Archive for September 2009


Watchdog Report Vol. 10 No.18 September 27, 2009

Miami-Dade, Florida

Vol. 10 No. 18  September 27, 2009

Daniel A. Ricker, Publisher & Editor

Est. 05.05.00  I go when you cannot & A community education resource & news service —

Celebrating My Tenth Anniversary since May 5th, & Former, Miami Herald independent news columnist


Argus Report: Tri fecta of Broward elected officials popped by undercover FBI agents, did Eggelletion, Gallagher, and Salesman hear public corruption siren song

Florida: U.S. Senate 2010 campaign finance disclosures in next few days, Gov. Crist expected to dominate money game over former Republican Speaker Rubio & What of U.S. Reps. Meek and Brown race on Democratic Party side. >>> Alert, new entry with U.S. Sen. Bob Smith

Florida Supreme Court: Justice Perry in the spotlight, tapped by Gov. Bush in March 2009, net worth of $1.02 million

Florida 11th Judicial Circuit Court: Gov. Crist appoints Antonio Arzola to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, replaces retiring Circuit Judge Wilson

Miami-Dade County: PA Garcia elected late last year, has first property valuations under his belt, net worth $1.23 million through 2008

Broward County: State Sen. Ring in the spotlight, elected 2006, had $18.3 million net worth through Dec. 2008

Palm Beach County: Last look at retired state Sen. Pruitt, left body in August, had $171,940 net worth through June 2009

St. Lucie County: State Sen. Haridopolos in the spotlight, likely senate president in 2010, had $218,000 net worth through 2008

Indian River County: Just when you thought you had seen it all: Sebastian women sentenced on fraud charges, local cops find six-year old dead mother’s body in house

Clay County: Gov. Crist made six reappointments and appointments: Clay County Development Authority

Monroe County: U.S. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen thoughts on Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization

Miami-Dade Public Schools: Miami-Dade Public Schools employee pleads guilty to credit card and identity theft

Public Health Trust: New PHT trustees Rosenbaum & Ayala are sworn in on Monday, with four incumbents by Judge Orlando, but what of the poll?

City of Miami: With union negotiations unfinished, Miami commission punts to Sept. 29 for $511.4 million final budget vote

City of Miami Beach: City’s $226 million budget in the bag, commission passes it on Thursday, orderly process

City of Coral Gables: Deadlock vote on city budget, Commissioner Cabrera says, “Holding firm on roll back millage rate,” what of Commissioner Kerdyk?

City of South Miami: Mayor gets $14,000 salary; commissioners get $12,000 a year

City of Sunny Isles Beach: Tony city has mayor getting $16,110 in salary; council members get $12,888

Town of Surfside: Mayor and commissioners work for $1 per year, do get $500.00 monthly allowance that is taxable

City of Sweetwater: Strong mayor gets $57,588 salary, commissioners get $22,278 when perks thrown in

Community Events: The Miami Herald Americas Conference 2009 —Ethics and the Media panel at UM

Editorials: Commission Vice Chair Diaz’s idea of appointed Miami-Dade Community Council members should be shot down, or shut down — PAST WDR: July, 2004: County government should always remember it is somebody’s money

Letters: Reader on county budget shortfall and closed-door meetings – Readers on Coral Gables stories – readers on the Watchdog Report and 10th Anniversary this past May 5

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 and you are free to e-mail this on to friends.

>>> Check out what I said on Topical Currents hosted by Joseph Cooper on WLRN 91.3 FM on the Miami-Dade County budget and the cuts, go to (

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for funding and the University of Miami’s Knight Center of International Media within the University’s School of Communication  assistance to rebuild my web site that is now on line again, since the previous one was shut down in July 2008. Past reports will continue to go on line in the future, potentially as far back as May 2000.  This institutional support is a major break through for me, and I am deeply appreciative of the help these two substantial international institutions have given me at a time the site was an unbudgeted expense to keep the Watchdog Report a community education resource, and being a decade old news service.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>> Tri fecta of Broward elected officials popped by undercover FBI agents, Eggelletion, Gallagher, and Salesman hear corruption siren song

Jeffrey H. Sloman, the interim U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida had a political corruption tri fecta Wednesday when he announced the arrests of three people in three different branches of public institutions on public corruption charges and one with money laundering. Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Jr., (net worth $535,000/ last year $676,000) was the ranking political figure of the federal complaint, followed by Broward School Board Member Beverly Gallagher, and ex Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman. The county commissioner is said to willingly gotten involved in a Ponzi money-laundering scheme, the school board member is said to have taken bribes on school projects and the ex-commissioner, even when not in office, exerted influence on his Broward municipality.  Eggelletion got about $15,000, after helping launder $900,000, Gallagher took $12,500 after steering about $71 million in school construction projects to a potential bidder and Salesman accepted $5,840 after getting vendors bids on city projects.

Sloman, during the packed press conference in the satellite Ft. Lauderdale office, said it was deja vue after a series of arrests and convictions of Palm Beach Commissioners on public corruption charges with ex Palm Beach Commissioner Mary McCarty and her husband earlier in the year going to the federal slammer.  Florida ranks number one in the arrest of public officials over the past decade and in South Florida, federal investigators have done a brisk business in taking down these wayward elected officials. Further, in the case of Broward County, more arrests are being contemplated and Sloman said the arrests were not over. He also noted, “These are complaints and not indictments.” He said these kinds of cases have “a lot of moving parts given the nature of the evidence” and described it as a “multi-dimensional investigation.” FBI agents working undercover taped the elected officials willingly going to the dark side over the last few years and the federal probe is continuing and suggests Miami-Dade may be the next area of corruption busting activity.

Eggelletion, a former state representative who represented Commission District 9 was first elected in 2000 but the Watchdog Report for years has kept an eye on him and I spotted him in Coconut Grove weeks ago and he seemed surprised to see me. He said, “I thought you lived in Broward.” Gallagher, a former school activist was elected in 2000 to the school board and was a big proponent about building new schools trying to ease classroom overcrowding but she has had financial issues over the years. Salesman, had other problems of his own when he drew a gun in a store and was convicted. Gov. Charlie Crist Wednesday suspended from office, the county commissioner and school board member off the boards. For more of the story go to

>>> PAST WDR: What do we know about the commissioner’s finances?

Eggelletion who was late in filing his yearly financial disclosure report and he missed the July 1, 2009 deadline, and while a Sept. 1 grace period is allowed. The state Ethics Commission did not receive his form until Sept. 2, though it was mailed at the end of August. On his forms, he lists a $535,000 net worth through July 1, 2009, which is down from $676,000 last year and he lists $390,000 in household goods. His assets include one equal share of land in Gadson County valued at $220,000, and his liabilities are a GMAC loan owed $18,000, Wachovia Bank is owed $42,000 and he owes ( now one of the defendants in the federal case) Ronald Lee Owens $15,000. His income for the year was $92,000 as a county commissioner and Ronald Owens kicked in $15,000.

>>> What about Commissioner John Rodstrom, Jr.?

Rodstrom (net worth $2.4 million) is the Broward County commissioner that asked months ago, then U.S. Attorney R. Alex Acosta to come-up to the commission and explain what they as elected leaders could and could not do. The Watchdog Report believes these arrests should answer the long serving commissioner’s questions.


Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida,  and Michael J. Folmar, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the filing of federal corruption and other criminal charges against a current Broward County Commissioner, a current Broward County School Board Member, a former Miramar City Commissioner, a Bahamian attorney, and two South Florida businessmen.  Charged today were defendants Josephus “Joe”  Eggelletion, 60, of Lauderdale Lakes, Joel Williams, 54, of North Miami, Ronald Owens, 62, of Hallandale, Sidney Cambridge, 45, of Nassau, Bahamas, Beverly Gallagher, 51, of Pembroke Pines, and Fitzroy Salesman, 52, of Miramar.  The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court in Fort Lauderdale today, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow, except for defendant Cambridge who remains in the Bahamas. This long-term undercover corruption investigation, led by the FBI, resulted in the filing of three separate complaints, charging the defendants with various federal criminal violations, including honest services mail and wire fraud, extortion under color of official right, bribery, and money laundering conspiracy.  During the operation, FBI undercover agents purported to represent contractors seeking to obtain construction contracts with local government entities or seeking to hide proceeds from purported criminal activity.

