Watchdog Report Vol.15 No.27 October 26, 2014 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 15 Years

CONTENTS

Argus Report: Will CFO Atwater and Putnam sail to victory, facing only weak challenger’s in reelection race, CFO’s net worth jumps to $1.8 million from $1.6 million in 2010

Florida: Crist & Scott both press supporters to get out the vote, election is too close to call in polls margin of error

Miami-Dade County: Roughly $5 billion Water & Sewer contract, brings some of the top lobbyists to the dais

Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Recent IG report on Public Schools contractor

Public Health Trust: BCC confirms five names for $830 million Bond oversight board, still no architect on advisory board

City of Miami: Has Sarnoff hitched his future political star to Commissioner Suarez, suggests he would be a good President in the future

City of Hialeah: Four Defendants Charged in Conspiracy to Distribute Testosterone and Human Growth Hormones to Underage High School and Professional Athletes

City of Miami Beach: County MPO defers $100 million funding request for streetcar system in Design District

City of Coral Gables: Will Bravo and Burgess be the change agents the city Beautiful needs to manage it

City of Sweetwater: Former Sweetwater Police Detective Sentenced for Role in Credit Card Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft Scheme

Broward County: Medical Assistant Sentenced For Stealing Patients’ Identities from the Memorial Healthcare System Database

Community Events: Kristi House 15th Gala Event – Black archives event — The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the University Of Miami Present The Regional Premiere Of Peter and the Starcatcher Arsht Center production- Margulies Warehouse opens in Oct. Lotus House benefits, public students enter free

Editorials: Corruption in municipalities, the beat goes on and will be why voters turn against any further public funding in the future

Letters: Letter from Lauren Book sent from South Africa on her mission to make a difference around the world! — Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke

Sponsors - Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue

>>> Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)

>>> If you wish to be deleted, just e-mail me with that message.


The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation www.knightfoundation.org for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center www.knightfoundation.org to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.
>>> The Watchdog Report Publisher will be on www.WLRN.org /NPR 91.3 FM Nov. 3 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Topical Currents hosted by Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman and readers should listen in if you get the chance.
>>> The Watchdog Report publisher hopes you will consider supporting me allowing me to stay out in the field so that I can keep at this and report back how your billions of dollars in government is being spent on a weekly basis. And how to do that is at the end of the WDR. Thank You.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>>> Will CFO Atwater and Putnam sail to victory, facing only weak challenger’s in reelection race, CFO’s net worth jumps to $1.8 million from $1.6 million in 2010

Republicans Jeff Atwater the Florida CFO, and Adam Putnam, the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture are up for reelection and they got major media coverage http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article3346228.html and the two men have raised millions for their statewide campaigns. Atwater has been a long serving politician in the legislature and Putnam was the youngest Congressman when he went to the House at age 24 for over a decade and he only ran for the cabinet position in 2010 and both men are seen as possible gubernatorial candidates in 2018 though both deny that desire and are focused on their elected office.

What do we know about their finances?

Atwater through Dec 2013 had a net worth of $1.89 million, up from $1.6 million in 2010 and Putnam through the same period had a net worth of $7.84 million, which is down from $8.83 million in 2012 and Putnam is a very effective campaigner and he could be a formidable candidate if he ran for governor in the future.


Putnam

Atwater

Zogby Report Card: Obama is unloved, but must rally Dems for election
Press release: John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that while the polls show President Obama isn’t loved even by his own party, only he can rally the Democrats to hold off the GOP’s Senate grab.“To repeat a line I used before: I am a grader, not a hater. I assess how I see things, not what I want to see. I also have no use for electoral predictive models because I poll people, not numbers. Please click on the link below to view the full release:
http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/512-zogby-report-card-obama-is-unloved-but-must-rally-dems-for-election

>>> Iconic Stiltsville gets historic documentary review on WLRN Channel 17

WLRN Channel 17 did a major historical perspective last week on Stiltsville located on Biscayne Bay and the story of the structures first built-in the 1930s is fascinating http://wlrn.org/post/stiltsville-generation-flats The structures on stilts defined the Bay over the years, in many ways and some of the homes have a sordid history even after they were flattened after Hurricane Andrew blew through back in August of 1992, but the intrepid owners brought them back and fought the federal government at the time when the Biscayne National Park was expanded and the homes fell into the new boundaries of the Park and the 14 house owners were being threatened with eviction but they fought back (and got 60,000 petitioners to sign a document requesting the structures be saved) and with  the help of local Congresswoman Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Miami they were granted a reprieve and a Trust was formed to manage and take care of the  iconic structures that remain to this day. For more got to http://www.stiltsvilletrust.org/

Stiltsville House on the bay flats

>>>>Web page announcement: The Knight Foundation is looking for big ideas on how to make communities better and for more on the program go to Knight Cities Challenge 2014-15 Initial Application - Hide Guidelines Ends on 11/14/2014 what’s your best idea to make cities more successful? The Knight Cities Challenge seeks new ideas from innovators – activists, designers, and artists, planning professionals, hackers, architects, city officials, companies, economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement.

