The yet unbuilt Watson Island resort today known as island Gardens,has been a major problem since the decision was made by the Miami City Commission back in 2001-2004 to allow a mega resort and marina to be built on this land.
This was, and is a problem that can originally be tied to former mayor Manny Diaz. This was one of his early deals, and after the decision to allow this development to be built, the failure of the developer to follow thru, and their failure to pay the city pre-construction payment in lieu of rent rent during those years also deserves to be wrapped around Manny Diaz's neck.
After Regalado became Mayor in 2010, the city renegotiated the lease in ways that provided the developer an even better sweetheart deal, and for the next four years even that deal wasn't enough to get them to start construction.
Part of the 2010 deal, and one that pissed off a lot of people was that the city while finally requiring the developer to start paying rent on this piece of property that they had tied up for 10 years, the Commission allowed him to pay $2 million a year, based on 2002 property appraisals, when by 2013-2014, the property appraisals showed that the fair market value for rent for the property was over $7 million a year.
In short, the city, at the hands of Regalado and his gang, bent over backwards - and some claim illegally - in doing everything that they could to give the developer a break.
In this period of time a group called Coalition Against Causeway Challenge was formed, and since 2013, they've been waging a battle in the courts over this behavior. (You can go to their website and read a far more detailed history of the story regarding how the city has behaved, and the claims of public records violations, copies of their lawsuits, and other stuff by going HERE.)
Finally, in 2015, the developer start construction of the marina portion of the project and it was finished in January-March of 2016.
At the same time, the developer submitted a request, and received a Temporary Use of vacant Land permit to allow them to have an outdoor lounge.
Here is that permit.
But of course, there are folks who've become tired of this constant charade and ripoff that's now been going on during the years that regalado has been Mayor, and one of them blew the whistle on this restaurant, and so on January 27th, a posse of city inspectors showed up, and damn near keeled over when they discovered what had been going on.
What happened is that the developer had a wooden deck built, along with dressing the area with the table, chairs, umbrellas, and building out the framework of the bar, and then rolled in a catering truck and portable toilets, and basically did what a film company would to to create a movie set of a working restaurant and bar.
First, here's a copy of the Fire Department's Notice Of Violation:
In reality, this permit was the equivalent of getting a license from a mail order house allowing you to call yourself a preacher.
If you'll notice, among the items I highlighted was the fact that alcohol was not permitted, and that "Routine inspections by City Staff will be conducted to ensure compliance with the conditions of this permit."
Well, you know that was never going to happen, and it didn't.
From March of 2016, until January 27, 2917, the only city folks who seem to have showed up were the Mayor, and supposedly, his wife, and a couple City Commissioners, and maybe their wives, and a bunch of other high city staff members who came to enjoy the view and have supper and a few drinks.
In Part II of this series I included the below photo of the Mayor posing with the Chef and a party promoter, and you know that the mayor didn't just drive over to pose for the picture, and you know, or at least you should know from the stories about his freeloading meals at Versailles restaurant and other restaurants, that he seldom ever pays for a meal. So you can figure that this was Regalado's Quid Pro Quo for whatever meal him and the folks with him ate that night.
By law, and by policy, this notice alone should have been enough to shut this place down, at least, and until all of the violations had been corrected.
It wasn't. Instead, the developer was given two weeks to come up with a plan to correct the violations, two weeks to get those plans approved, and two weeks to complete the corrections. The deadline for that happens to be today: March 15th.
A dollar to a donut says that that won't happen.
Because, here is the Master List of violations that was generated by all the other inspectors who showed up on January 27th.
The highlighted items below have NOT been complied with as of yesterday.
For the hardworking, honest city employees this is another embarrassing example of just how corrupt and political the whole building/inspection/ code violation process has become under the Regalado administration.
For the taxpayers, this represents just one more in a laundry list of examples of how rigged and corrupt the whole relationship between the city and the developer has been from the very beginning.
And best of all, there are now rumors that the developer has tired of the deal and is looking to get out from under, perhaps by selling his lease to some sucker.
It's Miami, Bitches!