In the case of Josephus Eggelletion, Joel Williams, Ronald Owens, and Sidney Cambridge, FBI undercover agents (“UCAs”) purported to represent an individual seeking to hide proceeds of illegal activity.  To this end, in December 2006, the UCAs advised County Commissioner and Broward County Vice-Mayor Josephus Eggelletion that they sought to hide proceeds from an investment fraud scheme.  In a series of recorded meetings, Eggelletion introduced the UCAs to defendants Williams and Owens as individuals who could help the UCAs hide assets in the Bahamas, where Eggelletion stated he did not have the same ethical restrictions as he did in the United States.  To execute the scheme, Williams, Owens and the UCAs traveled to the Bahamas to meet with defendant Cambridge, a Bahamian attorney.  Thereafter, the defendants allegedly agreed, in exchange for a cash fee to be shared among them, to launder the purported investment fraud proceeds though a Bahamian bank account to be established by defendant Cambridge.  In this way, from March 23, 2007 through November 23, 2007, in a series of wire transfers, the defendants laundered approximately $900,000 from an account in Miami through the Bahamian account into an account controlled by the FBI in St. Croix.  As well, the UCAs discussed an additional $200,000 and $500,000 transfer with Eggelletion and Owens, respectively, but none of these additional funds was actually transferred.  The defendants received a total of 7% of the money laundered through the Bahamian account, of which defendant Eggelletion received approximately $23,000.  As a result of these actions, defendants Eggelletion, Williams, Owens, and Cambridge were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).

In another complaint, defendant Beverly Gallagher, a current member of the Broward School Board, was charged with wire  fraud by depriving the citizens of her honest services, extortion under color of official right, and bribery in connection with a program receiving more than $10,000 in federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 1346, 1951, and 666.  In this instance, the FBI UCAs purported to represent two clients, a glass company and a project manager for a construction company, both of which sought to do business with the Broward County School District.  In a series of meetings, emails, and phone calls, defendant Gallagher agreed to steer School Board business to the UCAs in exchange for cash payments.  In one such meeting in November 2007, Gallagher told one of the UCAs that they could “make a lot of money together.”  In another meeting in February 2008, she agreed to become a consultant to the UCAs to assist them in getting School Board work for their clients.  Thereafter, from about February 2008 through June 3, 2009, defendant Gallagher allegedly misused her influence and her official position on the Broward County School Board to steer School Board business to the UCAs’ clients.  For this, she allegedly accepted a total of approximately $12,500 in cash, delivered to her surreptitiously inside a day planner, a Broward County School Board envelope that she provided, and in other ways.

Lastly, the third Complaint charges defendant Fitzroy Salesman, while an active Commissioner for the City of Miramar, with committing mail fraud by depriving the citizens of his  honest services, extortion under color of official right, and bribery in programs receiving more than $10,000 in federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 1346, 1951, and 666, respectively.  In this case, the UCAs purported to be “quasi” lobbyists, seeking  to obtain contracts with local government entities for construction contractor clients.  According to the Complaint, Salesman succeeded in obtaining two contracts for the UCAs, one for the construction of a park gazebo and the other for the renovation of a gym floor.  In sum, Salesman is alleged to have received a total of $3,340 while he was an active City of Miramar Commissioner, in exchange for his influence in steering these contracts to the UCAs and their clients. “As a community, we must do all that we can to ensure that our public officials do not give into the temptation to betray their public trust for quick cash.  Our work in Broward County will continue; we are not done,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman. Michael J. Folmar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Office, stated, “Communities have a right to expect that their elected leaders be ethical, trustworthy, and responsible, only representing the best interests of their constituents.  The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those elected officials who choose to break the law.  Public corruption is and will remain a top priority for the FBI.” >>> Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, in connection with the investigation of this case.  He also thanked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their cooperation in this matter. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Neil Karadbil. >>> A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

>>> Past Watchdog Report starting to wrap up financial disclosure stories

The Watchdog Report will be wrapping-up the financial disclosure forms for state and local elected leaders in the months ahead and I try to do these during the summer when government leadership goes into hibernation. People ask all the time why I run these required yearly disclosures and it is because it is the only time we get to see financially what our elected leaders are up to when it comes to their personal finances. And over the years there have been surprises, such as Palm Beach Commissioners whose net worth suddenly jumps, to ex sheriff of Broward Ken Jenne who listed outside income around 2004 on his disclosure and ended with his going to federal prison. Over the past decade I have found well over 90 percent of respondents are straight up, and their disclosures are what I call benign but it is important to check and verify.

>>> Thanks to my supporters, the Watchdog Report, celebrated its Tenth Anniversary on May 5th.

Over the past ten years there have been so many stories and here are just a miniscule few that have been in the past 410 Watchdog Report’s that each has had almost three dozen stories or announcements per week, and that does not include around 100 Watchdog Report EXTRAS over this time. Back in September 2000, then county manager Merrett Stierheim gave the Watchdog Report the gift of a lifetime when I wrote he would be retiring by Feb 1 and he responded with a official county memo to the mayor and commissioners titled Rumor Control blasting my assertion that later became true. Other stories broken were that Miami Police Chief John Timoney was joining Miami in Jan. 2003 and that there was a man in Italy claiming to be a Miami vice Mayor and being wined and dined by Italian officials even though the city does not have such an office. Over the years I have covered almost every significant story regarding Jackson Memorial Hospital, the school board and county and sent a EXTRA from the PAC construction committee in the summer of 2003 noting the arts centers would be 20-months delayed and needed immediately over $60 million in new funding that ultimately came in at $472.9 million.

In addition, I have covered the Miami-Dade ethics commission and the Office of the Inspector General since there inception and over the years have done dozens of stories on people busted by both agencies since then. For me it is difficult to reflect sometimes on past stories because there have been so many and generally once I have done it I move on to the many other news stories that develop every day and spring up like weeds every week. I have tried to be the news contrarian, and if there is major media at an event, I will move on unless I have something significant to add, and given the size of our public institutions, something is always going on somewhere else. We may just not be aware of it.

>>> See what was said about the Watchdog Report in the Miami New Times 2003 — Best of Miami — BEST CITIZEN  — Daniel Ricker –

Three years ago, we said Ricker was our Best Gadfly. Given his dedication and perseverance, this new honor, Best Citizen, is well deserved. Ricker goes to 2500 mind-melting meetings annually, from the Public Health Trust’s purchasing subcommittee to the Efficiency and Competition Commission to the Alliance for Human Services’ nominating council to the school board’s audit committee. Sometimes he’s the only public observer. Object: to be the Public Citizen for all those out there who can’t attend, and to connect and serve as an information bridge among the special-interest-dominated Miami-Dade governmental institutions that seem so problematic and indifferent to the democratic process.

This month his e-mail newsletter, The Watchdog Report, celebrates its fourth anniversary. In a former life Ricker made a handsome living as an international salesman of heart pacemakers. As the hard-working publisher of Watchdog Report, though, he’s struggling financially — this despite the fact that his weekly compendium of meeting summaries, analysis, interviews, and commentary has become essential reading for anyone involved in public affairs. What his written work may lack in polish, it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness. So raise a toast to the man whose official slogan says it all: “A community education resource — I go when you cannot!”


>>> U.S. Senate 2010 campaign finance disclosures in next few days, Gov. Crist expected to dominate money game over former Speaker Rubio & What of U.S. Reps. Meek and Brown race on Democratic Party side? >>> Alert, new entry with former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith

With the next campaign financial report cycle coming up in the next few days, Gov. Charlie Crist (net worth $466,000) and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, ($8,351.00 net worth through Nov. 08) are trying to raise the fundraising bar that the governor has already set at over $4.3 million with Rubio bringing up the campaign finance rear. However, Rubio continues to dog Crist in the closed Republican primary in 2010 as the party’s champion in the bid to carry the party’s banner for what is expected to be the open U.S. Senate seat now being held by Charles LeMieux, who was recently appointed by Crist. Further, I just noticed that Republican Marion Thorpe, Jr., M.D. a past Republican congressional candidate against U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D- Broward in 2008 and a former applicant to be a trustee on the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade has registered as a candidate and he did not make the cut on the health trust after the required background check.