The rules are simple: A submission may come from anywhere but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight Communities. Your idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement. Apply today! Read more at the Knight Cities Challenge homepage and in the FAQ. If you would like to submit a proposal for the Knight Cities Challenge please review our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Submit

FLORIDA

>>> Crist & Scott both press supporters to get out the vote, election is too close to call in polls margin of error

Both political camps are pulling out the stops in the gubernatorial race and Charlie Crist and Rick Scott are crisscrossing the state trying to fire up their base voters that has the biggest GOP absentee votes coming in in droves and Crist has to blunt this surge with voters on election day and Broward and Palm Beach are key counties if Crist is to prevail in the tough race that in the polls is within the margin of error running up to election Day Nov. 4 and both candidates are telling their supporters to get out and vote if they are to save the day and the election. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article3354173.html And a big GOP turnout could result in Super Majorities in both the state House and Senate and could make any legislation Crist was against veto proof in the legislature and that has raised the stakes of the elections for both political parties, depending on how the electorate breaks at the polls.


Crist

Scott

Wyllie

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article2671161.html

On the well-being of our children. Visit The Children’s Movement website to read their stories and share your own. >>> I find it unacceptable, as all of us should, that at least a half-million children in Florida – all citizens — have no health insurance. How could this be in our beloved country that seeks to be a beacon to the world? Health insurance for all children is one of the five major planks of The Children’s Movement. With the support of Florida Covering Kids and Families, The Children’s Movement is working with dozens of local partners to help build a meaningful signing-up initiative in more than a dozen Florida communities. Already we have: Completed 18 KidCare trainings around the state. Signed up, trained and deployed more than a hundred volunteers. Begun to build a growing collaboration between local school districts and KidCare outreach coalitions. It’s a good start, but only the start. If you’d like to become a volunteer, just click here. Another way to help is to make a contribution – of any size – to help support this work. It is easy. Just click here. A real movement isn’t possible without your helping in some meaningful way. Dave Lawrence, Jr., Chair The Children’s Movement. >>> Update: Two encouraging meetings… The first, a visit from the Governor to the Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care center in Little Havana where he discussed his early learning priorities. That includes his support for “Help Me Grow,” a statewide parent resource system where parents would be able — via phone and online — to get answers to questions about their child’s development and connected with the proper resources. The second, a meeting with future House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva from Hialeah. He’s a father of three, a real reader of history and student of policy, and committed to better understanding early learning. Dave Lawrence, Chair The Children’s Movement.

>>> House Dist. 112 race getting ugly with endless attack campaign pieces in the voters mailboxes

State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami is being challenged by GOP candidate Daniel Diaz Leyva in a tough fought race that has the candidates going after each other and in many attack campaign flyers by both men who are attorneys and House Dist. 112 is a swing district and Diaz Leyva is getting support from long serving GOP Congress woman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Miami and former Congressman Adam Putnam in the state House race. Rodriguez won the House seat when he defeated Alex Diaz de La Portilla in 2012 when he got 54 percent of the vote over the former state senator, but there was significant controversy with DLP that is not the case in this current race and insiders consider the race a toss-up and will depend on Democratic Party voter’s turnout.


Rodriguez

Diaz Leyva

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article2666455.html

>>>>And if you would like to see your County or state elected leaders financial disclosures go to website (www.ethics.state.fl.us):

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

>>>> Roughly $5 billion Water & Sewer contract, brings some of the top lobbyist to the dais

Contracts totaling tens of millions of dollars for Water and Sewer projects were the cause for  major discussions  at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting and former Mayor Alex Penelas aide Courtney Cunningham and his PR group will be doing the outreach, and are the “eyes and ears,” for minorities getting sub contract work around some “28 percent,” of the contract, said lobbyist Al Dotson, Jr., a well-connected lawyer whose law firm has Vicky Garcia Toledo as a major lobbyist, and her husband Raphael is close to County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and she flaunts this close relationship in a variety of ways and her clients have a history of doing very well at the county and the City of Miami. Further another long time county employee is being recycled Pete Hernandez and he is part of the firm CH2M than is getting the lucrative contract and this activity of insiders working the system is becoming more common. And validates why companies give county contracts a miss unless they have the right lobbyist and former county employees on board. And there is a host of the lobbyists for this (roughly $5 billion contract) contract over the years. County Commissioner Barbara Jordan also expressed concern about minorities getting contracts and while Bill Johnson has been very sensitive to the matter, Johnson’s last day is in June,” when he retires, said Jordan and she noted historically there “has been a lack of diversity in the department,” and in the past one “would not think women even existed in the department” when you looked at senior positions and she wanted to know what Mayor Carlos Gimenez was going to do about this? During the commission discussion of the contract. Here is the resolution and details of this contract. 142257 Resolution

RESOLUTION APPROVING AWARD OF A NON-EXCLUSIVE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT TO CH2M HILL, INC. IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $139,394,748.00 OVER A TWELVE YEAR PERIOD, EXCLUSIVE OF THE WARRANTY ADMINISTRATION PERIOD, WITH AN INITIAL SIX YEAR CONTRACT TERM, AND ONE SIX YEAR OPTION TO RENEW REQUIRING BOARD APPROVAL, FOR A PROJECT ENTITLED “OWNER’S REPRESENTATIVE FOR PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER SERVICES RELATED TO THE STATE OF FLORIDA’S OCEAN OUTFALL LEGISLATION AND MIAMI-DADE COUNTY’S WASTEWATER SYSTEM”; AND AUTHORIZING THE COUNTY MAYOR OR MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO EXECUTE SAME AND TO EXERCISE THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED THEREIN(Water & Sewer Department) Adopted
Resolution R-936-14
Mover: Sally A. Heyman
Seconder: Lynda Bell
Vote: 12 – 1
No: Suarez

What about Krome Avenue?

Joe Sanchez. The Public Information Officer of the Florida Highway Patrol told commissioners on Thursday that after numerous deaths on Krome Avenue they have stepped up patrols and the number of deaths has been reduced. He said officers have written some 2,291 tickets and another 1,190 and that has reduced the number of speeders on the state highway that has taken the lives of so many drivers and the heightened enforcement is being done while the state seeks to widen and improve the roadway reducing head on crashes said Sanchez a former Miami Commissioner to MPO members last Thursday.

>>>> Commissioner Suarez says he was a hit target of the Columbian drug Cartel?

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez revealed last week he was the target of a “drug cartel hit man” who arrived in Miami in a “container” at the port. He told commissioners last week and the “governor” at the time was also a target he said. He said this was the “first time,” he had mentioned it and he did not specify the time frame involved.

Suarez

What about security in County Parks?

>>> County police are being asked to do reports in County parks to help keep crime down in facilities and increase their visibility

County officials told Commissioner Javier Souto at a commission committee that while there are only 18 officers on patrol in the county’s some 250 Parks. The areas are watched over by a variety of folks that are also in touch with county police and county police officers are also being asked to fill out reports in county parks and the presence of these police should help keep the parks safer, staff told commissioners at a committee meeting last week. Further police say crime in parks is down “by 20 percent” and special emphasis is being put on 31 parks that are high profile and security surveys are being done to pin point where crimes are occurring and lower the number of victims said police authorities.

What about the Miami-Dade Children’s Trust?

>>> The County Commission voted to recommend naming the following members to Gov. Rick Scott to appoint to the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade and below is the legislation with the names of the people being recommended to the board.
142258 Nomination
BALLOT APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS TO THE CHILDREN’S TRUST BY THE GOVERNOR LILEANA DE MOYA (INCUMBENT) LAWRENCE S. FORMAN JANE J. HERRON TIOMBE-BISA KENDRICK, S.S.P., NCSP PRAKASH S. KUMAR, EVELINE PIERRE REV. RJ STAFF, M.DIV. MYRA L. TAYLOR LIDIA VASSEUR TUTTLE DR. WILLIE J. WRIGHT, ED.D(Clerk of the Board) PDF
10/21/2014 Withdrawn by BCC

What about the swearing in of new Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava on Nov. 18th?

The newly elected commissioner Daniella Levine Cava asked Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa last week if she could change the date for her swearing in ceremony (to Nov. 18) and when the commission votes on its new chair to Nov. 24 and the body agreed to the date change and while a motion was her first victory on the 13 member commission. Further, Levine Cava elected to the District 8 seat on the dais has been having Sunshine Meetings with her fellow commissioners to hear their views on a variety of matters and is showing she is doing her homework prior to sitting on the body after she defeated incumbent Commissioner Lynda Bell in a tough well financed commission race, that also had the support of Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Levine Cava


GMCVB Press release: RECORD DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES CONTINUES JANUARY – SEPTEMBER 2014 RANKING #4 IN REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM (REVPAR), #4 IN AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE (ADR) AND #5 IN HOTEL ROOM OCCUPANCY AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS.
Record January – September 2014
Average Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2013
1. New York $213.66 +2.9%
2. Oahu Island $187.47 +5.3%
3. San Francisco $175.69 +13.1%
4. Miami $145.10 +6.8%
5. Boston $130.30 +12.4%
Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2013
1. New York $252.53 +2.5%
2. Oahu Island $220.08 +5.3%
3. San Francisco $206.53 +11.2%
4. Miami $183.73 +5.1%
5. Boston $175.53 +8.2%
Average Occupancy
Market % Occupancy % Change vs. 2013
1. Oahu Island 85.2% +0.1%
2. San Francisco 85.1% +1.7%
3. New York 84.6% +0.4%
4. Los Angeles 80.7% +3.1%
5. Miami 79.0% +1.6%

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

>>>> Recent IG report on Public Schools contractor http://www.miamidadeig.org/2015MDCPS/EPICfinalSB1314.1001.pdf

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>>> BCC confirms five names for $830 million Bond oversight board, still no architect on advisory board

County Commissioner’s last week voted on candidates to be on the oversight board to oversee how the $830 million in new GOB funding is going to be spent and the process at the commission chambers did not inspire confidence. The candidates chosen to be on this important public firewall watching how this new money is being spent are Sigfredo Delgado, Jose Luis Gomez, Silvia M. Fernandez, Nestor Caballera and Geraldine Lazarre, CPA. And the appointment of an architect on the board is an open position and will be filled in the future said Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. Fernandez works with Parsons Brinkerhoff that does numerous projects for Miami-Dade County.

Migoya

>>>> Gov. Scott Issues Executive Order Requiring Mandatory Health Monitoring for Anyone Returning from Ebola-Affected Areas Governor Calls on DOH to Determine Risk Level for Returning Citizens, in Absence of CDC Info.

>>> Executive order press release: Governor Rick Scott signed an Executive Order mandating twice-daily 21-day health monitoring for people returning from CDC designated Ebola-affected areas.

Governor Scott said, “This executive order will give the Florida Department of Health the authority they need to conduct 21-day health monitoring and risk assessments for all those who have returned or will return to Florida from the CDC designated Ebola-affected areas of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We have asked the CDC to identify the risk levels of all returning individuals from these areas, but they have not provided that information. Therefore, we are moving quickly to require the four individuals who have returned to Florida already – and anyone in the future who will return to Florida from an Ebola area – to take part in twice daily 21-day health evaluations with DOH personnel. “I want to be clear that we are taking this aggressive action at the state level out of an abundance of caution in the absence of much-needed Ebola risk classification information from the CDC. We are using what information is available to our Department of Health through the CDC’s Epi-X web-based system, which monitors individuals who travel to areas with infectious diseases, including Ebola. Using this system, we know that four individuals have already returned to Florida after traveling to Ebola-affected areas. Following the news of Dr. Craig Spencer testing positive for Ebola in New York, DOH began working to identify anyone who has already returned to Florida after traveling to an Ebola area and is aggressively investigating how much risk these individuals pose for contracting the disease. We will take further action to protect the health of these individuals, and our communities, if we determine any of them are at a ‘high risk’ of contracting the disease. Further action by the Florida Department of Health will include mandatory quarantine of anyone we suspect is at high-risk of testing positive for Ebola due to the type of contact they had with the disease. “Mandatory twice-daily health monitoring will help us obtain important information that will assist us in caring for the Floridians who are returning to our state and preventing any spread of this deadly disease if one of these individuals ever develops possible Ebola symptoms within 21 days of their return. Again, we are glad we do not have a case of Ebola in Florida, but we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure we never do.” Governor Scott’s full executive order is available here. Governor Scott’s mandate to the Florida Department of Health today mirrors the Department of Defense’s post-deployment requirements for military men and women deployed in Ebola-affected areas.

CITY OF MIAMI

>>>> Has Sarnoff hitched his political star to Commissioner Suarez, suggests he would be a good President in the future

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff seems to have hitched his future political star to Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez and during commission meetings Sarnoff said that the younger Suarez might be a future President of the United States and Sarnoff did support Suarez when he ran for mayor in a failed mayoral race last year and they continually have friendly banter on the dais. Sarnoff who is termed out in 2016 representing District 2 is said to be looking disinterested at community events he attends and there is widespread speculation, he might run for another office when he leaves the commission but nothing is known yet. Some suggest he might be eyeing County Commission Seat 4 now held by the elder Suarez but that Suarez may try to run for county mayor and that could open up the Commission seat but that would be a longshot for Sarnoff who has lost many of his initial voters support over the years in his Grove base. The commissioner who travels constantly with a sergeant-of-arms and is driven around the commission district may miss this perk, but the man who is also an attorney has a way of rubbing people the wrong way and any new political office is considered a  long shot in the future given how people feel about him though he has an ability to raise considerable campaign funds, if the past is any history and while rumors suggest his wife Teresa might run other people that know her suggest she does not have the temperament for the rough and tumble campaign trail that transformed her husband from a Grove activist into a bully in the eyes of  many people. And there was confusion who Sarnoff’s grandfather was and to read that story go to:  http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2008/02/marc_sarnoff_lies_about_his_li.php


Suarez

Sarnoff

>>> Miami Resident Sentenced for Identity Theft Schemes Involving Fraudulent

Social Security Benefits and Income Tax Refunds after Initially Failing to Appear

Press release Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Thomas Caul, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Emmanuel A. Adeife, of Miami, was sentenced today to 76 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $321,213.70‎.

Adeife previously pled guilty today to one count of access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2), one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, and one count of failure to appear, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 3146(a)(1) and 3146(b)(1)(A)(ii).

According to court documents, from January to October 2013, Adeife filed approximately 112 Social Security Retirement Income Benefit (RIB) claims using names, dates of births, and social security numbers belonging to real people without their permission. Adeife directed that the RIB payments be paid onto prepaid debit cards in his control from which he made ATM withdrawals and conducted other transactions. He received RIB payments totaling $194,213.70 in connection with 45 of the claims. On October 18, 2013, the grand jury returned an Indictment charging Adeife with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft (Case No. 13-20803-CR-Zloch), and Adeife was granted a bond. The Court later set a change of plea hearing for March 6, 2014 in this case, but Adeife knowingly failed to appear at the hearing, despite his attendance being required as a condition of his previous release. Adeife remained a fugitive until his second arrest on June 20, 2014. After Adeife’s failure to appear, the law enforcement investigation into Adeife’s whereabouts revealed that he continued on the same conduct involving stolen identity fraud. Law enforcement analysis of the debit cards associated with Adeife revealed that Adeife, while on bond, filed stolen identity tax returns seeking approximately $198,000 in fraudulent refunds, of which he actually received approximately $127,000.Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of SSA-OIG and IRS-CI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank R. Maderal.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

CITY OF HIALEAH

>>> Four Defendants Charged in Conspiracy to Distribute Testosterone and Human Growth Hormones To Underage High School and Professional Athletes

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and A.D. Wright, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, announce the filing of a superseding indictment charging Yuri Sucart, 52, of Miami, FL, Juan Carlos Nuñez, 48, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Lazaro Daniel Collazo, a/k/a “Lazer,” “Laser,” 50, of Hialeah, FL, and Paulo Berejuk, a/k/a “Pablo Berejuk,” “Paolo Berejuk,” 50, of Cutler Bay, with conspiring to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone to underage high school and professional athletes. The charges stem from a DEA investigation, which focused on the illegal distribution of testosterone by the charged defendants in Miami-Dade County, and elsewhere. In August 2014, seven defendants, including Sucart, Nuñez, and Collazo, were charged with conspiracy to distribute testosterone. Defendants Anthony Publio Bosch, Carlos Javier Acevedo, Jorge Augustine Velazquez, and Christopher Benjamin Engroba have entered guilty pleas and are pending sentencing in connection with this conspiracy. The charges, filed in August 2014, focused on the illegal distribution of testosterone by the operators of several anti-aging clinics in Miami, Florida, recruiters for these clinics, and a black market distributor of testosterone. These anti-aging clinics were incorporated under several different corporate names: Biogenesis of America, LLC; Biokem, LLC; Revive Miami, LLC; and others by the same group of people who occasionally worked together in the time period 2008 through 2012. One of the original founders of these clinics was Anthony Bosch.

The superseding indictment charges Sucart, Collazo, Nuñez, and Berejuk with one count of conspiracy to distribute a Schedule III controlled substance, that is, the anabolic steroid testosterone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; and one count of conspiracy to distribute human growth hormone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 333(e)(1) and (e)(2). Additionally, Sucart has been charged with five counts of distribution of testosterone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2; and Collazo has been charged with one count of distribution of human growth hormone, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 333(e)(1) and (e)(2). If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory sentence of 10 years in prison on each count. Mr. Ferrer thanked the DEA for their work on this investigation.  This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Michal P. Sullivan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shared A. Motiani. An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> County MPO defers $100 million funding request for streetcar system in Design District

A discussion by Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez on a $100 million circulating streetcar system in the Miami Design District got deferred at the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting after it ran into opposition by Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine saying in his opinion the need was not as desperate as on the Beach where congestion of “MacArthur Causeway” is killing businesses and tourists trying to get back to their hotels and that is “the biggest problem,” he said. Levine noted a streetcar loop was needed in “both” the Beach and Miami but “it needs to be a system” and has to be “integrated,” said Maurice Ferre. And Commissioner Jean Monestime moved that the request be “deferred” and the MPO board passed the deferral. Further Commissioner Sally Heyman thought the streetcar line should include “Brickell” which she said “was terrible” when it came to traffic and no parking. Further Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado also made his case saying the county has spent “$billions” in economic development  in the area including the “Arsht Center, the Perez Art Museum and the Frost Science Museum,” and the philosophy has been “if you build it they will come,” and people are “coming” said the mayor and he also noted the city “signed an agreement” to create a new “Heliport” on Watson Island something that has been in negotiations for years and he argued for the streetcar system because “People from all over the county come to Miami and they are coming,” he concluded but he was not able to sway the other  members on the MPO board for the case for the moment and more study is likely to be done on the matter.


