The use of the Miami Sports and Exhibition Commission is an effort to use them as a cut-out to evade having to take this to the voters as required by the Carollo Amendment.
I've written about the antics involving the use of the MSEA Board in an attempt to screw the taxpayers of Miami on several occasions in the past, including the efforts to transfer the Miami Marine Stadium to MSEA as a way to circumvent the Carollo Amendment when Regalado wanted to give the stadium to his friends who were using the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium group as their front.
As part of the series of stories I did about that deal I also raised the issue about the fact that information I had uncovered supported a claim that the Children's Museum, who had received the original land grant for an annual payment of $2, was also operating a charter school illegally on the property.
That was in 2011, and the available evidence continues to support that claim.
The revelations that the Children's Museum was skating on thin ice started in December of 2004 when hen City Manager Joe Arriola sent the Children's Museum a letter raising some issues about their legality.
In July of 2005, Adrienne Pardo, then the president of the Museum's Board responded providing the following responses to the issues that Arriola had raised.
Next month, the voters of Miami will be asked to vote on whether they approve a $7 million dollar renovation to Monty's Seafood Restaurant and Marina.
This is happening because Monty's is a waterfront property, and subject to what is known as the Carollo Amendment that requires any construction or changes to buildings considered to be waterfront property to receive permission from the voters before those changes can take place.
At this Thursday's Miami Commission meeting, the Miami's Children's Museum is asking for 26,599 square feet of additional property on Watson Island in order to "expand its current program space and to provide a new entrance to guests," by claiming that this land grab is just an revision of their interlocal agreement with the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority. (MSEA)
The available records indicate that nothing was done about any of these issues, because in October of 2010, the following email was sent to Lynn Westall, the Executive Assistant to City Manager Carolos Migoya, Tony Crapp Jr., Tomas Regalado's Chief of Staff and Assistant City Attorney Veronica Xiques.
From the narrative of Resolution being presented to the Commission of the actions taken between 2001 and this effort in 2017, it appears that none of those problems were ever presented or addressed by the City Commission.
In addition, if the MSEA Board wanted to argue that they did address these changes through the agreements with the Flagstone/Island Gardens agreements - something that the MSEA board would be hard pressed to prove given that their record keeping has been almost non-existent for years - the fact of the matter is that any agreements favoring the Miami Children's Museum tied to the Flagstone/Island Gardens deal would now have to be considered moot, based on the fact that the City Commission found the Flagstone Group to be in default of those agreements and voted to terminate their agreements with the City.
But all of these arguments are secondary to the provisions in the Miami City Charter that deal with how decisions regarding any property on Watson Island are to be handled.
In clear and plain language Sarnoff admits that the deal to give the land on Watson Island to the private non-profit Children's Museum Group - made up of a bunch of rich political donors and players was clearly done to circumvent the requirements to put this property out for bid - which I'm sure a review of the proposal will reveal that this was an unsolicited proposal, in itself requiring that the property should have been put out for bid - and done as a way to deny the taxpayers of Miami their right to vote on whether they supported this project.
To add insult to injury, the Board of this museum have repeatedly demanded special treatment, including permission to place and receive sizable rental payments for the LED Billboards that are on the sides of their building, and never once have they, or the Miami City Commission who have gone along with this crap ever demanded that the Museum cough up more money in rent for the additional changes they've made to the initial agreement, or even this flagrant and illegal attempt at a land grab.
The very notion that this private, non-profit group was first of all allowed to build this museum on Watson Island in the way that they did, and then to pay $2 a year, regardless of the public purposes they provide, and then to get what amounts to another sweetheart and questionably illegal permit to have LED Billboards on their building is all part and parcel of the way that the Family and Friends Plan has operated during the time of the Regalado administation.
If there was ever a lawsuit that begs to be filed, it's against this Museum Board for their rapacious efforts to keep taking advantage of the taxpayers of Miami, and their continued and greedy efforts to get their hands on more public land for free.
The telling part of how the portion highlighted in Red was used to circumvent the requirements highlighted in Blue was in a comment that then Commissioner Sarnoff made at a Commission meeting in 2012, during a discussion on the possibility of doing away with MSEA said: