DeFede

All in the Family

MasTec simply ignored billing statements from Adorno & Zeder. At one point MasTec officials suggested that if the law firm wanted its money, it should consider renegotiating its billing rates. By then MasTec already owed Adorno & Zeder nearly $250,000, and the company's refusal to pay became an issue with the firm's partners. The synergy between the law firm and the company, which managing partner Yoss described as a "home run," had vanished. MasTec eventually paid the money it owed, and the law firm quietly withdrew as counsel.

Noted one observer: "This never would have happened if the old man were still alive."

Which raises some interesting questions: Where was Mas Jr. during all this? After bringing Adorno onboard, did he do enough to support and protect his old friend? Was he so hurt by Adorno's sudden departure that he allowed his company to withhold payment of its bills? And who exactly is running MasTec?

Mas Jr.'s interests may lie elsewhere. He has taken over his father's leadership post with the Cuban American National Foundation and raised his political profile during the June rafter crisis involving the Coast Guard. Mas Jr. however, isn't above mixing business and politics. According to sources, he believed recent events had forged a special bond between him and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. In addition to working closely together on the rafter issue, Mas Jr. saw it as a positive sign that the mayor attended the Biscayne Boulevard street-naming ceremony in honor of his father.

As a result, during the last week of August, Mas Jr. dispatched younger brother J.C. Mas to meet with officials in the county attorney's office to discuss a quick settlement to the paving-contract lawsuit. But Mas Jr.'s hopes that his newfound rapport with the mayor would soften the county's hard line against his company were quickly dispelled by the attorneys handling the case. J.C. Mas was sent packing.

Which goes to show that when it comes to business, friendship doesn't matter. But then again, Mas Jr. knew that already.


RELATED ARTICLES by Jim DeFede

"A Plot Thicker Than Asphalt," May 21, 1998

"Il Signatore: A Synopsis,"February 5, 1998

"A Signature Mystery," November 13, 1997

WEB EXTRA

"Incompetence 101," by Bob Norman, August 12, 1999

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