Monestime

Regalado

Monestime   Regalado

>>> Miami-Dade Residents Convicted in $8 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

Press release:  A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Lawrence Foster, 49, of Miami Beach, the President of Paradise is Mine, was found guilty by a federal jury in Miami of conspiring to commit wire fraud and seven counts of wire fraud.  Johana Leon, 38, of Miami Beach, a corporate officer of Paradise is Mine, meanwhile, was found guilty of three counts of structuring currency transactions by the same jury. The trial evidence showed that Paradise is Mine received approximately $8 million from approximately 90 investors after the company promised that it owned land in the Bahamas and would use investor funds to develop the island of Rum Cay in the Bahamas.  In its promotional materials, Paradise is Mine claimed that it was featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other publications, and that Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana and other celebrities purchased land from Paradise is Mine.  Bank records, however, show that no money went to the Bahamas.  Instead, Leon withdrew over $1 million as cash below the $10,000 currency transaction reporting level.  Foster spent investor money on personal expenses, including gardening and a Bentley GT.  Witnesses from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today testified that the Paradise is Mine articles had never appeared in either publication.  Finally, the accountant for Joe Montana testified that Mr. Montana never received land from Paradise is Mine.United States District Judge Donald L. Graham remanded Foster to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons and set sentencing for January 5, 2015.  Foster faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison for each count.  Leon faces a term up to five years in prison for each count of conviction.Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys H. Ron Davidson, Robert Watson, and Harold Schimkat.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

What about the MPO director San Roman?

Irma San Roman, the executive director of the County’s MPO has resigned and the county’s Human Resource Department will advertise and do a search for her replacement in the management position.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES

>>> Will Bravo and Burgess be the change agents the city Beautiful needs to manage it?

It is being reported in the media that three candidates may be vying for the open city manager’s job. The candidates mentioned are Frank Nero, Alice Bravo and possible George burgess and the last two are long term beaurocrats and they may not have the fresh perspective city commissioners might be looking for. www.miamiherald.com

>>>> City Hires Executive Recruiter to Search for New City Manager

City web page: On September 26, the City Commission held an emergency meeting to discuss the continuation of the City Manager search and agreed to hire executive recruiter and local resident Dabney “Bud” Park to conduct a new search.

Mr. Park will conduct an intense recruitment effort of top candidates within 30-60 days. Depending on the outcome, the City Commission will decide whether to continue the search with Mr. Park and under what terms. The City Commission also requested a refund from the previous executive search firm Colin Baezinger & Associates and those details are still being finalized.

CITY OF HOMESTEAD

>>>> Checkout the County Office of the inspector General report on a park project in Homestead. http://www.miamidadeig.org/Reports2014/IG12.28MayorRoscoeWarrenParkAudit.pdf

CITY OF SWEETWATER

>>> Former Sweetwater Police Detective Sentenced for Role in Credit Card Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft Scheme

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the sentencing of William Garcia, 39, of Miami, a former Sweetwater Police Department detective, for his role in a credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme.

On April 21, 2014, a jury in federal court found Garcia guilty of twelve counts of the fifteen count indictment.  Specifically, the defendant was found guilty of:  conspiring to produce, use, or traffic in one or more counterfeit access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; use of a counterfeit access device, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(1); and ten counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).  United States District Judge Federico A. Moreno sentenced Garcia to a term of 112 months imprisonment, to be followed by one year of supervised release.  Garcia was also ordered to pay approximately $13,000.00 in restitution. During trial, the United States presented evidence documenting Garcia’s improper friendship with a former confidential source.  The confidential source, a convicted felon, would provide Garcia and another former South Miami Detective, Richard Munoz, with counterfeit credit cards.   During the trial, the source, Munoz, and others testified about Garcia’s possession and use of those cards during shopping trips to the Dolphin and Florida City shopping malls in late 2010 and early 2011.  During a meeting recorded by an FBI source, Garcia was recorded providing his own personal credit card for use in stealing account numbers and manufacturing counterfeit cards. After the source started cooperating in June 2011, Garcia was caught on videotape bringing eight counterfeit credit cards to the confidential sources’ residence.  During that and other recorded meetings, Garcia explained that he had taken the counterfeit cards from work and that he would share them with the confidential source.  During the next two weeks, Garcia was again caught on tape discussing his use of the cards at restaurants, movies, and the Dolphin Mall.  Garcia’s presence during the transactions was further documented through use of phone records, placing Garcia’s cellular telephone in the area of each transaction at the time it occurred. U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “William Garcia violated his oath as a police officer and misused his position to victimize the civilians he was sworn to protect.  Mr. Garcia’s participation in these crimes betrayed not only the public trust, but also his fellow officers’ daily sacrifices as they work tirelessly to protect this community.  Today’s sentence sends a strong message that we expect and deserve more from our public servants.   I congratulate the hard work of the FBI that led to this successful prosecution.”        “The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled to ensure public officials are brought to justice if they betray the community’s trust,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami.  “In this case, the Task Force along with the assistance of the Sweetwater Police Department worked diligently to ensure justice was served.”Mr. Ferrer commended the outstanding investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Lacosta and Sarah Schall.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

