If You Indict, They Will Come

What is Miami's greatest natural resource? Corruption, of course! So let's get out there and sell it!

The map integrates local business interests for added synergy (and revenue): After a visit to Bruce Kaplan's creatively mortgaged house in Miami Beach, visit the All-Star Cafe on Ocean Drive. Before touring the hopelessly corrupt Port of Miami, stop by Bayside Marketplace.

Lipstik Adult Entertainment Club, 8099 S. Dixie Hwy., South Dade
U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey slumped into this strip joint at about midnight on February 22, 1997, depressed because his office had recently lost one of the biggest drug cases ever to go to trial. He proceeded to use his American Express card to purchase a $900 bottle of champagne and $200 in "Lipstik Money," which he spent on a private rendezvous with Tamara "Tiffany" Gutierrez. As the dancer later recalled, Coffey "lunged at me ... to kiss me on the cheek. I turned my head, and he went right down my neck, right to my arm and he bit ... hard." Although Coffey's office indignantly denied allegations that he'd broken skin and drawn blood, South Florida's top prosecutor hemorrhaged under the intense media coverage and quickly resigned.

Since Parrot Jungle is nearby, why not fly on over?
Denny's, 1150 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables
On March 14, 1996, Miami City Commissioner Miller Dawkins accepted a $25,000 cash kickback from a city computer contractor in the parking lot of this restaurant. What he didn't know was that the brown paper bag contained hundred-dollar bills marked by the FBI, and that the bagman, city finance director Manohar Surana, had already flipped for the feds and was wearing a body wire. Dawkins later pleaded guilty to bribery charges. Unanswered question: Did he enter Denny's and order a Moons Over My Hammy breakfast sammich?

While you're in the neighborhood, may we suggest a matinee at the impeccably refurbished Miracle Theatre?

Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, 19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura
In March 1987, Democratic Party presidential front-runner Gary Hart set sail in a motor yacht from this marina on an overnight trip to the venerable Compleat Angler hotel and bar in Bimini. Also onboard, and on his lap, was Miamian Donna Rice, a 29-year-old field representative for a pharmaceutical company and -- relevantly -- a former Miss South Carolina-World. When Miami Herald reporters confirmed a relationship between the two (the candidate was and still is married to someone else), Hart's campaign sank like a rock.

The boat, the Monkey Business, was owned by Aventura developer Don Soffer. Why not visit his gleaming mall? Be sure to check out the new Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdale's.

Dinner Key Dinner Theater
After political corruption, Miami might be most famous for its New World cuisine. Why not combine the two and put the meaning back in Dinner Key by turning meetings of the Miami City Commission into dinner theater. Guests can nibble on pepper-painted grouper served on a mango-habanero mojo with a boniato-plantain mash in poblano while the city's leaders pander to their constituents and play to the crowd. Table service provided by commissioners' support staffs. (All tips in unmarked bills, please.) Diners are invited to use tableside cellular telephones -- provided at taxpayer expense -- to lobby commissioners on the dais.

Hard Time Cafe
The Hard Rock Cafe is hardly the appropriate anchor for Bayside Marketplace. The Hard Time Cafe works better. The waiting area would be stocked with Xavier Suarez's missing mayoral furniture. Seated customers would order "Cesar Odio salads" and "Kendall coffee" by speaking into the chests of waiters, all of whom will be wearing wires. Tired old rock memorabilia like Elvis's jumpsuit would be replaced with fascinating local relics: the "hot suit" County Manager Sergio Pereira was accused of buying; the business card Humberto Hernandez pushed on family members of ValuJet crash victims; a River Cops life vest; the $9000 in gold-plated plumbing fixtures purchased with taxpayer money by Dade County schools superintendent Johnny Jones. Other possibilities: Joe Gersten's crack pipe, lobbyist Ron Book's checkbook, Judge Philip Davis's coke spoon, Commissioner Pedro Reboredo's martyred toe, one of the too-short palm trees sold to Dade County.

Here's a nifty chance to help save the floundering Orange Bowl Parade by stealing a little heat from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day tradition. But rather than a helium-filled Bart Simpson or Kermit the Frog, why not take advantage of Miami's sexy reputation for corruption by floating notable political rapscallions. Real politicians could compete for the role of grand marshal (pending approval of their parole officers, of course). Shown here: the James Burke balloon, an odds-on bet to become a spectator favorite. Hope the wind doesn't kick in!

The Russi bungalow in Miami's Roads neighborhood is deceptively modest. Apparently ten or more people lived there immediately before last November's Miami mayoral election. As the focus of an ongoing criminal investigation into vote fraud, and as a roomy guest home, the Russi B & B & B provides the perfect lodging experience for verite-seeking tourists and serves as a model for other creative entrepreneurs.

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