Watchdog Report Vol.15 No.30 November 16,2014 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 15 Years – Correction & Clarification Issue

CONTENTS

Argus Report: CORRECTION & CLARIFICATION from a Past WDR and an apology to Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez

City of Hialeah: Director of Nursing Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in $7 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Community Events: Ride for Lotus House – Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight the Plague of our generation: February 7-8, — 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:

Letters: – Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke

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

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ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>>> CORRECTION & CLARIFICATION from a Past WDR and an apology to Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez

In the last two Watchdog Reports in an Editorial on Pay to Play in the City of Miami, Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez who represents Commission District 4 objected and he demanded a full apology since I suggested he was “salivating” during a public meeting I attended regarding Mike Fernandez’s gesture to erect  a Flag of Gratitude in a Miami Park and commissioners were discussing the matter at a Sunshine meeting and I am giving the former city of Miami Mayoral Candidate a free kick at the WDR since over the past 16 years I have strove to accurately report what happens at public meetings but in this case I missed the mark and I apologize to Suarez, an attorney and new father with a young son, for the error and I am running his email to me on the subject essentially unedited but there was also some confusion because over the past two weeks I have had trouble with my email account and my laptop which only came back from the Geek Squad on Friday. Further my email account had reached its max and was returning emails and I may have missed an earlier one sent by Suarez or Mr. Fernandez on the matter and below is the email the commissioner sent me last week.

>>>> “Defamatory comments in last two Watchdog reports”

“For two consecutive weeks you have insinuated that I asked Mike Fernandez for something in exchange for supporting his idea of The Flag of Freedom.  Last week you mentioned it without the courtesy of even calling or emailing me on the issue.  This week you did it in a so-called editorial where you said that I was “almost salivating at the time…” of my sunshine meeting over what I would extract from Mike Fernandez.  That is not only inaccurate but it is insulting. [I agree that my characterization was wrong regarding Suarez and I apologize].

Between last week and this week Mike Fernandez sent you an email in response to your assertion which contradicted you and affirmed unequivocally that I never asked him for anything for supporting his idea.  I gave you an opportunity to correct yourself assuming that you were a person of good faith that would run his email and confess your error. [Unfortunately because of technical issues I never got any email from Mr. Fernandez and if I had, I would have corrected the matter immediately. Since accuracy has been a hallmark tradition on the WDR over the past 16 years and in this case I let some of my frustration with the City of Miami leaders bleed into my writing for which I apologize].

It is now clear to me that you are not in fact acting in good faith since you clearly had proof in Mike Fernandez’ own words and chose to “editorialize” on the subject.  It is clear to me that your two articles are meant to be defamatory in nature and are published with clear and indisputable disregard for the truth (far worse than reckless standard needed for public officials since you have incontrovertible proof in the form of Mike’s email). [I wish that was true about the email for I would have nipped this matter in the bud].

I hereby demand a formal and full retraction in your own words and by publishing my email and Mike Fernandez’ email to you.  A failure to do this will constitute defamation for which you will be legally responsible.

I don’t know what your motives for this are.  Maybe it was my refusal to “sponsor” your website [I asked him to be a supporter not a sponsor] when you asked me outside of City Hall why I had never done so and I answered that I didn’t know I had to [this was asked over a year ago and has nothing to do with this matter but it is more of an acknowledgement of someone’s work and its value].  Maybe it was because I honestly answered a question you thought I was being disingenuous about when you asked me if I had received a contribution from a certain entity for a certain amount which I had not received (btw all contributions are public records so I’m not sure why you did not simply consult the public record where all my contributions have been timely reported since I first ran for office).  Whatever the reason may be, your attitude towards me has been downright rude (not answering me when I say hello to you) [Because I choose not to be part of the adulation crowd that fawns over elected commissioners at city hall where I have sat and watched city employees for the past four years and how they treat people and they’re work ethic] and now it is seeping into your writing and going beyond the bounds of the law.  I will not stand for it.  I try always to be very nice to you in particular) and always bend over backwards to treat people with respect and kindness but enough is enough.  I expect you to act accordingly.

As for the idea of televising the Charter Review Committee meetings.  I think it is an excellent idea and will take it up at the next meeting with the board members and in the interim with the clerk and the communications department,” wrote Commissioner Suarez on Sunday who clearly had something to get off his chest and I once again apologize for the misrepresentation of the meetings comments and why I am running the correction exclusively and a regular WDR will appear next week and I would have done this sooner had I become aware of the matter earlier and while not the first correction over the year’s this is the first done in this manner versus at the top of the Report and at the beginning of a Watchdog Report. And for an idea why I have done this for 16 years and what I have gone through check out the national story that ran in all the Tribune Papers around the nation since Suarez questioned my motives  http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american and below is the message from my EarthLink Account and why I might not have gotten an email from Suarez or Mr. Fernandez earlier and would have corrected the error. >>> Here is the message from my email provider:  Dear EarthLink Subscriber, We’re writing to let you know that your EarthLink email address is out of storage space. When you exceed your storage space limit, any incoming email is returned to the sender and marked as “undeliverable. “For instructions on how to free up some space, manage your email storage, or how to purchase extra storage space, visit our Knowledge Base article on the Web:

Suarez

>>>>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

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.

