NOVEMBER 17, 2014







Once again I find myself waging a lonely fight for an issue that should be of great concern to all kinds of folks in the City of Miami, were it not that they have been bedazzled and bullshitted into believing that what is currently happening with the efforts to “save” the Marine Stadium is a gift horse whose mouth should not be looked at too closely.

I want to be very clear that from the beginning my efforts in writing about the Marine Stadium was not because I was or am opposed to “saving” the Marine Stadium, but rather my efforts have been to “save” the Marine Stadium from the group that calls itself the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium (FMMS). 

For those who are coming late to this site, my first story about this secret deal back in the late Spring and Summer of 2011 centered around my discovery that a local art dealer Don Worth, along with Hilario Candela, the Stadium’s architect and Jorge Hernandez, another architect associated with the University of Miami, were attempting to get the City to turn over the Marine Stadium to their not-for-profit group through an Interlocal Agreement that would have had the City transfer the property to the Miami Sports and Entertainment Authority (MSEA), who would then through a contract, turned over the property to the FMMS.

It was not only one of the more questionable deals that that I’ve written about in the last 4 plus years - if you never read that story, I encourage you to do so and read the list of demands that FMMS was then making on the City that they wanted the City to include within the Interlocal Agreement - but also one of the stories I’m most proud of because that story stopped this back-room deal in its tracks.

After that effort failed, the ever pliant City Commission passed a Resolution creating what they referred to as a “Public/Private Partnership” that gave this  group 2 years to go out and find the money to refurbish the Stadium.

That 2 year period is coming to an end, and at this week’s City Commission meeting there will be a proposal presented for the City to enter into a long-term contract with FMMS, even though they’ve not raised the $30 million that was the centerpiece of the Resolution passed two years ago, nor for that matter have they actually gotten much of the $19 million in promises and pledges that they’re claiming to have raised so far.

Most importantly for the taxpayers, the “proposed plan” that will be voted on by the Commission is purposely being kept out of sight because once again, the deal that those nice folks with the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium how now cooked up with Manny Alonso Poch could very well end up screwing the citizens of Miami, and because of that, there’s been a very conscious effort to keep this deal secret until the very last moment.

If you think I’m joking, go to the Legistar page of the City’s website,  Click on Legislative Files, and enter this number 14-01097.  Open that file, then Click on the Attachments, and then Click on 14-01097 Exhibit - Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium Plan. pdf.  This is what you will see.

The fastest and surest way to appreciate that a screwing of the taxpayers is about to take place is when the Regalado administration withholds a questionable or controversial plan from public scrutiny!

The refusal to reveal the terms of a deal should ALWAYS be considered as a sign that shit is in the game, and the additional fact that after almost 2 years of an inability to raise the $30 million needed to refurbish the Stadium, a “proposed plan” is now being rushed before the Miami City Commission in a way that keeps it secret until just before the vote, should be enough to let you know that the taxpayers will be the one’s at the front of the line to get screwed no matter how good the deal is made to sound!

MY BAD:  Somehow in the paragraph below I got turned around and thought that this item would require 2 readings. NOT TRUE.  Resolutions only require one (1) reading which makes the deal and the effort to keep it secret even worse than I originally thought!

Also, keep in mind that this deal in being introduced at the only Commission meeting in November, right before Thanksgiving, and that the 2nd Reading of the Resolution approving this deal will take place in December, right before Christmas.  Next to the Commission  meetings in July, these are the next best meetings when questionable or skanky deals are submitted to the Commission for approval because most citizens, who are more focused on the holidays, tend not to be paying attention to the antics that go on at City Hall.

By rights, the failure of this “proposed plan” to be posted on the City’s website for public scrutiny, and no doubt it being kept secret from at least a few City Commissioners as well, should be more than enough for any one of those City Commissioners to invoke what is known as the 5 Day Rule at this week’s meeting.

Any City Commissioner who has not been provided ALL the documents  5 days before the Commission meeting can invoke this Rule and have the item withdrawn from consideration until the next meeting if they have not been provided all the documentation related to the item being introduced for a vote.

