CRESPOGRAM REPORT
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH

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MARCH 16, 2015
IT’S SUNSHINE WEEK IN FLORIDA
BUT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY IT’S JUST ANOTHER WEEK WHERE THE CORRUPT POLITICIANS FUCK OVER THE CITIZENS WHILE THE MIAMI HERALD STANDS BY WITH THE VASELINE , AND MIAMI CITY ATTORNEY VICTORIA MENDEZ CONTINUES TO BE THE LIAR-IN -CHIEF

“All it takes for evil to flourish is for good 
men to do nothing” Edmund Burke

On March the 6th, there was a court hearing over the lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners on Venetian Causeway challenging the way in which the City of Miami has allowed the developers of Watson Island to hold on to the development rights for over 13 years without actually doing anything.


Before arguments related to the motion that prompted the hearing started, Sam Dubbin, the attorney for the residents requested that the Court postpone the hearing because he had discovered only days before - and not for the first time - a document that the City of Miami has purposely withheld.  Dubbin rightfully called this particular document a “Smoking Gun.”


Here is that portion of the hearing where Dubbin makes his arguments about this document and the consistent misbehavior by the City’s as to how they’ve conducted themselves throughout this case when it came to responding to public records requests.

This was not Dubbin’s first time to complain about how the City of Miami, especially since Victoria Mendez became the City Attorney, has behaved in their efforts to withhold public records.  Last September 25th, I wrote a story about how Dubbin submitted a 260 page motion to another judge detailing the massive and deliberate efforts of the City of Miami to withhold public records.

My story about the above motion was prompted by a 646 word story that Miami Herald stenographer Andres Viglucci wrote about this fight between the Venetian Island residents and the City, and how that story failed to include a single mention about the above document detailing the wholesale violations of Florida’s Public Records Law.


One of the principal reasons that Victoria Mendez and the City of Miami have felt emboldened enough to trash the public records law is that the news media - the very same news media that is the prime beneficiary of the public records law on the occasions when they actually get off their asses and decide to do a real story on issues like public corruption - refuses to report on the whole and wanton abuses of of the law by people like Victoria Mendez and her staff.


The absolute worst offender is the Miami Herald, and the latest and most flagrant example of this can be found in the story that Andres Viglucci wrote on September 22, 2014 about the lawsuit filed Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wynne, on behalf of numerous Venetian Island residents against the City of Miami to stop the Flagstone project on Watson Island.


Not a single word in the 686 word story provided any explanation or detail about the on-going, year long battle - and it’s been a battle royale as evidenced by the record -  between Herbits and the City over his efforts to force them to turn over public records that they repeatedly told him and his attorney didn’t exist, or otherwise engaged in behavior intended to stall and frustrate his efforts to obtain documents that revealed the degree to which the City and the developers were working behind the scenes to alter the original agreement for the benefit of the developers and against the interests of the citizens.


Unfortunatelty, this is part of a larger pattern of illegal behavior that goes on on a daily basis within the City when it comes to the wholesale violation of Florida Public Records Act.


EVERYBODY’S UPSET BECAUSE HILLARY CLINTON USED A PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESS. IN THE CITY OF MIAMI, COMMISSIONER SARNOFF USES SO MANY PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESSES YOU CAN’T KEEP TRACK OF THEM ALL 


I first started writing about city officials and employees using private email accounts to conduct public business in late 2010 when I was able to compile my first list. 

Several months later, as part of a collection of emails that I obtained from Commissioner Sarnoff after threatening to sue him if he didn’t provide me with the emails, I came across this email, sent to him by Jeffrey D. Swartz, a former assistant prosecutor and County Court Judge, who openly admitted that he was sending this email to his private email account in order to evade the public records law.

Since that time, Sarnoff has not only openly refused to respond to my public records requests, but he has increased the number of private email accounts that he uses to conduct public business. Here is one example from 2010 and one example from 2014 that show you how Sarnoff conducts public business by using private email accounts. The bottom one is from an email sent to Sarnoff, board members and employees of the DDA last year.

In addition to using multiple private accounts to conduct public business, Sarnoff has also taken to conduct public business by texting - often during meetings - where he is rumored to have instructed individuals on what to say, or do, in relation to an item before the City Commission and the CRA for a vote.


