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MAY 2, 2016

THE TICKET SCALPER RETURNS

AN OPEN LETTER TO JOE CENTORINO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST

Dear Joe,


I know that you, Chairman Larry and all the other folks at the Commission have probably missed my smiling face, pithy comments during the Public Comments portion of your meetings, and of course my video camera capturing the diligent way in which you all look out for the Public’s Trust, but I’ve been kind of busy the last couple months.


That doesn’t mean however, that I haven’t been keeping track of what you all are up to, as for instance the news that reached me recently that after my February 29th story about Miami Chief of Police Rudy Llanes being accused of taking free tickets from well-know ticket scalper Luis Leon Fernandez - whose arrest outside the AAA Arena prompted the anonymous letter making these allegations that I featured as basis for my story - your agency has supposedly opened an investigation and have been calling in Miami Police Officers to ask them questions.


Now, to the uninformed public, that might seem like great news indicating that these allegations are being taken seriously.


But you and I, as well as everyone else who understands how things really work in Miami-Dade County know that what you are really doing by opening an ethics investigation involving alleged criminal activities, means just the opposite of treating these allegations seriously.


What you’re really doing is greasing up the skids for another of your Family and Friends, Double Dippty-Do, Free Passes to allow everyone involved to evade criminal prosecution.


Up in America, serious allegations of criminal behavior, especially by a Chief of Police, would have resulted in full-scale criminal investigation initiated by a State Attorney, and conducted by real investigators.


In Miami, cases involving members of the Family and Friends Plan get shuffled over to the Ethics Commission, because, as the record reveals, once alleged criminal behavior becomes an “ethics issue,” at worst, the alleged offenders will get slapped with a fine, perhaps some investigative costs, and of course one of those famous Ethics Letters telling them to fly right and to quit behaving badly.


But I digress, let’s focus on Miami Police Chief Rudy Llanes and his buddy Luis Leon Fernandez.


The anonymous letter in my first story - obviously written by a Miami cop who was at the scene when the arrest took place - claimed that when Officer Perez first attempted to arrest Mr. Fernandez, he pulled out his cell phone and started making calls.  The letter then continues:

So, right off the bat, my first question is, did you, or will you issue subpoenas for Mr. Fernandez’s cellphone records for that day?  How about Chief Llanes’s cell phone, and Assistant Police Chief Gomez’s cell phone and Downtown Commander Jose Alfonso’s cell phone and Lieutenant Albert Guerra’s cell phone?


If in fact there is evidence that Fernandez called any of these individuals, or that any and/all these individuals played phone tag with each other and then with the officers involved in the arrest, then that starts looking like a case of criminal conspiracy, because the top brass of a police department in a major American city never has business being involved in the arrest of a ticket scalper whose going to be charged with a couple misdemeanors, unless there’s a lot more going on between this scalper and these cops.

Which brings me to the photo at the top of this story.  I took that photo on April 20th, just before the beginning of the Miami Heat’s 2nd playoff game at the AAA Arena.


Let’s look at it again, because it shows Luis Leon Fernandez sitting on the little ledge in front of the arena with a ticket in his hand.  Not only is the ticket in his hand, but when I first went past him, he offered in both English and Spanish to sell ME a ticket.


So, even though Luis Leon Fernanedez had previously been arrested for scalping, he obviously had no fear of returning to the front of the AAA and being arrested again, because there he was trying to scalp tickets for a playoff game.

Lastly, several days after I posted my original story I got another anonymous letter that also seems to have been written by a Miami police officer unhappy with the honesty and integrity of the leadership of the police department.


Here is that letter:

I can say with certainty that allegations about the drug smuggler who escaped prison, showed up in Miami and started running a towing company, and was connected to folks with Cuban Crafters is all true, because large parts of this can be confirmed through a Google search, and through my stories in 2011 when former Chief Exposito and Major Al Alvarez were referencing this gentleman in the allegations about the cocaine arrest that took place down the street from Cuban Crafters, before and during the City Commission meeting where Exposito’s firing was upheld by the City Commission.


So Joe, this isn’t, and never was a simple case about a ticket scalper who may have had the phone numbers for some of the police department’s top brass - although that in and of itself should be a red flag. This is a far bigger, and far more serious story about multi-levels of possible criminal corruption within the Miami Police Department involving the behavior and actions of a number of high-ranking cops.


Now, you’re involved in trying to provide these cops protection under the Family and Friends Plan by sweeping all of this under a rug and making it look like this is an “ethics case” and not a criminal case.


I know you don’t like to hear me tell you what to do, but the times, they are a changing, as the song lyrics go, and the days when you thought  you could get away with this kind of hocus-pocus bullshit with impunity are coming to an end. 


Your pal,


Al


It’s Miami. Bitches!