemon AFTER the original board members resigned because they thought that the decision made by Elaine Black on who to give the money too was out and out unjustified.
Last year Hardemon had private backroom meeting with the representatives of developer Moshe Mana, and allegedly persuaded Mana to cough up $10 million to help the poor folks of Overtown as a condition for his vote allowing Mana's gigantic development project in Wynwood to go forward.
I say allegedly because this meeting, like all of Hardemon's meetings when they involve talking rich developers out of money are never held in public, Consequently, none of these meetings result in minutes or records of what was actually said, not said, threatened or promised, and none of these meetings, or the money collected and spent so far has actually benefited the public, and especially poor folks, Black, White or Polka-Dot.
Hardemon has been running a hustle - one need only look at the Grand Jury Report on the operation of CRA's, or look at the recent Miami Herald stories about how Hardemon's SEOPW CRA has been spent and you begin to realize that once again a politician in Miami has been exploiting the problems of poor people to strong-arm rich developers not for the benefit of his community, but for the benefit of the usual suspects and cronies.
If there's any discussion of "contributions" being made by a developer, that discussion needs to be held in the open, so that the public has a full and complete understanding of what has been promised, what strings are attached, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, who's going to make sure that the money actually gets spent to benefit the people it's supposed to benefit.
NAPOLEON IS USING DADDY'S OFFICE AS HIS REAL CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS
I know this will come as a shock to those of you who think that the regalado's walk on water, but Tomas Napoleon Regalado Jr., who is running to become the next District 3 Commissioner is basically running his campaign out of Daddy's office at City Hall.
What this means is that city employees, city vehicles and city resources are being blatantly being used to further the political aspirations of the next generation of Regalado grifters looking to latch on the the public tit.
The next time you see Tommy Jr. next to Daddy at some event, take a look and see how he got there. Then ask, why, other than running for office, would he be being chauffeured around in Daddy's Official SUV, driven by a police officer.
Also keep an eye out for the SUV driven by Jose Marrero as he makes his way around District 3, and see what he's up to. Marrero was the subject of a Herald story last year when he supposedly took vacation time to help Raquelita during her campaign.
Back in the day Marrero was the subject of a video that came showed him driving around in a city vehicle distributing campaign posters and literature.
The years may pass, but the same shit goes on, whether it be extorting developers, illegally using city employees and resources on political campaigns, or just the out and out thievery that passes for financial mangement in the City of Miami.
As the New York Times stated a coule years ago, Miami is known for the limitless number of crooked public officials, overeager developers and outlandish criminals.
Whatever happens at this morning's meeting, that reputation will continue unblemished.
It's always Miami, Bitches!
HERE IS THE FULL VIDEO ON MONDAY'S NON MEETING