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NUMBER 54 - JUNE 29, 2018
Miami City Commission meetings have turned into soap operas with over the top threats and claims of skull duggery made on a by-weekly basis by none other than Miami's new Drama Queen, Joe Carollo.
Consider the threat that he made at the last meeting regarding information that he claimed to have on his brother Frank and Commissioner "Selfie Boy" Russell over a meeting that took place last year where Russell agreed to give Frank a one-time, $2 million payment from the OMNI CRA to the Bayfront Park Trust.
At the time, the payment was generally acknowledged as an effort by Russell to get Carollo to quit hounding the OMNI CRA for what he and others believed was an illegal demand that the OMNI CRA pay $2 million a year for 30 years to cover the costs of the construction of Museum Park.
It's a long, drawn out, and contentious fight that has been going on since Russell became a Commissioner, and while Russell and Jason Walker, the OMNI CRA's Executive Director, have argued that for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that the $68 million construction of Museum Park was never actually done, the OMNI CRA should not be liable for these payments.
Carollo on the other hand, seized on these $2 million annual payments as a dowery that he's owed as the new Chairman of the Trust, and he's been hell bent on trying to collect one way or another.
All of this blew up over the last 2 commission meetings when Carollo's refused to support the passage of the OMNI CRA's mid-year budget, and kept haranguing Russell over these payments and the illegality of the CRA issuing a budget that he claimed failed to list these payments as an outstanding debt.
At one point it got so bad that when Russell told Carollo he would consider him a no-vote on passing the mid-year budget, Carollo went off like a Roman Candle.
Ever the coward, Russell refused to go there by calling his bluff.
Unless Russell had indeed engaged in some nefarious back-room deal with Frank Carollo over this $2 million payment, then this was as good an opportunity to call Carollo out to make good on these so-called threats that he keeps making.
What Carollo was obviously alluding to was the rumor circulated last October by former Mayor Tomas Regalado's personal gofer Steve Kneapler, that Frank Carollo was trying to work behind the scenes to get himself appointed as the Executive Director of the Bayfront Park Trust after he left the Commission, and that this one time $2 million payment was part of that deal cementing Russell's support for Carollo.
None of this was a secret. I wrote about part of it on October 13th, and quoted from the Miami Herald story that had been published earlier that day.
What new information Carollo has - if in fact he has any new information other than some wild rumors of his own - is information that he needs to make public. When he talks about, "spilling it all out and let the chips fall where they may," then, as an elected official who claims to have information that might have implications of official wrong doing he needs to reveal that information in a public forum so that everyone can be aware of these allegations.
Carollo caused quite a stir in April when he responded to my calling him out over his behavior in attacking a city employee during the public comments portion of a Commission meeting by claiming that he was sickened by the corruption that he was encountering since becoming a Commissioner.
That was before allegations made by his former employee Steve Miro came to light alleging that Carollo had used money from his Special Events Fund to finance parties at several community centers to introduce and boost the election chances of one of his pals, Alex de la Portilla, and which he documented by posting photos on his social media sites.
Carollo's arrogance and cluelessness is at time amazing for someone who claims to be the smartest guy in the room whenever he can.
For Joe Carollo sleazy behavior is what other people do, and not what he and his pals do.
Carollo has taken to whining about all the ULTRA Music Festival lobbyists that he has been forced to deal with as he's negotiated a new contract for use of Bayfront Park, and how unsavory dealing with these people has been.
What he's not bothered to tell anyone when he whines about these lobbyists is that the new King of the Hill representing ULTRA is none other than Steve Marin.
Event Entertainment Group is the parent company that owns the ULTRA Music Festival, and it's no coincidence that they decided to hire Marin after Carollo was elected.
Carollo used Steve Marin to handle his campaign mailers last year, paying him $56,5000, and as every political insider in Miami knows, Steve Marin from the very beginning has been tied hand, foot and hip to former District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who many believe has turned Carollo into his personal sock puppet.
So, to hear Carollo bemoan having to deal with lobbyists, while he and his his office have served as a clubhouse for not only Sarnoff and Alex de la Portilla, but also for Carlos Gimenez Jr., who only days ago spent the day tagging along with Jorge and Jose Mas on their rounds to pitch their desire to turn Mel Reese Golf Course into a soccer stadium after registering as their lobbyist, is like listening to Boss Hog, bitch about his fellow pigs at the trough.
Carollo's pals have been cashing in just as fast as they can, including Sarnoff, who I've been told has gotten new clients as a result of his closeness to Carollo.
So, all of Carollo's whining about slimy and corrupt lobbyists and wheeler-dealers is all bullshit.
The more he whines about having to wipe the slime off his hands, the more he turns into a Slime Monster.
If, however, he wants to continue to claim that he's pure as the driven snow, and just a misunderstood champion of the people of Little Havana - he for sure never claims to be the champion of anyone other than the Cubans in Little Havana - then he needs to speak up, and tell everyone what he know about all of this information about corruption that he's privy to.
We're all ears!
FOR SOMEONE WHO'S BECOMING A POSTER BOY FOR PLAYING FOOTSIES WITH LOBBYISTS AND ENGAGING IN OUTRIGHT CORRUPTION, IT'S TIME FOR JOE CAROLLO TO QUIT ACTING LIKE A DRAMA QUEEN MAKING THREATS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE AS A WAY TO DETRACT FROM HIS OWN BEHAVIOR, AND EITHER PUT UP OR SHUT UP