Caught on Tape

Every once in a great while we get to peek behind the curtain and see how this town really works. As you might guess, it's not very pretty.

The interview with Stanley Price, which was monitored by his colleague Brian Adler, took place at their downtown Miami law office Monday, April 4. Below is a verbatim transcription of that interview.


The Stanley Price Interview

Stanley Price: Frank, I -- I will tell you I am very upset about having some phone conversation/line tapped. It's illegal.

Francisco Alvarado: That's totally understandable. I'm just here to let you know that I don't know the source of it, but I can tell you that we did receive it legally. The circumstances of how the tape was made, is I guess --

Price: Well, I'm not doubting -- I'm saying the tape itself is illegal. You, you can get stolen goods too and you may have received them as a gift, but they're still stolen goods. But let me hear the tape.

Here's a transcript of the tape so you can follow along and hear the tape.

[Tape begins]

Price [upon hearing his voice on the tape]: That's me.

[Tape continues to end]

And that's it. That's, um, you can have that copy. That's for you.

Price: Okay.

Basically, I mean, we got the tape. As far as we know, Rebecca Wakefield received the tape at the office is all I can tell you. And I can tell you that my boss says we got this legally. And that's Jim Mullin, our editor.

Price: What does that mean?

Well, I can't -- I don't, I can't tell you anything else other than that.

Price: You, you have to understand the context of what this is about.

And that's why I'm here -- to ask you the context of it.

Price: What happens is that Shoma Homes purchased the Ryder property. The Ryder property is a large piece of property, uh, owned by Ryder Corporation; they had their corporate headquarters on that property. The property was part of a development of regional impact. What Shoma wanted to do with the property is to convert the property into a town center which is a mixed-use type of development to include residential, uh, retail, office, and perhaps some public amenities such as public buildings. Uh, when we were discussing what is the best way of getting this through in regard to Doral, Ralph Arza's name came up. Ralph used to be the chairman of [the community council] at Doral. Uh, Ralph is very, very close with the members of Doral [City] