Archive for May 2013


Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.3 May 19, 2013 Est.05.05.00 Celebrateing my 14th Anniversary


Argus Report: IRS “targeting” certain conservative not-for –profits organizations and scrutinizing AP phone records by Obama administration rocks the nation on both sides of the aisle

Florida: Miami-Dade PA Lopez Cantera chaffs at Miami-Dade Charter Office structure, may try in court to make office a constitutional one like other 66 counties in state

Miami-Dade County: Mayor Gimenez lays out $4.2 billion, six year plan for sewer and water upgrades under federal consent decree, “costs are unknown at this time,” to 34 municipalities

Miami-Dade Public Schools: District audit sleuths discover over $1 million in over billings from Maxim Healthcare’s $11 million worth of payments from 08 to 2011

Public Health Trust: Dr. Livingston responds to last week’s WDR on pediatric cardiac program at UM/JHS Holtz’s Children’s Hospital

City of Miami: Mayor Regalado & Commissioner Suarez going at it on the Spanish radio airwaves to be the next Miami mayor, how low will they go?

City of Hialeah: Former Hialeah Mayor Robaina and wife charged with tax evasion; issue dogged him since 2011 county mayoral race, he lost

City of Miami Beach: Wife of disgraced Rep. Steinberg throws her hat into Beach commission race; will her campaign be validation of voter forgiveness for husband?

>>> Other stories around Florida

Broward County: Two Broward Residents Plead Guilty to Identity Theft

Plantation: Defendant Pleads Guilty to Armored Truck Robbery

Community Events: League of Women Voter’s get together to discuss Human Trafficking – Downtown Bay Forum Fla. legislative round-up — Miami Dade College in collaboration with The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba presents A CONVERSATION WITH LADIES IN WHITE – including famed dissident Berta Soler – >>> The Amaru Foundation’s First Breakfast Fundraiser dedicated to Fighting and Reducing Poverty & Literacy is being held Jun. 1 at Casa Larios Restaurant — Information for the Party in the Box hosted by the South Florida Progress Foundation which is the 501c3 of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.  This is a “fun” raiser and the funds go to support Leadership Miami and Youth Leadership Miami.

Editorials: Gov. Scott asking12 Florida public universities presidents to forgo tuition hikes will have a chilling aspect, should be directed to chair of university board of trustees  — Check out the past national story in the Tribune papers:  Paperwork Tiger By Maya Bell, Miami Bureau, Orlando Sun-Sentinel January 20, 2003 >>> And a 2004 UNC Chapel Hill study of the Southeast United States 15 states media outlet study where the Watchdog Report is listed as writing a “influential” column in Florida with over 100,000 readers:

Letters: Reader on the importance of Memorial Day May 27

Sponsors: Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue — Scroll down for all the headline stories text.

>>> 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.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center for International Media within the University of Miami’s School of Communication to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no ads, pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.

>>> Red Alert: If you think it is important to have an alternative mainstream news service, I hope you will consider becoming a financial supporter for I do have to live and pay my rent. I also want to thank again all those people and organizations that have supported me and I have been honored by that trust and support of my efforts over the past almost 14 years trying to keep the community, state, nation and world informed of the political and governmental happenings in South Florida. How to support and contribute to the

>>> There will be no Watchdog Report next week. My web master is taking a vacation and I need to take a break and raise money. I thank everyone for all the past support over the past 14 years.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher was on WPBT 2 on Friday and today on Helen Ferre’s program Issues and we discussed the county’s water and sewer issues and the arrest of former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina for tax evasion. To watch the program go to Miami-Dade’s Sewer Repairs on Thursday, Miami-Dade officials held a meeting to deal with the looming crisis surrounding the County’s aging sewer pipes. We discuss this and other local stories. Guest: Daniel Ricker, >>> And I will also be on WLRN/NPR 91.3 FM on Monday May 20, on Joseph Cooper’s show Topical Currents from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and readers should try to listen in . >>> Promo: Today’s Topical Currents is with contributor Dan Ricker, publisher of the weekly Watchdog Report. Ricker celebrates the 14th anniversary of his independent internet news publication. We’ll touch on many issues, including Miami-Dade’s dither over water and sewer infrastructure upgrades, as well as the Miami Dolphin’s loss of millions in the stadium upgrade debacle. And though proceeds would benefit charity, would you pay to see the middle-aged Mayors of Hialeah and Miami Lakes face-off in a boxing match?

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>> IRS “targeting” certain conservative not-for –profits organizations and scrutinizing AP phone records by Obama administration rocks the nation on both sides of the aisle

The President Barack Obama administration is reeling from the IRS revelations that certain conservative organizations filing for 501 C3 IRS designations were “targeted” for having words such as Tea Party or “Patriots” in the organization’s name. The Obama administration is also being pounded for looking at the phone records of the Associated Press reporters that cover the hill and sit in the press gallery in Congress, which the administration said, was to find out who was leaking sensitive national security information to the press. However, the president all week has been on the defensive and the issues with the IRS, and the AP reporter’s phone records are finding resonance on a national scale, and both the GOP and Democrats lawmakers have expressed outrage to the IRS activity, that at any time now or in the future, could be applied to any organization regardless of political party affiliation.

