Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.9 July 7, 2013 Est.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Financial Disclosure Issue

CONTENTS

Argus Report: M-D College graduates over 13,000 students in a single day from 184 countries; college is diversity central, where 88 percent of staff comes from minority groups

Florida: Gov. Scott gets small bump in net worth to $83.7 million & CFO Atwater jumps to $1.7 million net worth for 2012LAST WK WDR: In a few weeks all state and county leaders’ financial disclosures will be on line, some are there now, www.ethics.state.fl.us, sea change for transparency of elected official’s finances

Miami-Dade County: Former Commission vice Chair Edmonson in the spotlight, reelected again in 2012, had $421,500 net worth through 2012, up from $381,000 last year

Miami-Dade Public Schools: Former board vice Chair Feldman in the spotlight, net worth jumps from $2.5 million to $2.78 million through 2012

Public Health Trust: Mayor Gimenez waiting for more “details” before he promotes needed $830.6 million GOB for health system going to voters in November

City of Miami: Now there are nine finalists for Miami Atty. post, after 72 applied for the high profile critical position, interviews this Saturday at city hall

Village of Coconut Grove: County Commission committee to hear new Grove Playhouse deal with state and FIU Monday, but will past debts get setteled?

City of Miami Beach: Mgr. Morales goes out on political tightrope with scaled down Convention Center recommendations

City of Miami Gardens: County CRB to give Community briefing on the Trayvon Martin trial Tuesday

City of Coral Gables: Sallye Jude selling Miami River Inn after years of nurturing historic site built in 1910; spectacular Java Head home in Gables features the White-Garden

City of Aventura: Gov. Scott names Luz Weinberg to the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.

>>> Other stories around Florida

Broward County: Mayor Jacobs, an environmental champion on dais has $110,378 net worth for year & Sheriff Israel comes in at $514,000 net worth through June

City of Fort Lauderdale: Seven Charged with Oxycodone Conspiracy in Broward County Pill Mill Operation ~ the defendants include a Doctor, a Physician’s Assistant, and Clinic Owners/Managers

City of Lighthouse Point: Executives from Miami-Area Mental Health Care Hospital Convicted for Participating in $70 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Palm Beach County: Long serving County Sheriff Bradshaw in the spotlight, had $2.13 million net worth through Jun. 2013, up from $1.77 million the year earlier

Liberty County: Gov. Scott taps Walter Lee “Buddy” Money, Jr. to serve as Liberty County Sheriff on an interim basis.

Community Events: – Miami Beach candidate’s ethics training course

Editorials: Note to candidates and elected officials, live in the district you represent, if you are not to take the walk of shame with voters — 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: http://www.unc.edu/~davismt/SouthNow.pdf

Letters: Reader on Dr. Kaiser’s heartfelt Memorial service – Reader on meeting PHT CEO Clark and being concerned with his mental health – Reader’s concern of Greynolds Park and near by development planned

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 www.knightfoundation.org for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center for International Media http://knight.miami.edu within the University of Miami’s School of Communication www.miami.edu 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 WDR is at the bottom of the report. Thank You

>>> I was on the show Topical Currents on Tuesday along with Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera and the show was hosted by Joseph Copper and Bonnie Berman on WLRN/NPR 91.3 FM and to listen to the show go to http://wlrn.org/post/miami-dade-property-appraiser-watchdog-report-publisher

>>> I hope you and your family had a great 237th Independence Day and Fourth of July Celebration and we all reflected on the meaning of the day. When the nascent United States on July 4th broke away from the British Empire, and the many sacrifices the people of our nation have made to keep that freedom since 1776. That over the past centuries included a Civil War, two World War’s and a host of other conflicts and major wars, like Iraq and Afghanistan, that cost America so much of its precious blood and treasure. >>> For more on Independence Day go to http://www.usacitylink.com/usa/independence-day/

>>> CLARRIFICATION: In last week’s WDR, I did a story that mentioned that Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez had the same net worth from the previous year. Joanne Padron, an aide to Suarez sent the following email to me. “I understand that you had questions regarding Commissioner Xavier Suarez’s most recent financial statement.  Please note that all of the dollar amounts are approximate (as noted by “approx.”) since these amounts are difficult to precisely pin down.

In reality, Commissioner Suarez has been extra careful to provide up-to-date information on the individual items that have, in fact, changed substantially and has thus amended his financial report twice during the last year, so as to include additions/changes:   the main changes were approximately $20,000 in the county’s retirement fund and two offsetting liabilities: an American Express installment account and taxes owed for 2011. Because the amendments are offsetting, the property values have not changed according to the county appraiser and the mortgages are very slowly amortizing, the net worth is essentially the same for the last year,” wrote the District 7 commission aide.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>> M-D College graduates over 13,000 students in a single day from 184 countries; college is diversity central, where 88 percent of staff comes from minority groups

Miami-Dade College had a host of graduations this past spring and the educational juggernaut with some 178,000 students, is graduating on a single day, more than 13,00 students from 184 countries and 94 languages are spoken ion the multi site sprawling campus thoughout Miami-Dade. The College founded in 1960 has grown exponentially and the school and its alumni generates some $3.3 billion in “added income to the community,” states a MDC publication. And with “some 2 million alumni” over the decades, it has become the largest public College in the nation. And the College’s diversity is its hallmark with Minorities representing 75 percent of its administrators, 63 percent of the faculty and 88 percent of the staff falling into this classification.

Eduardo Padron, Ph.D., the Miami-Dade College President since 1995, in 2010 got the county’s taxpayers approval to add a countywide half-cent sales tax, but the issue did not pass on a statewide vote, and could not be implemented locally and the money would have brought in some $200 million in new funding. Padron, the school’s leader for decades, and a trained University of Florida economist has created an educational laboratory of diversity. As immigrants from all over the world come to South Florida to make their mark, after first getting their educational start at the College, that has an almost infinite number of alumni that affix the M-DC sticker to their cars in respect of the school’s important mission of educating the future leaders and professionals of South Florida and the world.

