CRESPOGRAM REPORT
JULY 18, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
ARCHIVES2014_ARCHIVES.html

CONTACTCONTACT.html

RETURNSPLASH_XXX.html

SERIESSERIES.html

VIDEOSVIDEOS.html

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/crespogram

On Thursday, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust issued a a Close Out Report on their investigation of Veronica Diaz “steering city work to her finance’s law firm.”


In the report, you’ll see that the only real objection that Diaz raised was Ben Alvarez wasn't her fiance, but her boyfriend. I’m sure that distinction means something in her devious little brain, but at the end of the day while she might be screwing Alvarez, she was definitely out to fuck the city, even though it was previous City Attorneys who had rigged the bidding process to allow her to get away with this scheme.


It’s another ethics case that will end up being filed in the drawer labeled, “Awful, but Lawful.”


Above and beyond the evidence that she steered work to her boyfriend’s law firm which the Ethics Commission determined was legal under the circumstances since the City Attorney’s Office was exempted from following the procurement requirements that applied to every other city entity - except to those other slush funds known as the CRA’s - along with being Alvarez’s girlfriend and not his wife, the overarching question that comes to my mind is how many of the other lawyers in the City Attorney’s Office have arranged to steer city legal business to their friends as a result of the legal loophole that’s big enough to steer a cruise ship through.


LEGAL WELFARE FOR THEIR PALS


Just in the last few years that I’ve been poking around in the city’s records I know that I’ve discovered probably $4-$5 million or more that has gone to outside law firms that  in the end resulted in cases that wound up being settled.


You got to wonder about how legal strategy is formulated inside the City Attorney’s office, that first decides to funnel work to these outside law firms, and then after they’ve run up a million or more in legal fees, the decision is made to settle.


Just take the latest example where the City in December hired outside lawyers to sue Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo for predatory lending practices. 


A lot was made about these lawsuits, including stories in the Miami Herald and a lot of posturing by Commissioner Francis Suarez, who claimed that, “(T)he goal here is to punish the banks for their practices and to recover for the city and its citizens a portion of as much of the damages as is possible to recover.”


Sounds great, right.  Righteous indignation over those big, bad banks screwing over the little people - something that they do all the time. The only problem is that after all this chest beating and trash talking, as soon as the cases got before a federal judge he threw them out of court.


And he threw them out because the City had no legal standing to file the lawsuits to begin with.


Now, I’m no lawyer, even though I’ve played one in courtrooms around the country on occasion, but it seems to me that if you’ve got a room full of lawyers planning to sue the biggest banks in the country and you don’t know or understand that, no matter how noble the purpose of your lawsuits might be, that you don’t have legal standing to file the lawsuits, then what you have is a bunch of nitwits with law degrees who have cowshit for brains.


Really, legal standing is not a complicated legal issue, and to get your clock cleaned by a federal judge for not having legal standing to be in his court is just another indication that current City Attorney Victoria Mendez is picking up where Julie Bru left off in sucking up to the members of the City Commission no matter how dubious or ill founded that action might be .


So, my question is, how much taxpayer money did it cost to pay those fancy outside lawyers to get their clock cleaned by that federal judge?


And what about that SEC case that has been dragging on for years?  First the City hired lawyers who were supposed to be specialists in dealing with the SEC, and they got their clocks cleaned. Then the City went out and hired new lawyers to try and get the case thrown out of court, and that’s not happening.


Given that just about everyone that I’ve ever talked to who’s had any knowledge of this case agrees that the City did what they were alleged to have done, it would have been a lot cheaper and smarter to just cop a plea, cut the best deal that they could on the fine they had to pay, and  promise not to do it again.


Instead, the legal bills are now in the middle millions of dollars and the meter just keeps on running.


I don’t often agree with my bestest pal, lying weasel dick Commissioner Sarnoff, but here is a portion of a video that I made at a Coconut Grove BID meeting where he categorically states that he would not hire any of the city’s attorneys. He gets to the point starting around 1:30.