A Resolution that contains the following language should not be allowed to be heard without the Commissioners AND the general public having had an opportunity to read this “proposed plan,” with sufficient time to understand and digest just what the this “proposed plan” really means and  what the City is up to by deciding to negotiate directly with FMMS.

you just know that their real intentions are anything but, and that a major screwing of the taxpayers is about to take place.

After you comprehend that fact, you might want to ask, what kind of deal could be so controversial or harmful to the citizens of Miami that the Regalado administration would try to keep this “proposed plan” a secret until the very last moment?

How about a “proposed plan” that was orchestrated by Manny Alonso Poch!


This is a convoluted and complex story shrouded in secrecy, and I’ve only been provided parts of the story, so bear with me as I try to lay out what I’ve been able to piece out in a way that makes sense.

My first story about the Miami Marine Stadium and Manny Alonso Poch was on May 16, 2011, in response to a letter from the Mayor about the need to refurbish the Stadium that the Miami Herald published. 

In that story, I included a series of emails that Alonso Poch had written to City Officials, including Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, pitching the idea of building a Marine Exhibition Center on this property - a major component of the deal that the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium agreed to in their  recent deal with this group that Alonso Poch put together - and objections from Greg Bush of the Urban Environment League - as well as the first email written by parents of children at the Alonso Poch’s scandal plagued Charter School, the Arts & Minds Academy, detailing concerns over his management that only grew worse with additional allegations and investigations until Poch was forced to turn over control of the school to another company. 

On July 25, 2011, I wrote the story about the efforts of Don Worth and his pals to get the City to give them this property through an Interlocal Agreement, and once again, I focused on Manny Alonso Poch, and his efforts to get approval for a Marine Exhibition Center.

Here is what I wrote then, that included information that I had not been privy to when I wrote my May story.

Manny Alonso Poch is not a guy that comes across as a very sympathetic figure when exposed to public scrutiny.

As I wrote in my May 16th post, (See above link to that story) guys like Poch are always
looking for ways to evade public scrutiny of their deals,  while at the same time the one thing that’s critical for them to succeed is their lust for public money.

Poch first came to the public’s attention back in 1998, with the saga of the refrigerated cargo ship Ocean Freeze, tied up next to Bicentennial Park. Two articles in Miami New Times at the time provided a primer on Poch’s business methods, and as one article detailed, demonstrated Poch’s proclivity for pretty much pissing on everybody’s shoes: (Article I)  (Article II)

                “According to Capt. Dave Miller, the commanding

                officer of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office,

                Alonso-Poch is the de facto owner of the vessel

                and has ignored repeated orders to move it, has

                deliberately misled the Coast Guard about plans

                to relocate it, and has violated laws that govern the

                proper vigilance of a ship not in operation. A Coast

                Guard hearing officer recently fined Alonso-Poch

                $25,000, a penalty he is appealing.”

Poch bounced along as an entrepreneur, and along the way started the Grove Arts and Mind Academy Charter School in a building he owned in Coconut Grove, and on the side, led the effort to get the city to take over the Rockerman Canal behind his house so the city could take of cleaning and dredging it.

Earlier this year, a group of parents whose children go his Academy charter school wrote a scathing letter detailing a long list of complaints and possible illegal actions undertaken by Poch in his role as landlord and founder of the school.

As an example of the interconnectedness of Regalado, Poch, and the Marine Stadium deal, Dan Ricker, of the Watchdog Report, who broke the story of the parent’s letter reported on what happened when some of the parents showed up at a special meeting of the School Board’s Audit Committee after they filed their letter. 

                “School Board member Raquel Regalado, an

                attorney, elected in 2010, whose district includes

                A&M in the Grove spoke to the school’s parents

                during the meeting and she explained there were

                limits of what the school district could do in this

                matter. She is not officially on the audit committee

                and she went on for a few minutes before the chair

                and other board members who wondered why she

                was speaking on the issue to actual parents in this

                dispute that is sensitive in nature cut her off. Further,

                Regalado knows Alonso Poch because he is a good

                friend of her father’s, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado

                (Net worth $5,000) and Poch; an attorney is part of

                a group of people trying to reopen the Miami Marine

                Stadium, and he is pushing for a Maritime Museum

                on some of the land. The stadium is an iconic

                landmark that has fallen in disrepair on Virginia

                Key, but if the money can be found, could be

                rehabilitated in the coming years and Poch attends

                many of the city’s internal meetings on what to

                do with the city owned parcel of land and how

                it should be developed in the decade ahead.”