>>> Press release: Ros-Lehtinen Joins Colleagues In Letters Requesting Answers From Treasury Secretary Lew, Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, and Attorney General Holder on Series of Scandals “It is important that investigations into all of these scandals are allowed to run their course but it is clear that an examination is deserved and answers are warranted. I expect to see our great country live up to the ideals of our founders”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), along with Congressional colleagues, sent a series of letters to Obama administration Cabinet officials expressing concern and requesting answers about the latest series of scandals plaguing the Obama administration. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “While careful not to jump to conclusions, I am deeply frustrated by the government overreach, lack of accountability, and general ineptitude of this administration. Each of the latest scandals fits a disturbing pattern of government abuse and politicization of the executive branch that is impossible to pretend does not exist. By the IRS’s own admission, conservative political groups were singled out for audits and additional scrutiny, intimidating and effectively silencing the political speech of thousands of Americans. At the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Sebelius appears to have improperly solicited donations in order to implement Obamacare, a potential conflict of interest and violation of federal regulations in support of a broken and unpopular program.

Finally, while protecting America from national security leaks is of the utmost importance, the overbroad seizure of the AP’s phone records is a frightening development for an administration that already seems to give little thought for the rule of law or freedom of speech that it does not agree with. “It is important that investigations into all of these scandals are allowed to run their course but it is clear that an examination is deserved and answers are warranted. I expect to see our great country live up to the ideals of our founders.”

>>> Community Health Center Program Coordinator Sentenced to 70 Months for Role in $63 Million Fraud Scheme ~ A former program coordinator at the defunct health provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN) was sentenced in Miami to 70 months in prison today for her role in a $63 million fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. Dana Gonzalez, 43, of High Point, N.C., pleaded guilty on March 6, 2013, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, Gonzalez was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $19,428,120 in restitution.

During the course of the conspiracy, Gonzalez was employed as a therapist and program coordinator of HCSN’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).  A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.

According to court documents, HCSN of Florida (HCSN-FL) operated community mental health centers at two locations.  Gonzalez was aware that HCSN-FL paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of Miami-Dade County Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) in exchange for patient referral information to be used to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Gonzalez admitted that she routinely fabricated medical records for purported mental health treatment that were used to support false and fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.  Gonzalez admitted that she routinely fabricated these medical records, despite knowing that many of the ALF referral patients were ineligible for PHP services because many patients suffered from mental retardation, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Gonzalez, an unlicensed clinical social worker intern at the time, also admitted to providing unlicensed therapy to PHP patients when licensed therapists were absent.

In total, Gonzalez admitted that during her employment at HCSN, she and her co-conspirators submitted approximately $46,959,975 in false and fraudulent claims. According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported mental health services. This case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina and former Special Trial Attorney William J. Parente of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. In support of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, the FBI Criminal Investigative Division’s Financial Crimes Section has funded the Special Trial Attorney position.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is 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:

>>> 84 journalists in 25 countries killed in 2012

In 2012, 84 journalists lost their life in 25 countries and these deaths brings the total scribes killed since 1837 to 2,246 and all these peoples names are inscribed on the Journalist Memorial at the Newseum in Washington D.C. For more information on the Newseum go to:

>>> All photos in the Watchdog Report are taken from public government sites, and the Report goes on line at on Monday sometime during the day usually. >>> If you believe it is important to have someone watching your public institutions consider supporting the Watchdog Report for I am a low cost news service, yet I do have to live, thank you! Further, I have been honored over the years by being named a WFOR-4 Hometown Hero in 2000, being profiled in a major way by The Miami New Times and was Best Citizen in the 2003 Best of Miami of The Miami New Times, profiled twice in The Miami Herald, and the Orlando Sentinel ran a nationwide story on me in the Tribune papers on Jan. 2003, and UNC Chapel Hill named me one of the top columnists in Florida in a  multi-state study of the media back in 2004. I also thank Joseph Cooper for the opportunity to be on the WLRN/NPR showTopical Currents on 91.3 FM since 2000, including yearly election coverage since then, and also numerous times over the past decade. Further, I am a frequent guest on WWW.WPBT2.ORG on Helen Ferre’s show Issues, and have also appeared on  Eliott Rodriguez’s show News & Views on and The Florida Roundup on


>>> Miami-Dade PA Lopez Cantera chaffs at Miami-Dade Charter Office structure, may try in court to make office a constitutional one like other 66 counties in state

Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser (PA) Carlos Lopez-Cantera is chaffing under the fact the Charter Office employees are county employees and not under his overall purview as the property appraiser. County voters created the PA office in 2008, but the Miami-Dade County Commission made it different from all the other’s state’s 66 PA Constitutional Offices for the post in Florida. And the change was based on the county’s unique Home Rule Charter, and while a countywide elected position, it is not a constitutional office, like the county clerk’s office for example.

