Swelter 13

The dark prince of real estate wearing a T-shirt meant for the gay market, inscribed with "I Can't Even Think Straight," and anchoring a table of Russ Meyer wanna-be's, an army of spandexed babes swilling champagne. Miami's mysterious stranger all over the place at once, sharing a bathroom stall with some madly chortling crony ("Stop, you're kiling me") and fueling the power of Kramite, the sinister force that's weakened, bought off, and tainted the city forever. None of this charming rogue/eccentric tycoon crap, either: This is a man who, shortly after his now-estranged wife lost their baby, went back out on the prowl. Another classic instance of evil's banality, although his companion in debauchery, developer Jorge Perez, might spark some interest. The real McCoy, a certifiably valid businessman: president of the Related Group of Florida, Kramer's partner on the monolithic Portofino Tower in South Pointe, heavy hitter in the Democratic Party, and a member of the NEA board. On our last encounter, Perez and his elegant wife were chatting with Lawton Chiles and Al Gore during the Summit of the Americas, living large at the Vice President's gala. The pussy patrol of South Beach, if nothing else, makes true democrats of us all, slaves to sex and trash.

On to other pursuits, struggling toward the light of the surface, desperate for the polite. Down to the Miami River for a floating dinner party aboard a splendid yacht, an opulent adornment for the Sandals Resorts chain, the cold, clear lights of a nasty little town shimmering in the distance A God, we love this whimsical business. Back to Miami Beach, this sceptered isle of madness, Lure hosting a popping champagne-and-delicacy-clogged bon voyage party for Robbin Haas, escaping the bad vibes of Bang for the big time. Our favorite party restaurateur joining forces with Mark Miller of the wonderful Red Sage in Washington, D.C., and, as it happens, Haas proving his mettle on a delicate Miami matter. When the going gets tough, the fellow survivors of the gulag -- even when they break loose from hell town -- take care of one another.

Forever on to the end, we're a hometown boy, through and through, wired-up and ready to get our hands dirty. Unfortunately the week marred by an onslaught of gutter-driven phone calls -- all from ostensibly serious, nontabloid publications -- on the tragic death of Krissy Taylor. Another casualty in the dank industry of modeling, an always reliable bellwether (along with celebrity addiction) of the trouble looming ahead in this country. Been there, done that, already bought the T-shirts of the Apocalypse: Bonfire of the Vanities on a budget, the navel of the bottom-feeding underbelly, the soul checked at the door, a hired scrap of chum for the sharks. But along the way, we've also acquired our own connections to the underworld: capable, like all the other glittering monsters, of arranging a hundred catered girls, a thousand thrills, drugs, hustlers, and vital decadence support services. The real story on way too many people, like the Beach politician who took that shameful silicone valley tour of the Michael Peter empire with all those shady developers. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to enter the political arena and do some real public service.

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