JANUARY 11, 2016



I regret that the real world got in the way of my reporting until now on a decision that occurred last month when the members of the Miami-Dade Unethical Commission on Ethics and Public Trust elected retired Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Schwartz as their new chairman.

Those who are regular readers are no doubt familiar with my pal, Unethical Larry Schwartz, as a result of his participation in what is perhaps an iconic photograph of what a violation of Florida’s Sunshine Law looks like.

That’s Unethical Larry shielding his face and conversation from a room full of spectators and press during the discussion of a legal motion on whether my past as a bank robber 40 years before could be used as part of the defense by Miami City Commissioner Frank Carollo in an attempt to discredit my complaint before the Commission that he had abused his power by calling the Miami Police Chief on his cell phone during a traffic stop.

Following this secret conversation, held during a public meeting, the Commissioners agreed that Carollo and his attorney could indeed use my 40 year old criminal record as a way to try and shift the focus from Carollo’s attempt to abuse his power to what I had done 4 decades before, although by the end of the hearing it was the idiotic and incriminating testimony of Chief of Police Manny Orosa that did Carollo in, forcing him to cop a plea of No Contest, and pay a $1000 fine and $1404.21 in costs. 

I made a big stink about the actions taking place in the photo at the time, but thanks to the Family and Friends Plan, Assistant State Attorney Johnette Hardimon, demonstrated just how far she was willing to lie and misrepresent the law and facts of the case in order to give the judge a free pass. (I have reposted that story today so that you can appreciate the lengths the State Attorney’s Office will go to provide cover for those on the Family and Friends Plan.)

Unethical Larry and I hadn’t been pals before this incident, and we certainly didn’t become pals afterwards. Schwartz had acquired a reputation for being arrogant, highhanded and running his courtroom like his private little fiefdom, and the notion that he could not bang his gavel and tell me to shut up whenever I showed up at a Commission meeting to tell them what I thought about their latest decision on one of my ethics complaints really burned his ass.

Last year after I filed my ethics complaint against Donald Trump, Trump’s assistant and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez over Trump’s efforts to get control of the Key Biscayne Golf Course, I showed up to vent my displeasure over how Michael Murawski, the Commission’s Advocate (Prosecutor), had willfully misrepresented the language in my complaint so as to give Gimenez a free pass on what was obviously a clear cut violation of the law.

At the end of my comments I turned to chastise Schwartz for his persistent desire to rush the meetings along in telling Dusty Melton, who had spoken before me, to start wrapping it up even though the Chairman had given both him and me extra time.

Nothing i said was obscene or different in context from similar comments i had made on other occasions, but this time Unethical Larry lost his temper, and stated that he would recuse himself from any future complaint I might file.

        “For the record, after that tirade I will recuse myself in the

        future from any matter in which Mister Crespo’s name appears, 

        so you’re down to three commissioners, if there’s no other

        commissioner sitting here that doesn’t want to do the same

        thing you won’t have a case heard here because there’s no

        provision for less than a quorum...”

My alleged tirade begins at 5:32, followed by Schwartz’s response.

A blanket recusal prompted by personal pique over comments made about his behavior as a Commission member is not only illegal, it’s indicative of how ignorant the judge is when it comes to the Florida constitution and laws of this state that he swore to uphold. 

At the next meeting he walked out of the room when I stood to speak, and when the Commission voted to issue a Letter of Instruction - otherwise known as a lubricated hand-job given to those members of the Family and Friends Plan who get caught screwing the pooch - to Trump’s assistant advising him not to do what he did again, the judge walked out for the second time.

At the next meeting, after Schwartz had once again walked out of the room when I stood up to speak, I informed the members of the Commission that Unethical Larry’s behavior was illegal under the provisions of Florida Statute 286.012:

       “No member of any state, county or municipal governmental

        board, commission or agency who is present at any meeting

        of any such body at which an official decision, ruling, or other

        official act is to be taken or adopted may abstain from voting...

        a vote shall be recorded or counted for each such member

        present, except when, with respect to any such member, there

        is, or appears to be, a possible conflict of interest under...s.

        112,311, 112,313, or s. 112.3143, F.S.”


A couple weeks later Schwartz, filed a Form 8BDisclosure Of Local Officer’s Interest that is required by a public official invoking the above statute.

Among the problems with Unethical Larry’s belated filing of this form was that this form is only applicable if a public official is claiming a conflict of interest based on a “personal financial interest or gain,” as stipulated in FS 112.314(3)(a).

         Section 112.3143(3)(a), F.S., prohibits a county, municipal,

        or other local public officer from voting on any measure which

        inures to his or her special private gain or loss; which the officer

        knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any

        principal or parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate

        principal, other than a public agency, by whom he or she is

        retained; or which the officer knows would inure to the special

        private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the

        officer. An exception exists for a commissioner of a community

        redevelopment agency created or designated pursuant to s.

        163.356, F.S., or s. 163.357, F.S., or an officer of an independent

        special tax district elected on a one-acre, one-vote basis. Section

        112.3143(3)(b), F.S.

That’s why he wrote “No personal financial interest or gain,” in an attempt to use this form to justify his illegal reasons for recusing himself, rather than for the reason that the form was created. In addition, this recusal was never read into the record as required by law.

But, as serious as these issues are, they actually pale in comparison to the reason I’m now considering for suing the judge in federal court.


Many people who seek redress before public bodies are unaware of what the terms “content neutral speech,” and “content-based regulation of speech” means, and often times when they go before the county commission or one of the many city commissions in Miami-Dade County and attempt to criticize an elected official they are slapped down and told that they are not entitled to criticize any official or employee, regardless of what those individuals might have done to draw the ire of the speaker.

Restriction of speech - especially what is considered political speech - is more often than not considered a violation of the First Amendment, as long as it is not libelous or obscene, and from personal, first-hand experience, it goes on all the time at public meetings in Miami-Dade County as a way to deny individuals an opportunity to criticize elected officials who deserve criticism.

When Schwartz got upset over my comments to him about his behavior as a member of the Ethics Commission - and ALL of my comments to him, or about him at the Commission meetings have been strictly and solely directed at his behavior as a member of the Commission, and never were my comments obscene or libelous. Again here’s what Schwartz said.

        “For the record, after that tirade I will recuse myself in the

        future from any matter in which Mister Crespo’s name appears, 

        so you’re down to three commissioners, if there’s no other

        commissioner sitting here that doesn’t want to do the same

        thing you won’t have a case heard here because there’s no

        provision for less than a quorum...”

He not only attempted to punish me for exercising my First Amendment rights by announcing that he would illegally recuse himself from “any matter in which Mister Crespo’s name appears,” but far more seriously he in effect admitted he would deny me my rights of due process if there was only a quorum of three members and he chose to walk out, and more seriously he made clear his efforts to screw me around by encouraging the other members of the Commission to follow his lead, thereby depriving me of my right to file a complaint before the Ethics Commission, because as he stated, “you won’t have a case heard here because there’s no provision for less than a quorum.”

The fact that Schwartz is now the chairman, with the additional persuasive powers that that affords him makes his comments and his attitude even more harmful and detrimental to my rights as a citizen to file a complaint or be treated fairly by the Ethics Commission.

Schwartz was a judge with 23 years of experience on the bench when he made these statements, which indicates not only his lack of knowledge of the law, but far more importantly reveals a basic lack of tolerance and petulant pettiness that should disqualify him from sitting on any public board, much less to be the Chairman of the Ethics Commission.

It’s Miami, Bitches!