Lopez Cantera made the comments to the Watchdog Report recently and a legal challenge to the legislation has been in the back of many peoples minds since the office was created and some attorneys have suggested the office as legislated is not what the voters of the county approved back then. Moreover, why would they think the office would be any different from the others in the state? Further, supporters of the local Home Rule Charter believe if the office was changed to a constitutional office that it would pierce the veil of the local charter control, and could open a floodgate of other stand-alone independent elected offices, such as an elected Supervisor of Elections.

Further, the county commission approves the office’s yearly budget, and in Broward County, the budgets of these constitutional offices have become a contentious issue in the past, like when Broward Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant was in office. Moreover, back then she had a protracted battle with her ballooning office budget and poor election performance that resulted in then Gov. Jeb Bush removing her from office in 2003 for failing to be able to perform the duties of the office.

>>> PAST WDR: JAN. 2009: Garcia, new property appraiser to get sworn-in Tuesday but will he take Charter office to court in future?

Pedro J. Garcia, the newly elected Miami-Dade Property Appraiser will be sworn in Tuesday and he bested former state Sen. Gwen Margolis, D- North Dade, 74 getting 59 percent of the only 8 percent of the county vote, on an off election day Dec.16 involving an election that cost $3 to $3.5 million. Garcia a property appraiser for decades at 71 thought his chances were small and he remarked at one debate that after he announced he was running. He never knew he had so many friends.

Since the election, the new property appraiser has stopped into a county commission meeting where he waved after being introduced. He also did a similar low-key introduction at a Republican Party organizing event recently, and when I asked if he would take the Charter Office to court. He responded not now. The reason the Watchdog Report asked that question was because Florida has 66 elected property appraisers but Miami-Dade has the only one that is a Charter Office and not a constitutional office like the other counties. The county commission has the only Home Rule Charter of its type in the state and the county attorney’s office has ruled that the body has the power to create the office, after voters passed the question by over 75 percent in Jan. 2008.

What about a court challenge of the Charter office?

However, critics believe that if the office was challenged in court it could pierce the county charter and open up a host of other legal challenges. The reason for this belief is the state constitution has extensive language describing the role of a county property appraiser and the offices constitutional duties. And that fact is different from the now defunct five member Miami-Dade County Fire Board where there was no language in the state constitution for such a body and county voters killed that office in 2002.

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott taps Owen McCaul and Christopher Wagner to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind Board of Trustees.

McCaul, 48, of Tallahassee, is the assistant state attorney for the second judicial circuit of Florida. He is reappointed for a term beginning May 14, 2013, and ending December 10, 2016.

Wagner, 45, of Bradenton, is the senior vice president of business operations and marketing for CSDVRS, LLC. He is reappointed for a term beginning May 14, 2013, and ending November 19, 2016. The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

>>> Children’s Movement of Florida  Voices of Florida – We all have a story, a story that defines us. It is our collective story, our challenges and our triumphs that inspire a movement. Floridians from all walks of life have joined together with an understanding that the future of our state rests 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, Chair The Children’s Movement.

>>> The wisest words I saw this week…They came in an important, thought-provoking piece by a Stanford University professor named Sean Reardon, and ran in The New York Times: “There is a lot of discussion these days about investing in teachers and ‘improving’ teacher quality,’ but improving the quality of our parenting and of our children’s earliest environments may be even more important. Let’s invest in parents,” he says, “so they can better invest in their children. This means finding ways of helping parents become better teachers themselves…. It might also mean greater business and government support for maternity and paternity leave and (child) care so that the middle class and the poor can get some of the educational benefits that the early academic intervention of the rich provides their children.

Fundamentally, it means rethinking our still-persistent notion that educational problems should be solved by schools alone. The more we do to ensure that children have similar cognitively early childhood experiences, the less we will have to worry about failing schools. This in turn will enable us to let our schools focus on teaching the skills – how to solve complex problems, how to think critically, and how to collaborate – essential to a growing economy and a lively democracy.” When, oh when, are we going to act as though we really know that? Dave Lawrence, Chair – The Children’s Movement of Florida P.S.: To read the full article, just click here.


>>> Mayor Gimenez lays out $4.2 billion, six year plan for sewer and water upgrades under federal consent decree, “costs are unknown at this time,” to 34 municipalities

At a County Commission Meeting of the Whole, called by Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez laid out his administration’s plan to comply with a federal sewer consent decree hammered out with federal officials for the county’s water and sewer system that includes some “14,000 miles” of pipe and “1,000 pumping stations,” with “ten percent” of them needing serious upgrades. The plan calls for around $4.2 billion be spent over the next six years, and when all the improvements are completed in the decades to come. The overall bill could come in costing overall some $20 billion, and will be financed by bonds, and paid for by consumers paying a $3.00 per month increase over the upcoming years.

Moreover, while the county has invested over the past 15 years some $1.02 billion in sewer and water system infrastructure improvements, this amount has fallen far short over the decades of the actual need. However, the department has also been a contributor to the county’s general fund, and raising water and sewer rates for county residents historically was anathema to most county commissioners to up the cost for county water, that currently is the lowest rate in the state. And because of this lack of funding over decades, the degradation of the infrastructure is extensive and has resulted over the past five years in “798 overflows from all causes” and the sewage plants “have had 16 overflows,” during this time frame state’s the Gimenez’s administration’s May 15 memo on the subject.



