CRESPOGRAM REPORT
JULY 13, 2015
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
MICHAEL MURAWSKI’S EFFORTS TO BAMBOOZLE THE ETHICS COMMISSION WAS NEITHER NEW, OR EVEN THE WORST NEWS ABOUT HOW BADLY THE ETHICS COMMISSION NOW OPERATES
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL!  WHAT DO RHONDA VICTOR SIBILIA, FORMER DORAL MAYOR J.C. BERMUDEZ, AND RETIRED JUDGE LAWRENCE SCHWARTZ HAVE IN COMMON?  ONE HAS A BITCH ATTITUDE, ONE WAS CLUELESS ABOUT THE LAW, AND THE LAST ONE HAS A BAD ATTITUDE AND FIGURED HE COULD SHIT ON THE LAW ANYWAY HE PLEASES 
PART II

When I learned that Michael Murawski has purposely misled the members of the Ethics Commission regarding the ethics complaint I had filed against Donald Trump, Ed Russo and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, I was not surprised.


It was not the first time, nor the second time, third time, fourth time or even the fifth time that he had purposely and willfully misrepresented portions of the ethic complaints that I, or others had filed against various public officials in an effort to minimize the allegations, or to blatantly misstate the facts so as to reach a bogus conclusion resulting in the members of the Commission voting for a finding of No Probable Cause.


Murawski, in the way of the parable about the Scorpion And The Frog, is a scorpion. 


Over the last 4 years he demonstrated time and again that he is not to be trusted, and his lack of ethical behavior is at the core of much that is wrong with the Ethics Commission.


I discovered that fact at the very first meeting of the Ethics Commission that I attended in January of 2011, where Christina Seymour, then the Commission’s CPA, openly attacked Murawski’s actions during his investigation of the hand-written notes that Robert Meyers, then the Executive Director of the Commission had been sending to one of the secretaries.  The notes led many to believe that Meyers was involved in some sort of romance with the secretary.


Copies of those notes were anonymously sent to County Mayor Carlos Alvarez,  and after he received them he sent them back to the Ethic’s Commission requesting that an investigation be conducted.


It was that incident that led me to the Ethics Commission and the January 2011 Ethics Commission meeting, where I discovered enough dirty laundry about Meyers and the way that the Commission was being managed that he resigned, and I went on to write over 30 separate stories about the behavior of Murawski and the members of the Commission.


Here is a video clip of the portion of the meeting where Christina Seymour went after Murawski.

I was able to read a copy of the deposition that she references in her statement and the questions that Murawski asked not only justified Seymour’s anger, but also revealed his willingness to pursue information totally unrelated to and irrelevant as to whether or nor Robert Meyers was trying to put the moves on the secretary by asking her out to lunch.  You can read my January 2011 story which included sections of the deposition HERE.


While compelling as evidence of just what a sleaze Murawski could be, the story about Seymour and Murawski is old news.


While time moves on, the activities at the Ethics Commission continue to reveal that behind the scenes little has changed when it comes to bad and unethical behavior continuing to be the norm for some of the fine folks entrusted in making judgements about YOUR ethics.


EXAMPLE NUMBER ONE - YOU WANT PUBLIC RECORDS?  I’LL GIVE YOU PUBLIC RECORDS!

 

Rhonda Victor Sibilia is the Communication’s Director for the Ethics Commission. Shortly after the Ethics Commission determined that neither Donald Trump or Mayor Carlos Gimenez had engaged in behavior that warranted being sanctioned by the Commission, local lobbyist Dusty Melton had the following exchange of emails with Ms. Sibilia over the documents and audio tape related to my complaints.

Dusty To Rhonda:


I’d like a copy of the closed session discussion this morning, in its entirety. Not urgent at this end. Please give a shout when it’s ready and the cost thereof.


Thank you,


dusty


Rhonda To Dusty,


Our legal secretary, who handles the recordings, is on vacation the rest of this week.  I'll ask her to work on this when she returns next week.


Rhonda:


Dusty To Rhonda


Also, I’d like a copy of the COMPLETE Trump/Russo/Gimenez files … notes, memos, emails, investigative records, correspondence … everything for my reading enjoyment.


