CRESPOGRAM REPORT
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A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
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MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
AM I THE MOST CROOKED POLITICIAN OF THEM ALL?

Politicians are no different than any other kind of crook.  First they start with penny-ante stuff, and if they don’t get caught, they get emboldened and start committing larger and larger crimes.  The biggest difference between regular crooks and politicians turned crooks is that the politicians develop a sense of entitlement regarding their crimes because they are often able to hide behind, or twist the law to shield themselves from prosecution.


Take Tomas Regalado. He started his sleazy, crooked activities screwing the taxpayers out of gasoline.  From there he moved on to leaning on city departments to do favors for his friends, neighbors and constituents.


Drive around his neighborhood and it’s easy to spot the examples of his favors - all paid for with tax money and done by city employees - in the concrete driveways, traffic circles and numerous zoning violations that are ignored reflecting the Mafia Don school of political corruption.


Then go to the MRC building and start going through the personnel files looking for all the unqualified, uneducated and grossly incompetent individuals that he’s forced the city to hire over the years, and especially since he’s been Mayor.


From there, start looking at the bigger deals, the one where both serious money and serious efforts to circumvent public scrutiny are occurring, and then see if you can spot Tomas Regalado’s finger prints.


It really isn’t hard.  Take for instance the Letter To The Editor  from Regalado that the Maimi Herald published last Friday.

“We have the plan to renovate this landmark without going to the taxpayers,” Regalado wrote - or actually didn’t write - since this letter is too cute by half for Regalado’s ham handed use of the English language.


If ever there was a sentence that should activate the old air-raid siren atop the County Courthouse, that should be the one.


Yes, they do have a plan, and it doesn’t have anything to do with some pretentious design competition for a new stage for Marine Stadium, that even the judges conceded is “most likely unbuildable...”


THE CARLISLE GROUP RIDES AGAIN


Unmentioned in Regalado’s letter asking for “community support” is what this plan is, or more importantly, who the players are that expect Regalado to run interference for them.


At the top of the list is the Carlisle Group, represented by none other than lobbyist Steve Marin, who was successful in getting Regalado and the City Commission to support the Red Light camera deal that was supposed to generate $8 million in funds for the city, but is now likely to generate no more than $513,000 this year.


Late last year the Carlisle Group presented a “Memorandum of Understanding outlining our proposed public-private partnership for the revitalization of the Miami Marine Stadium.”

Bush, was obviously unaware of Sarnoff’s long relationship with Poch and some of his playmates, including Cecilia Holleman, that made any possibility of his taking the UEL’s side against Poch non-existent.


While guys like Poch always look for ways to evade public scrutiny of their deals,  the one thing that’s critical for them to succeed is they all lust for access to public money. 


Several times last year Poch worked at getting the inside numbers of the financial workings between the city and it’s vendors on Virginia Key, and the City and the County on the financial split of Convention Development Tax money between the city and the county.

...Grove Arts & Mind Academy parents in a six page blistering letter to school district, light up school’s governance and criticize building owner and school founder Alonso-Poch


Parent of students at the Arts & Minds Academy located on Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove fired off a blistering highly critical letter of complaint to the Miami-dade Public Schools administration concerning how the charter school is being run and governed that seems to only benefit financially the building’s owner and school founder Manny Alonso-Poch.  The May 2nd six-page letter signed by A&M PTSA Executive Board President Carlos Deupi and other senior board members and parents to Tiffanie Pauline, the Administrative Director of charter schools in the nation’s fourth largest school district.  The letter details a long list of issues, including the fact that he owns the building the school is housed, and uses it for other activities including having his law office at the site.  The school created in 2004 was flagged by the Watchdog report back then because of the building ownership issue that is known as a “related transaction.”  The original monthly rent paid by the school district was $29,000 but when it expanded in 2006, that same rent jumped to around $69,000 a month, and caught the eye of the district’s inspector general and the school board’s audit committee.  Poch, an attorney, at a past school board audit committee meeting explained to audit board members why the new rent was fair, but his explanation did not fly and had audit board member Chair Fredrick “Buck” Thornburgh, an attorney noting there “was a lot of fairy dust in the room,” after the explanation he thought...

The parents letter is a compellingly damning indictment of Poch and his partners actions in running the school.  Here it is. (Click on the left icon with the arrow for a full screen view.)


Poch, no stranger to controversy, is also interested in the Marine Stadium property as evidenced by emails uncovered by the Crespo-Gram Report.

Guys like Poch are often easy to identify, and their schemes easy to understand, but the problem lies with the political courage it takes to stand up to them. 


When you’re dealing with an unethical, corrupt politician like Marc Sarnoff, words of warning like the ones below are like water running off  a duck’s back.

Poch, like many others before him has feathered his nest through access to public money. In his case, he’s had numerous opportunities to feed at the public trough, including most recently the $828,000 a year he collects from the county to fund the Arts & Mind Academy charter school he operates in Coconut Grove.


NOT EVERYBODY LOVES MANNY


Along the way to becoming a “player” Manny Alonso-Poch has managed to piss off his share of people, and perhaps this year he finally pissed off some people who he can’t ignore or pretend don’t exist.


Here is a portion of the last week’s Watchdog Report by Dan Ricker, where he reports on a letter recently sent to the Miami-Dade School Board by parents of children at Poch’s Arts & Minds Academy.

Related to, but not part of the above letter is another problem that faced the school this year as spelled out by another member of the PTSA.

MANNY ALONSO-POCH - 2 DEGREES OF SEPARATION


Also involved is Manny Alonso-Poch, the Coconut Grove attorney and founder of the Arts & Minds Academy Charter School that is housed in Poch’s building on Commodore Plaza.

Manny Alonso-Poch and Michelle Niemeyer at a Coconut Grove chamber function.

No matter how you look at it, Manny Alonso-Poch has hit a rough patch as an educator, which is usually a good time to go look for another deal to get involved in.

While there were other proposals floating around for the property next to the Marine Stadium, Poch’s connections seem to have provided him with the inside track to slip in through a side-door and have his Miami Marine Industry Center of America win the brass ring of being included in the Carlisle Group’s plans to revitalize the Marine Stadium.

If he gets his way, it could end up being a $37 million, 160,000-square-foot mixed use facility, that would give him a new place to hang his hat, financed by taxpayers.

If it happens, Regalado’s comments in his Letter To The Editor will prove to have been a lie, because all the evidence point once again to the fact that when schemers like Poch decide they want to cash in at the public’s expense, they know that they can always count on a guy like Regalado to be there to give them the keys to the city’s bank account.

Keep your eyes on this deal, because at the end of the day these guys are going to make a Three Card Monty dealer look like he’s moving the cards around wearing baseball gloves.

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