Pedron >>> bio:  http://www.mdc.edu/main/about/college_president.aspx

>>> New use of links to financial disclosure reports after 14 years of detailing these weekly in the Watchdog Report

Since 2000, the Watchdog Report has detailed elected leaders financial disclosure forms, some 6,000 are in my possession, that prior to July 1 were not going on line every year, but that has now changed. And I am only using the link to these reports for readers to see the actual document filed by these people given the new circumstances, and any reader that has some further information on these financial matters. They can contact the publisher confidentially with any new information that might be of interest to the public or authorities.

>>> Press release: Defendant Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud in Connection with HIV Infusion Clinic

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 Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), announced that defendant Jorge Alipio Perez Villa pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of healthcare fraud for his participation in a healthcare fraud scheme involving a purported HIV infusion clinic.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 9, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard.

According to documents filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, Perez Villa was the purported owner and operator of an HIV infusion clinic, ABC Physician’s Group, Inc.  ABC Physician’s Group, however, did not treat any patients.  Rather, the defendant, through his company, fraudulently represented to Medicare that it was administering HIV infusion treatments to patients suffering from HIV.  In truth, however, the defendant simply used the stolen Medicare numbers from unwitting Medicare beneficiaries to bill for treatments that were never provided.  In this way, between March and September 2006, ABC Physician’s Group submitted approximately $5.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare. As a result of those claims, Medicare paid ABC Physician’s Group approximately $616,710.  The defendant distributed the fraud proceeds to himself and others.

Mr. Ferrer thanked the FBI and HHS-OIG for their work on the case.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Shick. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

>>> Press release: Enter the First Globals By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor

For Americans born between 1979 and 1994, history has invaded their sense of well-being and self, not once but twice. The signal event was, of course, the horror of September 11, 2001. If history were a guide, then predictably these high school and college students, along with their entry-level job colleagues, would have reacted by turning inward, rallying around the flag, wanting revenge-much like my older cousins and professors of the World War II era reacted to Pearl Harbor. But this group was already different. They played more soccer than baseball; they watched the World Cup. Technology from MTV to the Internet put them in touch with the rest of the world on a moment’s notice.

They consumed global brands. And they were already developing their own networks that included intimates or acquaintances beyond the community where they lived. And they had a global sensibility; geopolitical borders mattered less. A 2005 Zogby Poll showed that American teens and twenty-somethings cared more about the product and less about what nation it represented. Their preferences weren’t a matter of culture but of cool. Indeed, they were planetary “buyers without borders.” I call them America’s First Globals and they are the subject of my new book, co-authored with Joan Snyder Kuhl, First Globals: Understanding, Managing, and Unleashing the Potential of our Millennial Generation. Please click on the link below to read the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/312-enter-the-first-globals

>>> All photos in the Watchdog Report are taken from public government sites, and the Report goes on line at www.watchdogreport.net 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 www.wlrn.org 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 www.CBS4.com and The Florida Roundup on www.wlrn.org

FLORIDA

>>> Gov. Scott gets small bump in net worth to $83.7 million & CFO Atwater jumps to $1.7 million net worth for 2012

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott has had a bump in his net worth this year from $82.9 million to $83.77 million and before he got into public life, he had considerable more money, after he used over $72 million of his own money to win the office back in 2010. When he defeated GOP candidate Bill McCollum in the primary and Democratic Party Florida CFO Alex Sink in the General Election. Scott, who takes none of the governor’s $125,000 salary, pays for his own plane, has amped up his public profile as he looks to get reelected in 2014 and while his mantra is still “jobs, jobs, jobs,” and the state’s unemployment rate is 7.1 percent. The former healthcare executive has only seen his poll numbers rise after being in the basement, but voters are still having a hard time getting a handle on who the essentially shy man is who only now is trying to be a hard core politician who works a crowd looking for votes.

What do we know about Scott’s finances? To read Scott’s financial disclosure form for this year go to: http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/232592-Form6.pdf

Scott

>>> Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater had a slight bump in his income from $1.68 million the previous year to $1.74 million through December 2012. The former state Republican lawmaker and President of the Florida Senate in 2008 was elected CFO in 2010, and since then he has kept his eye on the job and has not been hit with any significant controversy. To read his disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/72587-Form6.pdf

Atwater

>>> PAST WDR:  In a few weeks all state and county leaders’ financial disclosures will be on line, some are there now, sea change for transparency of elected officials’ finances

The Florida Commission on Ethics, as a result of new state ethics and transparency legislation passed during the past session legislative session and signed by Gov. Rick Scott is now as of Jul. 1 putting elected leaders financial disclosure forms online from counties and state elected office and is a required yearly ritual for lawmakers. The Watchdog Report for the past 14 years has weekly gotten an endless stream of these required disclosure forms from the ethics commission, but now anyone in the public can go the commission’s webpage and type in a name, and if the document has been posted you can easily review these public Florida Form 6 submissions. I have some 6,000 of the forms now, but with a click, anyone in the public can review the forms that allow one to get an idea what their elected leader’s personal financial life is and are these people worthy to serve in an elected capacity, based on their private business affairs. An area that gets many politicians into trouble, with many of them being subsequently removed from office and going to jail.

And last week when I requested some of the forms for a few elected leaders from Kimberly R. Holmes, the head of the Financial Disclosure Unit, and someone that has been great to the WDR for over a decade providing past electronic documents. She wrote, “I understand you are requesting filing information on disclosure forms for certain lawmakers.  As a part of the ethics legislation passed this year, Florida lawmakers’ Form 6 disclosures will be posted on the Commission’s website.  The forms can be viewed by clicking this link on the homepage of the Commission’s website (www.ethics.state.fl.us): http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/search.cfm?date={ts%20’2013-06-28%2023:47:03′}&CFID=277210&CFTOKEN=70301042

Staff has worked hard to get this system up and running in the short time between the bill becoming law and the first forms being filed.  As forms are received, they will be posted to the website as soon as they’ve been recorded and any information required by law to be maintained as confidential, is redacted from the form.  This process may take a few business days, but eliminates the need for calls or emails to obtain the information and records from staff.

We hope you find the new web feature helpful.  Please let me know if you have any questions,” wrote Holmes. And she also noted the commission has moved its office to 325 John Knox Road, Building E, Suite 200, Tallahassee, FL 32303 www.ethics.state.fl.us And this information now being on line is a real boost to Floridians understanding of their lawmakers and their personal financial lives.

