JULY 21, 2014






On July 7th, I wrote an email to Alyce Robertson, the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), regarding her response to my public records request for the electronic copy of the email addresses that the DDA uses to send newsletters and other communications to the folks in the DDA District, and the electronic copy of the email addresses that she used to send information to the business owners in the DDA District.

My request was simple, straightforward and in plain English.  Robertson’s response was, as I wrote at the time, nothing more than a duplicitous and ignorant example of the arrogance that people like Robertson acquire when they get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and forget that they are supposed to be public servants.

What seemed to catch everyone by surprise in my response to Robertson’s reply was the portion of Florida Attorney General’s Sunshine Law provisions that I included that detailed in unequivocal language that email addresses are public records, and that every agency - including all the cities and counties in Florida - that uses email needs to post the following information on their websites.


"(2) E-mail address public records disclosure statement

Section 668.6076, F.S., requires that any agency as defined in s. 119.011(1), F.S., or legislative entity that operates a website and uses electronic mail must post the following statement in a conspicuous location on its website: (Emphasis mine.)

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records.

  1. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing."

Even though all the attorneys in the City are required to take annual refresher courses on the Sunshine Laws, its pretty obvious that none of them actually bother to pay attention, because several days after I sent my response to Mr. Robertson, I met Assistant City Attorney George Wysong at the monthly Ethics Commission meeting, where he told me, “Well, it’s looks like you were right about those emails.”

No shit, Lone Ranger.  If Wysong and the rest of the attorneys in the City Attorney’s Office, including their boss Victoria Mendez, had ever bothered to actually pay attention during there refresher courses or spend 5 minutes on the Attorney General’s website, the above language wouldn’t have caught them by surprise.

After Wysong conceded that I was right, and that he had been tasked with responding to my request for these emails, I asked him when I would get them.

That would take a while he replied because he wanted to talk with Pat Gleason, the Assistant Attorney General who is the expert on public records to see if there was any wiggle room to deny me the email addresses.  Even though I was right about the emails being public records, neither Robertson, nor the City Attorney’s Office was going to concede defeat without a fight to the bitter end.

Wysong’s “concern” was that in order to provide me with the email addresses they might have “to create a document,” and the public records law doesn’t require a custodian of public records to “create a document” in order to comply with a public records request.

This was all gobble-gook double-talk, and I explained to Wysong in minute detail not only the process for downloading the emails addresses, but why this creating a file argument was specious.

Email addresses are maintained by Constant Contact in Comma, Separated, Value files (CSV files).  This is a fancy term for the universally accepted database format that is used by Excel and numerous other database programs.

This program has made it extremely easy and fast to both upload and download email addresses. In fact they encourage users to download these emails as a way to maintain a backup.

The day after speaking with Wysong, I got an email from Alyce Robertson, which I then queried Mendez about, and which she then responded to claiming that her office was just “coordinating.”

On July 14th, having not heard from George Wysong, I emailed the esteemed City Attorney Victoria Mendez, Wysong and her Deputy Barnaby Min asking what was up.

Now another week has passed, and even though wrote me that the issue would be resolved as of last Friday that the issue, it hasn’t.

To be charitable, I figure that it would take one of the employees at the DDA all of about 5-10 minutes to download the email address - depending on the number of pages that need to be downloaded  and then to do a drop and drag onto a CD or DVD. Yet, TWO WEEKS have passed without any confirmation that the task of copying the emails has been done.


It seems that having embarrassed Alyce Robertson once, she decided that the best way to stop me from doing it twice was to send me the first email that I referenced above where she wrote, “followup with this request and future public records requests to Ms. Victoria Mendez, City Attorney, City of Miami,” which turns out to be just another example of how fucking stupid Robertson is, because contrary to her passing the buck to the City Attorney’s office she is, as  the Executive Director of the DDA the custodian of records for that agency.

As I have repeatedly pointed out to the nitwits with law degrees who have cowshit for brains employed by the City of Miami, Florida law is absolutely clear on who is responsible for complying with public records requests:

                 “Section 119.07(1)(a) F.S.    

               “Every person who has custody of a public record shall

                permit the record to be inspected and copied by any

               person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under

               reasonable conditions, and under supervision of the

               custodian of the public records.”

And if that isn’t clear enough the 4th District Court of Appeals stated in even clearer language in Puls v City of Port St Lucie, 678 So 2nd 514 (Fla 4th DCA 1996): “…the courts have concluded that the statutory reference to the records custodian does not alter the “duty of disclosure” imposed by s. 119.07(1) F.S., upon “[e]very person who has custody of a public record. Thus, the term “custodian” for purposes of the Public Records Act refers to all agency personnel who have it within their power to release or communicate public records.””

As the executive Director of the DDA, Alyce Robertson clearly falls under the description of “custodian” described in the above decision.