VICTORIA MENDEZ: THE PINOCCHIO OF THE LOCAL LEGAL ESTABLISHMENT


I’ve written on several occasions of how Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez has lied about the existence of documents. Last May I wrote about how Mendez had lied to me about one set of documents, and how  her lie was revealed as part of the response to a public records lawsuit my attorney filed.


One of those lies became part a central part of a lawsuit that I filed against the City earlier this year, and the other will become part of a future lawsuit if I do not receive the documents I have requested in the format I have requested they be provided. I have refrained in writing about the current lawsuit because I am being represented by a law firm, and out of respect for their taking on this case I wanted to wait until it has finally been settled before writing about it.


I can however say that the lawsuit was predicated on a request that I had made to the Mayor’s Office of Protocol last year for an electronic copy of all of the proclamations, certificates, and awards that former Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones had requested during her time in office.


I knew that the file existed in an electronic format because I had been in the Protocol Office where it was explained to me how the process for issuing these documents was handled and had even seen the electronic folder for these documents of the computer’s desktop.


On February 19, 2014, before the lawsuit was filed, I wrote Ms. Mendez making one last effort to get the documents before being forced to sue the City. I asked her to “please provide me with either the information that I requested, in the format that I requested, or provide me with a written explanation as to why you and the City of Miami will not do so.”


Later that day, she replied:

“There is no electronic version.”

On May 1st, when the City filed an answer to my lawsuit, this was paragraph 2 of that answer.

The problems with public records in the City of Miami go well beyond the attempts of weasels like Commissioner Sarnoff conducting public business through private email accounts, or the blatant lies that the City Attorney tells.


Just two days ago, after slow-walking me on a public records request for documents related to the possibility that contrary to the claims made by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff about an anonymous donor in Coral Gables picking up the cost of cleaning up Merri Christmas Park - the story I’ve been told is that supposed deal fell through very soon after it was announced, and that it will be the taxpayers of the City of Miami who will foot this bill, something that Sarnoff supposedly has been trying to hide because of the ramifications -  I received an email from Kirk Menendez, the “New” Public Records Coordinator for the City, informing me that I had to pay a $100 search fee in order to get any of those emails.


The illegal use of “Search Fees,”  which I’ve previously written to the City Attorney about, is just another way that the City is trying to stop access to public records that they know will become part of embarrassing stories about the incompetent, illegal, or just scummy behavior that passes for governance in the City.


Here is my response to the demand that I pay $100.00.

Good Afternoon Mr. Menendez:

I am in receipt of your letter requiring that I pay $100.00 for copies of emails that I requested.


Since I assume that you are basing these charges on a claim that the search for the documents that I requested from the City Manager's email account constitute  an “extensive use of resources” requiring a "Special Charge," please provide me with an itemized cost that account's for this $100.00 fee.

Specifically, here is the information that I am requesting.

How many minutes will it take the person in IT to type in the words,

Merri Christmas Park"

OR
"Merri Christmas Park" AND "payment"

OR

"Merri Christmas Park" AND "cleanup"


in order to initiate the search?


Once the emails have been retrieved, how much time will it take the person in IT to insert a DVD into the computer, copy the emails, and extract the DVD from the computer?


For the record, Florida law states:


119.07(4)(a) 1,F.S. establishes statutory fees for the production of documents, and 119.07 (4)(d),F.S., “authorizes the imposition of a special service charge when the nature or volume of public records to be inspected is such as to require extensive use of information technology resources, or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or both.”

 

Furthermore, I have previously written to the City Attorney that “Florida Attorney General Opinions 88-23 and 99-41, in dealing with the costs associated with “information technology resources, was very clear in stating that, “[T]he fact that the request involves the use of information technology resources is not sufficient to incur the imposition of the special service charge, rather extensive use of such resources is required.”

 

The fact that instead of complying with my request to the City Manager – who is the custodian of HIS records – you are attempting to force me to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a search conducted by a city computer does not in and of itself justify imposing a service charge.

 

You can only charge me the specific costs associated with this specific request, and you cannot charge me an arbitrary set fee, based on some unsupportable calculation of how much my public records search will cost.

 

I will await your response.

