CRESPOGRAM REPORT
OCTOBER 23, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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BERKOWITZ WRITES THE MAYOR
THERE’S ONE  THING THAT JEFFREY BERKOWITZ AND I CAN DEFINITELY AGREE ON: TOMAS REGALADO IS NO ROCKET SCIENTIST.  BUT THE FIGHT OVER THIS BOND MONEY APPEARS TO BE PART OF A LARGER FIGHT BETWEEN TOMAS AND RAQUELITA REGALADO AND CARLOS GIMENEZ.  JEFFREY BERKOWITZ FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE JUST PROVIDED SOME FRESH AMMUNITION

PART XXII

Boy, you know Jeffrey Berkowitz is really, really pissed off at Tomas Regalado when he paid me a backhand compliment in the letter that he sent to the Mayor on Wednesday.

“I was upfront, transparent and forthcoming. Al Crespo, who is apparently not a fan of either of us, was provided the “Source of Funds” document by me on June 6, 2014 with those disclosures and in fact, published the entire document on line on June 11, 2014.  Nobody was misled by me.”

How sweet is that!  Jeffrey gives me a big plug by acknowledging that I published his document on June 11th.  I did indeed do that.


Like I keep saying, if you want to really find out what’s going on inside the City of Miami you got to visit this blog because 99% of the time I’m the only one who not only has the documents, but more importantly, I’m the only one willing to post them on this site so that everyone can read them!


So, not only did I publish his letter that day, but as I wrote a few days ago, I made a specific reference further down in that story to the possibility that he might be trying to get government money. I’m reprinting again because it’s important.


GOVERNMENT FUNDING


For a long time Berkowitz claimed that he was going to finance this project with private money, and unfortunately, as I revealed back in March, he had his eye on taxpayer money all along.


His reference above to the $10-$20 million that he hopes to acquire from government funding has not abated just because the Governor voted the $2 million that he was able to get a couple “friendly” legislators to insert in a bill during the last legislative session.


Rumors persist that he is currently trying to get money from the county where his longtime friend Carlos Gimenez is Mayor, and where the rich man’s shill, Bruno Barerrio, is a County Commissioner.


When I wrote that, it wasn’t that I knew about Berkowitz’s application for these Economic Development Bond monies - because I was clueless about that - but rather I included that information because one of my sources told me that the word over at the county building was that Berkowitz was going to try and get some county money to make up for the $2 million that the Governor had removed with a line item veto from the state budget.


For the record - although I am including the complete letter that Berkowitz sent to Regalado at the bottom - here is the section of his Financial Projections  letter that details the section on government money that was part of the explanation of how he was going to raise the $430 million needed to build this tower.

“To the extent that the Developer receives no government funding, the private equity offering will be sufficient to insure total equity is at least US$110M.”

Like everyone else, I was surprised last week when I heard that Berkowitz was going after county bond money, because what I think has been overlooked in all this back and forth is the highlighted last sentence above.


What I think threw people off - including me when I first read this document - is the last sentence implies that if he didn’t get government money that would be okay, because he could raise the extra money through the private equity offering.

Rightly or wrongly, I think that many of the people who read this sentence, related it to the money taken away by the Governor’s veto and mistakenly concluded that having lost that money, that was it as far as his efforts to get government money.


Even though I had a source who said that rumors at the county building were that Berkowitz was looking for county money, I didn’t give it all that much possibility of succeeding because of the Governor’s veto, and because he was telling the people at the City that he was going to build the whole thing with private money.


While Berkowitz claims transparency, nowhere, not in one single document that I’ve seen, including over 18,000 emails that gave me severe eye strain, did I ever find a single specific reference to any County Economic Development Bond Money.  Not one!


That’s the rub. Yes, he had tried to get the Florida Legislature to give him $10 million, which eventually got cut to $2 million, and then got vetoed,  but at no time, either before, or afterwards, did he ever reveal that he was looking for, and had applied for this economic development bond money.


That’s not an insignificant oversight, especially when he showed up before the Miami City Commission saying:

“IF YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE CHECKMARK UNDER EACH OF THE ATTRACTIONS, EACH OF OUR MAJOR ATTRACTIONS.  THOSE WERE ALL BUILT WITH PUBLIC FINANCIAL SUPPORT.  SKYRISE MIAMI IS NOT LOOKING FOR ONE NICKEL, NOT ONE PENNY OF CITY OF MIAMI SUPPORT.”

“Most of these towers around the world have been built with government assistance,” Berkowitz said. “I’m of the opinion that something this important should have some level of government participation.”

There’s a very serious disconnect between this claim made in June, and this statement made last week in the Miami Herald saying:

At the end of the day, this is all becoming a circle jerk.  Berkowitz says he was open and transparent, and Regalado is now arguing that he was uninformed about Berkowitz’s true plans to ask for this bond money.


THESE GUYS ARE ALL PLAYING ROPE A DOPE WITH THE PUBLIC


At best, Berkowitz engaged in a game of hiding in plain sight, because if he had really wanted to be as open and transparent as he now claims he was, he would have at some point revealed that he had applied for this bond money last February, and that information would have found its way into the stories that were written about him in Miami Today, exMIAMI, and the Miami Herald leading up to his appearance before the Miami City Commission in June.


At the same time, Tomas Regalado’s claim that he was misinformed, not informed or otherwise was clueless about this effort by Berkowitz to go after this county bond money may or may not be factually true, but it underscores a larger problem when it comes to how Tomas Regalado has been running the City.


