By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
801 SOUTH BAYSHORE DRIVE
Easing his ice-blue Mercedes to a stop in a no-parking zone on December 2, 1992, County Commissioner Joe Gersten strolled into the lobby of this luxury hotel. When he noticed that a parking attendant was attempting to move his car, which was blocking traffic, Gersten returned to the Mercedes, took a handgun from the back seat, and announced to the attendant: "If you touch my car, I'll shoot you."
DADE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE
ONE BOB HOPE ROAD
In this bunkerlike facility's sterile confines, twenty hairs were tweezed from the head, underarms, and pubic region of County Commissioner Joe Gersten on June 5, 1992. The samples were sent to the FBI crime lab in Washington, D.C., as part of an investigation into whether Gersten had spent a drug-stoked evening in a Miami crack den. When tests failed to show any trace of cocaine, Gersten commented, "I'm happy the truth finally came out."
TURNER GUILFORD KNIGHT CORRECTIONAL CENTER
7000 NW 41ST STREET
County Commissioner Joe Gersten was confined here after Circuit Court Judge Amy Dean found him guilty of contempt on March 18, 1993, for refusing to answer prosecutors' questions regarding the theft of his Mercedes. When Judge Dean learned that Gersten was making outrageous demands of his jailers, such as insisting that his his cell be furnished with a private phone, a desk, and a lamp, she doubled his sentence. Declared a defiant Gersten: "I will die in this jail."
MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER
4300 ALTON ROAD
Unhappy in the confines of the cell where he'd been jailed for contempt, Joe Gersten refused to take his blood pressure medication and was brought here on March 24, 1993, to be treated by his personal physician, Dr. Itzhak Retter. Though Gersten also spent some of his jail time at Jackson Memorial Hospital, it was here that friends say he felt most at home -- ordering nurses around, demanding special treatment, and generally being a nuisance.
1017 HARDEE ROAD
Behind this iron gate lies the modest former home of County Commissioner Joe Gersten. Located in Coral Gables's historic French Village, the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath estate is where Gersten took refuge from the demands of public life -- before he became a fugitive and fled to Australia. It was from this very driveway that Gersten claimed his Mercedes was stolen, contradicting other sources, including the confessed thieves themselves, who said the car was swiped from outside a crack den.
1. Key West: In addition to placing a plaque at Gersten's Key West retreat, La Junglita, GRAFT is also hoping to institute Gersten Days next year, as a substitute for the recently nixed Hemingway Days fest. Events would include a Gersten look-alike contest, as well as seminars on how to be arrogant and obnoxious.
2. County Hall: The 29-story building at 111 NW First St. in downtown Miami was the seat of Gersten's power while he served on the commission. In recognition, the county has agreed to place plaques at various sites throughout the building, including Gersten's old office, the back of the chair in which he sat on the dais, and in the private bathroom where he is said to have done his best thinking.
3. Nice, France: After his alleged crackhouse romp, Gersten and fiancee Rosario Kennedy jetted off to the Cannes Film Festival for a vacation with liquor tycoon Jay Weiss and his wife Renee. This historic excursion has been commemorated with a series of plaques, including one in the $2000-a-night Negresco Hotel suite occupied by Gersten and his travelling companions.
4. Los Angeles International Airport: Thanks to a donation from American Airlines, a plaque is being posted at the ticket counter where Gersten once reduced a ticket agent to tears for failing to bump him to first class.
8. Sydney, Australia: Gersten's new home.
SEND FOR YOUR FREE FULL-COLOR GERSTENALIA CATALOGUE TODAY!
These and more collectors' items are available for you to treasure for years to come:
*T-shirt featuring a reproduction of the recently completed Gersten bust in a high-quality polyester/cotton blend. Sizes L, XL, XXL, XXXL
*Official Joe Gersten "The Fugitive Tour" satin jacket
*Official Joe Gersten beret. Just like the one Gersten wore on the French Riviera. Available in red, black, and indigo.
*Official Joe Gersten commemorative medallion
*Joe Gersten's memoirs. Genuine Naugahyde binding!
*Replica of the tweezers used to pluck Gersten's hair for the drug tests -- 100% surgical steel. Engraved with your initials at no extra charge.
*Limited-edition videotape of the airport press conference Gersten held upon his return from Nice, France, in June 1992
*Official GRAFT map to worldwide Gersten historic sites
SEND A STAMPED, SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE TO:
Gersten Remembered: A Fitting Tribute
P.O. Box 011591