>>> On the Democrat Party side, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami (net worth around $62,000 in 2002) is the leading fund raising candidate and former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns is challenging the congressman along with U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville. However, Meek still has to deal with the Wackenhut issue as previously reported in past Watchdog Reports but he is a decent campaigner. Further, former state representative, Miami mayor and former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Maurice Ferre as has been reported in the past has said he is also considering throwing his hat into the race that is now less than a year off given an Aug. 24, 2010 primary.


SARASOTA, FLORIDA: Following six months of grassroots meetings with groups of Republican and conservative voters around Florida, former U. S. Senator Robert C. “Bob” Smith has launched a full-scale campaign for next August’s GOP U.S. Senate primary. Smith, a Sarasota resident, represented New Hampshire in the U.S. House from 1985-91; and in the Senate from 1991-2003. Smith, who served twelve years as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chaired the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, was a recognized expert on missile defense. The Senator fought hard to keep funding in the military budget for missile programs and research when the Clinton administration was pushing to dismantle these systems. Smith was also outspoken in opposition to those ill-advised liberals who even advocated for unilateral arms reductions. He is also known as a champion of veterans affairs, particularly POW and MIA issues. As Chairman of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, he was instrumental in securing funding for the original Everglades Restoration Act; and from 2004-2007 served as President of the Everglades Foundation. Smith explained his decision to enter the race. “After watching with dismay these past several years as Republicans seem to have lost their way, then seeing the results of the 2008 elections, I could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch. I need to get back into the arena. I believe that my background as a former independent thinking U.S. Senator is a unique opportunity for Florida to benefit from my experience and leadership on the major issues facing our nation and our state today. That is why I am running for the U.S. Senate here in Florida. Among other issues, I intend to focus on the financial crisis, replacing the current tax code with a fairer less complicated system, reducing the size of government, enhancing our national security, providing assistance for veterans and our troops, ending illegal immigration, and the turning back the all out assault on our Republic and Constitutional principles.”

In late July, Senator Smith appointed his campaign’s senior leadership launching a full-scale campaign. Named as the campaign manager was Carlton Grooms of Sarasota, an accomplished businessman, Wharton MBA, and Naval combat aviator who served in Bosnia, Iraq (Deny Flight) and Somalia. Conservative Boca Raton family law attorney and Federalist Society member Lisa Macci, who studied law under the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist at Pepperdine University, serves as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Communications. Macci also hosts “The Justice Hour” – a public service talk show heard Monday mornings on WPBR AM 1340 in Palm Beach County. Rounding out the Friends of Senator Bob Smith command group is retired U.S. Army Colonel Charles J. Winn of Stuart, a national security analyst, who was the Military and Veterans Director of former Congresswoman Katherine Harris’s 2006 U.S. Senate bid. Campaign spokesperson Lisa Macci explained that over the summer, “We established the Command and Control, Communications and Information infrastructure; and organized the State’s 67 Counties into 8 regions. Additionally, 22 counties now have co-chairs and grassroots leaders appointed. The remaining counties will be filled over the fall. Senator Smith plans an extensive schedule of fundraising and grassroots events along the Gulf Coast extending up into the central part of the state in October, and along the East Coast during November.” Senior campaign staff include businessman Robert C. O’Leary of Tampa, retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Mike Mills and his fellow Marine retired Lt. Colonel Tim Taylor of Stuart, retired U.S. Army Colonel Harry Riley of Crestview, and Mike Neiber, a Stuart Realtor who retired from the insurance industry. Macci further explained: “Senator Smith was greatly encouraged by the hundreds of grassroots conservative Republicans he has met with around the state this year. The essence of his campaign – NO BAILOUTS, NO DISARMAMENT, NO AMNESTY, NO GUN CONTROL, NO TAX HIKES, NO ABORTION, NO BULL! – succinctly captures the concerns that Americans of all backgrounds have been expressing in various Town Hall meetings and Tea Party Rallies in response to the dangerous leftward drift the Obama Administration has been trying to take the Country.”


>>> Justice Perry in the spotlight, tapped by Gov. Bush in March 2009, net worth of $1.02 million

Justice James E.C. Perry is in the spotlight this week and it finishes up the Watchdog Report yearly review of the justices on the state’s top court and their financial disclosures. Gov. Charlie Crist tapped Perry a former military officer before getting his law degree from Columbia University for the court in March of this year.

What do we know about his finances?

Perry through Dec. 2008 had a net worth of $1.02 million and he lists $275,000 in household goods. His BMW is valued at $60,000, a Chrysler 300 is worth $10,000, there is a $27,000 CD, stocks are worth $5,800, there is $100,000 in deferred salary and his home is worth $700,000.  He lists liabilities of $140,000 with SunTrust Bank, USAA Bank is owed $28,000 and BMW Finance has a $45,000 claim for the car. The judge’s income for the year was $145,000 and he lists receiving no gifts valued over $100.00.

>>> Official web-page bio: A native of New Bern, North Carolina, Justice James E. C. Perry was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Charlie Crist and took office there on March 11, 2009. Before his appointment, he served as a circuit judge of Florida’s Eighteenth Judicial Circuit upon his appointment by Governor Jeb Bush in March 2000. Justice Perry later served as Chief Judge of the Circuit for a two-year term beginning July 2003. He graduated from J. T. Barber High School. From there he attended Saint Augustine’s College, graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting. After serving Justice James E.C. Perryin the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant, he went on to Columbia Law School where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1972. Justice Perry met his future bride, Adrienne M. Perry, Ph.D., while at Columbia Law School. A scholar in her own right, Mrs. Perry earned her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Oswego. She then went on to receive a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in education from the University of Florida. Formerly the Mayor of Longwood, Florida, Dr. Perry is currently a professor at Stetson University. Married since 1971, they have three children – all college graduates. Their eldest son, Willis Perry, is a businessman in Tallahassee. Son Jaimon and daughter Kamilah Perry are attorneys in the Central Florida area. Justice Perry has been actively involved in many community activities. A dedicated father, Perry managed his son’s AAU basketball team, the SanLando Greyhounds and played an active role in all their sports activities. He supported the Greyhounds through several successful seasons, and the whole family traveled cross-country with the team as they advanced through the championship playoffs. The Perrys were also involved in their daughter Kamilah’s activities, which included piano, ballet, and cheerleading. Justice Perry’s commitment to improving children’s lives extends beyond his own family. As founder and president of the Jackie Robinson Sports Association, Perry built a baseball league serving 650 at-risk boys and girls – the largest in the nation. However, the Association did more than coach baseball. Volunteers also served as mentors and provided free tutoring. In addition to his work with disadvantaged kids, Justice Perry served as captain of the Heart of Florida United Way Campaign and his firm served as general counsel for the Florida Chapter Branches of the NAACP. He currently serves as treasurer on the Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s College. Justice Perry has been a member of the Carter CME Tabernacle Church of Orlando for more than 20 years. He currently serves as trustee and is a member of the choir. As an attorney, Perry was widely recognized for his legal skills and abilities. Prior to his appointment to the trial bench, Justice Perry was senior partner in the law firm of Perry & Hicks, P.A., where he specialized in civil and business law. Justice Perry has received numerous honors and awards including the Seminole County NAACP Humanitarian Award, the Orange County Chapter NAACP Paul C. Perkins Award, and the 2005 Martin Luther King Drum Major Award for Social Justice. In 2004, Justice Perry was honored by his hometown, New Bern, North Carolina, receiving the “Key to the City.” In 2005, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) selected Justice Perry as one of four individuals to be profiled during its national broadcast of An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence. Most recently, Justice Perry received the prestigious Williams-Johnson Outstanding Jurist of the Year Award for 2006 from the Brevard and Seminole County Bar Associations. Justice Perry is frequently asked to speak at schools, churches, and civic groups. He has delivered the commencement address at several schools including the University of Central Florida and his alma mater, Saint Augustine’s College.

