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GRANT STERN'S EFFORT TO INTERVENE IN THE COURT ACTION FILED BY DOUG MUIR TO TRY AND STOP THE BECKHAM DEAL FROM GOING ON THE BALLOT IS LITTLE MORE THAN A SCHEME TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK LIKE A CHAMPION OF THE PEOPLE, INSTEAD OF A FREELOADER LOOKING TO HORN IN ON SOMEONE ELSE'S HARD WORK
NUMBER 75 - AUGUST 6, 2018
Local self-promoting schemer Grant Stern, has been going around since attorney Doug Muir filed his Writ of Mandamus against the City over the Beckham soccer stadium deal telling anyone who would listen that he has a better case than Muir to derail this deal.
Of course, like a lot of other things Stern says, this is pretty much a figment of his fevered imagination because if that were really true, then Stern should have been willing to pony up the filing fee and service costs and filed his own lawsuit.
But he didn't. Instead, he filed a Pro-Se Motion To Intervene with the court last week, asking the court to allow him to avoid paying the costs of filing his own lawsuit, and worse, from a legal perspective, mudding the waters and creating a distraction that takes valuable time away from Muir's ability to argue the merits of his own lawsuit on August 15th.
Let me be very clear here, I'm seldom opposed to people filing lawsuits against public officials, but I am definitely opposed to people like Stern taking advantage of someone else's legal efforts by trying to attach himself like a suckerfish to a whale, and in the process creating unnecessary confusion and a wasting the court's time on a bullshit motion.
In Sterns case, what he's done is both unconscionable, and dumb, because based on his comments to the news media and the mishmash of confusing "facts: in his motion, he's got about as much chance of winning a lawsuit against the city as Wilie E Coyote has of catching the Roadrunner.
On occasion stunts like Stern's even result in terrible legal opinions beding issued that end up impacting future lawsuits filed by folks who have real legal issues that need resolution.
To appreciate the impact that such a bad legal decision can have on future legal actions, consider the lawsuit that local activist Grace Solares filed against the city in 2014, and which ended up before the 3rd DCA, where the court ruled against her.
The opinion in this case showed up in 2015 showed up as a citation in a response by Miami-Dade County to a lawsuit filed by the United Teachers of Dade.
I like Grace, I believe that she has a good heart and she's done a lot of good things, but at the same time, as part of a story in 2015 that I wrote about Grace's less than illustrious legal history in filing lawsuits against the City of Miami I wrote:
"Let me be clear that Grace has never won a lawsuit, nor even
prevailed at a hearing. She has managed to lose every case, at
every step of the way."
Too many so-called activist lawsuits are filed not on the basis of whether they have a real legal case that they can win, but as vehicles that they can use to to promote themselves or their causes, with little if any appreciation for the damage that those lawsuits can cause when courts rule against them and in the process create legal precedents that end up being used against other folks in other lawsuits.
WHY DOUG MUIR FILED FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS
Before addressing Stern's efforts to piggy-back on Muir's court challenge to the Beckham project it would be informative to explain the constitutional issues that Muir is trying to get the court to agree constitute valid reasons to stop the referendum question from going on the ballot.
Article 3, Section 11(a)(10)(12):
In terms of substance, the only real difference in the language between the July 17th and July 18th versions was the addition of Number 13. Open Soccer Fields.
More importantly, as I pointed out in the story I wrote after obtaining the July 17th version of the Term Sheet:
"While stylistically different, the intent remains pretty much the
same as the terms listed in the first version of the Term Sheet
with a couple interesting additions."
Those additions included language committing $5 million to the Baywalk & Riverwalk projects, the Living Wage and Labor Peace Agreement, and the 1st Tee commitment.
All of these items had been discussed and agreed to during the July 12th meeting, and the July 17th version simply memorialized them.
The most significant change between the July 12th and the July 17th & 18th documents was not the addition of new language, but rather the removal of all the language detailing what had been labeled in the July 12th version of the Term Sheet as the Park Infrastructure Fund.
Even the removal of that language, language that I had focused on in both of my stories about these Term Sheets - you can see for yourself by going HERE to see the agenda of the July 18th meeting - this language was never directly included in either resolutions RE9 or RE 10.