>>> Press release: As you know, Governor Scott has repeatedly called for an end to the National Guard furloughs (forced leave without pay), which start Monday, July 8th. The Governor offered the state’s budget experts to assist the Department of Defense in finding ways to save federal money that do not result in a loss of pay for our military families or jeopardize state preparedness and response capabilities during hurricane season.

In the Governor’s letter, he points out that the National Guard offered to take funding reductions from other areas in their budget that would not impact personnel. The Guard also requested to take reductions before or after hurricane season so as to not affect emergency response capabilities. Unfortunately, both requests were denied by the federal government. Now, many Florida National Guard members will be forced to take leave without pay beginning Monday. Please find video of Governor Scott calling for the National Guard furloughs to end during a press conference at the state’s emergency operations center a few weeks ago here and here. Also, Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon’s letter to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson on the affects of the National Guard furloughs is available here.

>>> Children’s Trust to announce new CEO on Jul. 8, who will guide the organization into the future?

The children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County is concluding its search for a new CEO that had well over 70 people applying overall to run the Trust with a around $120 million yearly budget and provides extensive children’s services throughout the county. The Watchdog Report contacted the Trust last week asking who was finally selected to be the second CEO of the organization created by voters in 2002, and media contact Emily Cardenas wrote back. “Upon completing interviews with the top 14 candidates for The Children’s Trust President and CEO position, members of the joint Executive and HR Committees present decided to announce at the July 8 Board meeting their desire to begin negotiating terms with one final candidate. We invite you to attend that meeting for the announcement,” wrote the Trust official. Editor’s note: The Watchdog Report predicts the Trust will have picked Interim President & CEO Charles M. Auslander for the top spot.

>>> And if you ever thought about adopting a child, check out the great kids on the Children’s Trust’s Heart Gallery page http://www.miamiheartgallery.org/#start looking for a home and great new parents.

>>> 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.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

>>> Former Commission vice Chair Edmonson in the spotlight, reelected again in 2012, had $421,500 net worth through 2012, up from $381,000 last year

County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson is in the spotlight this week after her yearly financial disclosure came on line last week and she represents Commission District 3 on the 13-member commission body. She was first appointed to the position in Jan. 2005 after former County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler resigned suddenly from office and the long serving lawmaker recommended Edmonson, an El Portal mayor to fill the vacated seat, which the county commission confirmed. Edmonson, an educator who works at the public schools district was then elected in her own right in 2008, and in 2012 she faced challenger Keon Hardeman but she decisively beat him when she garnered 62 percent of the commission district vote.

What do we know about her finances?

Edmonson through Dec. 2012 had a net worth of $421,500 (Up from $381,000 in 2011) and she lists $561,000 in household goods on her financial disclosure form. Her home is worth $385,000 and some of her liabilities are a mortgage owed $115,000 and Sally Mae wants $16,000. And her income for the year was $55,034 from the public schools district, the county kicked in $49,600 as a commissioner and Eastern Airlines retirement fund contributed $2,514.  To read the full disclosure report go to: http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/17542-Form6.pdf

Edmonson >>> Bio: http://www.miamidade.gov/district03/about.asp

>>> GMCVB Press release: Resort Tax Collections – RECORD DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REMAINS STRONG IN JANUARY– MAY, 2013 RESULTING IN INCREASES IN GREATER MIAMI’S TOURIST-RELATED TAX COLLECTIONS – For the first five months of 2013, the 3% Convention Development Tax collections from hotels in Miami-Dade (excluding Bal Harbour and Surfside) generated $33,731,119 compared to $30,225,467 in 2012, for an increase of +11.6%.

The 2% Tourist Development tax collections (excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside) totaled $11,326,123 compared to $10,127,208 in 2012 for an increase of +11.8%. The 2% Food and Beverage Tax (F&B Tax) collections for Miami Dade County totaled $3,446,770 compared to $3,189,206 for the same period last year representing a +8.1% increase in 2013. City of Miami Beach 2% Food and Beverage tax collections in Miami Beach generated $12,515,761 compared to $11,517,771 in 2012, for an increase of +8.7%. The 3% Resort Tax Collections totaled $17,235,702 compared to $15,191,426 for an increase of +13.5%.

Miami-Dade County Resort Tax Collections
Jan – May 2013 Jan – May 2012 % Change vs. 2012
3% Convention Development Tax $33,731,119 $30,225,467 +11.6%
2% Tourist Development Tax $11,326,123 $10,127,208 +11.8%
2% Hotel Food & Beverage Tax $3,446,770 $3,189,206 +8.1%
Miami Beach Resort Tax Collections
Jan – May 2013 Jan – May 2012 % Change vs. 2012
3% Resort Tax $17,235,702 $15,191,426 +13.5%
2% Hotel Food & Beverage Tax $12,515,761 $11,517,771 +8.7%

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

>>> Former board vice Chair Feldman in the spotlight, net worth jumps from 2.5 million to $2.78 million through 2012

School Board Member Lawrence Feldman, Ph.D., is in the spotlight this week and he was first elected to school board District 9 in 2008 after he defeated incumbent Evelyn Langlieb Greer for the seat on the nine-member board. Feldman, a former public schools principle and senior administrator when he first ran at the time, had the support of the school’s unions in his insurgent campaign against the former popular Pinecrest Mayor. But he came into office on the wave of discontent; the public had with then school Superintendent Rudy Crew and the lack of raises for teachers. Since then, the veteran educator has grown into the elected position and has been the board’s vice chair. And the educator agrees with Board Member Marta Perez, that the board’s chair position should be rotated among members of the board, but that idea has never gained traction with the other members on the dais.

What do we know about his finances?

