CRESPOGRAM REPORT
SEPTEMBER 25, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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THE CITY’S ABYSMAL HISTORY OF VIOLATING THE PUBLIC RECORDS LAW
MIAMI CITY ATTORNEY VICTORIA MENDEZ IS AMONGST THE WORST OFFENDERS OF ANY PUBLIC OFFICIAL IN FLORIDA WHEN IT COMES TO OBEYING FLORIDA’S PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

I don’t think that I need to belabor how I feel about the competence and professionalism of Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez. 


She makes her predecessor Julie Bru almost look like a legal version of a rocket scientist.


Not only have I written repeatedly about her moronic utterances when it comes to trying to evade complying with my public records requests, but as the City Attorney she is responsible for setting the professional standards followed by her staff, and in that regard, the behavior of her Assistant City Attorneys in dealing with public records requests and lawsuits reflects that they share in her willingness to stall and otherwise ignore the law at every opportunity.


In the last 6 months my attorneys have filed 3 separate public records lawsuits in response to the failure of the City and the DDA obeying the public records law.  I’m sure that I will be forced to file even more lawsuits in the months to come because I’ve seen no evidence that my lawsuits to date have had the slightest impact on how the City of Miami is responding to my requests, and in fact, I have evidence that indicates that they are actually behaving even worse.


Public records are a serious issue in this state.  Not only are there specific laws dealing with public records, but by vote, the citizens of this state approved a change to the State Constitution to enshrine the importance that they thought the right of access to public records deserved.


One of the principal reasons that Victoria Mendez and the City of Miami have felt emboldened enough to trash the public records law is that the news media - the very same news media that is the prime beneficiary of the public records law on the occasions when they actually get off their asses and decide to do a real story on issues like public corruption - refuses to report on the whole and wanton abuses of of the law by people like Victoria Mendez and her staff.


The absolute worst offender is the Miami Herald, and the latest and most flagrant example of this can be found in the story that Andres Viglucci wrote on September 22, 2014 about the lawsuit filed Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wynne, on behalf of numerous Venetian Island residents against the City of Miami to stop the Flagstone project on Watson Island.


Not a single word in the 686 word story provided any explanation or detail about the on-going, year long battle - and it’s been a battle royale as evidenced by the record -  between Herbits and the City over his efforts to force them to turn over public records that they repeatedly told him and his attorney didn’t exist, or otherwise engaged in behavior intended to stall and frustrate his efforts to obtain documents that revealed the degree to which the City and the developers were working behind the scenes to alter the original agreement for the benefit of the developers and against the interests of the citizens.


All of this and much more can be found in a 260 page “Annotated Summary of Public Records History,” prepared by Sam Dubbin, Herbit’s attorney, and filed as part of the lawsuit.


It is a pretty amazing document, and among the most amazing discoveries was that the McClatchy Company, the owners of the Miami Herald, joined with other newspapers around the state in filing an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of Dubbin’s efforts to get the City to pay his legal fees for having had to sue them over their refusal to obey the law. (Page 87)


The Herald’s owners were willing to attach their name to this Amicus Brief, but Viglucci and his editors at the Miami Herald refused to include any detailed description of that legal battle or their involvement - and its a battle that continues, because this fight is far from over - to force the City of Miami to turn over documents.


Viglucci reporting on all of this was limited to writing: “But Herbits, who has also sued the city successfully for withholding public records on the deal uncovered a pair of appraisals of the property, commissioned by the city, that put current market rent for the site at over $7 million a year because of a sharp increase in its value.”


That’s it.


That completely glosses over the fact that the Annotated Summary of wrong doing by the City is over 100 pages longer than the lawsuit, which on merit, if not volume, should have warranted more than a portion of a single sentence.


Below is a PDF of the Annotated Summary, and here is a LINK to the website that Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wynne put up that explains in far more detail the what and why of their lawsuit and their efforts to fight on behalf of the citizens of Miami over this boondoggle project, that thanks to the underhanded behavior of city officials and members of the Miami City Commission, led by none other than Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.


Unfortunately this is only one of several current projects intended to enrich a handful of folks while screwing the taxpayers of Miami royally.