CRESPOGRAM REPORT
DECEMBER 19, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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THE QUESTION WAS NEVER WHETHER ANY COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WOULD SWITCH THEIR VOTE, IT WAS JUST A QUESTION OF WHO THEY WOULD BE
PART XXVIII
ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI

As Doug Hanks pointed out in his article after the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to support the award of $9 million in economic development funds for the Skyrise project, the vote wasn’t even close.


Two of the Commissioners who were part original six votes cast in November against the funding, reversed course and voted for the project this time around, and two others, Estaban Bovo and Juan Zapata, took what is called a “Tallahassee Piss” and never returned from lunch.


Regardless of how they would have voted, a County Commissioner really only has one responsibility that can be called “their job.”  That’s to show up and sit through County Commission meetings. That’s what they get paid to do, and it’s a sorry commentary when these two guys, along with Commissioner Souto, who disappeared before the vote on this issue the first time around, and didn’t show up at all for this meeting, take a piss and disappear.


That behavior makes all the bullshit that they talk about when it comes to good governance and looking out for the taxpayers to be little more than bullshit to placate the rubes, because on Commission days, nothing short of a life or death emergency should justify a County Commissioner - or a City Commissioner for that matter - from coming early and staying to the end.


Having said that, the two Commissioners who changed their votes were Audrey Edmonson and Sally Heyman.  Heyman never spoke on the issue the first time around, but Edmonson did, and as those of you who are regular readers know, I’m always in favor of letting politicians speak for themselves whenever possible, so video of their performances are below.


At the November vote, Commissioner Edmonson was focused and clear that her reason for opposing the request was the opposition of City of Miami residents living in the downtown area who were opposed to this. When she changed her vote, (that video clip is below the copy of the resolution,) she was less sure of her facts, claiming that it had been the county voters and not the City of Miami voters who had approved the Tower.

Heyman on the other hand seemed confused throughout her rambling explanation as to why she was voting to give Skyrise the money and her performance makes you wonder if she’s that unclear on the specifics of an issue that has gotten this much attention, just how clueless must she be on items not on the public’s radar.

It didn’t take long after the vote before Jeffrey Berkowitz confirmed my claim that the real reason for his seeking this money was not because he needed this money for “infrastructure,” as much as he needed this government gift as flash money to convince Chinese investors that if his local government was on board it was okay for them to give him over a quarter of a billion (that’s billion with a B) dollars through the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

“It sends the message to China … and all over the world that Dade County supports SkyRise Miami,” Berkowitz told reporters.

Even with this $9 million commitment that Berkowitz can now use as flash money, there is no guarantee that he will be successful in raising all of the EB-5 money, which as I previously wrote, constitutes the base of a financing plan that is essentially constructed as a house of cards depending on one level of financing providing the foundation for the next level of financing. 


A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS is actually an amazing amount of money to try to raise from EB-5 investors for almost any project, but especially so for a vertical amusement tower that I and others have pointed out that includes several significant problems we all feel are inherent as a result of Berkowitz’s financial projections.


But for now there is joy in Mudville as Carlos Gimenez, who has received so much in the way of campaign funds and other party favors from Berkowitz was able to show that he could look out for his pal in his moment of need.


Stay tuned however, because this story is far from over. You can expect Berkowitz, with Carlos Gimenez’s help to try and get the County Commission to support another resolution in January or February asking the State Legislature to give him more public money - he’s already stated that he wants to get money from the legislature - and even after receiving this approval there is still no assurance that 500 chinese investors are going to decide that this is the project that will secure them a Temporary Green Card.


Here is a telling story of an EB-5 project that went really, really bad, and that has sent warning flags fluttering all over the world when it comes to getting hosed by supposedly reputable Americans.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

Here is the resolution adopted by the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance opposing the $9 million funding request.