OLD SITEORIGINAL_SITE.html
VERONICA DIAZ WANTS TO BE A JUDGE
ETHICS INVESTIGATION REVEALS THAT VERONICA DIAZ STEERED CITY LEGAL WORK TO BOYFRIEND’S LAW FIRM, AND THAT PROVIDES ME WITH A STARTING POINT TO RANT ABOUT HOW THEY CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE PISSES AWAY MILLIONS ON OUTSIDE LAWYERS
PART II

Of course, in Sarnoff’s case, even though he would never hire one of the assistant city attorneys, he never had a problem strapping a saddle on former City Attorney Julie Bru and riding her like a carousel pony in order to get her to give him whatever legal opinion he needed at the moment.


As the Ethics Commission report points out, the Miami City Attorney’s offices doesn’t use any sort of professional or objective process for how they select outside lawyers.  The process - as evidenced by how Veronica Diaz used it - appears to be little more than a form of legal welfare and another version of the Family and Friends Plan.


Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, let’s get back to Veronica.


SLEAZY IS SLEAZY


The issues surrounding this scheme to funnel work to Ben Alvarez, who, based on his history of complaints before the Florida Bar could very well be one of the sleaziest lawyers in the state, while legal under the circumstances, none-the-less reveals the kind of sense of entitlement that a depressing number of younger folks in government seem to be acquiring that underscores their practice of abusing the public’s trust in order to pillage and plunder whenever the opportunity for self-enrichment presents itself.


You definitely don’t want that kind of person sitting on a bench as a judge.


Now, I seem to have angered a fair number of Diaz’s supporters with my first story about her antics in taking tickets to the Ultra Music Festival, and I think that I made it clear in that story that I was not a fan of her opponent Reiner de la Portilla either.  In his own way, he’s just as sleazy as Diaz is.


However, I don’t make judgement calls on who I write about based on some sort of value system regarding whose more or less sleazy.


They’re BOTH sleazy! NEITHER ONE OF THEM should EVER be allowed to sit on the bench as a Circuit Court Judge.


In this case it just so happens that Veronica Diaz was an Assistant City Attorney, and because I write about public corruption in the City of Miami I wrote about her.


So, instead of anyone calling or emailing me trying to convince me to give Diaz a break - which I have absolutely have no intention of doing - I would suggest that those of you who have a hard-on for de la Portilla, to do what I do, got out and dig up as much shit as you can on him, and then write about it!


Until then, here is the Ethics Commission Report. If you’re not big on reading long documents, skip the first report and start reading when you reach the page that has MEMO in big letters. It has all of the information that the investigative report has, and it has a better narrative flow.

WE GOT MAIL TAKING US TO TASK
IN RESPONSE TO MY STORY BELOW, I GOT AN EMAIL MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER FRANCIS SUAREZ. I DON’T GET THAT MANY RESPONSES, BUT SOMETIMES I DO, AND SOMETIMES I POST THEM.  HERE IS THE COMMISSIONER’S EMAIL, AND MY RESPONSE.

 Al

Before criticizing people you should do your homework.  The reverse redlining litigation cost the City of Miami $0.00. It is being handled on a percentage of recovery basis.  

The federal district court that dismissed the case is the only federal court that has dismissed a case of this kind in the US.  In fact, the Los Angeles federal court ruled against the defendant's motion to dismiss a few weeks before the Florida court heard it, which is why the Florida court's ruling was so unexpected.  Our outside counsel is currently preparing a motion for rehearing.  

You are better than this. 

Francis X. Suarez
Commissioner 
District 4


Francis,

It's costing the taxpayer money for all the prep time that the city attorney's office spent on the case....so, i know you never factor those costs into all the schemes that you all promote, but those are real dollars and real time that could have been spent on something else - like maybe having the city attorney's office getting the city employees to obey the public records law....as for what the various federal courts have done, the only court that matters here is the southern district of Florida court...i notice that you didn't comment on veronica's behavior or on the activities surrounding the sec case.

I am better than that....and that's why i continue to have an unlimited amount of stupid bullshit done by you and your fellow Commissioners to write about.

al