BROWARD COUNTY

>>> Medical Assistant Sentenced For Stealing Patients’ Identities from the Memorial Healthcare System Database

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, announce that La Toya Yvette Tillman, 33, of Hollywood, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Tillman previously pled guilty to one count of possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices with the intent to defraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3), and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. According to court documents, Tillman, who worked as a medical assistant at Gastroenterology Consultants in Hollywood, confessed to accessing the Memorial Healthcare System database through her computer at work to steal patient identities, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, so that she could sell them. She sold an individual approximately 2,000 identities for $1 each, and the individual told her that he used the identities to file fraudulent tax returns. In addition, in her car, Tillman had a list of 114 identities that included names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Tillman knew that the victims did not authorize her to possess their personal identifying information. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the USSS. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Snyder. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>>>  The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida is calling visual artists in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to submit artwork to interpret A Man Among the Peoples, that will coincide with an exhibition on the life, art and legacy of late Overtown artist, Purvis Young. Selected artwork will be displayed in the lobby of The Historic Lyric Theater as part of “Soul Basel Overtown: A celebration of Art, Music and Culture in Colored Town”.

This an art festival taking place from December 3 – 7, 2014 in Miami’s Historic Overtown District. We encourage imaginative expression in the interpretation of the theme. This project is designed to highlight the work of South Florida artists among others that will be displayed during Art Basel weekend. In addition to the public, museum professionals and art critics are invited to attend the festival. Entries will be accepted via email. Deadline to apply is Monday, November 17, 2014.To enter or for more information, please contact Adia McKenzie at amckenzie@theblackarchives.org or 786-708-4

About The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.:

The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Ph.D. With a mission to not only preserve the documentary and photographic history of black South Florida, but also to enrich the present and protect the future through the revitalization Miami’s former black business and entertainment district, Overtown. The Black Archives and its programming are supported by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami-Dade County, The Knight Foundation, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, The Design Group Miami & Drummer Boy Sound. For more information on The Black Archives of South Florida visit www.theblackarchives.org.

Kristi House Lands Federal Grant and Global Honor for

Project GOLD Child Sexual Exploitation Program

>>>> MIAMI - Kristi House was one of four organizations in the country awarded a U.S. Department of Justice grant for its program for commercially sexually exploited children, Project GOLD. The three-year, $450,000 grant awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will add a community mentoring component to Project GOLD, and expand services to boys, transgender and questioning  youth. In separate news also related to the organization’s work on behalf of child sex trafficking victims, Kristi House’s Executive Director Trudy Novicki was named one of 10 recipients of the international C-10 Award. The C10 Award recognizes 10 global leaders and their fight against the trafficking of children. Sophie Stenbeck Family Foundation, World Childhood Foundation and Reach for Change co-founded the award to support and acknowledge entrepreneurial leaders of the child rights field. The C10 Award Forum will be held November 3, 2014, in Stockholm, Sweden. “Trudy has made a lasting and profound impact not just for Kristi House, but for all children exposed to commercial sexual exploitation throughout our state,” Kristi House President Juan Trescastro said.

“Trudy truly cares about this community and these child victims,” said State Representative Jeanette Nunez, co-sponsor of the Florida Safe Harbor Act.  To continue reading click here.

Join us for the 15th Anniversary Touch a Heart Dinner on Nov. 14!

>>> The Margulies Warehouse will be reopen at the end of October and all adult admission charges $10.00 will go to Lotus House Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Overtown and students are free. For more go to http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/ and the Lotus House Gala will be Oct. 25th for more information go to http://lotushouse.org/

Editorial

>>> Corruption in municipalities, the beat goes on and will be why voters turn against any further public funding in the future

There is a disturbing trend that public officials and employees in some of the 34 municipalities have no qualms breaking the law or asking for favors as they perform their political duties and it is not limited to places like Homestead or Sweetwater but Miami has to be also thrown into the mix and it must come to an end for Miami-Dade taxpayers deserve better but usually only get the short end of the stick no matter how many investigations are done and the fact it never changes is a sad commentary on the community and all those civil servants that do try to do the right thing. Something that seems only aspirational and elusive but must change if taxpayers are not to revolt and say enough is enough and this discontent will be seen at the ballot box where the Watchdog Report suspects voters will start voting no to any new public funding of major projects because this public trust has been eroding for years but elected leaders seem oblivious to that fact as they motor on in the same fashion as in the past even while the arrests continue and federal authorities are doing a brisk business when it comes to the small municipalities that generally don’t get the same scrutiny as the bigger ones but still leaves residents shaking their heads wondering when it will finally end.