What about the sewer costs to the municipalities?

While the federal sewer system consent decree was with the county, the federal mandates also fall upon the 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade and the anticipated costs to a varying degree could be considerable to these cities. The memo notes vaguely that municipalities “will be required to comply with operational and maintenance requirements specified in the new consent decree.” However, the administration notes “the municipal costs of compliance are unknown at this time, but all upgrades are in progress,” states the memo.

>>> Mayor Gimenez says if Port Dir. Johnson goes to Beacon Council, he will tap Kuryla, who just passed on a great opportunity at Port of Jacksonville

Miami-Dade Mayor said if PortMiami Director Bill Johnson was tapped to lead the Beacon Council as its new CEO after a national search was done in the months ahead. The mayor told the Watchdog Report on Tuesday said he would appoint his replacement immediately, and it would be Port Deputy Director Juan Kuryla, who withdrew his application to be the new Port of Jacksonville head recently even though he would be paid $300,000. Johnson who makes $268,000 has been the port’s biggest cheerleader over the last six years and he has survived multiple Miami-Dade managers over his decades in public service.

Kuryla, who makes $175,000 in his current job, clearly has Gimenez’s attention and confidence, and the mayor is said to have kept him from leaving the seaport, a facility and the number two economic engine in the county, that is undergoing a massive expansion. Including a $1 billion port tunnel and the dredging of the channel to 50 feet, to allow the larger container ships that will pass through the expanded Panama Canel in 2015.

>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott today released the following statement on PortMiami’s Deep Dredge Project moving into construction phase.

Governor Scott said, “Florida’s ports are a vital part of the state’s growing economy.  As PortMiami moves into the next phase of construction, Florida will be able to accommodate larger vessels, leading to more trade opportunities and more jobs for Florida families.  As the gateway to Latin America and beyond, it is vital that Florida remains competitive with other ports along the eastern coast of the United States. I want to congratulate PortMiami on their Deep Dredge project, and their continued commitment to creating jobs for Florida families.”

Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased +6.0% in April 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  This marks 3 years and 4 months of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.  In April 2013, 110,000 people were employed in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service sector compared to 103,800 in April 2012, a +6.0% increase.

April 2012 April 2013 % Change
110,000 103,800 +6.0%


>>> District audit sleuths discover over $1 million in over billings from Maxim Healthcare’s $11 million worth of payments from 08 to 2011

The nation’s fourth largest school district is one of the places one might consider not trying to scam the organization because between the administration of Alberto Carvalho, the district’s audit department and the Office of the Inspector General. An institutional firewall is pervading the system like never before and these organization’s people picked up another example of questionable billing for services not received. In this case, a company called Maxim Healthcare Services that provides special needs services for children in the district is the target.

Jose Montes de Oca, the District’s Auditor after being asked by Carvalho months ago, looked at $11 million worth of invoices from the company from 2008 to 2011 and found over $1 million in fees were over billed within the sampled invoices checked. The company is challenging and disputing the findings but it did pay voluntarily some $100,000 for invoices the company said were incorrect. In addition, it also setteled a huge $150 million judgment with the federal justice department for years of Medicaid over billing as well.

However, the local public schools administration flagged the company and prompted the district’s auditor to get involved and the subsequent study on the company’s invoices over the years. And it shows a tighter fiscal ship is being run when it comes to the nation’s fourth largest public schools district and rooting out abuse such as this initiative is a good sign, that the taxpayers dollars are being protected. To read the District’s report on Maxim go to



>>> Dr. Livingston responds to last week’s WDR on pediatric cardiac program at UM/JHS Holtz’s Children’s Hospital

“Your comment on the Pediatric Cardiac program, while accurate, may very well be used by our competitors to disadvantage us. On Thursday, we already heard someone from Miami Children’s [Hospital] saying our program was suspended- which of course, is not true. With all the financial challenges the County and JMH have faced, and with Medicaid now paying obstetricians very well to deliver babies, our number of deliveries has dropped substantially, and this impacts in a linear manner the number of newborns born at JMH with congenital heart disease. We are taking steps to rebuild our surgical volumes at JMH, but in the interim, we chose to voluntarily put ourselves on a probationary status.

What is important to recognize- and acknowledgement from a keen observer of the medical scene in Miami like you could help accomplish-is this is strictly a volume and NOT a quality issue. When our program was reviewed by the State, our results were superior and we were congratulated for the quality of our program. Our surgical outcomes remain exceptional, a reflection of the benefit that accrues to a team of academic pediatric cardiologists, intensivists, and surgeons, an asset not found at any other medical center in south Florida,” wrote

Alan Livingstone, M.D., Associate VP for Clinical Affairs, University of Miami Miller Medical School, Chief of Surgical Services Jackson Memorial Hospital.

UM Health photo of Dr. Livingston

>>> Baptist Health South Florida had $2.32 billion in operating revenue, had over 20,000 charity care patients costing around $279 million

Baptist Health South Florida, a faith based not-for-profit healthcare system released its 2012 annual community report last week when it hit the Watchdog Report’s mailbox. The health system that first began in 1960 with a small hospital on the road to “no where,” which is what Kendall Drive was called back then. Now that initial hospital, after major expansions over the decades is the health systems sprawling anchor hospital providing a wide array of world class medical services.