Justice Perry was the first African-American appointed to the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. Governor Jeb Bush issued this statement when he appointed Justice Perry to the circuit bench in March of 2000. “James brings a high level of professionalism, knowledge, and skill to the bench. His community service and commitment to the Jackie Robinson Little League demonstrates his dedication to the community. I am confident that his expertise, strong commitment, and dedication will continue to be an asset to the 18th Judicial Circuit and the state.” Following his appointment to the circuit court bench, Justice Perry ran unopposed to retain his seat. Justice Perry is the 85th Justice to take office at the Florida Supreme Court since statehood was granted in 1845. >>> Office Information >> Justice Perry’s office phone is (850) 921-1096, and his judicial assistant is Dawn Stallworth. His staff attorneys are John Keyser, Mireille Fall-Fry, and Rachel Canfield. The mailing address is 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee FL 32399-1925. >>> Attorneys or law students interested in clerkships in this office should check our Law Clerk Recruitment Page. There also is information on Internships.


>>> Press release: Governor Charlie Crist today announced the appointment of Antonio Arzola of Miami to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court.

“Antonio’s extensive professional experience in both the public and private sectors and his diverse background makes him an ideal choice for this post,” said Governor Crist.  “I am confident his strong work ethic, humble temperament and personal integrity will serve the people of the Eleventh Circuit well.”  A son of two Cuban immigrants, Arzola, 38, has served as a county court judge in Miami-Dade County since September 2005.  Previously, he practiced privately at Murai Wald Biondo Moreno & Brochin PA beginning in September 1996. Prior to that, he served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Federico A. Moren in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in 1991 and a law degree from the University of Miami in 1995. Arzola will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Thomas S. Wilson, effective October 15, 2009.


>>> PA Garcia elected late last year, has first property valuations under his belt, net worth $1.23 million through 2008

Pedro Garcia, Jr., the newly elected Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser is in the spotlight this week and he is in a Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter Office, not a Constitutional Office like the other 66 elected appraisers around the state. Garcia was a political novice when he first ran but was a professional appraiser in his private life and he beat former state Sen. Gwen Margolis for the job. Garcia once he got into the race was surprised at how many people wanted to be his buddy joking he “never knew he had so many friends.” He has said he will right size property values, and there was an over nine percent drop in property values but critics say he did not include properties in foreclosure in his estimates and that omission will likely be settled in the courts in the future.

What do we know about his finances?

Garcia filed a state Form 6 disclosure and his joint IRS 1040 for 2008 (the filing Gold Standard) and he lists a net worth of $1.23 million through the year. He lists $85,000 in household goods and his only liability is $61,787 on a mortgage, and his total income for the year was $74,861 since he was elected at the end of last year. His taxable income for the year was $52,968, he prepaid $14,500 in taxes and received a $5,570 refund states his tax returns.

>>> IRP fighting for its life, has been community safety valve when it comes to county employees complaints by residents

The Independent Review Panel (IRP) had a panel meeting Tuesday afternoon and the fact the organization did not get any county funding during the past final budget hearing to continue was the conversation of the day.  The panel created after the death Arthur McDuffie, and subsequent riots in the early 1980s after an all white jury in Tampa acquitted the white police officers, is the only organization that hears complaints about county employees and police officers. Eduardo Diaz, the organization’s director said they could have another chance regarding possible funding, though reduced to 70 percent, at the county commission’s Oct 6 meeting, where tweaking the budget will be done by the county commission. The panel then passed unanimously a resolution asking the county commission to consider this lack of funding and re-establish 70 percent of the last year’s budget.

Any new panel members?

Augusto R. Lopez, Esq., joined the panel for the first time and the panel will continue to meet in the weeks ahead, it was created by a county ordinance, and because of that, the county commission would have to formally rescind the county ordinance creating the body.

>>> Sept. 25, 2009: HUD OIG Report: The Miami-Dade Public Housing Agency (Agency) was awarded a $19.3 million capital fund formula grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluated the Agency’s capacity to administer its Recovery Act funds.  The OIG found the Agency’s procurement procedures had weaknesses, staffing levels may be inadequate, and the Agency had not properly prioritized its ARRA funded activities.  The weaknesses could adversely affect the Agency’s capacity to administer these funds, and the OIG recommended that HUD require corrective action on the deficiencies. This electronic audit memorandum has been posted to our website and may be viewed directly via this link. This PDF version will allow you to print the audit memorandum to your local printer.

>>> The Children’s Trust had its final public budget hearing Monday, $115.2 million operating budget passes

The Watchdog Report contacted Emily Cardenas, a media person for the Trust and asked how the hearing went last Monday and she responded. “Amazingly well. We had some great speakers in favor of raising the millage in order to prevent further cuts from children’s programs. Nobody came to argue against it — and I mean nobody. We didn’t even get any calls from angry taxpayers when The Miami Herald ad ran. I think it is a testament to the responsible way in which we operate and in the genuine appreciation for the very targeted services, we support. It was a good day,” wrote Cardenas. >>> For information about next year’s budget go to

>>> Cashing in on Fake Jury Service Results in Arrest of Former County Employee >>Press release: Anna Maria Doleman, 28, a resident of Miami-Dade County and a five (5) year employee of the Miami-Dade County Transit Department, was arrested today as a result of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Doleman, a Rail Vehicle Mechanic for Transit, collected her County paycheck after falsely claiming to be on jury service. She was charged with one count each of Forgery, Uttering a Forged Instrument, Grand Theft and Official Misconduct, all third degree felonies. In addition to the criminal charges, Doleman has been terminated from her employment with the County. The OIG investigation revealed that in February of 2009, Doleman advised her supervisors that she had received a summons to attend jury duty. Miami-Dade County provides employees with time off with pay for jury duty service upon presentation of the official notice and a certificate of jury duty attendance. Doleman provided a document to her supervisors as proof of jury service from February 9 through February 13, 2009. The document bore the purported signature of Deputy Clerk of the Court James Finley. As a result of the paperwork submitted, Doleman received her salary for the days she was off work allegedly serving on a jury.

The OIG found that Doleman had not served as a juror on those dates, and in fact, she had never been summoned for jury duty. The OIG also determined that the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts did not issue the document Doleman provided as proof of her jury service, nor did the Clerk of Courts have an employee by the name of James Finley. The OIG wishes to commend the Clerk of Courts, and the Transit Department, for their cooperation with the OIG during the course of the investigation. Copies of the arrest affidavit are available at the Office of the Inspector General, 19 West Flagler Street, Suite 220, Miami, Florida, telephone number (305) 375-1946, or at the State Attorney’s Office, c/o Ed Griffith, 1350 N.W. 12 Avenue, Miami, Florida, telephone number (305) 547-0535.

>>> Miami Ethics Forum to be rescheduled >>> The Ethics Forum planned for mayoral and city commission candidates in Miami, originally scheduled for September 29, 2009, is being postponed.   The discussion of how those seeking public office would make their government more transparent and accountable will be rescheduled because of the continuation of the second budget hearing called by the Miami City Commission.   The new date and location of the Ethics Forum will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.

>>> A similar event scheduled for candidates seeking office in Miami Beach will go on as scheduled, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday October 7, 2009 at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive.  >>The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers.  It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each.  Through a program of education and outreach, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.

>>> Press release: Animal Services invites you to celebrate its Fourth Birthday Adoption Party on October 4th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.   The adoption celebration will be held at the Animal Services Shelter located at 7401 NW 74 Street, Miami, FL 33166. >>> This Anniversary Adoption Party will give residents the opportunity to adopt dogs and cats who are in need of a loving home.  Anyone who adopts a pet at the event will receive a complimentary picture with their new family member. WHAT: Birthday Party: Come Celebrate and give a shelter pet the gift of a lifetime! WHO: Miami-Dade Animal Services WHEN: Sunday, October 4th, 2009 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. WHERE: Miami-Dade Animal Services Shelter – 7401 NW 74 ST – Miami, FL 33166  >>> Adoption Requirements:  Interested adopters must be at least 18 years old.  Adoption fees apply, including a $50 refundable deposit if pet is not yet spayed or neutered.  Only Miami-Dade County residents may adopt pets under the spay/neuter agreement. >>> Attendance is free and open to the public. Donations of dog and/or cat toys are appreciated.  It is the policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The facility is accessible.  For sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices or materials in accessible format, please call 305 884-1102, ext 255, at least five days in advance. >>> Miami-Dade Animal Services is responsible for enforcing Chapter V, as well as Florida Statutes 828, which deals primarily with animal cruelty issues.  Unlike private shelters that have limitations on the number of pets they accept, Animal Services accepts all dogs and cats. Each year, the shelter impounds more than 34,000 pets.  The goal at Animal Services is to reunite lost pets with their families or find life-long homes for as many animals as possible.  Related links:  or call 311.


