Best Hasty Retreat

Joe Carollo walks out on Haitian legislator

Many politicians, hoping to impress an increasingly influential voting bloc, attended the March 10, 2001, Fanm Ayisyèn Nan Myami (Haitian Women of Miami) fundraising banquet at a local hotel. Miami Mayor Joe Carollo was scheduled to award a key to the city to the featured speaker, Marie St. Fleur of Boston, the nation's first elected Haitian-American state representative. St. Fleur is a forceful advocate of programs to combat domestic violence and protect battered women. At the banquet St. Fleur spoke at length on the subject, at one point invoking Eleanor Roosevelt's words: "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." And on St. Fleur went, oblivious to the controversy surrounding Carollo's recent arrest for allegedly hitting his wife -- with a tea canister no less. Although the mayor's staff later denied that Carollo's next surprising move was prompted by St. Fleur's words, he suddenly arose well before she had finished her speech and left the banquet room, key to the city and all.

 
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