The health system has facilities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties, employs 15,104 employees, there are 2,231 physicians on it’s medical staff, had 72,681 admissions, there were 10,671 births, and there were 292,795 Emergency Room visits for the year. Further, in Miami-Dade, there are six hospitals, in Monroe County there is one, and in Broward, there are seven health care facilities offering a variety of medical services including two Urgent Care Clinics.  The healthcare organization had $2.32 billion in net operateing revenue, incurred $2.24 billion in patient care expenses, and gave $279 million in “charity care, community clinics and other community benefits,” and there were “more than 20,000 charity care patients,” states the yearly report.

Further, the health systems economic impact is estimated to be more than $4.17 billion and it supports some 34,133 jobs. In addition, Baptist Health after the year has $317.45 million in “surplus for future community healthcare needs.” For more on Baptist Health go to >>> Editor’s note: My life was saved by Baptist Health South Florida physicians at South Miami Hospital in Feb. 2010, and I obliviously cannot thank the physicians and medical staff enough, for allowing me to have a few more years of my life, which hung by a thread at the time when my body was totally septic.


>>> Mayor Regalado & Commissioner Suarez going at it on the Spanish airwaves to be the next Miami mayor, how low will they go?

With incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado hitting the campaign fundraiser circuit running up to the November reelection and with his most formidable challenger in the pack of mayoral candidates being Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, the son of Xavier Suarez, a former Miami mayor and now Miami-Dade county commissioner. Regalado, who through the Mar. 31 campaign filing deadline has raised $321,373 for his campaign war chest, and he has spent $314,000 states his treasurer’s report. Suarez for his campaign has raised $258,797, has spent $11,252, during that time, plus there is money in a political action committee that is available. In addition, both men are holding fundraisers that will increase in frequency running up to Election Day.  Further, the candidate’s next campaign financing reporting period is due Jul. 10 and both men want to have a formidable war chest available. For a campaign, that has become a war of the airwaves on Spanish talk show radio. Where Suarez is leading the attack on the mayor, especially for his support of the red light cameras at inter sections dotting the city’s major roads like Dixie Highway approved by the commission back in the fall of 2010.

Regalado fires back it makes the highways safer and does bring in revenue to the city, though the original contract had to be renegotiated. However, the public should expect an ongoing radio campaign for the hearts and minds of Miami residents, with the Spanish stations getting the bulk of the political buzz, given the community’s 65 percent Hispanic demographics.

What about the elder Suarez?

Xavier Suarez, an attorney when it came to his son’s campaign decided a $250.00 check would do as his contribution to the son’s cause. Moreover, that contribution is in keeping with the kind of man the elder Suarez is, and his performance of his duties for county Commission District 7 residents is spotty and constituents are grumbling about how little they see him, and at the BCC meetings, his attendance record is mixed. Since many times the Harvard trained attorney has a legal case conflict in the courts, which is well and good since commissioners only get a $6,000 salary but they also get health insurance (And why his wife let him run for the office he said) and a car allowance. However, some people are suggesting maybe he does not have the time for the public office, and any voter disenchantment with the county commissioner could by November bleed into his son’s mayoral race to follow in his dad’s footsteps.



Elder Suarez

>>> Top legal mind needed for City of Miami Attorney post, critical position

The Miami Commission is looking for a new commission attorney and it is a critical job for the municipality with a around $1 billion budget when everything is factored in. The current Miami Attorney Julie O Bru is retiring in September and the commission has extended the candidate application deadline and below are the high profile job’s description. The recruitment period ends Jun. 21 and the commission on Sept 26 should ratify the chosen candidate.

>>> Press release: Miami announcement:  CITY ATTORNEY -Job Announcement: The City Attorney is a charter officer of the City, responsible for all legal matters related to the City’s municipal government and corporate affairs. The City Attorney leads the in-house legal department of the City of Miami and supervises the services of all attorneys employed by the City and its agencies. Additionally, the City Attorney shall be a full-time government employee and shall not engage in the private practice of law. The following references provide more information regarding the official duties of the City Attorney: 1. City of Miami Code of Ordinances; Part I – Charter and Related Laws; Subpart A – The Charter Sec. 21. – Department of law:

2. City of Miami’s Code of Ordinances; Part II – The Code; Chapter 2 – Administration, Article III – Officers, Division 3 – City Attorney: 3. Office of the City Attorney, Executive Summary (annual report): MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Graduation from an accredited college of law.· Must be an attorney-at-law admitted to the practice in· the State of Florida. Have a minimum of· ten (10) years progressively responsible legal experience.