Feldman through 2012 had a net worth of $2.78 million, which is up from $2.54 million the year before, and his income for the year was $70,845 from a state pension fund, the school board kicked in $37,620, and he was paid $10,501 in stock dividends, state’s the financial disclosure form on file with the state and to read the full document go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/28927-Form6.pdf

Feldman and bio: http://district9.dadeschools.net/biography.html

>>> MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS BONDS RECEIVE FAVORABLE RATINGS

Press release: Two international bond-rating services have given Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) new bond issues favorable ratings.  The bonds were approved by voters last November by a nearly 70 percent majority and will be used for school facility improvements, new construction and technology upgrades. Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rating agencies assigned  “Aa3” and “A+” ratings, to the District’s General Obligation (GO) Bond 2013 Series, which will provide approximately $200 million in proceeds to the school district by the end of July 2013. The district also was able to issue a second series of bonds that will provide   approximately $100 million in additional funds by the end of February 2014.  This series was rated “(P) Aa3” by Moody’s and “A+” by S&P.

All long-term ratings have a stable outlook.  Moody’s stable outlook reflects a strong management team, the District’s notable financial improvement, the future ability to fund capital improvements with the $1.2 billion general obligation bond, and a slowly recovering economy.  S&P noted that the District’s finances have gradually improved since fiscal 2008, while the weakened tax base has shown some recent indications of recovery. S&P also considered that the District’s overall debt levels remain low.  S&P believes the District still faces moderate near-term budgetary pressures due to weakened tax base and constrained state funding.  Should the District keep adequate reserves and stabilize performance during this upcoming period of new GO issuances, S&P could raise the rating.

Moody’s has assigned MIG 1 (the highest rating for short-term notes) to the upcoming $250 million Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) sale.  The TAN is being issued for cash-flow purposes to provide liquidity until sufficient property tax receipts are received, beginning in November 2013.  Moody noted the strength of the district includes favorable financial conditions, conservative and strong district management, and a stabilizing economy.

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>> Mayor Gimenez waiting for more “details” before he promotes needed $830.6 million GOB for health system going to voters in November

After the Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday allowed a PHT bond ballot question to move forward, asking county voters to approve an $830.6 million GOB for infrastructure and a host of other projects for the Jackson Health System by 9 to 1. With Commissioner Juan C. Zapata being the lone, no vote because he felt there would be low voter turnout weighing in on the issue. The Watchdog Report caught up with county Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Wednesday and asked him if he would support the campaign that is being organized to convince county voters to approve the measure, paid through a bump in property taxes over the coming decades.

Gimenez said his administration will pay for the special countywide election, expected to cost just under $3 million and when the Watchdog Report asked if he would be a cheerleader for the effort. He said he “was holding off [on making that decision] until he saw further details,” he said. The former firefighter reelected in August also noted it was important to know what Jackson’s future strategy was going to be going forward, and drawing on its strong medical expertise like the “Ryder Trauma Center and the Transplant Program.” That both have national reputations with JHS doing over half the transplants in the world and the health system provides a host of other medical services with affiliations with both the University of Miami Miller Medical School and the new FIU’s Waltham Medical School.

Gimenez said he wonders, “If the way Jackson is [providing healthcare services] will have to change with Obama Care” and he readily admitted, “The hospital clearly needs help, but what will the hospital be in the future?” And he noted JHS is “Where people go when they are seriously sick,” but he wonders about the future of JHS going forward since it “May have to adapt to competition,” when the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in, he closed.


Gimenez

Zapata

>>> Press release: BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVES SPECIAL ELECTION FOR JACKSON BOND REFERENDUM ~ Voters to Decide in November on $830 million in Bonds for Upgrades, Renovations and Improvements to Jackson Health System Facilities

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners voted on Tuesday in support of a measure to call a special election in November asking voters – Jackson Health System’s taxpayer owners – to approve new bonds for much-needed modernization, upgrades and renovations to Jackson facilities. The 10-year program would allow Jackson to spend $830 million on improvements to our operating rooms and emergency departments; renovations of nearly every inpatient unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Jackson North Medical Center and Jackson South Community Hospital; huge amounts of deferred work to infrastructure systems like elevators and air handlers; and an estimated $300 million in new medical equipment and other technologies. The plan also includes construction of new Jackson facilities including a completely new rehabilitation hospital on the Jackson Memorial campus, a children’s ambulatory center away from the Civic Center area and as many as 10 urgent care centers that will make Jackson more accessible throughout the county for day-to-day medical needs.

Over the past two years, Jackson has made a dramatic financial turnaround, with the health system expected to have a $35 million surplus at the end of this fiscal year. But that alone is not enough to help Jackson grow and make long overdue repairs to its aged infrastructure.

Jackson Health System CEO Carlos A. Migoya, along with Public Health Trust Chairman Darryl K. Sharpton and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, joined forces Tuesday before the commission rallying in support of the November election. Migoya thanked the commissioners for their support in providing health care for the people of Miami-Dade County and taking this first step to preserve our community jewel.

“This is the first major step in allowing our community to invest in the future of its public health system,” Migoya said. “Jackson has a reputation for delivering medical excellence, now we must make it more attractive, more accessible and more competitive so that it can continue to thrive for the next generation.”

The campaign will not be supported by public, taxpayer funds. Civic leaders across the community will put their voices and finances behind this plan to continue Jackson’s transformation. The countywide special election is scheduled for November 5, 2013.

CITY OF MIAMI

>>> Now there are nine finalists for Miami attorney post, after 72 applied for the high profile critical position, interviews this Saturday at city hall

The Miami City Attorney Selection Committee met Monday and the committee members, all attorneys,’ picked by the Miami commission, short-listed the 72 names of lawyers that had applied for the important high profile job representing the city of Miami, the Commission and the mayor. Richard Weiss is the chair of the committee and they chose nine candidates to bring in to interview on July 13, Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the manager’s conference room in city hall. The attorneys selected to interview are Raul Aguila, Paul Bengal, Warren Bittner, Lynn Dannheisser, Iliana Forte, Ramon Irizarri, Victoria Mendez, Terrill Pyburn, and Tyron Williams. The candidates will each have 15 to 20 minutes to make they’re case with the committee and in the meantime each of the selection committee members, who were randomly given a couple of the candidates names, will do their own scan of the applicants and their legal history.

And Weiss said the goal is to get the final selected five candidates information to the commission on Jul. 15th, and he said it is the city’s responsibility to be sure a proper background search is done by the human resources department. Weiss said his goal was to “give the city commission all the information we can and the commission gets a fat binder on these candidates” because he wants to be sure the “commission is not blind sided,” by some controversial issue that might have been missed, he said.