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

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

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

CITY OF MIAMI

>>>> PASTWDR:  Miami Commissioner Suarez should do the public a favor and televise Charter Review Committee meetings, as he pushes for strong mayor form of City government

The members of the City of Miami Charter Review Committee should ask that they’re meetings be televised for the voters of Miami need to be able to listen and see what these people are suggesting for the Charter is the heart and soul of the City and how it is governed and Commissioner Francis Suarez is arguing Miami needs a strong mayor form of government like Miami-Dade County where Carlos Gimenez is the mayor and Suarez’s father Xavier will probable run for the office having been the mayor of Miami himself and the elder man loves the limelight and media attention. Further in 1999 when a similar Charter Review Committee was formed to essentially write specific language to force a previous mayor to run again that group back then was chaired by Miami Commissioner Willy Gort and included former Commissioner Victor de Yurre. And it took the Watchdog Report back then to get the meetings televised and the Miami residents deserve this benefit for they will not be attending meetings in a commissioner’s conference room and Suarez the younger constantly talks about transparency in government and he should suggest to the City’s Media person Angel Zayon (who had a bankers luncheon on Friday with four women) and clearly has the time to get this done rather than endless shows on the city’s television station that Promote the five commissioners and what Supermen they are and these shows are now including commissioner’s wives for a little bit of free political advertising. Below is the next Charter Review meeting announcement. And Suarez the Charter Review Chair wrote above that he will bring the matter of televising the meetings before the committee members at a future meeting

Charter Review and form Committee Meeting
Department: PUBLIC MEETINGS
Contact: Vanessa Acosta
Contact Phone:
Location: Miami City Hall-Commission Chambers; 3500 Pan American Drive; Miami;
When: 11/24/2014 to 11/24/2014
Hours: 5:00 PM to
Details: Liaison: Vanessa I. Acosta (305) 41

Suarez

CITY OF HIALEAH

>>>> Director of Nursing Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Role in $7 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Press release:  participation in a $7 million health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Anna Nursing Services Corp. (Anna Nursing).

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.

Armando Buchillon, 42, of Hialeah, Florida, was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,896,739 in restitution following his July 29, 2014, guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard in the Southern District of Florida imposed the sentence.

According to Buchillon’s plea agreement and supporting factual proffer, Buchillon was a Director of Nursing at Anna Nursing, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.  As part of the fraudulent scheme, Buchillon and his co-conspirators regularly falsified patient documentation in order to make it appear that beneficiaries qualified for and received home health care services, when, in fact, many of the beneficiaries did not actually qualify for or receive such services.  This false documentation was submitted to Medicare to support the fraudulent reimbursement claims.  In addition, Buchillon paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters in return for the recruiters providing patients to Anna Nursing for services that were medically unnecessary or were not provided.  Buchillon also worked as a patient recruiter for Anna Nursing and was paid kickbacks and bribes by the owner of Anna Nursing.

From October 2010 through April 2013, Anna Nursing was paid by Medicare approximately $7 million for fraudulent claims for home health care services.

The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.  This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Anne P. McNamara and A. Brendan Stewart of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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!

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

Visit the Dinner website for more details – contact Bianca Fernandez at bfernandez@kristihouse.org or 305-547-6802

Chairman of the Dolphin Cycling Challenge V
Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight the Plague of our generation: February 7-8, 2015 www.ridedcc.comhttps://register.racepartner.com/DCC/registerhttp://ridedcc.com/where-the-money-goes.

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/

Ride for Lotus House Kick-off, Live Art Exhibition
November 14 7-10pm

Join us at the Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique on Friday, November 14, 7-10pm for a kickoff event, celebrating the 2015 Ride for Lotus House! Help us raise funds and awareness for our May 2015 bike ride, benefitting the women, youth, and children of Lotus House.

Friday’s event will feature the work of local Miami Firefighter Artists as well as a “live” art exhibition by special guests Space Monkey Project. There will be light bites, music, door prizes and more!

$25 donation at the door, $20 in advance
Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique clothing will be on sale for a 25% discount!

Street parking available; free parking at the UM Technology Center,
2 blocks south of the Lotus House Chic Thrift Store, 951 NW 7th Avenue.

Questions?

Copyright © 2014 Sundari Foundation, Inc., All rights reserved.
In the past, you provided Lotus House with your email address. Occasionally, you will receive brief announcements regarding Lotus House news.

Our mailing address is:

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Miami, Fl 33125
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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.

The Watchdog Report is sent to thousands free and while readers have been prodded to subscribe the results have been mixed. Over 250 reports and Extra’s have been sent since May 5, 2000 and over one million words have been written on our community’s governments and events.  The report is an original work based on information gathered at public meetings, interviews and from documents in the public domain.

LETTER POLICY

I welcome letters via e-mail, fax, or snail mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report.  Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to watchdogreport1@earthlink.net

Daniel A. Ricker

Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report

Est. 05.05.00

Copyright © of original material, 2014, Daniel A. Ricker

>>> Watchdog Report is expanding as a new service and this content is now available to other news media, no longer exclusive to The Miami Herald

The Watchdog Report is no longer exclusively with The Miami Herald, and excluding the one story a week that is printed in the paper on Monday in the Metro & State section by me. The rest of the 20 or so news stories weekly sent out Sunday in the Watchdog Report are now available to television stations web pages, and all the newspapers and other media in South Florida if the publishers have an interest to run part or all of the stories. Further, in 2000, I used to have some paper’s running the report in the Spanish press, that option is available again, and publishers should contact me.

The news content will not be free, but you can pick and choose the stories of interest, edit them if necessary but you must still keep the general story intact.  If you are a news outlet and would like to learn more about, the Watchdog Report and this offer contact me at watchdogreport1@earthlink.net for further information.

>>> Readers who would like to read the complete University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Southeast United States Media Report go to view the complete report or download

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