Petty Cash

Miami city manager Cesar Odio loves to hand out taxpayer money to his friends. It's not under the table, but it is under the radar.

One of the most puzzling expenditures, however, went to an organization called the Salesmen Association of the United States of America. Earlier this year, Odio purchased 110 tickets to the association's anniversary banquet, at a cost just below the magic number -- $4500. In previous years when donating to the Salesmen Association, Odio has indicated that the tickets would be awarded to senior citizens.

Odio clearly had a darn good reason for this purchase. After all, why would an elderly person -- why would anyone of any age -- want a free ticket to a salesmen's convention?

The answer is stapled to the check. On a piece of white paper is a typewritten note to Odio encouraging him to buy the tickets. At the bottom of the letter, right below the closing expression of sincerity, is the signature of attorney Humberto Hernandez.

Hernandez, as anyone accosted by his omnipresent orange and green campaign signs knows, is running for a vacant seat on the Miami City Commission. He was once aligned with Joe Carollo, but they've had a falling out. If he is elected, he would likely buck the curmudgeon Carollo and vote to retain Odio as city manager. So of course it makes sense for Odio to respond to a man who obviously can appreciate this manager's heartfelt efforts to spend the city's resources wisely.

And considering Odio's brilliance, it makes sense that he would use city money to do it.

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