ADDITIONAL FACTORS THAT ARE DESIRABLE BUT ARE NOT PREREQUISITES – Significant expertise and experience of applicant· representing state and local public sector entities in Florida.  City, County· & Local Government Law Certification issued by the Florida Bar. -COMPENSATION – The salary range is open and will be established by the City Commission. The City Attorney position is open due to the retirement of the City Attorney after many years of service to the City. Resumes will be screened according to the qualifications outlined above. Screening interviews with the most qualified applicants will be conducted by the Selection Committee; finalists will advance to interviews with the City Commission. PURSUANT TO THE FLORIDA PUBLIC RECORDS LAW, APPLICATIONS AND RESUMES ARE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE THE CITY OF MIAMI IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER


>>> Former Hialeah Mayor Robaina and wife charged with tax evasion; issue dogged him since 2011 county mayoral race, he lost

Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and his wife are out on bond after surrendering themselves Friday to federal authorities after the highflying couple was charged with tax evasion. Robaina, a striking and personable figure in Hialeah and County politics over the years, who dressed impeccable and assured everyone that everything he did was transparent, was involved in a shadow banking business. Where private loans had interest rates of up to 36 percent, and a percentage of the money paid back was in cash and the feds say was not reported on his income taxes.

Robaina ran against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, but questions dogged his campaign back then and some of his comments came back to haunt him. His attorney says the couple is innocent but for the moment, he is another disgraced public official, with a family, who is now in a courtroom trying to defend himself from the IRS. A fairly difficult task after an over two-year investigation.

>>> Press release: Former Mayor of Hialeah and Wife Charged with Tax Fraud

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Alysa Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, announced the indictment of Julio Robaina, 48, and his wife, Raiza Villacis Robaina, 39, both of Hialeah, for criminal tax offenses and making false statements to federal agents.

The indictment charges both defendants with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States for the purpose of impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the Internal Revenue Service in the ascertainment, computation, assessment, and collection of federal income taxes, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and two counts of making and subscribing false tax returns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1).  In addition, the indictment charges Julio Robaina with two counts of making false representations to federal agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).  The indictment also charges Raiza Villacis Robaina with one count of making a false representation to federal agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).  Homeland Security Investigations initiated this matter as part of a Ponzi scheme investigation of other targets, and the Internal Revenue Service subsequently was invited to join the investigation.

According to the indictment, the manner and means by which the defendants sought to defraud the United States included conducting financial transactions in a manner that would conceal their true nature, concealing information from their tax return preparer, subscribing to false tax returns, and making false representations to federal agents.  The indictment alleges that both defendants subscribed to personal income tax returns that falsely understated their total income and that defendant Julio Robaina also subscribed to corporate income tax returns that falsely overstated losses incurred.  The indictment specifically alleges that the defendants subscribed to false personal income tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2007 and that Julio Robaina subscribed to false corporate income returns for tax years 2005 through 2007.  Julio Robaina served as the mayor of Hialeah from December 2005 until May 2011.

United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Our citizenship comes with many privileges, but also with attendant duties and responsibilities.  Among those duties, each of us — regardless of station or position – is required to pay our fair share of taxes.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to enforce our nation’s tax laws so that honest taxpayers are not burdened by others’ failure to meet their tax obligations.” “The tax system is built on the premise that taxpayers file accurate tax returns,” said Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation, Miami Field Office.  “No one is above the law and those who willfully violate our nation’s tax laws will be held accountable for their actions.”

Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, ICE-HSI, stated, “Elected officials and people in positions of trust are held to an even higher standard than the general public.  Investigative efforts by HSI alongside our partners at the IRS to uncover this alleged tax fraud scheme highlight the collaborative effort within federal law enforcement to ensure that no one operates above the law.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and ICE-HSI.  Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department and the City of Miami Police Department for their assistance on the investigation.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Gregorie and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis. An indictment is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at


>>> Wife of disgraced state Rep. Steinberg throws her hat into Beach commission race; will her campaign be validation of voter forgiveness for husband?

Micky Steinberg, the wife of former Miami Beach Commissioner and state Representative Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, has thrown her political hat in the ring, and she is runnig to be a Beach Commissioner in November. Steinberg, on a number of community boards, is a force in her own right, but the February 2012 scandal her husband endured when he texted suggestive comments to a married federal prosecutor, who notified he Secret Service will be on voter’s minds as well. Since federal authorities then busted Steinberg, an attorney, who then resigned his elected office, though he was never charged. And he is the son of a prominent former state senator, and the younger Steinberg was considered a Democratic Party rising star until this sex text issue emerged.

Further, the former state representative has registered as a candidate to challenge his replacement in the office, state Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach in 2016. And how his wife does in the Miami Beach race could determine his political future, in the years to come, and whether voters will forgive him for the past transgression or not. Though it appears, his wife is on his side, which is the first step to getting voters to move on a past issue like this.

>>> Campaign press release: Commissioner Jerry Libbin will be outlining his plan of action for our City as the next Mayor of Miami Beach and will take questions from participants and club members next Tuesday morning. Coffee and Danish will be served. NO Contribution or Entry Fee Required! When: 8:30am Tuesday, May 21st Where: The Shelbourne Hotel, 1801 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL Hosted By: Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, Miami Beach Taxpayer’s Association, The Shelbourne Hotel Online- Email- Phone- (786) 879-0175. Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jerry Libbin for Miami Beach Mayor.



