The election for County Mayor is only weeks away, and in an effort to throw everything - including any and all unproven or unsupported allegations at her opponent - Raquel Regalado and her supporters turned to a staple of mudslinging in the 305, the use of Absentee Ballot Brokers to steal votes away from other candidates.

It's a serious problem that has plagued this, and other communities around the county for years and years, and in Miami-Dade County the problem has been exacerbated by the State Attorney's refusal to do anything about it - in part because her own political consultants were at the center of allegations that occurred in 2012, and also because many of the players are part of the long established Family and Friends Plan that relies on the State Attorney to provide them with protection.

This time it is current Mayor Carlos Gimenez who is alleged by Raquel Regalado and her friend Nancy Lee of the Eye On Miami blog, and Elaine de Valle, who publishes the blog Political Cortadito, and is now working as Regalado's Communications and Media consultant as being at the center of a giant absentee ballot operation in order to deprive poor Raquelita from the votes she needs to beat him. Both Lee and de Valle used a press release from local private investigator Joe Carillo issued last week proclaiming that he had uncovered a possible absentee ballot scheme going on at Robert King High Towers, a public housing building across from Marlin's Stadium.

Lee and de Valle used Carillo's press release as the jumping off point to conflate Carillio's latest claims about absentee ballot fraud by a woman who manages the Robert King High public housing building with allegations that Gimenez was employing a former absentee ballot broker named Dotty Vazquez,  who de Valle, in her story, identified in this way: "A known boletera - just ask any number of Hialeah former electeds - Dotty was paid at least $10,000 from Mayor Gimenez's Common Sense Now PAC in 2012 for "consulting" according to campaign finance reports."

In de Valle's world, this crap is what passes for hard hitting factual information. Understandably, she didn't bother to provide the names of any of these supposed "Hialeah former electeds" that people go and ask fore themselves, leaving anyone who really wanted to verify the claims about Ms. Vazquez to go wandering around Hialeah looking for these keepers of the truth.

In addition, de Valle posted this supposed independent news story on her blog, yet, she's on Regalado's payroll as a $3500 a month "Communications and Media consultant."

It was this behavior that I wrote about last February when I accused her of being nothing more than a shill for politicians she either promoted on her blog, or attacked their opponents, without revealing that she was working for these politicians on their campaigns as a consultant.  

Nancy Lee on the other hand, chose to bypass referencing those unnamed former "Hialeah electeds" as character references, and cut to the chase, claiming on her blog post that:

Del Rey's Uncle who Carillo references, was a notorious Puerto Rican gangster who bought his 15 year old son a new Corvette which the kid, after getting drunk one Friday night crashed into another car that killed the kids in that car, and left his friend who was in the Corvette with him paralyzed.

It was a horrific accident, and resulted in Frank being sentenced to a year in prison because in order for his kid to drive the car it turned out he had gone to Puerto Rico and bribed a priest to create a fake birth certificate so that the kid could get a driver's license.

Anyhow, it was only days later that I saw the press release that he sent out announcing his press conference that both Elaine de Valle and Nancy Lee used in the blog stories as the jumping off point to accuse the Gimenez campaign of being at the center of a major absentee ballot fraud scheme.

But here's where this whole story about Absentee Ballots really starts getting interesting.  

In between the times that Elaine de Valle was shilling for political candidates on her blog while keeping that information a secret, one of the people who was a major targets of the stories she wrote about Absentee Ballot Fraud, was none other than a woman she tagged with the title of Absentee Ballot Queen: Sasha Tirador.

Here is a screen grab from her website of some of the stories she wrote about Triador and her alleged antics.

Having written all of those stories about Tirador, imagine the chagrin and shock that de Valle must have felt when she discovered that this same woman, the woman who she trashed in all of those stories as the evil incarnate Queen of Absentee Ballot Fraud, was now working for the campaign of Raquel Regalado.

And this is not the first time that Tirador has been involved in a Regalado campaign. In 2013 when Daddy Regalado was running for reelection as Mayor, Tirador received $25,000 in payments from the Regalado ECO Saving Miamians.

This time around Tirador has been collecting money from Raquel's campaign account and from the same Saving Miamians ECO.  

She received 2 payments of $5000 on May 16, 2016, and one $10,000 payment on July 13, 2016 for a total of $20,000. (To verify these payments, click on the link above, go to expenditures and look for the payments made to G & R Strategies, LLC.)

In addition to that, she also was paid another $26,050 from Regalado's campaign account in 3 payments from April and July. The last payment of $6,050 was made on July 21st, less than a month ago.