State Sen. Ring in the spotlight, elected 2006, had $18.3 million net worth through Dec. 2008

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, is in the spotlight this week and the entrepreneur represents part of Broward County where Senate District 32 is located. He has served on numerous senate committees and he is termed out in 2014. The Democrat was first elected in 2006.

What do we know about his finances?

Ring through Dec. 2008 had a net worth of $18.3 million and he lists $771,000 in household goods. His home and a condominium are valued at $2.3 million, there is $13.2 million in stocks and other securities, there is $1.24 million in investments and loans, there is $10,000 in cash, and a limited Partnership is valued at $1.45 million. His only liability is a $750,000 mortgage. His income for the year was stock and bond sales, $811,966, capital gains, losses came in at $525,000, the partnership kicked in $41,327, and the sate of Florida paid him $45,221 and includes reimbursements. >>> Committee Membership from his web page Policy and Steering Committee on Commerce and Industry, Vice Chair >> Policy and Steering Committee on Governmental Operations >> Banking and Insurance  >> Community Affairs Finance and Tax >> Governmental Oversight and Accountability >> Judiciary Select Committee on Florida’s Economy, Vice Chair >> Joint Legislative Auditing Committee >> Joint Legislative Budget Commission >>>District Information View District Map


>>> Last look at retired state Sen. Pruitt, left body in August, had $171,940 net worth through June 2009

Former State Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie is in the spotlight this week and he represented Senate District 28 that includes Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties. The senator left office in 2009 and he was the preceding President of the body, a post now held by state Sen. Jeff Atwater, R- North Palm Beach (net worth $1.66 million). State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Port St. Lucie replaced Pruitt when he retired and Negron was elected in August of 2009.

What about Pruitt’s finances?

To close out the Pruitt file, I reviewed his last financial disclosure forms and through June 19, 2009, his net worth was $171,940.  His home is worth $208,000 and his total assets are $384,000. He lists liabilities of $193,000 and his income for the year was $102,000 as a real estate agent, the state kicked in $41,162, a construction company contributed $35,000 for a total income of $196,000 for the year.


>>> State Sen. Haridopolos in the spotlight, likely senate president in 2010, had $218,000 net worth through 2008

State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne, is in the spotlight this week and he is expected to be the next senate president if re-elected in 2010 and Republicans continue to control the body. He has not drawn a challenger from either party and he is termed out in 2012 for Senate District 26. His district includes parts of Brevard, Indian River, Osceola, and St. Lucie Counties.

What do we know about his finances?

Haridopolos through Dec. 2008 had a net worth of $218,000 and he left blank the value of any household goods. His two homes are worth $1.3 million and $325,000, there is $25,000 in a bank account, FRS has $60,000, in it, an IRA has $5,000, MJH Consulting is valued at $20,000 and two cars are valued at $8,000 and $25,000. His listed liabilities for the year are mortgages owed $1.2 million and $325,000, and the cars are owed $8,000 and $25,000. He lists income of $58,000 as a UF educator, he got $30,000 as a senator and his consulting company brought in $60,000. >>> Committee Membership >>> Policy and Steering Committee on Governmental Operations, Chair >> Governmental Oversight and Accountability, Chair >> Reapportionment, Chair Policy and Steering Committee on Energy, Environment, and Land Use >> Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means >> Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities >> Health and Human Services Appropriations >> Judiciary >> Transportation >> Select Committee on Florida’s Economy >> Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations >>> District Information View District Map


>>> Just when you thought you had seen it all: Sebastian women sentenced on fraud charges, local cops find six-year old dead mother’s body in house

Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, and Amie R. Tanchak, Resident Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), announced that defendant Penelope Sharon Jordan, 61, of Sebastian, FL, was sentenced today on charges of theft of government funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641.  Jordan had pled guilty to this charge on June 22, 2009.   U.S. District Judge Donald Graham sentenced Jordan to one year and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.  In addition, the Judge ordered that Jordan repay to the Government $237,876 in restitution for Social Security payments and military pension payments she had unlawfully received and kept.

According to an affidavit filed by a Sebastian Police Department detective in support of an application for a state court search warrant, Penelope Jordan lived in a Sebastian home owned by her mother.  In late March 2009, the Sebastian Police Department obtained the defendant’s consent to look inside the home, where they found the dead body of her mother in a spare bedroom.  The defendant told Sebastian Police that her mother had been dead for at least six years.   Evidence presented during sentencing indicated that, in December 2001, Penelope Jordan had told her visiting sister that their mother had already died before that earlier date. According to in-court statements during the plea, the defendant concealed the death of her mother and withheld reporting her death in order to continue receiving both her mother’s Social Security survivor’s benefit payments and her mother’s military pension survivor’s benefit payments.  From January 2003 through March 2009, the defendant received approximately $61,415 in Social Security payments, plus $176,461 of military pension benefits, to which she was not entitled. >>> Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the efforts of City of Sebastian animal control and building code officers, and the Sebastian Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.  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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on


>>> Press release: Gov. Crist made six reappointments and appointments: Clay County Development Authority

Jan H. Conrad, 48, of Middleburg, banker with AmSouth Regions Bank, reappointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2013.

Winford “Tom” Morris, 54, of Middleburg, chief operations officer with Clay County Utility Authority, reappointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2013.

Ernest “Chip” Dobson, 53, of Fleming Island, director of passenger and commuter operations with CSX, succeeding Molly Case, appointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2013.

Paresh Patel, 40, of Orange Park, owner of Welcome Hospitality Hotel, succeeding Kerry Page, appointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2011.

William H. Randall, 64, of Fleming Island, pastor of St. Simon Baptist Church, succeeding Betty Andersen, appointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2013.

John D. Tabor, 48, of Fleming Island, banker with Community First Credit Union, succeeding Cranford Coleman, appointed for a term beginning September 25, 2009, and ending July 1, 2013.


>>> U.S. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen thoughts on Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization >>>Press release: Remarks for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Floor Consideration of H.R. 860, Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization –Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 860, the reauthorization of Coral Reef Conservation Act. In addition to having the tremendous honor of representing the Florida Keys in the United States Congress, I am also pleased to boast that my district is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the nation-if not the world. The waters surrounding Florida’s 18th Congressional district is home to America’s only living barrier coral reef, which is also the 2nd largest coral reef tract in the world. The bill before us today, H.R. 860, would continue the federal government’s efforts to protect and preserve coral reef systems, in the Florida Keys as well as in Hawaii and Guam. Coral Reefs provide many economic, environmental, and cultural benefits, particularly in my home district, where tourism brings in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. As the reefs sustain more damage every day, the tourism and the ecosystems they help to maintain are threatened. This bill, in particular, will increase Federal oversight over the coral reef monitoring and rehabilitation efforts of our coral reef systems, while also promoting community-based conservation initiatives.

In effect, local stakeholders and Federal agencies will work together to develop regionally appropriate management plans. One of the most important ways that this bill will help to protect coral reefs is by authorizing emergency responses to the physical damages sustained by coral reefs due to vessel groundings and impacts from derelict fishing gear. Having the distinct pleasure to take part in two diving missions to the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory in the Florida Keys, I witnessed just how important our Coral reefs are not only to the environment, but also for the education of our young people. In today’s hyperlinked world, elementary students from Idaho can tune into educational broadcasts on the dangers of coral bleaching and offshore drilling by the “Aquanauts” working in the Aquarius. During one of my brief visits to Aquarius, I had the pleasure of participating in a live Q&A session with local elementary school students on the importance coral reef conservation. Clearly, coral reefs are of importance to all Americans-not just those of us who are fortunate enough to live in coastal areas. That is why I join my colleagues in strong support of H.R. 860, a bill which reaffirms the federal government’s role in protecting these precious coral resources for today and tomorrow’s generations.