STERN'S MOTION TO INTERVENE
I do not want to go too deeply into the weeds and chase you away, so let me try and simplify Stern's Motion to Intervene. ( His actual motion is below for your perusal.)
The first part of his motion details the actions that took place at the July 12th Commission meeting, including his attendance and opportunity to speak during the public comment section of that meeting, and also his efforts to obtain any and all public records related to the agenda items RE 9 and RE 10, during that time. He also described the decision of the Chairman not to allow additional comments after the presentation was made by the Beckham group and his disagreement with that decision.
The second part of the motion describes Stern's efforts to obtain new documents, including the copy of the July 17th Term Sheet, his arrival an hour and a half after the July 18th Special Meeting had been set to start, and his failed effort - he and others late to the meeting were barred from entering the building because it had reach capacity - to speak to the Commissioners about his contention that the information contained in the July 17th Term Sheet represented what he alleged was a violation of Florida's Sunshine Law.
Stern can't even claim that he was singled out in being denied access to City Hall, because a large number of folks who showed up late were all denied access because of capacity issues.
His argument, as stated in his motion was that, "the city's substitution of the second item to be heard in a continued hearing gave unreasonable notice of the item to be heard since the real decision was being made based upon the second item to be heard in a blatant violation of Florida's Sunshine Law..."
All of this Stern argued, represented, "an inherently unreasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition since it's true details only became known five days after the start of the hearing."
In support of his claims that serious and fatal flaws in the process had occurred, Stern proceeded to throw a kitchen sink full of alleged violations of everything from the Miami-Dade County Charter Citizen's Bill of Rights, to Florida Statute 286.0114 - aka The Florida Sunshine Law - to Section 24 of the Florida Constitution.
In short, Stern's argument centered around the fact that even though he had taken advantage of the time allotted him during the public comment section of the July 12th meeting, he was pissed that he and others weren't allowed to speak again after the presentation by the Beckham Group, and that after the decision was made to hold a second, Special Meeting on July 18th, he had managed to obtain the July 17th version of the revised Term Sheet, which convinced him that the city's failure - or more likely their refusal - to make this document available sooner than the afternoon before the July 18th Special Meeting justified his right to speak to the Commissioners again at this Special Meeting.
All of this in turn justified his contention that having been "illegally" denied access into City Hall in order to tell the Commissioners about these illegalities justified his asking the judge in the Muir case to allow him:
"to intervene in this action as a party/plaintiff, and granting Stern
the right to participate fully in all aspects of those proceedings."
Stern's legal reasoning makes the gibberish of Donald Trump's Twitter posts look like the writings of a Noble Laureate.
Allow me to end by providing you with several factual pieces of information.
The first is the section of Florida's Sunshine Law that deals with public meetings.
I have highlighted two portions of this section. The first deals with when and how the public is allowed to speak at public meetings, and the second is Section 286.0114, that Stern cited in his motion, but which I am providing you with the entire portion of that section which he did not include in his motion.
When arguing the law, it's always important to know what the law actually says, and not what someone with an agenda would want you believe is what it says.
This does not mean that I agree with, or support the decision of Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon to arrange public discussion at the July 12th meeting to occur before the Beckham Group made their presentation, nor to deny public comment at the July 18th Special meeting, because I don't, but it's important that you know that in this case, as unsavory and clearly biased in favor of the Beckham Group that the Chairman's decisions were, the law supports his right to make those decisions, and based on the actual language of the law, judges will not willy-nilly overrule those kinds of decisions made by an elected official.
In this interview, Stern describes receiving a copy of the revised Term Sheet that the Beckham Group has prepared as part of their presentation to the city, and that the city had provided him at 4:43 PM, on July 17th - the same one that I received at 4:54 PM, and wrote a story about.
He then references a later version of that document which was sent to the City Commissioners at 2 AM as part of the agenda packet for the July 18th Special Meeting.:
Here is how Stern described his knowledge of that 2 AM document:
"At 2 AM, a slightly different item - we don't even know - I've
not seen it, but at 2 AM another item was transmitted to the City
Commission - and that is inherently government outside of the
sunshine, and for that reason I filed a motion to intervene, and
the judge has agreed to hear my motion..."
