Sore Winner

Bruce Kaplan won his county commission race this past spring, but don't look for him when hey're handing out the Mr. Nice Guy awards

Taking an early interest in the host committee, Kaplan noticed Mumford's name on a list of proposed members. Some of those who were involved in the process say the commissioner was furious at the ex-Bretos worker's inclusion and that Kaplan backed down only after he was named honorary co-chair of the committee along with Commissioner Maurice Ferre.

Bobbie Mumford herself denies that Kaplan ever raised a concern about her appointment to the committee. "Bruce Kaplan and I have a wonderful camaraderie," she says, politely refusing to answer any other questions. Kaplan's comment on his new alliance with Mumford: "She has proven she is a dedicated community leader."

Members of county boards and task forces aren't the only Conchy Bretos allies who have found themselves on the wrong side of Commissioner Kaplan. After budget hearings earlier this fall, Kaplan verbally berated Diana Gonzalez, the head of the Department of Development and Facilities Management (DDFM). The commissioner has since demanded that an audit be conducted of DDFM's books.

The first division within DDFM to be scrutinized is Planning and Asset Management, which counts among its senior officials Felix Madera, one of Bretos's closest advisors during her campaign. Madera also was featured prominently in the Herald's late-summer Tropic piece about the Bretos-Kaplan battle. (During the commission race, Kaplan produced an affidavit signed by Raquel Regalado, which was photocopied and distributed all over Miami Beach. Regalado, who used her Radio Mambi program to rail against Bretos, swore she had overheard Madera make an anti-Semitic remark. Madera signed his own affidavit stating he never made any such statements, as did nearly a dozen people who had been present at the time he allegedly made the slur.)

"It certainly is a strange coincidence" that Madera should be subjected to such scrutiny, laughs one DDFM official who asked not to be identified. "Unless of course it's not a coincidence."

Kaplan says he wasn't aware Madera worked for DDFM, and that his disagreements with the agency had nothing to do with the election campaign. Moreover, he adds, he bears no postcampaign grudges and is not mounting any sort of vendetta. "I'd rather all these people became my friends," Kaplan asserts.

Commission Chairman Art Teele -- who was a major Bretos supporter himself -- is not convinced. He says that as he watches Kaplan operate, he is reminded of the antics of the very commissioner Kaplan beat in the primaries: Joe Gersten. "Everything that Bruce has been doing has been textbook examples of the way Joe used to operate," says Teele. "It's all vintage Gersten."

Others point out that while Kaplan has been more blatant in his moves, he is no different from any other politician. "Isn't that what politics has always been about?" muses one official, who did not want to be identified. "You reward your friends and you screw your enemies."

"I think it is unfortunate to interject politics into these appointments," says Jacqueline Basha. "The campaign is behind us. I was perfectly willing to let bygones be bygones. But I'm surprised Commissioner Kaplan continues to be obsessed with these personal vendettas against those of us who supported Conchy Bretos."

Teele says he will push once again for Basha's appointment to the Film, Print and Broadcast Advisory Board. In the meantime, Basha is waiting for her apology.

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