>>> Miami-Dade Public Schools employee pleads guilty to credit card and identity theft

Press release: Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Rafael P. Hernandez, Jr., Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announced today that Roshell Demps, 28, of Miami, pleaded guilty to one count of credit card fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(2) and 1028A(a)(1).    The defendant will be sentenced by United States District Judge K. Michael Moore on December 10, 2009, at 2:00 p.m.  Demps faces a maximum imprisonment term of ten years for the credit card fraud count and a mandatory imprisonment term of two years for the aggravated identity theft count.  Additionally, she may receive a fine up to $250,000.  According to information made public at her plea hearing, Demps worked in the Risk & Benefits Office at the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.  She used her access to MDCPS records to obtain personal identifying information of other current and former MDCPS employees.  Demps obtained a range of information, including names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers in order to fraudulently acquire credit cards under some of the employees’ names.  The information was then used to fraudulently obtain multiple credit cards in others’ names.  The fraudulently acquired cards were then used to make various purchases, the losses of which to date exceeds $10,000.  >>> Mr. Sloman commended the Identity Theft and Economic Crimes Task Force, particularly the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the North Miami Beach Police Department, for its work on this case.  Mr. Sloman also thanked the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department for its continued cooperation in the investigation of this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jared Strauss. >>> 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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or

>>> Press release: Mayor Manny Diaz and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho Join Together with America’s Promise Alliance to Help Ensure Miami Youth Graduate — Miami’s leaders will join together to hold a Dropout Prevention Summit to set an action plan for increasing Miami’s high school graduation rate and ensure that young people are better prepared for college, work and life.  A report from the Florida Department of Education, using 2007-2008 data, shows that Miami-Dade’s public high schools have a current dropout rate of 4.5% with a graduation rate of 65.8%.  Across the United States, one out of every three public high school students drops out each year. Community leaders will join Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, child advocates, school administrators, teachers, parents and high school students themselves to discuss the growing dropout crisis and generate solutions that will help keep young people in school, then graduate ready for college, work and life. >> WHAT: Graduate Miami – Miami’s Dropout Prevention Summit WHO: Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Carmita Vaughan, America’s Promise Alliance, Dr. Terry Cash, National Dropout Prevention Center, Dr. Sandra Covington Smith, National Dropout Prevention Center, Dr. Rick Holton, Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community —Community and business leaders, School Administrators, Teachers, Students and Parents WHEN: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 8:30am – 2:30pm, WHERE: Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, The Chapman Center, 300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33132 >>> About the America’s Promise Alliance: America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources – the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes a child’s success is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises – caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others – at home, in school and in the community. For more information visit:


>>> New PHT trustees Rosenbaum & Ayala are sworn in on Monday, with four incumbents by Circuit Court Judge Orlando, but what of the poll?

The PHT board on Monday at 3:00 p.m. will hold its monthly board meeting and the two new trustees, Gladys L. Ayala, Esq. and Judy Rosenbaum, Ph.D., will be sworn in by local Circuit Court Judge Orlando Prescott along with the four incumbents. The swearing in ceremony, while in many ways perfunctory, establishes in a trustees mind how important the responsibility of being on the health trust board is and the seriousness of being a trustee at a public institution with a $1.9 billion budget.

What about the Bendixen poll?

A special board meeting is being called to discuss polling results at the request of PHT President Eneida Roldan, M.D.; >> A special PHT Board of Trustees meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 29, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the DTC Conference Room 252. The sole purpose of the meeting is to discuss the results of the poll survey conducted by Bendixen & Associates.

>>> PAST WDR: On Tuesday, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted and the four incumbent trustees, John Copeland, III, (current board Chair), Ernesto De La Fe,(past Chair), Georgena Ford, (Secretary) and Marcos Lapciuc (Treasurer) were all approved for another three-year term on the trust by the commission. In addition, after a runoff vote, the two vacant slots will be filed by Judy Rosenbaum (a full term) and Gladys Ayala will fill the slot that has one year left on it, before she can then apply for a full three-year term. The current incumbents have done a superb job during their time on the board and the Watchdog Report gives each of them a Tip of the Hat for their leadership, integrity and hard work on the health trust.

>>> What about Dr. Roldan’s trip to Washington, D.C.?

The Watchdog Report contacted President Eneida Roldan, M.D., about her trip to the nation’s capital recently and reported in and her press representative sent her response to the question. Roldan wrote, “I spent valuable time with many groups in Washington earlier this week including the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and the Safety Net Alliance. As you mentioned, I also made a presentation in front of the Florida Congressional Delegation, explaining to them our difficult financial situation. I shared the unfortunate circumstances we are dealing with as we care for more underinsured and uninsured patients, as costs continue to rise and we receive much less tax support than we have had in the past. Of course, the big topic of discussion focused on the various bills and healthcare reform proposals that continue to swirl around Washington. I support the efforts being made to improve our current health care system, but of course, worry about how these changes would affect a safety-net provider such as Jackson.

In speaking with the Florida Congressional Delegation, I expressed how some of the proposed changes, including proposed cuts for disproportionate share hospitals, could have devastating effects for our institution. And, in a time when we are trying to encourage people to receive regular, routine care, it would be discouraging to see payments for Graduate Medical Education diminished. Jackson currently uses these funds to train new physicians each year, and we hope to be able to continue teaching the next generation of doctors. I was very encouraged by the response I received throughout the trip. While our leaders are facing monumental tasks, they value what we do for our community. I was also very excited to hear about two new pieces of legislation that could greatly benefit us. One bill, sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson, could increase funding and the number of medical residents able to enroll in programs at teaching hospitals such as Jackson. Another bill sponsored by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez would provide grant support for coordinated care networks,” wrote Roldan.


>>> With union negotiations unfinished, Miami commission punts to Sept. 29 for final $511.4 million final budget vote

After a marathon Thursday night, final public budget hearing on next year’s city budget with a $118 million hole in it, after extensive debate on the commission dais, a final decision will now come Sept. 29 after the commission recessed the hearings. The Miami Herald on Sunday stated some agreements with the city’s unions are possible coming together but other organizations are still holding off accepting the salary reductions and other cuts.

What about the increase in city fees?

Larry Spring, the city’s budget guru told commissioners Thursday at the budget hearing that some city fees for permits and other certificates have not been raised since the 1980s and others in the mid 1990s but he said a new fee structure in the upcoming budget will be implemented that will raise around $10 million in new revenue from the rate hikes.

>>> Press release: City of Miami Holds on Approval of Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Budget until Tuesday, September 29, 2009 >> The following is an update on City of Miami’s Second Budget Hearing: Millage rate has been approved and remains the same. The City of Miami will continue to negotiate with the unions to come with an agreement to balance the Fiscal Year $511.4 budget. Final Budget vote will resume on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 5:05 p.m.

>>> Upcoming mayoral luncheon debate between Regalado and Sanchez >>> Downtown Bay Forum — INVITES YOU TO OUR LUNCHEON MEETING ON WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 –11:30 AM –CITY OF MIAMIMAYORAL CANDIDATE DEBATE: Commissioner TOMAS REGALADO & Commissioner JOE SANCHEZ, MODERATOR HELEN FERRE- CHANNEL 2 & LAS DARIOS AMERICAS REPORTER – MIAMI TODAY and WPBT CHANNEL 2 WILL BE TAPING FOR FUTURE AIRING, MARRIOTT HOTEL–1633 N. BAYSHORE DR., MIAMI >>$5.00 Valet Parking Available at Marriott Hotel, Call ANNETTE EISENBERG (305)757-3633 Fax (305)754-2015, RESERVATIONS REQUIRED >> Membership Application &/or Luncheon Reservation (please print clearly)Name:      ___________________________________________________Address:    ___________________________________________________ Phone No: _____________E-mail ___________________ Fax  No. _____________  __$30 Membership     ­­­___ $22 Lunch, member w/reservation   __ $52 Membership & Lunch __$26  Non-Member or Member without reservation if space is available  ___$250 Table of 10, DOWNTOWN BAY FORUM   P.O. Box 371633, Miami, FL 33137

>>> The Scavenger, a powered boat and device that travels on the Miami River and bays picking up floating debris is on the budget blocks if the city of Miami does not come-up with $200,000 that goes with $100,000 coming in from the county commission budget. The river went through a $100 million plus dredging funded by federal, state and local monies and the device is helpful in capturing debris floating on the river and bays.

