By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
"You could literally just say, "God, I could use a beer," and a beer would show up. Or like ... God, I could use a ... "
"Pack of cigarettes?" The Bitch helpfully offered. Jones didn't chuckle.
"Look, cigarettes are like crack. I've been in the army, I've been all over the world, I've done the most crazy, stupid things you could ever imagine in your life, and one of the hardest things I've ever done is attempt to put those cigarettes down. I'm not making excuses for it, 'cause if you smoke you should want to quit. But when you smell it, you want one. When a cigarette's burning, it's the best smell in the world. It's just so weird." Of course then, The Bitch had to ask him one question: "So, are you still smoking, you junkie?" Coyly, Jones laughed and replied, "You'll just have to watch the show to find out."
The Area 51 in Section 8Carrie Mosley qualified for federal funds in 2002 that would help her purchase a home from affordable-housing developer Jerry Flick (whose battles with the Miami-Dade Housing Agency are chronicled in "House of Horrors," New Times, May 27, 2004).
Only one thing stands between Mosley and a new single-family home for her and her ten-year-old foster son: a piece of paper. Specifically a piece of paper indicating that her Section 8 voucher has been transferred from the City of Miami to the county's Section 8 program. (Mosley currently resides in a Liberty City housing project.)
Mosley applied for the transfer three months ago, thinking she was getting things done early. But after weeks of unreturned phone calls and being directed from bureaucrat to bureaucrat, she may well lose her chance at the home because some paper pusher dropped the ball. "I kept calling people at the city, and no one would call me back," Mosely says. "Finally a woman named Marisol called and said the paperwork was almost ready, but it wasn't. Her voicemail is always full and when I finally got ahold of her again, she told me the county was the problem. She said to talk to Mr. Bill Pupo."
Pupo, a supervisor with the city's Section 8 program, was surprised to hear from The Bitch. "I have nothing to do with the transfer process, so whoever is telling you that is trying to cover up their own mistakes. I can tell you that the transfer process takes at least a month. I feel very bad for the people who are stuck in that process. I do what I can, but I am just a tiny cog in the machine."
After expounding on his existential dilemma, Pupo referred The Bitch to Herve Moises, the county employee who actually does supervise the transfer of Section 8 vouchers like Mosley's. "As of right now, we don't have any documents on her," Moises says. "We can't do anything until the city sends us her information, so we are not the holdup. Someone at the city is trying to blame their mistakes on us. I can tell you that once we get her paperwork she will have to make an appointment, but we only have appointments on Thursdays and Fridays, and we only have two case workers who handle them."
Meanwhile, Flick is fuming. "These people never answer their phones, the voicemail is always full, and now I'm running into a situation where I can't just hold on to the house indefinitely," he says. "I've done everything I can to try to get this woman into this house, but if she can't buy it, I'll have to sell to someone else to pay my bills."
Marisol, the city employee who told Flick and Mosely that the county was holding up the process, did not return a phone message. Further attempts to contact her met with a full voicemail box.
Card Caper CanceledDetectives Yolanda Lombrage and David Colon of the Miami-Dade Police Economic Crimes Bureau swung into action one day last month on their biggest credit card caper in memory. They didn't have to go far. Lombrage and Colon are two-fifths of the bureau's North Credit Card Squad -- based at 7925 NW 12th Street, Suite 301 in Doral -- and are charged with cabashing credit card criminals operating north of Flagler Street. (Those plying their fraudulent trade south of Flagler have to contend with MDPD's South Credit Card Squad.) After gathering on September 17 with several agents from the Federal Trade Commission at the economic crime bureau's office, they walked across the hall and knocked on the door of Suite 318. Inside telemarketers were standing by for calls from credit-starved immigrants, lured by commercials on Univision and Telemundo stations across the United States. All you had to do was send a money order for $299, and soon a credit card supposedly as good as a MasterCard or Visa was on its way. They arrived with any number of names, including Advantage Platinum Card, La Familia Gold Card, Stored Value MasterCard, Pro Line Card, Latin Card Plus, Premier Card Plus, and Kapital Card Plus.
"We don't ask nothing about the person -- where they work, how much they are making in the payroll," Carlos Mendez, a Pro Line manager, told the East Bay Express this past August, before the busts. The Emeryville, CA-based weekly (a part of the New Times chain) started investigating Mendez and his cohorts, in response to complaints from people who discovered their new credit cards were about as handy as a purse-snatcher. The only place a Pro Line Card was accepted, for example, was on a Pro Line Card Web site offering merchandise such as computers, televisions, CD players, watches, and drum sets at grossly inflated prices and ludicrous shipping charges.