>>> Sarnoff has top net worth on five-member commission, net worth surges to $2.1 million; Spence-Jones comes in at negative $182,644 trailing the pack

The Watchdog Report last week got copies of the commissioners and mayor’s yearly financial disclosure reports from the City Clerk and I have already done Commissioner Willy Gort last week who has a net worth of $241,000, and that number is the same amount as the previous year. Mayor Tomas Regalado through July 1, 2013 had a $28,321 net worth, (Up from $18,801 the year before), Commissioner Frank Carollo has a $783,600 net worth, (Up from $748,000), Commissioner Marc Sarnoff through Dec, of 2012 is worth $2.1 million, (Up from $1.98 million), Commissioner Michele Spence-Jones net worth through June is negative $182,644, (Up from negative $175,315) and Commissioner Francis Suarez comes in at negative $84,885, (Down from negative $99,542 the previous year) state they’re on file financial disclosures for the year.

VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE

>>> County Commission committee to hear new Grove Playhouse deal Monday, but will past debts get setteled?

The Coconut Grove Playhouse, shuttered and frequently vandalized since it closed in 2006 and now in the custody of the State of Florida may come back to life if the legal encumbrances and debts are somehow resolved and the Miami-Dade County Commission at a committee meeting Monday will hear the matter. And to see the proposed legislation go to http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=131332&file=true&yearFolder=Y2013. However, the liabilities are no small matter and have to be resolved before the state of Florida signs off on the co lease to FIU and Miami-Dade County and the matter is expected to have a vigorous discussion at the commission committee meeting dealing with the county’s art and cultural issues and is chaired by County Commissioner Javier Souto.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> Mgr. Morales goes out on political tightrope with scaled down Convention Center recommendations

Miami Beach Manager Jimmy Morales and his team of experts after listening to public input has proposed scaling down the redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center reducing the overall footprint of the project by reducing a host of proposed options but allows the convention center to be expanded and updated. The overall project was estimated to cost some $1 billion but that number will likely change with Morales new proposals, and getting it right is one of the most important challenges the Beach has. If the convention center complex is to be the large-scale convention draw the Beach’s hotels and restaurants are counting on in the decades to come. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/05/3486819/miami-beach-holds-onto-revised.html The project is Morales’ first high profile challenge and to say it is politically charged is an understatement and local residents are animated and speaking into the different commissioner’s ears about their concerns or possible suggestions about what should be done at the site.

CITY OF MIAMI GARDENS

>>> County CRB to give Community briefing on the Trayvon Martin trial

Press release: The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board (CRB) and the Miami-Dade Youth Commission will brief the community regarding legal issues in the trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Miami-Dade teenager Trayvon Martin. Information will also be shared about activities being planned around Miami-Dade County both before and after a verdict is announced. The briefing will take place Tuesday, July 9, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the North Dade Regional Library, 2455 N.W. 183rd Street, Miami, FL 33145.

Representatives of the CRB and the Wilkie D. Ferguson Bar Association will be part of a panel describing the legal issues and procedures. They will also answer questions from community members regarding the trial.   Miami-Dade faith leaders, advocates and law enforcement representatives have also committed to sharing information about other events and activities that are being planned to engage the public as the trial nears conclusion and once a verdict is announced. The shooting of the unarmed Miami Gardens teenager by a man in Sanford, Florida in February 2012, sparked an outpouring of public comment and large demonstrations across the nation. Tens of thousands of Miami-Dade teenagers took part in rallies and marches around 31 senior and middle schools in the community.

“The tragic death of 17-year-old high school student Trayvon Martin has raised many questions and concerns among young people in the community where he lived,” said Dr. Walter T. Richardson, CRB Chair. “The ongoing legal proceedings against the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin has re-focused back public attention on the case and issues of intense concern to this community. The briefing on the trial will keep our youth and community informed.” The CRB works to prevent and reduce community tensions and build bridges of mutual understanding, cooperation and respect among our diverse populations. The CRB and Youth Commission are working to promote non-violent responses to the killing of Trayvon Martin and are engaging key organizations and leaders to empower and protect our communities, particularly the youth. >>> WHO: The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board, The Miami-Dade Youth Commission, WHAT: Community briefing on the Trayvon Martin Murder Trial, WHEN: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 6-8 p.m., WHERE: North Dade Regional Library

2455 N.W. 183rd Street, Miami, FL 33145

CITY OF CORAL GABLES

>>> Sallye Jude selling Miami River Inn after years of nurturing historic site built in 1910, Java Head home in Coral Gables features the White-Garden

Sallye Jude told the Watchdog Report recently that she expected to sell shortly the 1910 Historical Miami River Inn, a bed and breakfast, she has owned for decades. And the woman along with her husband Jim Jude, M.D. a retired world-class cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, who is also known for being an early advocate of CPR in the 1950s. The couple since moving to Miami have been long time preservation and environmental advocates in South Florida. The Jude’s have been active in a variety of circles, including the Urban Environment League www.uel.org over the decades, and she has been a strong advocate for cleaning up the polluted Miami River, that flows by just in front of the Inn. Moreover, the couple’s home, Java Head, in Coral Gables is also a treasure on Biscayne Bay and the home is known for its White-Garden always in bloom. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/06/3487704/white-garden.html And to have gone to one of the couples many parties at their incredible home over the years in Coral Gables, or at the Inn was a real treat, and the gatherings were many times in support of an environmental or preservation organization.

CITY OF AVENTURA

>>> Gov. Scott names Luz Weinberg to the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.

Press release: Weinberg, 40, of Aventura, is the Director of Communications for Bouygues Construction. She is currently serving as a commissioner for the City of Aventura. She is also the vice president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and a member of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Weinberg received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. She succeeds Norman Wartman and is appointed for a term beginning July 3, 2013, and ending April 6, 2017.