>>> The following e-mail was sent  to Mayor Manny Diaz using his e-mail address on his extensive city web-page on Sept. 13, 2008 at 9:38 a.m. and to date there has been no answer from the mayor.>>> “Mayor Diaz, I wanted to ask you in the chamber today but not in front of Chair Joe Sanchez. My question is where did the extra $400,000 in the 2007 disclosure form come from? I will run what ever you respond unedited but I would appreciate closing this issue, as I am sure you do. Sorry but I have to ask.  Best to all. Dan”  >>>> The Watchdog Report through Dec.7 has yet to get a response or catch-up with Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz on where he got the extra $400,000 in cash listed in his 2007 financial disclosure forms. To see what CBS 4 reporter David Sutta’s take on this issue and the other city leaders financial disclosures go to Blogs .

>>> Readers should stay tuned and catch the meeting on the city’s cable station channel 77. >>> Stream Channel 77, for all City of Miami meetings, (Commission, Village Council meetings, Waterfront, Zoning, PAB, Code, etc. hearings)


>>> City’s $226 million budget in the bag, commission passes it on Thursday, orderly process

The Miami Beach commission passed its final budget for next year beginning Oct. 1 and it was a calmer affair than some of the similar meetings being held by other local municipalities. I contacted the commission, mayor and city manager and they sent back the following remarks on what happened at the meeting. Commissioner Deede Weithorn wrote, “We passed a budget. Our process is better than just about anyone’s; we have been working and meeting since late spring. It is not a perfect budget but I think we are all pleased with the progress we made,” wrote the commissioner. Manager Jorge Gonzalez wrote, “Yes, we passed our budget on Thursday. Essentially in the form proposed by the City Manager. No operating millage rate increase — minimal service level adjustments. Not unlike most other local governments across the state (and the nation), it has been one of the most challenging budgets in a great while. Our process, however, allowed us to debate the issues and make educated choices without the acrimony, public discord or late night wrangling we have seen in other organizations. I am very proud of our process and our outcome,” wrote the city manager last week.

>>> What about the mayor and commission races? >>> Clerk’s office: NOVEMBER 3, 2009 GENERAL ELECTION — The following individual(s) have submitted Form DS-DE 9 (Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates) Mayor (Mayor Bower’s Seat) Matti Herrera Bower, Raphael Herman, Joshua Larose; Group I (Commissioner Libbin’s Seat), Jerry Libbin, Oduardo Segui;  Group II (Commissioner Gross’ Seat), Roger Abramson, Jorge Exposito, Maria Mayer, Sherry Roberts; Group III (Commissioner Diaz’s Seat), Alex Fernandez, Michael Gongora, Gabrielle Redfern, Luis Salom, and Martin Shapiro –*denotes latest change >>> Editor’s note: David Smiley in did a great profile on the candidates Saturday.


>>> Deadlock vote on city budget, Commissioner Cabrera says “holding firm on roll back millage rate, what of Commissioner Kerdyke?

The Watchdog Report last week contacted commissioners and Mayor Donald Slesnick, II about the delayed vote on the city’s budget until Sept. 29 at 6:00 p.m.,  and the mayor wrote back. “Obviously, I was frustrated that we were not able to conclude the process of adopting the budget for the coming fiscal year, but we showed good sense by continuing the meeting until another day rather than making important decisions in the early morning hours as some governments have done.  The discussion and debate made it clear that our Commission consists of five public servants who are dedicated, each in their own way, to making a decision which sets the right course of action for the citizens of our City,” wrote Slesnick.

Commissioner Maria Anderson wrote back, “How to provide services residents expect in light of declining property values, and still remain cognizant and respectful with the daily struggles of residents during these difficult economic times.  That is the serious challenge we face this year, and into next year when the situation will be compounded by the lag effect of the extended downturn.  The 5.995 millage rate provides for no reserve monies and is meant to keep us at level, knowing we will have to keep cutting and streamlining in the year ahead.  A lower millage puts us further down the hole, but due to the Tallahassee “handcuffs” we need 4 votes. This coming Tuesday we will see what will have to be cut to achieve what potentially might be a lower millage rate for the year.  I think it is imperative that we have all the facts before us.  It is one thing for anyone on the Commission to throw out a lower number without knowing the ramifications.  These are sad times economically, and also with regards to the lack of civility, wrote Anderson. However, Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, Jr., responded saying. “No, I am holding firm on the rollback millage rate,” wrote Cabrera who is termed out in 2013. He and Commissioner William “Bill” Kerdyk were the two no votes keeping the budget vote from passing.

>>> The Watchdog Report is running unedited excerpts from a report done on the 35 municipalities in Miami-Dade and leaders compensation and benefits while in public office by the Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission last year. This week I will publish the compensation and benefits of leaders in the Cities of South Miami, Sunny Isles Beach, Town of Surfside and the City of Sweetwater.


>>> Mayor gets $14,000 salary; commissioners get $12,000 a year

The City of South Miami’s mayor receives a salary of $14,000 annually.  City Commissioners are paid a yearly salary of $12,000. They do not receive expense allowances or other taxable items. Commissioners can use their own cellular phones and receive reimbursements of up to $962.40 a year, or have the city provide them with a phone. The Mayor receives up to $1,150 for cellular phone usage. The Mayor receives a $500 yearly vehicle allowance.  The item is not treated as taxable income. Commissioners do not receive either a car allowance or mileage reimbursement. Commissioners are provided a non-taxable discretionary fund of $1,500 a year for local events and charities, while the Mayor has a similar fund of $2,000.  The City Manager’s Office controls all spending from the funds. The City also budgets $5,000 for travel for elected officials so they can attend Dade Days in Tallahassee, League of Cities meetings and other official events.


>>> Tony city has mayor getting $16,110 in salary, council members get $12,888

The City of Sunny Isles Beach’s Mayor receives a salary of $16,110 yearly.  Council Members receive a salary of $12,888 yearly. Council Members and the Mayor each receive a yearly expense allowance of $4,405. The allowance is not treated as taxable income, and officials are only reimbursed upon providing receipts for the expenses. Council Members and the Mayor do not receive a vehicle or allowance, though they are reimbursed for mileage and legitimate expenses. The City does provide cellular phones for elected officials, officials said.


>>> Mayor and commissioners’ work for $1 per year; do get $500.00 monthly allowance that is taxable

The Town of Surfside’s Mayor receives an annual salary of $1 per year, as do Commissioners. Commissioners, including the Mayor and Vice Mayor, are eligible for a monthly expense allowance of $500. That amount is treated as regular income ($6,000 annually). At present only one Commissioner receives the expense allowance, officials said. Officials must use their own cell phones and vehicles, and that all expenses must be approved by the Manager’s Office on an as-needed basis. No Town credit cards are issued to elected officials.


>>> Strong mayor gets $57,588 salary, commissioners get $22,278 when perks thrown in

The City of Sweetwater’s “strong mayor”, receives annual salary of $50,108, and has a vehicle allowance of $7,480 for a base package of $57,588 in fiscal year 2008.  The Mayor also has an annual expense allowance of $7,913 – the remainder of which at year’s end is also treated as income.  A separate travel allowance of $7,000 has also been budgeted for the Mayor. In 2007, City Commissioners received $5,738 in salary, an expense allowance of $7,700, a vehicle allowance of $6,600 and another $2,240 for gas. The total yearly compensation package for Commissioners equals $22,278 – or roughly four times base salary. W-2s were issued for the above items, but that any legitimate, documented expenses were deducted from the expense allowance prior to preparing these tax documents. Some Commissioners submitted their expense items; others did not. According to the Mayor, Commissioners do not have City-issued credit cards, but he does, along with some department directors. The Mayor explained that the City does not have a formal policy for the use of its credit cards, but rather follows a “common sense” policy.


