A month after that, police Chief Roy Hudson quit only eight months into the job. He had no other work lined up. He was publicly reticent about his reasons, but rumors were that Golden Beach was just too screwy for him. Then Vardalis quit to take the manager's job in North Bay Village.
What was happening? Fleeing management. Rogue cops. Jailed reformers. Suddenly sedate Golden Beach was rocking like a jungle government enduring a putsch.
Golden Beach dentist Dr. Stanley Feinman dodged a prosecutorial bullet this month when battery charges were dropped
But alas, thrill junkies, there are signs a clean-up phase has begun. On May 2 the town grabbed Bobby Cheatham, former second-in command in the Miami PD, out of retirement to bring some order to the place. He's only temporary. Not interested in a permanent slot. So the council hired South Miami's Feldman (who couldn't be reached).
On May 14 the State Attorney's Office finally dropped the charges against Feinman. A closeout memo from prosecutor Robert Whittel noted: "I decided not to file an information charging Dr. Feinman with Battery. The victim and witness were blocking Dr. Feinman in a hallway; I was not convinced Dr. Feinman intentionally struck the defendant." Although Whittel did defend the cops by stating: "There is no doubt in my mind they believed there was probable cause to arrest Feinman." For causing a commotion at town hall and bumping into somebody? Sounds to me like an attempt to protect the cops from a wrongful arrest lawsuit.
"This case should never have been filed in the first place," scoffs Sam Rabin, Feinman's lawyer. "There was never a crime! This was small-town politicians and small-town police officers trying to create a crime." He adds that for such a small place, Golden Beach seems to have an inordinate number of calamities.
The town is also responding to Feinman's inquiries about Santinello. "Based on continuing concerns about Corporal Santinello's background, there may be a new review by Chief Cheatham, per the instructions of the mayor," says interim Town Manager Lisa Aronson.
Feinman, meanwhile, has opted out of public life. This past February his term on the council expired.