LETTERS

>>>The following link will take you to an article in today’s New York Times which I encourage everyone to read.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/upshot/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html?hpw&rref=opinion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpHedThumbWell&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&abt=0002&abg=0 The article puts a focus on the length of pregnancy as being remarkably important in increasing the chance that children will be healthy and competent as they move through childhood and into the adult years. I would include the following statement (My words, not theirs): The basic development of babies’ brains is meant to occur in the uterus, and the longer that time in the uterus the better (admittedly with certain limits.) The problem has been that too many babies are being delivered before that brain is ready for the outside world, and the article goes into what this means to the child and to society. We can thank the March of Dimes which has been putting pressure both on the medical establishment and on parents not to promote early delivery of a child unless there is an emergency which requires it.I believe you will also find some other comments within the article of interest, as the authors challenge the “intensity” of medical care in the United States.

Will Blechman, M.D.

>>> Letter from Lauren Book on her Lauren sent from South Africa on her mission to make a difference around the world!

Hello from SOUTH AFRICA!

I hope this note finds you well. I arrived here in Cape Town a week ago for the Crime Stoppers International Conference, where my speech was very well-received…I spoke in front of 400+ government officials, police and child welfare administrators from around the world, and Desmond TuTu himself was in the audience (http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/14/Tutu-addresses-CSI-conference)! Yesterday, the experience came full-circle when I visited the Desmond TuTu HIV Foundation Youth Center to learn about their mission to empower children to grow beyond their circumstances and HIV status. I shared my story and talked about the fact that while certain events color your life, you get to choose the color. We met some really special kids at the Center, and certainly some future advocates! We’ve also had the opportunity to guest teach at a school just outside Cape Town, sharing lessons from our Safer, Smarter Kids (SSK) curriculum for two groups of 90 Kindergarteners who are almost all below the poverty level and receiving government assistance (90% of them, I am told) — we worked with a local sex crimes prosecutor who gets the majority of her child cases from the area around the school. In addition to SSK lessons, we have been repainting and remodeling a play therapy room in the school to provide a safe and welcoming environment for children to begin to heal from abuse with the help of the school’s resident social workers. The Cape Town government has really embraced our mission of prevention through education and healing through guidance and support — we’ve also been training teachers on SSK tenants and how to respond to a child’s disclosure of abuse, and will speak with more than 100 police officers later today on how to be sensitive to child victims upon disclosure. It’s a very exciting, yet heartbreaking trip — high, high HIV and AIDS population, very impoverished areas that we’re teaching in, but a really neat culture and beautiful scenery. Please know that as we continue to spread awareness and education across the world that I could not do any of this without your love and support, and the support from Hilton we’ve received throughout the years. I am truly humbled by all that we have, and continue to, accomplish and I will not stop until we win the international fight to protect childhood.

Lauren Book

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The Watchdog Report covers a few of the meetings attended weekly. It remains my belief that an informed public will make better decisions. Therefore, I go to meetings, make the presence of an informed citizen known, and bring the information to you.   The Watchdog Report is in the fourth year of publication and it has been an honor to be able to send this information to you. It is sent to readers in Miami-Dade, Florida, the U.S. and the world.

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We are pleased to share with you exciting news! Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse will be the 15th Anniversary Touch a Heart Challenge Grant Sponsors! You’ll be hearing more about the Challenge as we get closer to the big evening. Thank you, Culverhouses, dear friends of Kristi House.

Badia Spices and Buddha Mama Jewelry have teamed together to be our Platinum Heart Sponsors for the evening. Thank you to these major and other major sponsors for your generosity:

Gold Heart: Swanee & Paul DiMare * Frank Fawzi

Silver Heart: Emma & Sia Afra * Katie & Eddy Arriola – Apollo Bank * Zaba & Edgar Castro * Rachelle & A.J. de Moya – The de Moya Group * Lisette & Nelson Diaz * Eller-ITO Stevedoring Company * Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos & George Karavestos * Honorable Anitere Flores & Dustin Anderson * Lauren & John Genovese – Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A. * Cindy & Jeff Gomez * Greene Kleen of South Florida, Inc. * Marta & Rick Hasty, MD * Jeff Herman – Herman Law * Lourdes Leon-Vega & Otto Vega, MD * Betty Lopez-Castro * Maria & Al Maloof * Judy & George McCleary * Loretta & Miguel Nido * Ed McCluskey – Northwestern Mutual * Honorable Jeanette & Adrian Nuñez * Casey & Dennis Rodriguez * Tatiana & Alex Ruiz * Judy & Juan Trescastro * Royal Caribbean International * Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP * Tutti Bambini * Kara Zeder & Rick Rosen