>>> The Miami Herald Americas Conference 2009

The region’s premier business and political forum on Latin America and the Caribbean – Americas Conference 2009 will be taking place on September 29 & 30th. This year’s theme After the crisis:  Emerging challenges and political stability (Después de la crisis: Nuevos desafíos y estabilidad política) -WHAT/QUE: The Miami Herald Americas Conference is the region’s largest and most acclaimed annual forum of international executives and top government leaders, who gather to discuss a wide spectrum of relevant business and political issues. The conference will feature panels and discussions on important topics such as business opportunities between Latin America and Asia, Latin America’s technological advancements and challenges, the U.S. credit crisis and its effects on the region and the globalization of healthcare, among others. La Conferencia de las Americas, organizada por The Miami Herald, es el foro más importante y aclamado de la región donde ejecutivos internacionales y los más altos líderes de gobierno se reúnen durante dos días para debatir una amplia gama de temas en materia de negocios y política, de crucial importancia para América Latina y el Caribe. >>> WHEN/CUANDO: September 29-30, Program: 7:30am -5:00pm, 29 y 30 de septiembre, programa: 7:30am-5:00pm -WHERE/DONDE: The Biltmore Hotel 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida – Media Contact/Contacto de Medios: A press release with additional information will be issued in the coming days.  If you are a member of the media and would like to attend/cover the conference, please register media credentials at the following email: E-mail: Please send us your name, title, media outlet you’ll be representing as well as your contact information such as phone number and email address. Un comunicado de prensa con más información se les enviara en los próximos días. Si usted es un miembro de la prensa y le gustaría asistir a la conferencia, por favor regístrese al siguiente correo electrónico para obtener sus credenciales de prensa: E-mail: Por favor envíenos su nombre, título, medio de comunicación que represente, al igual que su número de teléfono y su dirección de correo electrónion Sitio Web:

>>> Press release: ETHICS AND THE MEDIA — “Principled Journalism and Government Relations in a New Era”

A one-day conference for South Florida journalists, government officials and public relations professionals sponsored by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics, the School of Communication at the University of Miami and the South Florida Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists >> FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2009 – 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., School of Communication, University of Miami, 5100 Brunson Drive, Coral Gables, Florida >> Keynote Speaker: Syndicated Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., Other conference presenters include: The Hon. Lynda Bell, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Esq., Helen Aguirre Ferre, Howard Finklestein, Esq., Dwight Lauderdale, Michael Lewis, The Hon. Harvey Ruvin, Chief John Timoney — Workshop Topics include: Media, Law and Public Access; The Revolving Door between Government and Media Government Information: Presentation and Perception, The Appearance of Impropriety >>> The $20 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and a panel discussion on Political Smears and Media Manipulation >>> For more information contact the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics at 305-350-0631 or .


>>> Vice Chair Diaz’s idea of appointed Community Council should be shot down, or shut down

Bring on the clones, with County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz (net worth $226,000), wanting to change how the Miami-Dade County’s Community Councils are to be selected, not by voters but by commissioners, and if that will be the case. The councils should be shut down especially in these tough budget years where every public dollar is precious. The councils represent over 1 million residents, was the brainchild of Miguel Diaz de la Portilla in the mid 1990s and was a way for residents to weigh in on zoning issues. At some of the first of these meetings throughout the Unincorporated Municipal Service Area (UMSA) residents went crazy sometimes and to say some meetings back then were contentious is an understatement. However, after a few arrests of council members by the state attorney, more decorum started to settle in and the members since have tried to diligently represent the voters and neighbors who elected them. Further, the councils have been a breeding ground for new candidates that run for other offices and School Board vice Chair Marta Perez is one such example.

I am not sure why Diaz is proposing this legislation and clearer minds on the county commission should reject this usurping of power potentially by the body for there are also over a million people involved and they deserve closer representation when it comes to local planning and zoning that will further define where they live and their quality of life.

>>> PAST WDR: July, 2004: County government should always remember it is somebody’s money

“Its not county money” said former Miami-Dade Aviation Director Gary Delappa in 1999 after a $1.2 billion adjustment and write off in the capital improvement plan at Miami International Airport was brought before the county commissioners.  He finally was challenged on this when he made it in front of Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez on the board of a county transportation planning board.  The mayor after hearing this comment told the aviation director.  “Well Gary, it is someone’s money and you had better find out whose it is.” That attitude that certain types of public money or taxes are not county dollars and thus can be squandered; be it bed tax dollars, or convention development taxes must be resisted for there is always other options on how to use these dollars,  while it may not technically be county general fund dollars.  They are someone’s money and how it is spent should be done prudently, and in the best interest of the community.

Elected leaders and administrations are always talking about the role they have in protecting public dollars but many of these people only give this lip service and spend away when it comes to public money.  What is ironic is some of the same people who approve millions are personally very cheap themselves when it comes to their own money and how they spend it. This year will be a tough budget year for the county, even with a $6.2 billion budget and every person working in government must examine how they can provide the maximum service possible, while doing their job. For all public dollars are a scarce commodity, must be protected, and responsible used.  If voters are going to get their monies worth of these, different funds that maybe only indirectly come from local residents.


>>> Hope all is well. All eyes are on Miami-Dade County to determine how they really balanced the budget and overcame the $440 million deficit. I read The Miami Herald several times —it looks like all details were completed behind closed doors. Trust us?


>>> I want to thank you for your earnest attempt at even-handed coverage of the events in Coral Gables. I have complete faith in the assessment of the situation by many good people I consider to be outstanding citizens. The fact that they have awakened to their duty to first understand — and then to participate in — local government is a positive reaction to some negative aspects of our current state of the city. The mayor agrees there are problems in our city. He believes they are caused by misinformed people. Perhaps insulting the intelligence of your once-loyal constituents is ill advised in a time of crisis.


>>> I just read your recent report.  Good again as usual.  You always report things fairly and I enjoy knowing what is going on in other communities around us.


>>> Thanks Dan for this and the other two reports – which I finally found in my spam box.  But you are now in my address book so I will get anything you send me.  I now know where to go to the scoop on everything political.


>>> Mazel ~Tov on your 10th. Here’s to 30 more.


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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.


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

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>>> 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 chose 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 for further information.

>>> Here is what past newspapers have written about the Watchdog Report publisher including a survey and regional study done by the U. North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the media in the southeast United States.

>>> The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel & Sun-Sentinel articles on the Watchdog Report publisher over the years.

Published on September 9, 1999, Page 1EA, Miami Herald, The (FL)


Published on January 3, 2000, Page 1B, Miami Herald, The (FL)


Published on January 20, 2003, Page 1E, Orlando Sentinel, PAPERWORK TIGER, Miami’s citizen watchdog piles up government files in his quest to keep the “little people” informed.

>>>Watchdog Report publisher named ‘Best Citizen’ 2003 by the Miami New Times  –The publisher would like to thank the weekly alternative paper Miami New Times for bestowing their 2003 Best of Miami, ‘Best Citizen’ award to me and I am honored.  Thank you. To read the full story go to

From the spring of 2003:  U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill:  Southeast U.S. Media Report lists Watchdog Report publisher as leading Florida commentator >>> Selected excerpts from the report on Florida’s media sources

Those who do read the newspaper in Florida have a bevy of options for state government and political coverage. The dominant newspapers in the state are Knight-Ridder’s The Miami Herald (Acquired by The McClatchy Company in 2006) and the Poynter Institute’s St. Petersburg Times. Both papers endorsed Gore in 2000 but split on the 2002 gubernatorial race, with the Herald endorsing Republican incumbent Jeb Bush and the Times backing Democratic challenger Bill McBride.

Daniel Ricker of The Miami Herald also writes an influential column as well as an email newsletter called the Watchdog Report that goes out to more than 100,000 subscribers. FEBRUARY 2004 – Florida: Columnists in Abundance –ERIC GAUTSCHI, graduate student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill – D) LEADING COMMENTATORS – Resource Commentator Organization Type Web site –Steve Bousquet St. Petersburg Times Column -“First Friday” WPBT TV (Miami) TV Show –Lucy Morgan St. Petersburg Times Column  –Daniel Ricker Miami Herald/Watchdog Report Newsletter >>> 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 all the data used in this study. >>> Watchdog Report Editor’s note to the NCU/CH study: The subscriber number referenced is incorrect and applies to readership. The Southern Media Landscape (PDF)  Daniel Ricker. Miami Herald/Watchdog Report Newsletter. … circulation, 134,269. Dan Hoover leads the. publication’s – 574k – View as html

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