>>> Two Broward Residents Plead Guilty to Identity Theft

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that defendants Nathaniel Troy Maye, a/k/a  Troy May, 44, and Tiwanna Tenise Thomason, 40, both of Ft. Lauderdale, both pled guilty on Friday, May 10, 2013, to one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3) and 2, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2.

Sentencing has been scheduled for July 19, 2013, before U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch.  At sentencing, the defendants each face a maximum of up to 10 years in prison for the possession of unauthorized access devices charge, and a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.

According to court documents, on January 5, 2013, a cooperating source (CS) met with Thomason and Maye.  During the meeting, Maye told the CS that he had a large number of stolen identities on a flash drive, and discussed using the stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds from those returns.  On January 7, 2013, Maye gave the CS a flash drive containing 50 names, dates of birth, and accompanying social security numbers.

On January 8, 2013, the IRS executed a search warrant at Thomason’s apartment.  During the search, the IRS recovered numerous electronic storage devices, including computers and flash drives.  On two of the flash drives, the IRS found the personal identifying information of thousands of individuals, most of whom were from outside the state of Florida. The personal identifying information included the names, dates of birth, addresses, and social security numbers of numerous individuals.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Strider Dickson.  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

>>> Thank you for using the Broward County Commission Agenda E-mail Notification System. A new Broward County Commission Agenda is available. Point your browser to to view the new agenda.


>>> Defendant Pleads Guilty to Armored Truck Robbery

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and John E. Brooks, Chief, Sunrise Police Department, announced today the guilty plea of defendant Christopher Ferguson, 40, of Plantation, in connection with an armored truck robbery resulting in the theft of $280,000 and a shootout outside the Space Coast Credit Union in Sunrise, Florida. More specifically, Ferguson pled guilty to the Hobbs Act, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a).  Sentencing has been scheduled for July 29, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas.  At sentencing, Ferguson faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to twenty (20) years in prison on the robbery count, as well as up to three (3) years of supervised release, up to a $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution.

As alleged in the Indictment and statements made in court, on January 17, 2013, a Brinks armored truck arrived at the Space Coast Credit Union in Sunrise, Florida to make a delivery of United States currency.  As the Brinks courier exited the truck and approached the front door of the bank, two masked subjects exited a stolen white Honda that was parked at the bank.  Both subjects thereafter ran toward the courier, one of whom was pointing what appeared to be a handgun directly at the guard.  One subject ordered the Brink’s courier to the ground and the courier put his hands up and laid down on the ground.  At that point, one robber tried unsuccessfully to take the courier’s firearm while the other subject grabbed a bag belonging to Brinks and destined for delivery to the credit union, which contained approximately $280,000.  Moments later, both subjects ran back to the stolen Honda.  This entire robbery was recorded on bank surveillance video.

Furthermore, according to statements made in court, as the subjects entered the Honda, the Brinks driver and the courier who had just been robbed, discharged their firearms multiple times at the subjects and their white Honda as they fled the scene.  Ultimately, numerous rounds struck and penetrated their vehicle, which exited the bank parking lot.  Law enforcement responded to the location of the abandoned Honda and observed that the vehicle had sustained damage from multiple gun shots.  A subsequent search of the stolen vehicle revealed the presence of blood located on the driver’s seat and floorboard area.  Law enforcement swabbed the blood and submitted the unknown DNA to the FBI Laboratory.  Ultimately, the unknown DNA sample was identified as belonging to Christopher Ferguson. The second robber remains at large.  If anyone has information about the whereabouts of the second individual or this investigation, contact the Miami FBI at 305-944-9101. >>> Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Sunrise Police Department, the South Florida Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marc Anton and Mark Dispoto. 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


>>> MAY 22, 2013 11:30-1:30pm The 2013 Florida Legislative Session Roundup – SPONSORED BY ROBERT M. LEVY & ASSOCIATES Join our distinguished panel of legislators as they discuss the

2013 legislative session and its impact on South Florida WOLFSON AUDITORIUM @TEMPLE ISRAEL , 137 NE 19th Street MIAMI Free Self Parking Available. Call ANNETTE EISENBERG WILLIAM PEÑA WELLS (305)898-0243

DOWNTOWNBAY FORUM P.O. Box 530916 Miami Shores, FL 33153-0916

>>> Miami Dade College in collaboration with The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba presents A CONVERSATION WITH LADIES IN WHITE – including famed dissident Berta Soler, in commemoration of Cuban Independence Day Monday, May 20, 2013 – 11:30 a.m., Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, Mural Room, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami With special remarks by  Gloria Estefan This presentation will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation.

Soler >>> For free tickets to the event go to: t

>>> Here is the information for the Party in the Box hosted by the South Florida Progress Foundation which is the 501c3 of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.  This is a “fun” raiser and the funds go to support Leadership Miami and Youth Leadership Miami.  Leadership Miami started in 1979 and has graduated numerous leaders that are still active in our community. The PARTY OF THE YEAR is THURSDAY, MAY 23rd!   Register now by clicking here:  PARTY IN THE BOX Dance the night away to the sounds of the renown band, Orquesta America.  Bid on auction items, see presentations of the Class of 2013’s projects, sip on complimentary drinks and have a blast in the fashionable Wynwood District.  Which decade will have the bragging rights with the greatest attendance?  This event is not limited to Leadership Miami alumni, so bring friends and family. PARTY IN THE BOX @ THE LIGHT BOX, Thursday, May 23

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., The Light Box – 404 NW 26th Street, Wynwood Business Attire to two per person and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

>>> The Amaru Foundation’s First Breakfast Fundraiser dedicated to Fighting and Reducing Poverty & Literacy is being held Jun. 1 at Casa Larios Restaurant from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m., located at 7705 West Flagler, Miami 33126 and costs $15.00.