So, on the basis of a document that he admits to not having seen, and on a leap across a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon in his belief that this document represented what he described as, "inherently government outside of the sunshine," Stern decided that not only did he have a case, but that this bullshit was significantly more important in offering a challenge to the constitutional and City Charter violations that the Commission had approved, and that Doug Muir had filed his Writ Of Mandamus to try and undo.
THE DOCUMENT THAT GRANT STERN SAYS HE NEVER SAW
Because Stern is not only a moron, but also lazy, here is the copy of the mystery Term Sheet that he claimed not to have seen, and that was sent to the members of the City Commission at 2 AM.
I have highlighted the specific language that was added or changed between this version, and the version that Stern and I received on the afternoon of July 17th.
PHOTO OF THE DAY - THE ARROGANT SELF-ENTITLMENT OF THE BOY WHO WANTS TO BECOME STRONG MAYOR
Mayor Francis Suarez leads a hectic life as the Mayor of Miami, and between his many trips around the city kissing old ladies and doing backroom deals he gets hungry. Sometimes he gets hungry in other cities, and when he does, he stops to eat.
And so it was a couple nights ago that Francis Suarez got hungry while traveling through Coral Gables. After his bodyguard/chauffeur drove around looking for a parking space without success, he did what any bodyguard/chauffeur in a 3rd World Banana Republic would do, he drove the Mayor's SUV up on a sidewalk, and parked it at the entrance of the Einstein Bagel Shop on the corner of Ponce de Leon and Miracle Mile. (Photo above.)
Why did he choose this particular parking spot? Because across the street is HILLSTONE restaurant, and that's where the Boy Mayor and his bodyguard/chauffeur went for a little sustenance.
You have to appreciate that this didn't happen within the city limits of Miami, but rather in Coral Gables, where I seriously doubt any of the elected officials of that fair city would have dared to pull such a stunt.
It is truly an example of the kind of arrogant self-entitlement that Suarez has assumed as a cape since he's become Mayor, and this kind of behavior does not bode well for the residents of Miami, because if this is how he behaves now, imagine how he will behave if he becomes a Strong Mayor and acquires the ability to become both a real bully and a petty tyrant.
For those who might ask how do I know that the SUV in the photo is actually Francis Suarez's, given that the photograph doesn't include the license tag, the person who took the photo knows him well and watched the entire process take place.
Like it or not, according to the provision set out by statute, Hardemon was within his rights as the Chairman to set the terms and conditions for public comments, and Stern's arguments that he was illegally being deprived of the right to speak at the 2nd Special meeting has no basis or support in the law as it is written.
Stern's second contention was that his being deprived of his right to be heard was a violation of the rights afforded him by the Miami-Dade County Charter Citizen's Bill of Rights.
A review of the Right To Be Heard, however, fails to show how the language in this portion of the Citizen's Bill Of Rights supersedes the plain language of Section 286.0114.
Lastly, and most significantly is Stern's totally confusing claim that:
"Stern alleges that holding public comment on the item to be
heard at the first meeting, before the Commission set a new
hearing with the second item to be heard is prima facia evidence
of an unreasonable opportunity to be heard. The City's unfair
decision to close public hearing before the meeting began,
rendered the ability to give comment one week earlier, before
the second item to be heard was introduced an inherently
unreasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition since
it's true details only became known five days after the start
of the hearing." (Yes, this the exact language in his motion,
see bottom of page 5, below.)
What I think he is alleging - and based on Stern's comments and faux legal reasoning over the years, one can never be precisely clear on what he's alleging - is that the city's release of the July 17th version of the Term Sheet should have occurred before the July 12th Commission meeting so that the public could have made public comments on that document then, but because it wasn't, the subsequent release of this document on July 17th, raises the issue of timeliness, which by the city's failure to release this document prior to the July 12th meeting made any decisions rendered by the Commission at the July 18th Special Meeting illegal.
To deconstruct this nonsense, the first, and most important issue that needs to be understood is that the July 18th meeting was a "Special Meeting." "Special Meetings" are exempt from the issue of timelines as it relates to the release of documents.