>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA

BROWARD COUNTY

>>> Mayor Jacobs, an environmental champion on dais has $110,378 net worth for year & Sheriff Israel comes in at $514,000 net worth through June

Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs is in the spotlight this week and the long serving commissioner, with strong environmental credentials is termed out in 2014. Jacobs a few years ago, ran for the Congress, but she was unsuccessful in that race, and now she has filed to run in 2014 for Florida House District 96. Where the incumbent state Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek is termed out in the state legislature, and she will face former Democratic Party state Rep. Steve Perman, who lost in the Democratic Party primary to state Rep. Kevin Rader, D- Del Ray Beach for House District 81 in 2012. www.miamiherald.com And while Jacobs represents Broward Commission District 2, which also encompasses some of House District 96. She currently does not live in the house district she is running for, and that could become an issue in the election next year. Moreover, she was first elected to the county office in 1998, was the mayor in 2005 after multiple hurricanes hit Broward and her calm efficient presence on television screens, calmed frazzled Broward residents at the time, and she lives in Pompano Beach with her family.

Jacobs >>> Bio: http://www.broward.org/Commission/District2/Pages/About.aspx

What do we know about her finances?

Jacobs through June 20, 2013 had a net worth of $110,378 and she lists $20,000 in household goods. Her home is worth $312,000, a mortgage is owed $ 241,833 and her only income for the year was $94,497 as a county commissioner. To read the disclosure report go to” http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/12931-Form6.pdf

>>> 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 http://www.broward.org/commission/welcome.htm to view the new agenda.

>>> Gov. Scott reappoint’s Scott J. Israel to the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.

Scott J. Israel, 56, of Parkland, is Sheriff of Broward County. He is reappointed for a term beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2015.

What do we know about Israel’s financials and time in office?

Israel, beat incumbent Republican Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti (Net worth $672,800) in November 2012, to become the new sheriff of the state’s second largest county, and the campaign between the two men was a bitter race where Israel got 53 percent of the countywide vote in the partisian, highly Democratic county. His victory however since then has been followed by charges that he is putting friends in the department, most as out reach community specialists and he is demanding from the Borward Commissioners. A major multi million dollar budget increase for the department, that he says could threaten some 300 layoffs, but he is getting a cool recpetion on the nine member county commission dais for the large funding reguest. http://www.local10.com/news/scott-israel-budget-may-mean-massive-layoffs/-/1717324/20637046/-/kd2gwz/-/index.html

What do we know about his finances?

Israel through June 2013 had a net worth of $514,000 and his home is worth $425,000. The sheriff’s liabilities include a morgage owed $290,000 and Capital One, for a auto loan, wants $30,000. His income for the year was $67,815 from a Fort Lauderdale Police Pension Fund, and Cambridge Securities kicked in $13,350.  And to read the financial disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/206541-Form6.pdf

Israel

FORT LAUDERDALE

>>> Seven Charged with Oxycodone Conspiracy in Broward County Pill Mill Operation ~ the defendants include a Doctor, a Physician’s Assistant, and Clinic Owners/Managers

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging seven defendants for their participation in the illegal dispensing and distribution of oxycodone, among other offenses.  The 20-count indictment, filed July 2, 2013, charges defendants Jason Boyd, 43, of Davie, Jason Rodriguez, 36, of Fort Lauderdale, Vijay Chowdary, M.D., 69 of Boca Raton, Harish Chowdary, P.A., 64, of Fort Lauderdale, Amanda Bozer, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Nestor Merces, Jr., 35, of New York, and Hector Bruno, 35, of Pembroke Pines with various crimes, including conspiracy to distribute, dispense and possess controlled substances, maintaining drug-involved premises,  and money laundering.  Six of the defendants made their initial appearances in federal court in Fort Lauderdale and Connecticut earlier today.  Defendant Hector Bruno remains a fugitive.  Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Schedule II prescription painkillers, like oxycodone, cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.  Oxycodone and other Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and can be crushed and snorted, or dissolved and injected, to get an immediate high.  This abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.

The indictment alleges that from October 2010 to the present, the defendants operated Intracoastal Medical Groups, Inc. (IMG), in Broward County, as a pill mill clinic that offered patients prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances without any legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional medical practice.  According to the charges, individuals, including drug addicts and traffickers, seeking to buy large quantities of oxycodone and other controlled substances would travel from hundreds of miles from other states to obtain prescriptions at the defendants’ clinic.  Defendant Jason Boyd operated and financed IMG until the Florida Legislature enacted legislation requiring pain management clinics to be owned by licensed physicians.  At that time, ownership of IMG was transferred on paper to a physician and in March 2012, to Dr. Chowdary.

To execute the scheme, IMG employed doctors, like defendant Vijay Chowdary, who agreed to prescribe oxycodone and other controlled substances to patients without regard to medical necessity, with only a cursory physical examination of the patient, and in violation of numerous federal and state laws and DEA regulations regarding the storage and distribution of controlled substances.  To accomplish the scheme, the defendants created and used a number of false documents.  For example, the defendants used phony Florida identification cards to make it appear that all of IMG’s patients were residing in Florida.  The defendants also made and used false MRI reports, and discarded urinalysis results that showed that patients were using cocaine and other drugs, advising the patients to return when their urine was clean.  The clinic allowed and encouraged the use of “sponsors,” a practice in pill mills where an individual “sponsors” a group of patients in the clinic and pays all of the expenses associated with clinic visit in return for all or a portion of the pills prescribed.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “As this case demonstrates, federal and local law enforcement continue to stand united to tackle the pill mill epidemic that has plagued Broward County and our state.  Together, we are making a positive difference, as we continue to bring down these unscrupulous doctors and drug dealers who seek to hide behind a medical license.  Pill mill operators be warned:  we are not done yet.” Mark R. Trouville, DEA Special Agent in Charge stated, “This is a text book example of an illegal prescription drug trafficking organization.  These rogue doctors and greedy drug dealers tried to make a pill mill look like a legitimate business.  The days of profiting from these crimes have come to an end for these seven defendants.  The diversion of pharmaceutical drugs remains a priority for the DEA and our law enforcement partners in South Florida.  We will stay committed to ridding our communities of those who look to become rich from the diversion of powerful prescription medications.”