I appreciate that Carillo has taken on the absentee ballot problem, and devoted what I suspect to be considerable time and money in doing so - because it is a thankless task - but at the same time, some of the things that he says in this video clearly indicate that he needs to go back and take a remedial course in Collecting Usable Evidence 101.

Carillo claims in this video that the young woman that you see next to him to the left, and who was part of this sting operation that they employed in an effort to entrap the alleged ballot broker, sat on a bench with a sealed envelope that was supposed to contain $500 of bribe money, but that was in fact filled with nothing but torn strips of paper.

Really!?! Torn strips of paper!

What did they intend to do had this woman decided that she was willing to take their proposed bribe and reached for the envelope?  Would they have told her she couldn't have it, or would they have given it to her and then jumped up and shouted, "You're on Candid Camera!," when she opened the envelope and discovered the torn strips of paper?

Truly, this is like a bad version of a fake reality TV show about really, really dumb people wanting to be Private Detectives.

That a real licensed private investigator and a real lawyer were involved in a stupid half-baked scheme that they had to have known had ZERO possibility of success even before they started it, and that there is a small but fevered group of people in this community who actually believe that this kind of stupid silliness is the way you go about putting an end to Absentee Ballot Fraud speaks volumes about just how crazy the people who are concerned about this problem seem to have become, and worse, how hard all the Absentee Ballot Brokers, the State Attorney and her staff and all the politicians who use these ballot brokers must have laughed after a ridiculous effort on video.

Even more confusing is the notion that somehow Maria Campos, the alleged absentee ballot broker that was the target of this scheme, could have somehow been involved with the Gimenez campaign.

I've had dealings with Maria Campos, including my own video interview with her in January of 2015, when I did my story revealing the squalid conditions I discovered at the Robert King High Towers.

Although I have absolutely no knowledge of whether she does, or does not engage in a little side business of hustling absentee ballots or access to folks in the towers, I do know that she is a loyal supporter of Tomas and Raquel Regalado, which raises an interesting question of why Regalado's supporters would have been happy to throw her under the bus.

Both Regalado's visit the towers almost religiously on holidays, especially during election years, and there are all kinds of photos that have been taken of them over the years documenting them doing so, including this one of Raquelita at one of Maria's birthday parties which indicates how close they are.

Yet, while Regalado and her pals are going around screaming to the high heavens about Gimenez's supposedly absentee ballot scheme, Hialeah's Queen of Absentee Ballots, Sasha Tirador, has so far collected a total of $46,050.00 for being a campaign consultant to Raquel Regalado .

You can't make it up folks, because this is Miami. Bitches!

AUGUST 11, 2016

          "The scheme begins with the 3 million in campaign and PAC

          contributions that Gimenez has amassed from lobbyists,

          consultants, contractors and political gadflys."

Like de Valle, Lee failed to provide a single scrap of evidence to support this claim.  As you will see in the video that the Miami Herald shot of his press conference that I posted below, not even Carillo made a mention or reference to Gimenez and this so-called $3 million scheme financed by Gimenez's $3 million in campaign contributions during the press conference he called to expose his latest undercover operation.

Even worse, Lee in a blog post on Tuesday congratulated herself of being a better researcher than a writer, and after spending chronicling the time she spends in writing her posts, she went on to claim that she didn't read any other bloggers, which if you're going to write about public affairs or politics today, you would think would severely limit your knowledge base, but then again, when you make claims like Lee did, you really don't really rely on much of a knowledge basis to begin with.

Here is the absolutely craziest part of Nancy Lee's using her blog to shill for Raquel Regalado: Nancy Lee's husband works for the City of Miami. Has worked for the City of Miami either as a contractor or an employee for a long time.  His current job is in the Capital Improvement's Department.

So here we have a woman with a sanctimonious self-righteousness sense of entitlement - just read a couple of her blog posts and you'll see what I mean - and she's never once posted any sort of a disclaimer as part of  any of the stories that she's written in support of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, his son Jose, or especially his daughter and current candidate for County Mayor Raquel, and yet she would want you to believe that her ethics, like her blog posts are above reproach.  


I have never met Joe Carillo, never talked to him or even corresponded with him. What I know about him is based on news reports about his activity during the campaign season of 2012when he was supposedly involved in trying to expose the activities of several absentee ballot brokers in Hialeah, as well as his lack of success in getting Katherine Fernandez- Rundle, our corrupt State Attorney, from opening up an investigation, in no small part because she had to recuse herself from the investigation when it was revealed that one of her own political consultants, an enterprising fellow named Al Lorenzo, had an employee who became implicated in this scheme.

Therefore, I was caught somewhat off guard when I received this email from him last week after my latest story on Marcia Del Rey, aka Goldilocks, who's running for Circuit Court Judge.