The one thing that the Regalado clan have learned how to do is circle the wagons, and the revelation that Raquelita, a lawyer, would pull such a blatantly underhanded stunt, underlines just how much power Poch welds over her father, the Mayor.

NOTE: Earlier this year, after numerous complaints and investigations, involving illegal school fees and another allegation involving a bankruptcy that involved the building that housed the school, the control of the Arts & MInds Academy changed hands so that while Poch remains the landlord, he no longer operates the school.

Poch has for some time focused on trying to deal himself into getting at least a piece of the Marine Stadium property. Last summer, (for clarrification, I wrote this in 2011) he submitted an unsolicited proposal for the construction of what he referred to as a Marine Exposition Center to then City Manager Carlos Migoya, that prompted this negative response.


After I wrote this story, Alonso Poch dropped off the radar screens, but folks kept telling me that he continued to be involved with FMMS, even though he was keeping out of sight.

That seems to have been an understatement!

In the last couple days I have received unimpeachable information that Manny Alonso Poch put together a development deal that includes two companies in a partnership deal, and that the Board of Directors of the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium in the last couple weeks voted to give these two companies an exclusive development deal, and limiting the FMMS’s involvement and participation to collecting the money from the marina dockage, food concessions and parking.

Let me restate that, so you better understand what’s the real deal here.

“in order to simplify and make these series of contemplated transactions more direct and transparent...”

When the Regalado administration submits a Resolution that contains the words,

I don’t think that it was an oversight committed by the Secretary of State’s office in excluding Alonso Poch’s name from the above record, but I do think it has everything to do with an effort to keep his name and participation as low key as possible, especially when this deal comes before the City Commission.

Another interesting reason for this agreement is that it has been suggested to me that Hilario Candela and Jorge Hernandez, two of the FMMS Board Members who supposedly voted in support of this deal will be given the job of designing any and all of the new buildings built on the property, as well as any of the architectural work required on the refurbishment of the Stadium.

Although I’ve seen no paperwork that supports this suggestion made to me, it makes sense because if the FMMS were to do the development directly and these two guy were to be directly involved in the design the buildings and get paid for it, that would be considered self-dealing.

Of course lawyers would have to look at this if it turns out that they are hired by this development group to do this work, because as Board members they voted for the developers to get the deal. This is just one of the interesting legal questions that this deal will require some outside party reviewing.


In addition to Alonso Poch’s group EXOP-Miami, there is also another out-of-state group that makes up the principals in this deal, and then I was told there several other companies including the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) which stages the Miami Boat Show,  and who has signed a letter of intent to move a portion of the show from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the parking lot of the Miami Marine Stadium.

Supposedly the deal that allows these two co-development companies to take over the Miami Marine Stadium includes a promised investment of supposedly over $100 million dollars, including covering whatever amount of money is needed to meet the $30 million required by the City before they would agree to giving FMMS a contract to take over the Stadium.

My source was not sure whether the $100 million dollars included the money needed to shore-up the $30 million requirement by the City, or whether that it was in addition to the $100 million.

In any event, a deal like this, involving this kind of money, and orchestrated by a guy like Manny Alonso Poch is something that requires REAL public scrutiny.

First, let’s talk about the $100 million or more dollars that this group is supposedly pledging to invest. 


Last week when the Miami Herald stenographers did their first story about this deal, City Manager Danny Alfonso was quoted as saying that “there remain some issues with cash flow.”

This is a statement he also made to me when I made a verbal public records request to review the documents related to this deal last Thursday afternoon.