“I’m extremely proud of the hard work and dedication our investigators have put into building a solid case against these suspects,” Sheriff Scott Israel said.  “This group is made up of drug traffickers passing themselves off as businessmen and medical patients and unscrupulous clinicians pretending to be medical professionals.  They did all of this to further their criminal enterprise without concern for the people whose lives they were putting at risk.” If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute, dispense and possess oxycodone; up to 20 years for distributing, dispensing, and aiding and abetting the distribution and dispensing, of oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose; and up to 20 years for maintaining a location for the distribution of narcotics.  Lastly, defendant Boyd faces up to 20 years on the money laundering charges.

Today’s case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement. >>> Mr. Ferrer commended the DEA and BSO for their hard work on this case.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Vaglienti. An indictment is only an accusation, and every 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 www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

CITY OF LIGHTHOUSE POINT

>>> Executives from Miami-Area Mental Health Care Hospital Convicted for Participating in $70 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Press release: A federal jury Friday convicted four individuals for their participation in a Medicare fraud scheme involving nearly $70 million in fraudulent billings by Hollywood Pavilion (HP), a mental health care hospital. Friday’s verdict was announced by 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; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach 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.

Karen Kallen-Zury, 59, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., and Daisy Miller, 44, of Hollywood, Fla., were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, five substantive counts of wire fraud and two substantive counts of health care fraud.  Michele Petrie, 64, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud and three substantive counts of wire fraud.  Kallen-Zury, Miller, Petrie and a fourth defendant, Christian Coloma, 49, of Miami Beach, Fla., were also convicted of one count of conspiracy to pay bribes in connection with Medicare, with Kallen-Zury and Coloma also each being convicted on five substantive counts of paying bribes.

“The defendants participated in a massive scheme that attempted to defraud the United States of approximately $70 million by taking advantage of Medicare beneficiaries,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “By paying bribes to a network of patient recruiters and falsifying documents, the defendants created the illusion of providing intensive psychiatric care to qualifying patients, when in reality they provided no care of substance.  The verdict illustrates the success of the inter-agency Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is dedicated to stamping out Medicare fraud.” The defendants were charged in an indictment returned on Oct. 2, 2012.  Evidence at trial demonstrated that the defendants and their co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through HP, a state-licensed psychiatric hospital located in Hollywood that purportedly provided, among other things, inpatient psychiatric care and intensive outpatient psychiatric care.  The defendants paid illegal bribes and kickbacks to patient brokers in order to obtain Medicare beneficiaries as patients at HP who did not qualify for psychiatric treatment.  The defendants then submitted claims to Medicare for those patients who were procured through bribes and kickbacks.

Karen Kallen-Zury, the CEO and registered agent of HP, attempted to conceal the payment of bribes and kickbacks by creating false documents to make it appear as if legitimate services were being rendered. Evidence at trial established that Miller, the clinical director of HP’s inpatient facility, and Petrie, the head of HP’s intensive outpatient program, facilitated the payment of bribes to patient recruiters and oversaw the fraudulent admissions and treatment of unqualified patients. Trial evidence also demonstrated that Coloma, the director of physical therapy for an entity associated with HP, facilitated the payment of bribes and kickbacks, and he supervised the creation of false documents to conceal the bribery scheme. From at least 2003 through at least August 2012, HP billed Medicare nearly $70 million for services that were not properly rendered, for patients that did not qualify for the services being billed and for claims for patients who were procured through bribes and kickbacks. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Robert A. Zink, Andrew H. Warren and Anne McNamara of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The 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. >>> Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & 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: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

>>> Long serving County Sheriff Bradshaw in the spotlight, had $2.13 million net worth through Jun. 2013, up from $1.77 million the year earlier

Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is in the spotlight this week and the long serving sheriff has had his share of controversy over the years. He has been in law enforcement for some 35 years and runs the third largest police force in the state, with a $470 million budget, he was first sworn into the office in January 2005, and he easily won reelection in 2012 by a wide margin. However, he has drawn some criticism for meals he bought on the public dime and the sheriff claims he did not know it was a conflict http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/palm-beach-county-sheriff-ric-bradshaw-chided-for-/nN2sx/ >>> And here is a story on the reelection campaign last year http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/bradshaw-easily-re-elected-palm-beach-county-sheri/nRBmf/

What do we know about his finances?

Bradshaw through June 2012 had a net worth of $2.13 million (Up from $1.77 million in June 2011) and to see the complete financial disclosure report go to: http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/11183-Form6.pdf

Bradshaw http://www.pbcgov.com/criminaljustice/members/ricbradshaw.htm

>>> Palm Beach County Man Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Paula A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), and Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that defendant Fednol Pierre, 34, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced today to 34 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.  Pierre was also ordered to pay $83,450.74 in restitution to the victims of his offenses.  Pierre previously pled guilty to one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to documents filed in court, on September 29, 2009, Pierre added an individual as a joint account holder to his bank account, without this individual’s knowledge or consent, using this individual’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number.  The following day, Pierre deposited a $22,081 tax refund check from the U.S. Treasury in the name of this individual.  In the weeks following this deposit, Pierre withdrew funds from the joint account.  On December 3, 2009, Pierre closed the joint account and transferred the remaining funds into his account. Mr. Ferrer thanked USSS and IRS-CI for their work on the case.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Coats. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

LIBERTY COUNTY

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott taps Walter Lee “Buddy” Money, Jr. to serve as Liberty County Sheriff on an interim basis.

Money, 57, has served as the victim’s advocate with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. Previously, Money served with the Coral Gables Police Department from 1983-2005. Money serves on various community boards including the Liberty County Senior Citizens Boards, the Liberty County Children’s Coalition, and the Bristol Youth Academy Community Board. Governor Scott said, “Buddy is a seasoned and effective law enforcement officer and I am confident that he will serve the families of Liberty County with honor and distinction during this interim term.” Money temporarily replaces the suspended Liberty County Sheriff. He is appointed for a term beginning July 5, 2013.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>> Campaign Skills Seminar set for Miami Beach

Candidates and those considering running for office can learn the rules and regulations of electioneering by attending the next Campaign Skills Seminar sponsored by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.   In addition to politicians, campaign managers, treasurers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what it takes to run a clean campaign, are encouraged to attend.