Al Crespo

 


On 3/13/15 12:17 PM, Menendez, Kirk R wrote:

Good Afternoon Mr. Crespo:

 

The total cost to run the queries to retrieve emails which fit suggested criteria below, to create Outlook PST files with query’s output and to save the output to a media (CD, DVD or hard disk depending on the volume) is $100.00. The electronic media to save the data is included in the estimate.

 

The process to create the storage media will take approximately 4 business days after receiving the approval and payment. The costs includes searches for Civilian mailboxes. Police mailboxes are not included.


If the request is related to a law matter case or may include any other exempted emails then a review of the results may be required before being released and this may add more delivery time and cost.


If the suggested criteria and estimate are accepted, a payment for the quantity above needs to be made to “City of Miami” and delivered to Ms. Latanya Johnson at 444 SW 2nd Avenue, cubicle 515, Miami, FL 33130. Payment can be done in check or cash.

 

Results are based on suggested criteria and may contain emails not related to requestor’s desire. If the requestors are not agreed with suggested criteria, they can change it before making the payment. Once the payment is received and the query is executed, a change in criteria may require additional charges

 

Suggested Criteria:

Criteria Type

Search criteria

Start Date

1/1/15

End Date

3/3/15

To or From

djalfonso@miamigov.com

Key words / Phrases

"Merri Christmas Park"

OR

"Merri Christmas Park" AND "payment"

OR

"Merri Christmas Park" AND "cleanup"

 

Kirk Menendez, Public Records Coordinator

City of Miami Office of the City Attorney

Telephone:  305-416-1808

Facsimile:  305-416-1801

krmenendez@miamigov.com

In almost every way imaginable, the City of Miami operates more like an ongoing criminal enterprise when it comes to trying to deny access to public records, than as a government body obligated to obey the law.


THE VIDEO THAT SHOWS YOU JUST HOW FLAGRANT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE BEHAVED WHEN THEY DIDN’T WANT TO COMPLY WITH A LEGITIMATE PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST


No better proof of that exists than the below video shot by a guy named Joel Chandler, who showed up at the office of Mayor Tomas Regalado, and asked to see a copy of the Mayor’s visitor’s log.


You will see, and hear one of the Mayor’s aide’s tell him that he has to make his request to Angel Zayon - even though the Mayor of Miami is the Chief custodian of the documents in his office, and the log requested is sitting there on the desk - and when Chandler persists, Police Commander James Carvil, the Mayor’s personnel bodyguard and Chief Sergeant-Of Arms is called, and then watch how Carvil takes the document in question, folds it up, sticks it in his pocket, and then calls for police backup to remove Chandler from City Hall.

In the five years that I’ve been writing this blog, the Miami Herald has never written about the wholesale abuses of the public records law that I have not only written about, but documented, including the lawsuit I won against former Chief of Police Manny Orosa, or 3 current lawsuits my attorney is currently litigating.


Nor have they written about the allegations that Sam Dubbin has made about the behavior of the City in the Watson Island case, which includes a 260 page legal motion that details with specificity just how obstructionist the City has behaved.


Sam and I incidentally are far from being the only people who have, and/or are being stonewalled or jerked around when it comes to public records requests.  We both just happen to be in court right now.


If you look at Sunday’s Miami Herald, their mealy-mouthed coverage about the Florida Public Records Law was not written by a Miami Herald reporter, but by AP reporters as far away as Washington D.C., and NONE of the examples in any of the stories that are part of the package of stories written by the AP involve or include public record abuses that occurred in Miami-Dade County, much less the City of Miami.


Every day, and every way the editors of the Miami Herald, starting with Executive Editor Aminda Marques, Managing Editor Rick Hirsch, Editorial Page Editor Nancy Ancrum, Politics Editor Sergio Bustos, Metro Editor Jay Ducassi and  Daily News Editor Jeff Kleinman, should be considered as little more than enablers and collaborators with the corrupt politicians in the City of Miami and elsewhere in the county who wipe their asses every day with Florida’s Sunshine Laws.


It might be Sunshine Week in Florida, but in Miami-Dade County its just another week where the politicians fuck over the citizens, while the Miami Herald stands by with the Vaseline.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

A CRESPOGRAM RANT