Over the last 5 years, Regalado has either been clueless about things that he should not be clueless about as the Mayor, or he denies knowing things that he should know until the lie ends up biting him in the ass.


Here is a classic example of that.


I first came to the general public’s attention as a blogger on June 29, 2011,when I posted the copy of the open letter I had written to US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer alleging that the Regalado administration had attempted to bribe then Chief of Police Miguel Exposito with a $200,000 check, which was later revealed to have been drawn on the settlement account of the Miami City Attorney, and that had been issued without the City Commission approval for all settlement checks over $25,000.


Within hours after I published my story local TV stations were gathered in front of City Hall waiting for the Mayor, who when he arrived, denied my claims, and stated that he knew nothing about any of this including the issuance of the check.


For a day and a half, Regalado denied having any knowledge about the check, or about anyone approaching Exposito to try and get him to leave.  It was only when Exposito showed up at an event where the he and the Mayor were supposed to be together, and acknowledged to the gathered press that yes in fact he had been offered the $200,000 check that the Mayor did a 180 degree turn around, as quoted in the next day’s Miami Herald.


                     “It was Tony, Larry and me, and we were talking

                     about the possibility of him retiring, and that’s it,”

                     Mayor Tomas Regalado said Thursday referring

                     to then City Manager Tony Crapp and then CFO

                     Larry Spring.”


It then took until July 30, 2012, when the State Attorney finally released the Close Out Memo, along with the audio tapes and transcripts of the FDLE investigation,  before it became evident just how nasty this deal had been, and how Exposito has immediately gone to the FBI within hours of the first approach by Larry Spring.


The big fiction that Regalado and those around him try to use when he gets caught in jams like this is that the City Charter restricts him from being told about a lot of things that are the responsibility of the City Manager.


Of course that’s all bullshit, these people - including the Mayor, the City Commissioners and folks like Alice “Alice In Regaladoland” Bravo among others - have multiple cell phones, private email accounts and spend a lot of time behind closed doors talking about all kinds of stuff that they shouldn’t be talking about.  One has only to look at the current state of the Miami Police Department to appreciate how, on a hourly basis sometimes, the City Charter gets ignored or violated when it come to the illegal meddling and information sharing that goes on between the Mayor, the City Manager and the members of the City Commission.


Even one of Regalado’s henchmen is today writing that there is a back story about this fight between Regalado and Berkowitz that actually involves his daughter Raquel Regalado and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.


RAQUEL REGALADO’S  ROLE IN ALL OF THIS


A little over a month ago, Miami-Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado popped up out of nowhere to become the principal opponent and public face in the efforts to defeat the Referendum to approval a  $393 million bond issue for a new courthouse.


I think that this move caught a lot of people by surprise.  School Board members don’t usually pop up and get involved in fighting about public policy issues not associated with education, and in Raquelita’s case, she’s shown that she is not only Daddy’s girl, but that she’s taken very few political steps in recent years that weren’t part of a larger overarching plan leading to positioning herself for her next political office.


As I first wrote on June 29th, I believe, based on multiple sources, that that plan involved Tomas Regalado resigning early next year, prompting a Special Election that would be the tailor made vehicle allowing Raquelita to become Mayor of Miami.


I still believe that, but at the same time, there is also the possibility that she could be aiming higher. She could be trying to position herself - should the vote for the bond issue fail - to claim the mantle of a Giant Killer and run against Carlos Gimenez next year.


There is no blood lost between Regalado and Gimenez. 


When Gimenez first ran for County Mayor, Regalado supported former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina.  When Gimenez got cute and recommend that David Beckham consider the Museum Park Boat Slip as the place to build his soccer stadium, he pretty much disrespected Regalado because he made the recommendation without involving him in this scheme, which was City property.


Regalado paid him back by pretending to play along until he announced that the Museum Park property was not in play.


Now, it’s the fight over the Courthouse bond issue, and the claim made by Carlos Gimenez close confidant and lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez, during a radio debate with Raquelita over this bond issue, that one of the reasons that the courthouse was in such bad shape was because the City had failed to conduct the required inspections over the years.


All of this is playing out in this morning’s Nelson Horta’s Reporta, a spanish language blog published by Nelson Horta, who has been a part-time employee and sock puppet for Regalado’s long-time pal, campaign manager and some even claim Shadow Mayor of Miami, Armando “The Whopper”  Gutierrez.


When it comes to Horta writing about Regalado, you can bet the farm that he only does so under the direction and instruction of Gutierrez, and that this morning’s blow-by-blow description about how Regalado reacted after hearing Jorge Luis Lopez bad mouth the City over the courthouse inspections, and how in turn Gimenez, reacting to Regalado’s rebuttal decided to change the kinds of projects that had previously been earmarked to receive the economic development bond money to include the Skyrise project is now all part and parcel of this fight. (The Spanish translation of this story is not great, but if you read Spanish here is the link to that version.)


So, as was once famously said in the movie Cool Hand Luke by the warden, “What he have here is a failure to communicate.”


Berkowitz failed to communicate that he was seeking the bond money, Regalado’s failed to communicate that he possibly knew that Berkowitz was doing this, Raquelita, has failed to communicate that she’s fighting against the Courthouse Bond issue as part of her strategy to run for either the Mayor of Miami, or the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, and Carlos Gimenez, has failed to communicate that he’s so deep in Jeffrey Berkowitz’s pocket that he can play with the lint, and that he’s now looking for another way to get back at Regalado.


In short, it’s just another day in...


It’s Miami, Bitches!


JEFFREY BERKOWITZ’S LETTER TOI TOMAS REGALADO