Thanks again,


Dusty


Rhonda To Dusty


Oh, come on.  Why can't you just come in and review the files... like your pal Al is going to do?


Dusty To Rhonda


Because I prefer to help your cash flow and review them at home with a glass of wine. (I thought Al was out of your hair doing some new project?)



Rhonda To Dusty


We don't need assistance with our cash flow, but since you insist, I will count every page and charge at least $20 an hour for that and for the time it takes me to take apart each folder, remove & restaple each section, remove and replace each notation tab, etc...I will send an estimated invoice for which I will request payment in advance.


I don't think you realize how annoying/tedious/time-wasting this is for me -- all for your amusement.

If I say that Sibilia demonstrated a “bitch attitude,” someone is bound to call me sexist, but her response did reflect a “bitch attitude” - it’s an attitude that I’ve accused Commissioner Sarnoff and others of displaying on numerous occasions because to me the attitude is gender neutral - and it underscores what I believe is the underlying attitude of at least some of the employees of the Ethics Commission feel whenever they’re required to deal with the public. 


EXAMPLE NUMBER TWO - THE COMMISSION’S SO SCREWED UP THEY’VE BEEN OPERATING WITH 4 BOARD  MEMBERS INSTEAD OF 5 SINCE LAST OCTOBER.


Ever wonder how folks get appointed to the Ethics Commission?


It’s 100% political.


In their wisdom, the Miami-Dade County Commission were persuaded back in the day that there were only 5 groups/individuals capable of selecting the folks qualified to keep tabs on everyone else’s ethical behavior.  Those groups/individuals are:

  1. The Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit has two appointments with the following qualifications: Former Federal Judge, or former U.S. Magistrate, or former State Court Judge; and
    Former U.S. Attorney or Assistant U.S. Attorney, former State or Assistant State Attorney, former County or Assistant County Attorney, or former City or Assistant City Attorney.

  2. The Deans of the University of Miami School of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law have one shared appointment of a faculty member who has taught a course in professional legal ethics or who has published or performed services in the field of professional legal ethics.

  3. The Miami-Dade League of Cities has one appointment of a member who has held local elective office.

  4. The Director of the Florida International University Center for Labor Research & Studies makes one appointment.

To appreciate what that can produce in terms of entrenched political hackdom, attorney Kerry Rosenthal was initially appointed by the League of Cities in 1998, and kept getting reappointed until 2014. 


During that time he illegally served as the Chairman of the Commission for a period of 11 years, even though the Charter establishing the Commission stipulated that a Chairman could only serve a two year term.  When it was finally revealed what he had done, he joked about it and claimed that he had last recalled being elected 6 years before.


In one infamous case, he refused to recuse himself from a case involving the President of the League of Cities, casting a tie vote which resulted in the case being dismissed a month before his term on the Commission expired.  The following month, while this guy was still the President of the League of Cities, Rosenthal was reappointed to another term.


Dawn Addy, the Dean of the FIU Center For Labor appointed and reappointed herself to the Board for 13 years.


In May of 2014, the former Mayor of Doral, Juan Carlos Bermudez, was appointed by the Miami-Dade League of Cities to replace Kerry Rosenthal.


A little more than 5 months later, on October 24, 2014, Bermudez resigned after Joe Centorino, the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission received a letter from former Executive Director Robert Meyers that included information that Bermudez was engaged in the reelection campaign of a Doral City Commissioner.


It wasn’t even a close call.  Section 2-1069 of the County Code stipulated that:

“No individual, while a member of the ethics commission, shall hold or campaign for any elective political office; actively participate in or contribute to any political campaign or political action committee; allow his or her name to be used by a campaign in support of or against any candidate for political office or any referendum or other ballot question.”

Kind of makes you wonder just how clueless Bermudez was when it came to the other parts of the rules and regulations regarding the Ethics Commission that he was supposed to enforce against everyone else, doesn’t it?


Even though JC Bermudez has been gone from the Ethics Commission for 8 months you would not know that if you visited the Commission’s website because they still include him as a member of the Board.

I don’t know why the League of Cities has not appointed someone to replace JC Bermudez, but I’m willing to bet that it’s somehow part of a political cat fight of some kind that has nothing to do with ethics, but a whole lot to do with politics and egos.