>>> Gov. Scott asking12 public universities presidents to forgo tuition raises will have a chilling aspect, should be directed to chair of university board of trustees

Gov. Rick Scott’s sending draft letters for them to sign to all the presidents of the 12 public universities in the state telling them to abandon efforts to institute tuition increases in the coming year, while a good idea for the many Floridians who attend or pay for their children to attend state schools. It sets a dangerous political precedent on the impartiality of the university system to politics and Scott should have addressed the chairs of the university board’s rather then direct his dictum to the schools presidents. Scott has been a harsh critic of rising tuition costs around the state but this intrusion into academic and governance freedom is fraught with danger, conflicts, and was the wrong way for the governor to go.

Since these schools also are governed by their academic accreditation done by national organizations and accreditation is something that should not be trifled with lightly. For it could do great harm to the rising academic rankings of state schools, based only on political criteria and intrusion, and not academic performance. And for all of Florida’s 19 million residents and students that is not a good thing and Scott should change his tact. And direct his concerns to the oversight boards where it is warranted, not target the top administrators where the idea is fraught with a host of conflicts. For more go to:


>>> Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day, our nation’s commemoration of the sacrifices made by those whose lives were put on the line for the freedoms we hold sacred. Whether our veterans survived their military service, or were lost on the field of battle, our country owes each of them, and their families, a debt of gratitude.

I am not a veteran.  In the Summer of 1970, the year of the nation’s second draft lottery, my birthday, June 26th, had number 308 drawn. For those not aware of the significance of that, my birthday could have come up number One or number 365. I was fortunate to be so far down the list, and therefore assured to be free from the call up to the Vietnam War. One of my closest friends drew number six, another the low 20’s. Both were ineligible for student deferment and were drafted. One was sent to duty at a NATO base in Europe because he had strong language skills, the other was deployed to Vietnam where he was seriously wounded in 1971 and sent home. He never fully recovered from his neck, shoulder and arm wounds.

As we look back at the wars proposed by presidents, declared by Congress, and supported to varying degrees by our citizens, let’s remember that none of these conflicts were or, to this day, are immune from political and social controversy.  But we should never confuse debate over military policy with the need to be respectful of those whose lives are at risk on the battlefield, in the air, or on the seas. Our nation has been the destination of choice for great waves of immigrants from the world’s most frightening and repressive nations.  My father and maternal grandparents were three of those immigrants, and perhaps your family has its story of freedom-seeking relatives.  That freedom was earned, bled for, and in many cases, died for by the men and women who sacrifices deserve respect and recognition.

Memorial Day presents the chance to gather our thoughts and honor the military service of our parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Individuals who either volunteered or were drafted, wore the uniform of our armed forces, and gave all or a portion of their lives in service to our nation and its allies. In honor of those we’ve lost, let’s not be passive about the importance of their sacrifice.  In their honor, let’s pledge to participate in the following advocacy activities: Register, vote, and urge others to do the same. Democracy demands dedication! · Actively communicate with our elected officials about issues affecting families, including military families. Remember, our elected officials work for us! · Share your thoughts in the media by writing letters to the editor and interviewing with reporters. Media is our most cost-effective megaphone. · Motivate youth to exercise their voice in matters which affect them. The next generation of advocates needs good role modeling. · Confront those who think that complaining about problems is sufficient. Whining is not as good as winning! Compliment community leadership and promote active involvement by friends, colleagues and neighbors as volunteers, whom I call “time philanthropists.” · Support causes which focus on advocating positive change. Spectatorism doesn’t produce progress. Please exercise your rights and take your responsibilities seriously as we move forward in our advocacy partnership.

Leadership is…. Caring more than others think wise, Dreaming more than others think practical, Risking more than others think safe, and Expecting more than others think possible. Here are a few links for access to information on these important national monuments to our veterans….other relevant information.

National World War II  Memorial Honor Flight Network Korean War Veterans Memorial Vietnam Veterans Memorial Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs History of Memorial Day Gettysburg National Park

Jack Levine, Founder
4Generations Institute





THE MIAMI HERALD (2000-2008)


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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 13th 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 600 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.


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>>> 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) CITIZEN ADVOCATE’ KEEPS TABS ON POLITICIANS >>> Published on January 3, 2000, Page 1B, Miami Herald, The (FL) MIAMI-DADE WATCHDOG WILL BE MISSED >>> >>> To read the full section large two page front page story, but without the photos and smart box graphics, go to: `I Go When You Cannot’ – Sun Sentinel 20 Jan 2003 … Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. … to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks. … >>>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

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