When it comes to the public records law in the City of Miami, fewer people than you would expect believe in obeying the law. The law for many employes, starting with Mayor Tomas Regalado and several of his staff who are currently the subject of a really interesting lawsuit, exists only to fuck over people and screw the taxpayers unless and until you bitch slap them into submission, and then, at the first opportunity they start looking for new ways to screw the taxpayers.

The last time I had to go round-and-round with Alyce Robertson and the DDA, they tried to get the City Attorney to give them a legal opinion that would have denied me the records I was seeking, then when that didn’t work, they went to the Florida Attorney general who also refused to issue a legal opinion, and then when they finally got the Florida Secretary of State to issue an opinion, they ruled in my favor.

The concept of “Best Practices” that is often parroted by City Commissioners during Commission members is often little more than cover for coming up with better ways to fuck over that public.

As revealed last Friday, former Assistant City Attorney Veronica Diaz, an exceedingly devious piece of work, thought it was perfectly okay to steer work to her “boyfriend’s” law firm solely because she wasn’t married to him.

The City of Miami, from top to bottom, operates as a kleptocracy.  They take free gas; they take free tickets; they take free meals; they take time off for vacations and arrange with their friends to make sure that those days don’t get docked from their vacation accounts; they operate businesses on the side, often on city time, and get an attitude when they’re asked how much city time they’re spending running these businesses.

And that’s just the employees. The big shots are screwing the pooch every which way but loose. They’re the ones getting the free plane trips, weekends trips and fancy meals paid for by developers and the moneyed crowd looking for real favors. 

They’re also the ones getting payoffs masked as “retainers” and “fees” collected by their bagman lobbyists.

It wasn’t that long ago that you could literally bribe a Miami City Commissioner with a bag full of $100 dollar bills.  Some of you know exactly who I’m talking about.  Nowadays, the crooks have gotten slicker, although the end results are still the same. Favors traded, votes traded, monies washed and taxpayers screwed.


No one should ever, ever forget the email that Carlos Gimenez Jr. - son of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez - and an insider’s insider wrote that he will probably regret writing until the day he dies in frustration about his experience in dealing with Miami City Commissioners Marc Sarnoff, Francis Suarez and lobbyists Steve Marin and Armando Gutierrez over the red light camera legislation a few years back.

I can tell you what happened here.


The Company that won was ATS.  Initially, ATS was represented by Miguel DLP and myself through the original process.  The process was flawed, as they had folks on the selection committee that hardly had any idea what a red light was, much less, what red light enforcement required.  The original company that was recommended for award was ACS, a subsidiary of Zerox.  At the time, Brian May was representing ACS.  We then filed a bid protest,that was reviewed by Glenn Marcos.  ACS offered a system in their submittal that was not functioning at the time of bid submittal, as required by the RFP.  Also, they took into account the financials of Zerox, which is a parent company, but, nothing is stopping Zerox from selling ACS tomorrow, so, we argued successfully that the audited financial statements should be for the subsidiary, not the parent.  In addition, ACS lied about not being removed in several jurisdictions around the Country, only to be replaced by ATS.  If that wasn't enough, the process of red light enforcement requires that shots be taken of the car, and within those shots, certain data is provided, such as date, time, and the speed of the vehicle in question.  Well, ACS had sample shots that showed a car going 0 mph in one shot, and up to 90 miles per hour in the next shot.  Such an error would have given the driver an excellent argument, and rendered the violation unsupportable in court.


So, at this point, Glenn hired an independent expert to review our protest, and the grounds stated above.  They confirmed our position.  The bid protest went before the City Commission, and the vote was 5-0 in favor of the protest.  Now, the City started negotiations with us, and in the interim, ACS, who had now hired John Shubin, filed their own bid protest.  Glenn determined that their protest was without merit, and recommended award to ATS.  At the next Commission meeting, all seemed fine.  The cone was lifted, and we met with all the Commissioners.  Every single one of them said that they agreed with the recommended award to ATS, and agreed with Glenn's conclusions on the bid protest.  The last two I met with were Suarez and Sarnoff, who both said they had no problem.


Fast forward to the date of the meeting.  From the time I met with them, until the time of the Commission meeting, ACS hired additional help.  You guessed it, Steve Marin.  As an aside, we had approached Marin to bring him on the team.  At the time, our client balked at bringing him in.  This was back before the protests, and all that jazz.  The client called him again, and wanted to bring him on, and he said that the last experience left a bad taste in his mouth that he would not jump on with the competition, and he would stay out.  I kept checking the lobbyist registrations, because, frankly, I did not believe him.  Well, my fears were realized.  All of a sudden, Sarnoff and Suarez flipped on us.  They based their reversal on some very loose ground.  Gort actually told us from the beginning that he felt the bid should be rejected, and they should start over.  At the end of the day, it was a reasonable opinion, and he stuck with it.  So, with not enough votes to award to either side (Dunn and Carollo stuck with Glenn's recommendation), they voted to reject all bids, and start it all over again.


