CRESPOGRAM REPORT
JUNE 9, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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Last week I wrote a story where I claimed that the revised lease agreement with Bayside Marketplace and the Skyrise Tower included provisions for Bayside Marketplace to pay a base rent of $1,540,000.00 and for Skyrise to pay $1,059,082.00 for a total of $2,599,085.00, and that that amount was approximately what the City was now receiving from Bayside, without any money from Skyrise.


That claim was wrong. It was wrong because I took for granted that the numbers that Henry Torre, the Director of Facilities Management had used in several emails where he stated that Bayside had paid $2.3 million in base/participation rent in 2012 were accurate.


It turns out that they weren’t!


Henry Torre had intentionally manipulated that number. He admitted that to me last Friday, claiming that he had purposely included the $537,627.00 that Bayside paid into the Bayside Foundation for the funding of the Minority Funding program with the $1783,764.00 that they had actually paid in rent.


He told me that he continued to use that number in his negotiations with Bayside until “they figured out what I was doing.”


I cannot express to you how difficult, if not impossible it is to try to report accurately when this kind of manipulation of financial numbers by the City’s Chief negotiator is appearing in his emails.


Therefore, over the weekend when I received a copy of a story that had been posted on the real estate website, The Real Deal, detailing how Henry Torre had on April 30th, received an appraisal on the Flagstone project on Watson Island, and then withheld that document from both the public and the City Commissioners, I became a very unhappy camper.


Here is a portion of that story.  The full story can be found HERE.


OLD SITEORIGINAL_SITE.html
ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI
THE REGALADO ADMINISTRATION IS WITHHOLDING CRITICAL DOCUMENTS FROM THE CITY COMMISSION AND THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE NEW LEASE WITH BAYSIDE AND SKYRISE
PART VII

What set me off was that on May 8th, I asked Henry Torre for copies of the 2 appraisals he was required by law to obtain on the Bayside Marketplace property prior to a vote by the City Commission on whether to approve a referendum.


He never responded to my request, and those appraisals were not included in the package of supporting documents that the Regalado administration posted on the City’s Legistar website accompanying the Resolution that will be heard at this week’s Commission meeting.


On Sunday, after receiving the above story I went off on Torre, and essentially shamed him into sending me the 2 appraisals. A copy of the email exchange is HERE.


In addition, last Friday afternoon I also received an email from Jeffrey Berkowitz, the developer of the Skyrise Tower expressing his unhappiness with my story about the revised lease agreement with him and Bayside.


In an exchange of emails, I asked him whether he had ever submitted a copy of the financial projections that the City Manager had asked him for in an April 2nd letter. He replied that he had.

Again, this was a document that I had asked for on several occasion, and been told by the City Manager on May 13th that:

But, it was worse than that. On June 5th, I had once again made a request to the City Manager for Berkowitz’s financial plan, and after an exchange asking when I could get the document, Henry Torre responded on the morning of June 6th that:

I’ve yet to revieve this document from Torre, even though it’s now apparent that it’s been in the City’s possession for 2 months.


Now, I think that sometimes people come away from reading these stories and think that this is just a pissing match between me and some city officials who’ve gotten an attitude over my ability to use public documents to embarrass them, or reveal things that they’d rather not have revealed.


And to a point, that’s true.


THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT MERITS THE 5 DAY RULE


But, and this is a very big and significant but, the documents that I’ve been asking for in this story are documents that are critical for any citizen, or group of citizens, that wants to try and find out exactly what the City and Bayside Marketplace and Jeffrey Berkowitz and his Skyrise Tower are up to.


These are issues that are going to go before the voters in August - unless one or more City Commissioners gets the courage to stand up and invoke the 5 Day Rule for the refusal of Henry Torre to provide them with copies of the appraisals that he sent me on Sunday afternoon after I shamed him into doing so - and every taxpayer and citizen in the City of Miami and elsewhere with an interest in these issues should have an opportunity to go online and download a copies of ALL the documents that reveal information about this deal and the Referendum that is going on the ballot  for a vote.


I want to make clear that the City Commissioners may, or may not get copies of the 2 appraisals AND Berkowitz’s financial plan this week during briefings - AND I suspect that they will after this post -  but at best that is 3 days before the Commission meeting, and no where near the kind of time required if they really want to review these documents.


That’s why the 5 Day Rule was instituted, so that everyone on the Commission couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get sandbagged by stuff that they hadn’t had the proper time to review.


No one - and especially the public - can make an informed decision or argument on whether this is a good deal for them or whether this proposal should be allowed to go on the August ballot without these documents.


The news media, most especially the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, if they had reporters who actually cared enough to act like reporters should have been on this story from day one!


These are not trivial issues!  There are tens of millions of dollars involved in these deals, and given the way that the City of Miami was screwed by Bayside Marketplace during the course of the original lease to the tune of millions of dollars, there is every reason why these new lease agreements should be reviewed with a fine tooth comb.


I don’t know if I have enough time, and I’m certainly not capable of understanding some of the nuances and complicated terms of these agreements, but unfortunately, I’m the only one whose been willing to stand up and try to get the documents to at least make an effort to report on these issues and I hope to get a story done by Wednesday.


SHAME, SHAME on the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald the business newspapers and all the other news media however for allowing this issue to reach this point without paying attention!


I leave  it up to you, my readers, to do what you can to demand that the City post the documents online, and to try and make sense of them before Thursday, and if you can’t, then I ask you to demand from the City Commission that one of them show the courage to invoke the 5 Day Rule so that these documents and this lease gets the scrutiny and attention that it requires.


THIS IS YOUR WATERFRONT PROPERTY AND YOUR TAX DOLLARS THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE DOING DEALS WITH, AND YOU’RE BEING KEPT IN THE DARK!