Barbed War

If good fences made good neighbors, Lazaro Albo would be the most popular resident of the Roads

One Roads homeowner who didn't want her name published says freedom doesn't include the right to depreciate property values or to frighten neighbors' visiting relatives into thinking the area is under siege. "It's hard enough to get anybody to come to Miami these days. I have to go out of my way not to drive by his house," the woman goes on. "He believes he can do anything because he knows all the big shots in city government."

"That's not true," responds Albo. "I put the wire on top for my family's life, and it has nothing to do with my friends' politics." The list of Albo's politically connected acquaintances, however, is a long one, loaded with familiar names. A long-time friend of Maurice Ferre, the former Miami mayor who is now a Dade County commissioner, Albo is famous for the lavish fundraisers he throws every election season. The most recent fete, to benefit mayoral candidate and fellow Roads homeowner Miriam Alonso, took place this past June. Partygoers, including City Commissioner Miller Dawkins and various other political powerhouses, spilled from behind Albo's barbed-wired walls down the entire block; the homeowner had received the city's permission to close off the street from traffic.

As administrator of the local NET office, Maggie Genova-Cordovi is the recipient of most of the neighborhood's wrath. "Believe me, I've never been so upset in my life," laments Genova-Cordovi. "I called him on the phone. I said, 'Mr. Albo, I will give you an offer. I will go personally and take the wire down; my staff will go and take it down.' He started laughing: 'Oh really? Commissioner Gort made the same offer. I tell you what. If you and Commissioner Gort come over, you can take it down.' So we made a date with him to go over there."

But Albo backed out a few days later, Genova-Cordovi says: He assured her he would hire a contractor to remove the wire. The problem was, his contractor was ill.

The wire stayed up.
"I'm going to take it down this month," Albo promised last week, when he was interviewed for this story. "I don't want to do nothing against the law." And when it comes to the fines that have accrued, Albo is similarly sanguine. "Really, I don't think about it," he says. "The City of Miami has nice commissioners, a nice manager. He'll find a solution.

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