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Friday, April 03, 2015

I'm not a fan of developers

A friend sent me this Fred Grimm column from 2013. I hadn't seen it before. It says that, "Jurors found that Related Group held backroom meetings with former Mayor Manny Diaz and various Miami city commissioners trying to elicit zoning variances for the three luxury condo towers [that were proposed for the Mercy Hospital site]. They found that the builder had hired well-connected lobbyists to work the city commission. That Related hired another set of lobbyists to make sure the county commission wouldn’t interfere."

This is interesting to me because at the time, they also threatened me many times. Their lawyer at the time would send me letters which started with the threat, "If you show this to anyone else you will regret it," or something to that affect. I still have the letters, I'll show them to you some time. I found that quite a stupid way to start a letter from an attorney. He would also call and harass me. I'm not saying that the Related Group knew about it, it could have just been how this moron ran his law firm; by threatening people.

According to the attorney, the Related Group wanted me to divulge the anonymous commenters. They claimed that Commissioner Marc Sarnoff was leaving the comments, something about then Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones accepting bribes. The lawyer allegedly said that they wanted those comments removed and the commenter outed as allegedly being either Sarnoff or his staff. I wouldn't budge, but luckily in the middle of this mess, Michelle Spence Jones was shown to be accepting bribes and it all stopped just as fast as it started. There was an article in the Miami Herald one day, claiming that the bribery story was true, and I never heard from the Related Group again, I think all their paid crooks and lawyers (same thing) must have crawled back under their rocks then.

I have a meeting with a local developer next week. I don't trust developers after the Related Group experience and after reading the stuff that is documented here, in the Fred Grimm column. It tells about Vizcaya suing Related and how Related paid off people and paid off neighborhood groups and hired lobbyists. etc. They never offered to pay me off. I guess I should be proud of the fact that they knew I couldn't be bought off.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Developers should not be blamed for doing what comes naturally to them. A few are visionary like that of Tony Goldman and Craig Robins. But the majority are self-serving, egocentric, edifice-centric, profiteers. They are risk-takers, gamblers, opportunist and capitalist. Like tigers, that can’t help but have stripes and a taste for meat. The damage being done to our community is not the fault of developers. The blame lies on the shoulders of our elected leaders that permit developers to rezone our community (variances, TDR) for the benefit of their projects and additional property taxes. A city that’s business model is based on ever increasing residential development is doomed to failure. Because more construction results in more people, more traffic, need for more roads, police, firemen, schools, hospitals, swerves, fresh water and electricity. It’s ironic how many folks don’t want 100 ft. concrete FPL polls coming north on US1, but they also don’t want power blackouts.

April 03, 2015 7:33 AM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

Very interesting about the letters!

Also, I am impressed with how much attention they were giving the Grapevine and it's commenters.

Some anonymous comments make sense and it would be great if those people would sign their names.

April 03, 2015 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should ask the Bay Heights Homeowners Association what happened to the money paid by the Related Group. It seems that it was distributed to "select" homeowners and did not end up in the Association treasury to benefit all homeowners and pay for the upkeep of the neighborhood.

April 03, 2015 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Michelle Spence-Jones and Barbara Hardemon ever return the bribe money Related paid them?

April 04, 2015 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If citizens got more involved, and actually backed candidates who were viable maybe we'd have people in office who did the right thing instead of the easy choice or the more lucrative choice (for them or the city). Instead we have five or six lame horses running in a race and so far the one who's going to win doesn't even have to break a sweat.

April 04, 2015 3:01 PM  
Blogger Bernie Leyton said...

People complain about developers and I can't say their wrong when you look at what's been done to Brickell. But so far the Grove's done ok. I like what's going up here and I'm looking forward to some new development going up along Grand. We need to get with it. Change is enevitable. That's just my take.

April 04, 2015 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Grove has done OK its only because the local coconuts stand up and shape their neighborhood.

April 06, 2015 10:46 AM  

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