Several Miami-Dade political observers contacted for this story posit that Cesar Odio's occasional appearances on the Beach are isolated incidents, that Odio has for the most part stayed away from politics. Falsetto says he's seen a good deal of Odio during the past year or so, mostly through his dealings with Tropical -- which until recently was headquartered in the Grand condominium's office space, which Falsetto manages. (State corporate records show that Odio in 1999 formed a company called CHO Enterprises, whose address is the same suite in the Grand that once housed Tropical.)
Other political insiders, though, assert that Odio simply hasn't been able to resist the allure of the public sector. "I think he wants a say in choosing the next [Miami Beach] city manager, maybe some government consulting business," says one former City of Miami Beach employee.
Sometimes a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee, says Simon Cruz of his chance meeting with Cesar Odio
Odio is not the only catch from Operation Greenpalm to surface after his release from prison. In August 1999 ex-Commissioner Miller Dawkins, who served nearly two years for accepting $100,000 in bribes, showed up at a fundraiser for Manolo Reyes, who made an unsuccessful run for Miami City Commission. Jorge de Cardenas, Odio's co-conspirator in the insurance-kickback scheme, served a year in a Kentucky prison. Because he had never become a U.S. citizen, INS took him into custody once his sentence ended. After a three-month ordeal in Louisiana and at the Krome Detention Center, during which his health deteriorated rapidly, de Cardenas was released in March 1999 by order of a federal judge.
De Cardenas says he hasn't spoken to Odio since his release. "We have the same probation officer," he notes.
Manohar Surana, the city finance director who helped the feds capture Odio's criminal act on tape, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery in June 1996. He is still free, though, and has yet to be sentenced for his crimes.