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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

APRIL 27, 2012

TO CAMPAIGN FINANCES

Among the revelations Tomas Regalado’s deposition provided was a peek inside the world of campaign check bundling.


While Regalado chooses to play the part of a bumbling, dumber than a groundhog, nitwit, he still managed to reveal in his bumbling way, the method by which some of his pals gave him big bucks for his campaign.


Take for instance his pal Norman Braman.  Here is Regalado describing how Braman operates when he decides to support a candidate: (All of the quotes are verbatim from the deposition transcript)


        “I’ll go back to for instance Norman Braman, he called

        me at his office and says, “Okay, I have 26 companies,

        I’ll give you a check for each of my companies” so you

        can...and then Stanley his legal counsel would give me

        a personal check, he would give me like one check for

        Norman once check for his wife...”


Who knew that when Norman Braman decided to support a candidate, instead of that candidate getting two $500 checks, one from his and one from his wife, the candidate actually received as much as $14,000 from Braman, thanks to the 26 companies, plus his and wifey’s personal contributions.


And that’s just for the primary. If a candidate has a primary and a general election, the amount could go up to $28,000, or the price of a tricked out Kia Optima at Braman’s Kia dealership.


Or consider how he describes his pal, and uber lobbyist Lucia Dougherty from Greenberg Traurig, arranging fundraisers for him.


        “Then they would some attorney you know Lucia

        Dougherty from Greenberg  Traurig, she does a

        lot of work in the city, she would organize a fundraiser

        “okay you have to be there at 5PM, from 5-7,

        Calamari in Coconut Grove” an example. Or Greenberg

        Traurig’s office in Brickell and I would just go there

        sometimes I would take my son Jose...”


No wonder Dougherty is such a favorite at City Hall.


Regalado’s comments not only underscores the coziness of big time lobbyists like Lucia Dougherty and the way that things get done in the city - like say for instance having RFP criteria written in ways that can only be met by their clients - but reveals how pliable Regalado was to being told what to do by a lobbyist.


Bundling checks is a legalized form of Pay To Play, and Doughterty, by her list of clients, is the Queen of Miami’s lobbyists. (Click HERE and go to pages 22-35.)


For Regalado, Dougherty’s name was the one that he continued to return to when he attempted to give examples of how the process of collecting checks after the events occurred. (Regalado Deposition, Pages 14-19)


Yet, when you go looking for her name, or Steve Marin’s name, or any of a dozen other high-powered lobbyists in emails and other city documents, its like they never existed. They only become visible during campaign season, and then once their candidates win, they get the private phone numbers and email addresses of their candidates, and do their deals shielded from public scrutiny.


Overall, the way in which Regalado described his attendance at events revealed a candidate mindlessly being directed from one campaign event to another, sometimes collecting bundled checks in the process.


On other occasions he was collecting checks in the parking lot of City Hall, because “you cannot enter City Hall with checks,” and on one occasion, he found an envelope with checks in between his car seats, which led to this interesting back and forth over the requirement that all checks collected had to be deposited “into the campaign account within 5 days.”


        REGALADO

         I remember, I remember one specific instance that I

         I had several envelopes in my car and I think that one

         of the envelopes like fell through the seat and like two

         or three days after I found it and I said wow the envelopes

         and I gave it to the people.  But usually the people that

         did the fundraiser have to deliver the checks like

         maximum two days after the fund raiser so we can go

         and deposit the checks that could be an explanation

         that could be a straggler you know that gave them

         a check maybe before the fundraiser, some people

         said, “oh I couldn’t make the fundraiser but I gave the

         check to Lucia today because I had to go on a trip or   

         something: and it got bundled on the checks.


        QUESTION

        Are all the checks that I’m speaking of were deposited

        on one specific date of November 5th, but the dates on

        the checks range from August 18 through October 28th...


        REGALADO

        Right, that could be the envelope that fell, because I

        remember one instance of an envelope...


        AUDITOR SEYMOUR

        That’s the 1590, that’s almost two months...here..


        - MR ROSEN - QUESTION

        Do you recall how many checks would have been in that    

        envelope?


        REGALADO

        No, I don’’t recall.   


Caught in a lie, Regalado reverted to his tried-and-true method of answering questions where he’s caught out by claiming that he was not able to recall.


CAMPAIGN DONATIONS ARE LIKE MONOPOLY MONEY


A review of the Regalado campaign reports reveals that he, like many other politicians who win elections, end up using the left over money in the campaign accounts much like monopoly money.


In Regalado’s case he made sure that his son Tommy’s wife got an extra $10,000, for helping out, no doubt the money probably came in handy if you’ll recall the story I did last year about her and Tommy hanging out at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.


Like many politicians in Florida, Regalado was quick to transfer campaign funds to his “Office Account,” which is a trick politicians created to allow them to have their own legal slush funds.  In his case he transferred the maximum of $10,000, as a way to cover whatever little odds and ends expenses he didn’t want to pay from his official city expense account.


Then there were the obligatory donations to churches and civic groups to burnish his image with someone else’s money. 


The best though was the $12,791.35, that he gave to Creative ideas Advertising - operated by Armando “The Whopper” Gutierrez’s wife, Maritza, for Christmas Cards.


And that’s where we’ll end this week’s adventure in the swamp of the Regalado mayoral campaign finances, because next week we’re going to start out with the $300,000 plus of Regalado campaign money that went to Maritza Gutierrez, and her company Creative Ideas Advertising, and why no one can account for how much went to “consulting fees.”


It’s another Miami, Bitches! story.


HERE IS THE REGALADO CAMPAIGN REPORT THAT SHOWS THE $12,791.35 THAT HE SPENT FOR CHRISTMAS CARDS IN 2009.


I WONDER HOW MUCH HE SPENT FOR CHRISTMAS CARDS IN 2010 AND 2011?


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