Let me repeat that: SPECIAL MEETINGS ARE EXEMPT FROM THE ISSUE OF TIMELINESS AS IT RELATES TO THE RELEASE OF DOCUMENTS.
As someone who often states that anything is possible in Miami, I cannot say with 100% certainty that the judge in the Muir case will throw Stern's motion in the trash can where it deserves to go, but the more important issue that everyone in the community needs to know and understand is that the effort by Doug Muir to tackle the Beckham deal is complicated and requires both complete focus and every minute of time that the Judge has set aside to hear this case on August 15th.
What Stern has done with this bullshit Motion To Intervene is to create a time consuming distraction that only works in the City's favor, and against the best interests of those in the community who should be concerned about how this deal was actually crafted in a backroom to circumvent the provisions of the City Charter and the State's Constitution.
Everyone needs to know and understand that Stern's self-serving antics have nothing to do with trying to stop this bad deal from going forward, but does have everything to do with his using this bullshit motion to further the notion that he is a champion of the little guy.
He's not. As the video interview and his motion reveals, he's a guy who doesn't know the law, can't write a legal document that makes sense, and has no scruples about jumping on the back of someone who is actually trying to do something honorable, and exploiting that person and his efforts for his own self-interest.
Now, if Stern disagrees with this, and I'm sure that he will, then he has every right to rewrite his motion as a legal complaint, pay the filing fee and sue the city.
In the meantime, I think that the best way to describe Grant Stern behavior is that you can almost always expect him to be the guy who always pisses in the hot tub!
HERE IS GRANT STERN'S MOTION TO INTERVENE
There is a significant difference between going into court to challenge a violation of constitutional issues and challenging procedural issues or specific state statutes, and while on occasion both of these kinds of issues can and deserve to be litigated within the framework of a single case, the first thing that you have to have is a reasonable belief that you have a case worth arguing.
GRANT STERN IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF THE PROVERB: HE WHO HAS HIMSELF FOR A LAWYER, HAS A FOOL FOR A CLIENT
Even before I took the time to read Stern's Motion To Intervene, the Miami-Dade Citizen's Bill of Rights, the Florida Sunshine Manuel and ALL of documents the city provided Grant Stern, I knew that what he had done was a fool's errand instigated by a legal moron..
I knew this, because Stern basically admitted it in an interview he gave to the local news media after the Status Hearing on Doug Muir's case on August 1st.
A portion of that interview was recorded by Miami Herald reporter, Aaron Leibowitz, who posted it on Twitter. The interview can be seen if you click on the blue highlighted link below.
To understand what these issues mean the recent letter that Doug Muir sent to City Attorney Victoria Mendez does a good job of explaining..
NUMBER 76 - AUGUST 7, 2018
MONDAY WAS THE DAY THAT MIAMI CITY HALL TURNED INTO CRAZY TOWN
For those of you who watched the Special Meeting of the Miami City Commission on Monday afternoon dealing with Mayor Francis Suarez's desire to have a referendum question placed on the November ballot that would ask the citizens to create the position of Strong Mayor, you know that it turned into a shit show that ended up being continued until next Tuesday, August 14th.
I'll be writing about all of that in a couple days, because it turns out that Francis Suarez managed to raise and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this ill thought out venture, and there are some rabbits that are just waiting to be pulled out of a hat!
Before that happens though, for those who were not at City Hall, it turned out that above and beyond the usual suspects who show up for these shows, a brand new character showed up to show his support for Francis Suarez's efforts to become Strong Mayor.
I will let the video interview I did with this gentleman speak for itself.
GRANT STERN ISSUED A STATEMENT REGARDING MY STORY ABOUT HIS ACTIONS IN FILING A MOTION TO INTERVENE IN THE CASE OF THE WRIT OF MANDAMUS FILED BY DOUG MUIR.
Grant Stern's argument regarding his effort to preserve his legal rights is based on a belief that if the court were to rule against Muir, that adverse decision would deprive him of the ability to wage his own case, but that is at best weak because the Muir case is based on the allegation of specific violations of Article 3, Section 11(a)(10)(12) of the Florida Constitution, while Stern's Motion to Intervene rests on alleged violations of Florida's Sunshine Law, Chapter 286.011 and Florida's Public Records Law, Chapter 119.01. He does include a reference to the Florida Constitution, but not to Article 3, but to Article 1, Section 24(b).