EXAMPLE NUMBER THREE - WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A GUY WHO’SE BEEN A JUDGE FOR 23 YEARS REVEALS THAT HE’S GOT A BAD ATTITUDE AND DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE LAW? LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE YOU TO LAWRENCE SCHWARTZ


Being a judge can be a big deal.  You get to wear a robe and swing a gavel; you get to send people to prison, and you pretty much get to run your courtroom as a petty fiefdom if you so desire.


When Lawrence Schwartz left the Miami-Dade Circuit Court after 23 years and got appointed to the Ethics Commission, he walked in the room on his very first day still believing that he could bang down his gavel and tell people to shut up when he didn’t like what they said, or in my particular case, when a lowly ex-con believed that he had a right to exercise his rights as a citizen and complain about the behavior of elected officials.


We tangled that first day, and we’ve tangled on many days since. The judge has exhibited a demonstrably bad attitude when it comes to showing his lack of tolerance for people he doesn’t like or agree with, and I have an even worse attitude when it comes to so-called public officials believing that they can fuck over the public or disrespect me.


Schwartz gained my lasting disrespect when he violated the Sunshine Law during the hearing of Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo over Carollo’s reaching out to the Chief of Police when he was stopped for a traffic violation. 


I’ve written about this incident on numerous occasions, and still believe that the photo that I posted of his action represents perhaps the most classic example of what it means to violate the Sunshine Law by engaging in a private conversation during the course of a public meeting.


That’s Schwartz holding the Blue folder in the photo below. The private conversation last 56 seconds, which is a significant amount of time during which information and opinion can be given on a shared privately on an item that is about to be voted on.

Anyone who served as a Circuit Court Judge for 23 years and engaged in such a flagrant violation of the Sunshine Law I believe should have been sanctioned, if not forced to resign.


Unfortunately, in Miami-Dade County, among the most corrupt public officials in the county is the State Attorney and a handful of her senior assistants, and when I demanded an investigation of this incident my complaint was sent to Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardimon, an ass-wipe flunky, and former employee of Executive Director Joe Centorino when he was in charge of the State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit  who wasted little time in determining that the Judge and the other two board members in the photo had done nothing wrong.


So, towards the end of Dusty Melton’s presentation last week, when the judge told Melton to start wrapping it up,  that really pissed me off. 


It pissed me off for numerous reasons, not the least of which was because it was Schwartz - who is NOT the Chairman and NOT running the meeting - who had decided to tell Melton to wind it up, but also because I had sat through too many other instances where defendants with high-priced lawyers had been allowed to go on and on in their efforts to argue for their client’s interests without so much as a peep from anyone about how much time they were taking.


The most flagrant of these incidentd were the 3 separate appearances that Miami City Commissioner Sarnoff’s attorney - and Sarnoff himself - were provided unlimited amounts of time to argue that the words “Probable Cause” shouldn’t be included in the Letter Of Instruction that the Commission had determined that Sarnoff deserved for the unreported junket that he and his wife took to Brazil, while I was forced to sit silently while Sarnoff lied to the Commission members.


Most folks are completely unaware that as a Complainant, once you file an ethics complaint you are never notified of when a hearing will be held on your complaint, and unless you’re personally and directly affected, you’re not allowed to attend the closed door hearing, and most importantly  you have no right to rebut any allegation and/or comment, no matter how stupid or untruthful they are, at any subsequent public hearing.


Dusty Melton and I were the only ones in the room last week who were going to speak to the Commission during the Public Comments portion of the meeting, and Melton was clearly coming to the end of his presentation, so when I stood up to express my thoughts about how Michael Murawski had mis-represented the allegations in my complaint, including pointing out how this was not the first time that he had done so, and how I thought that the Commission were as much, if not more responsible for this occurring because I alleged that a review of the audio tapes of numerous closed door meetings would support my claim that they often failed to read any of the documents on the cases they were scheduled to rule on prior to the meetings, I closed by going off on Schwartz.


Here is my appearance before the Commission followed by the exchange between me and the Judge.

Now, I am not a heartless person and I certainly have sympathy for the judge’s house burning down, his child almost getting burned up and his dog dying, but no one forced him to show up at the meeting, and if his problems, as he so openly implies were affecting his presence at the meeting, then he should have stayed home.