Now, I knew exactly what happened.  Who was tied with Sarnoff and Suarez, Marin.  Who was already aware of what was going on, and knew that there was a chance to make a quick buck, Marin.  Marin had not registered, and I made it known to Sarnoff and Suarez that I knew what happened.  Funny thing is, neither of them denied that Marin lobbied them on it.  Marin, then registered for them after the fact.  Dirty!


Anyways, seeing that the decks were stacked against our client, who is the industry leader, by far, we had to expand the team.  Who did we bring on, Armando Gutierrez?  Did we want to, hell no!!  This is the sort of thing good companies trying to compete on an even playing ground need to do at the City of Miami, and it makes me absolutely sick.  Miguel and I were able to reverse recommendations all over this County.  Doral, Key Biscayne, Homestead, Hialeah, and the City (through protests, and a transparent process).  Unfortunately, at the City, we not only had to win a bid protest on legally supported grounds, we had to bring folks onto the team.  That is not the way it should work.  Obviously, all this is WAY OFF THE RECORD. 


At the end of the day, the evaluation committee was actually composed of members that had a good idea of how the system worked, and we scored 40 points higher than #2, ACS.  Brain May made a last ditch effort, but, ATS was approved by a 5-0 vote at the end of the day.  The sad thing is, they forced an extension of the process, which gave their buddies additional money, regardless of who won.  I am seeing that more and more.  They will delay, or defer, or reject an item, if either Marin or Armando are on the sidelines, essentially forcing private companies to hire them for a chance.  That has got to change.

Carlos J. Gimenez

Let’s read these last two sentences again:

The sad thing is, they forced an extension of the                  

   process, which gave their buddies additional

   money, regardless of who won.  I am seeing that

   more and more.  They will delay, or defer, or reject

    an item, if either Marin or Armando are on the

    sidelines, essentially forcing private companies to

     hire them for a chance.  That has got to change.

Have things changed?  I don’t think so. 


If anything, it’s gotten worse. Whether it was Willie Gort in 2011 getting $18,000 in unreported and free campaign advertisements from FUEL Advertising, or the huge amounts of contributions that Francis Suarez got to his EOC, and which he continues to hold on to for another run at being Mayor because his first campaign for Mayor didn’t seem to have convinced him that he’s a lightweight, unqualified to be a City Commissioner, much less the Mayor of a major American city it’s all just about cashing in. 

Seriously imagine anyone giving Francis Suarez a $25,000 or $50,000 contribution for any other reason than to be able to stick their hand up his ass and make him a sock puppet.

At the other end of the dais, Commissioner Hardemon didn’t wait long to demonstrate that blood is thicker than good sense, and his strong arming Jeffrey Berkowitz out of $100,000 a year for the Liberty City Trust where Uncle Roy is a member, managing in the process to galvanize a large portion of his District to start having meetings last week.  In this long hot summer, folks might get pissed off enough to start a recall effort against him.

And as for Sarnoff, what can I say about that lying, weasel dick sociopath that I haven’t said on numerous occasions?

Oh yeah, he’s so arrogant that he figures that with all the money and favors owed to him, as well as the need to continue keeping control over that money machine, he’s going to run his wife as his replacement next year.

That’s the kind of hubris and arrogance that that exemplifies the level of corruption and in-your-face fuck-you-ism that permeates the political culture of Miami.

Against all of this, the refusal to obey the public records law might seem as almost a mere piffle, except of course the refusal to provide public records is often rooted in an effort to keep documents secret that would reveal even more dirty deals being done by these abusers of the public’s trust.

Which brings us back to my request for the DDA’s email lists.  The reason that I asked for the emails - something that I’ve made no secret about - is that I want to be able to provide them to whoever is going to run against Sarnoff’s wife in District 2.

That’s why no one wants me to get these email addresses, because just like during Sarnoff’s reelection campaign in 2011, when the DDA had their thumb on the scale to give a helping hand to the Chairman, these email addresses are a valuable campaign tool, and one that would help level the playing field against the strangle hold that Sarnoff has on the Brickell Avenue/Downtown area, where his allies managed to block any of the other candidates in 2011 from access to the condos in order to talk with residents.

And that’s why, even though she denies it, Victoria Mendez has her nose stuck up Sarnoff’s ass so far that every time he opens his mouth you can see the tip of her nose wagging, and continues to stonewall and lie to me anytime there’s a public records request that involves the Commission in any way.

It’s Miami, Bitches!

(*) PREDATORS OF OPPORTUNITY is a phrase that a commentator on the Miami Herald website labeled Veronica Diaz/Xiques and her boyfriend Ben Alvarez. It’s a perfect description of the behavior of many people inside Miami City Hall.