He goes on to state that the city attempted to undermine his claims before he could retain counsel, but that begs the question of why couldn't he find a lawyer in the 13 days between July 18th and August 1st, and more importantly, if he was able to put together a badly written Motion To Intervene, why couldn't he during the same period of time, have turned that motion into a complaint and filed an actual lawsuit to protect his claims?
Complaints get rewritten and amended all the time, so he could have, had he found a lawyer, had the lawyer rewrite his complaint to put it into shape and by filing his own lawsuit he wouldn't be at the mercy of a judge's decision as to whether he could be added to someone else's case. If he gets attached to Muir's case and it goes down, he loses all chances of reviving his claims, but if he'd filed a lawsuit, he'd maintain a possibility that another judge would agree with his arguments and ignore the decision by the judge in the Muir case.
It's all about odds and percentages.
I stand by my analysis of Stern's badly written Motion, and by his obvious desire to freeload off of someone else's hard work.
More fun is Stern's accusation that I've been an employee of Joe Carollo in recent years.
Over the years, I've been accused of being paid off by just about everyone whose entered City Hall, but no one until yesterday has ever been stupid enough to make such a claim in writing, or to be so specific as to claim that, "Al Crespo has been a good employee of Commissioner Joe Carollo in recent years."
Why I find this so funny is that yesterday afternoon at City Hall, someone close to Joe Carollo asked me if I was being paid to write the things I've written about him in recent months.
Over the years the people who make these claims all seems to know whose paying me, so I'd be happy if any of them would go to these deep pocket benefactors and ask them to give them all these payments that I've yet to receive.
If you do that, I'll be happy to share. In fact, I'll be happy to give you 50% of all of this money that folks like Joe Carollo have allegedly been paying me, just so I can get the first dollar.
So here's the deal Grant Stern, you've made a very specific claim that I have been an employee of Joe Carollo for years and that I have had an "undisclosed financial relationships on the #Miami Commission."
I'm not going to threaten you with a lawsuit at this point, because taking you to court would be like trying to match wits with a hemorrhoid, and given that the rumor of why you can't find lawyers to represent you is that you supposedly owe some of them money - I'd not feel good having you stiff another lawyer because of me.
However, since you've publicity made a claim of, "undisclosed financial relationships," with people on the Miami City Commission, and specifically Joe Carollo, it's time that you put your money where your mouth is and provide proof that Joe Carollo has ever bought me a cup of Cuban coffee in all the years that I've known him, much less than I have ever been his, or anyone else's employee!
If you can't prove it, and neither you nor anyone else can, because I've never been on the take from Carollo or anyone else, then I want you to write the following statement using the same typeface, size and distribution list.
I lied when I accused Al Crespo on being an employee
of Joe Carollo, or of taking money from anyone else at
Miami City Hall to influence the stories he's written, and
I want everyone to know that Al Crespo is my Hero, and
I will be forever grateful that he hasn't revealed ALL that
he really knows about me!
You're a moron Stern, and so are the people you hang out with who tell you stupid shit. You've made a very serious miscalculation in accusing me of taking money, and you either retract that lie, or I'm going to show you what I'm really capable of doing when an asshole like you who lives in a glass house pisses me off.
NUMBER 77 - AUGUST 8, 2018
THE PHOTO IS REAL, BUT THE STORY WASN'T
It's been a while since someone purposely set out to game me, but it looks like that is what happened with the story I posted a couple days ago about the SUV above being the Mayor of Miami's SUV,
I've never claimed to be a rocket scientist, and I'm always willing to admit when I am wrong, and it appears not only from the evidence - the SUV above is a Chevrolet and Francis Suarez's SUV is a Ford Expedition - but also from other information that I can not reveal because it would expose a very valuable source that this story was purposely crafted to discredit me.
I have enough real information to beat up on Francis Suarez without having to use false information, so I apologize to Francis Suarez and his bodyguard/chauffeur.