The two-hour seminar takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22, 2013, in the Miami Beach Commission Chambers.  Speakers — including representatives from the Ethics Commission and the Elections Department — will provide essential information on election law and procedures, fundraising and record keeping.  The event is free and open to the public.  Attorneys can earn Continuing Legal Education credits from the Florida Bar. >> Campaign Skills Seminar, Monday, July 22, 2013, 6:30 p.m., Miami Beach City Commission Chambers, 1700 Convention Center Drive, 3rd Floor, Miami Beach, Florida 33139 For more information or to reserve a seat, call Robert Thompson at 305-350-0630 or e-mail robthom@miamidade.gov.

EDITORIAL

>>> Note to candidates and elected officials, live in the district you represent, if you are not to take the walk of shame with voters

Elected leaders residency in their districts, be it municipality, county or state office holders is still a problem periodically and these people should remember they serve at the pleasure of the voters and these voters want people who share their local pain. Officials sometimes forget that when they run for office they are asking for the sacred trust of free people able to chose who governs them and any betrayal of that sanctity is a perversion of Democracy and not a resume builder, certainly if higher political office might be in ones thoughts in the future.

Here in Miami-Dade we have had a number of examples, including a commissioner on the now dissolved in 2002 Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Commission,  where one of the commissioner’s was taken to court, admonished by the circuit court judge in a 40 page plus ruling. Because in fact when he ran for office. The man did not live in a home in El Portal as he said on his candidate form, but was living in a gated community in Broward, where his Homestead Exemption was, the address he used for his IRS tax returns, and his wife and children lived. While he rented out the Miami-Dade residence to a tenet that had the FP&L and telephone bills that had been paid by her.

And the problem is not just relegated to Miami-Dade, but Broward County and other counties around the state have leaders whose residency are also in question, but sometimes are hard to prove. Nevertheless, if you are an elected leader, or plan to run, please do live in the district, and follow the election and residency laws, for once exposed, regardless of ones good deeds in the past. This transgression of residency integrity will wipe those achievements out and you will be seen not only as an opportunist, but politically damaged in a way that is difficult for the voter to forgive. When you go out to the public asking for their precious trust and vote, something that is not given lightly, and officials should never forget that fact.  >>> Here is one state legislative senator being investigated for the issue http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/28/3475739/sachs-draws-ethics-complaint-for.html

LETTERS

>>> Reader on the WDR Obituary last week on Dr. Kaiser’s role at UM/JMH

I could not agree more about Dr. Kaiser. There was a huge turnout for his funeral today- all there because of the deep respect they felt for this gracious, generous, and selfless man. His contributions to the UM/JMH medical center cannot be overstated.

Alan Livingston, M.D.

University of Miami Miller Medical School

>>> Interesting about (Former JMH CEO) Ira Clark, and thinking back on what (Then PHT Chair) Mike Kosnitzky was saying back in 2002, was then appropriate as well.  I met Mr. Clark at The Palace and it was really obvious that he was walking around in a kind of trance, was dementia of some kind…

M

>>> This situation may be of interest to you.  I know you as an advocate of the common citizen and a great investigative reporter. Thank you for all you do for the community. This is a grassroots effort primarily for saving Greynolds Park and, by extension, preventing other neighboring areas to get rezoning permits, which we believe is being done with the express intention of strengthening the developers’ case in the pending lawsuit. There was a recent cover article on Biscayne Times, which I attach.
http://www.biscaynetimes.com/images/stories/art_0613/bt_0613.pdf
There is also a Facebook page created: SAVE GREYNOLDS PARK, which has additional information. Thank you for your interest.
Elena Castro-Moran
>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

ANGEL ESPINOSA – (Deceased) owner COCONUT GROVE DRY CLEANER’S

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

THE MIAMI HERALD     www.miamiherald.com (2000-2008)

ARTHUR HERTZ

WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)

ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION  www.knightfoundation.org

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $2,000 a year

BADIA SPICES    www.badiaspices.com

RONALD HALL

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov

UNITED WAY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.unitedwaymiamidade.org

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $1,000 a year

AKERMAN SENTERFITT   www.akerman.com

BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com

RON BOOK

LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.

WILLIAM PALMER www.shutts.com

SHUBIN & BASS     www.shubinbass.com

WILLIAMSOM AUTOMOTIVE GROUP http://williamsonautomotivegroup.com/

>>> Public, Educational & Social institutions – subscribers at $1,000 or less

CAMILLUS HOUSE, INC.   www.camillushouse.org

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.cph.org

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA  www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION   www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE CHAIR www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ETHICS & PUBLIC TRUST COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov/ethics

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS www.dadeschools.net

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST & JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM www.jhsmiami.org

THE BEACON COUNCIL   www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

THE GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY LEAGUE OF CITIES www.mdclc.org

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION  www.miamifoundation.org

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA    http://www.firstgov.gov/

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI             www.miami.edu

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.

LETTER POLICY

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

Daniel A. Ricker

Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net

Est. 05.05.00

Copyright © of original material, 2013, Daniel A. Ricker

>>> 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 watchdogreport1@earthlink.net 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. … http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american >>>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 http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2003-05-15/citylife2.html/1/index.html

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 www.sptimes.com/columns/bousquet.shtml -“First Friday” WPBT TV (Miami) TV Show www.channel2.org/firstfriday/issues.html –Lucy Morgan St. Petersburg Times Column www.sptimes.com/columns/morgan.shtml –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.

General subscriber’s names will not be published in the Report. To subscribe to the Watchdog Report please use the form below as a subscription invoice.

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Watchdog Report Supporters Invoice-Form

NOTE: Invoice is for Yearly supporter/sponsorship Rates: Thank you.

Supporting Sponsors $5,000

Sustaining Sponsors $2,000

Corporate Sponsors $1,000 (All levels above will be listed in the report with web-site link if desired)

Large Business Supporters $500

Small Business Supporters $250

Individual Supporter $150

Student Supporter $ 75

Any amount $

Name & Address

Please make checks payable to: Daniel A. Ricker

Send to: 3109 Grand Avenue, #125

Miami, FL 33133 To contact the Publisher please e-mail watchdogreport1@earthlink.net


 
 
 

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