More revealing was Schwartz’s proclaiming that he would from that day on recuse himself from hearing any complaint I might file with the Ethics Commission.


As with the judge’s previous flagrant violation of the Sunshine Law, his statement, captured in the video above where he states that he will recuse himself was nothing other than a willful and illegal act clearly intended to violate my rights, and worse, his attempt to plant a seed of encouragement in the minds of other Commission members to follow his lead to deprive me of my rights by refusing to participate in any hearing on a complaint I might file, is nothing more than an astounding example of encouraging illegal behavior by public officials entrusted to set and uphold the ethical standards of the community.


Once again, this judge of 23 years, displays a woeful lack of knowledge of the law, as well as a lack of ethical behavior that reveals his unfitness to serve on any public body much less one dealing with questions of ethics.


Obviously Schwartz never bothered to acquaint himself with Florida’s Sunshine Law, because if he had, he would have read in Section 286.012 (F.S.) that:


“No member of any state, county or municipal governmental board, commission or agency who is present at any meeting of any such body at which an official decision, ruling, or other official act is to be taken or adopted may abstain from voting...a vote shall be recorded or counted for each such member present, except when, with respect to any such member, there is, or appears to be, a possible conflict of interest under...s. 112,311, 112,313, or s. 112.3143, F.S.”


For purposes of definition:


Section 112.3143(3)(a), F.S., prohibits a county, municipal, or other local public officer from voting on any measure which inures to his or her special private gain or loss; which the officer knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal or parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal, other than a public agency, by whom he or she is retained; or which the officer knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the officer. An exception exists for a commissioner of a community redevelopment agency created or designated pursuant to s. 163.356, F.S., or s. 163.357, F.S., or an officer of an independent special tax district elected on a one-acre, one-vote basis. Section 112.3143(3)(b), F.S.


The notion therefore that Lawrence Schwartz can recuse himself from being a member of the Commission if, or when I file my next ethics complaint because he doesn’t like what I say about him is just absolute bullshit! 


IN CONCLUSION


the Ethics Commission receives approximately $1.9 million year of public money.


Over $200,000 of that goes to the salary and benefits package of Executive Director Joe “Let’em Go” Centorino, who was appointed to that position as a well earned reward for his many years of ass-kissing and giving a free pass to all of the politicians on the Family and Friends Plan who had the misfortune to get caught out screwing the taxpayers.


Centorino was appointed as a safety measure to make sure that the same willingness to drop to his knees and pucker up that he showed while at the State Attorney’s office as Katherine Fernandez-Rundle’s sock puppet would continue at the Ethics Commission so that the misdeeds of folks like Mayor Carlos Gimenez would be brushed under a rug, or torpedoed.


This in turn means that you can’t expect that any of the members of the Miami-Dade County Commission will demand an independent, outside investigation of the Ethics Commission, or even consider shutting them down as an example public money being wasted.


The way in which my complaint against the Mayor was handled served as a powerful message to the Mayor and the members of the County Commission that they have absolutely nothing to fear from the Ethics Commission, because by hook, or by crook, their backs are covered.


Nor can you expect the board members of the Ethics Commission to do anything either. Regardless of how compelling and legally factual the arguments that Dusty Melton and I made last week were, the Ethics Commission WILL NOT reopen the hearings on my 3 complaints, nor reverse their findings of NO PROBABLE CAUSE against Donald Trump or Mayor Carlos Gimenez.


Nor will they punish Michael Murawski for his actions in willfully lying to them, an act that by rights should result in his being fired.


Although retired judge Lawrence Schwartz stated he would probably resign, that won’t happen either. While he has demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge of the law, it does appear that his way with words in describing how his house almost burned down, his child almost got burned to death and his dog died, are the lyrics for a really good country song.


As personally distressing as those things would be to anyone, they were completely irrelevant and out of place in a public meeting about the misbehavior of the Public Advocate for the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission, and if his lack of knowledge of Florida’s Sunshine Laws are an indication of his general knowledge of the law, chances are that over his 23 years on the bench he probably fucked over a fair number of folks who expected justice from the judge.


It’s Miami, Bitches!


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