Now, I may have my differences with the City Manager over some issues, but when he says there “remain some issues with cash flow,” I pay attention.  He wasn’t forthcoming with what those concerns were, but it stands to reason that when you’re talking about a deal that involves at least $100 million in capital investment, then there might be more than one concern, not only about “cash flow,” but also about how these fine folks intend on servicing that kind of debt load.

Again, we’re left with questions, but no answers, because there are no documents or explanations as to what the fine points of this deal are, and if the past is prologue, then whatever explanations are given during the City Commission meeting will be superficial and more than likely intended to baffle with bullshit, rather than enlighten with brilliance.

An even bigger question than “Cash Flow,” is what will the City be getting out of this deal.  My sources didn’t have any specific information, but if the recent Skyrise deal can be used as a model, then the City probably hasn’t even begun negotiations over rent, or any other payments, because this deal was only agreed to within the last couple weeks, and given the secrecy involved, I can’t see the City having any meaningful discussions with anyone about payments in the last two weeks., much less reaching any agreements.


Today the Miami Marine Stadium sits on a largely empty piece of public land. In fact, it’s the largest piece of unused public land that the City owns.

If this group wants to build a Marine Exhibition Center AND a private Marina as well as whatever else they want to build on that land including restaurants, parking garages or anything else, then the Carollo Amendment requires that all of this be put before the voters because all of this will be happening on City owned land.

Yet, as I revealed above, the Regalado administration is withholding any documents related to any of this until the absolute very last minute, thereby depriving the public from the opportunity to review this information in a timely manner.

Why do I say that Manny Alonso Poch is going to cash in on this deal? 

Simple. One of the two companies involved in this development deal is a company he incorporated on April 9, 2014, called EXPO-Miami Inc.. On September 6, 2014, he amended the corporate records by adding the names of three individuals. On November 3, 2014, the corporate documents were amended again. What’s most interesting is that unless you go through all of the amendments to the Corporate Charter you would never know that Manny Alonso Poch is an officer of this corporation.

The 8 board members of the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium would be left with collecting the chump change of the rental of the new private marina boat slips, the parking charges and the rent on the concessions and/or restaurants.  The real money, the hundreds of millions of dollars that this new development group expects to make  would go in their pockets, including of course Manny Alonso Poch.


That’s what happened last August when the voters had to vote on the revised contract between the City and Bayside Marketplace that includes additions to the Marketplace as well as the construction of the Skyrise Tower.

What I suspect is the strategy to get around this requirement is to claim that because the contract turning over this property will be between the City of Miami and the Friends Of Miami Marine Stadium, who are a 501 C3 non-profit, that they will claim that they don’t have to take this before the voters.

But of course, the deal between FMMS and the development groups put together by Manny Alonso Poch reveal that behind that phony shield this is nothing but a FOR-PROFIT operation, and the claim of non-profit status, when the this organization is comprised of only 8 members on a Board Of Directors, with no real membership, is about as valid as hearing Kim Kardishan or any of the other TV reality bimbos claim they’re a virgin again after they had vagina reconstruction surgery.


There are even more angles to this story, but to get to them will involve talking to more folks and getting my hands on documents from people even less inclined to cooperate as a result of these stories.

The important thing for now is for folks in the City to understand what is at stake, and most importantly how this deal has been stage-managed so as to keep the deal secret for as long as possible.

This has been the agenda of these FMMS guys from the very beginning when they thought they could force their demands into the Interlocal Agreement, and then get is passed and approved without any awareness by the public of what they were really up to.

Perhaps the best way to convey to you how Don Worth has always attempted to maneuver this deal to benefit him and his FMMS partners, is the email below that has never been seen by anyone other than Worth, Ron Nelson, Commissioner Sarnoff’s Chief of Staff, and perhaps Sarnoff, when it was written shortly after Worth and others fought off the recommendations put forward by the folks who met to decide what to do with the Marine Stadium back in 2010

The evidence shows that Worth and his pals have never been interested and/or concerned with considering what might be “the best plan” for saving the Miami Marine Stadium, as much as they’ve been driven by the desire to be the ones who were going to be in control, and the ones who would be able to make money from the deal.

Now they’ve got Manny Alonso Poch as a partner.

It’s Miami, Bitches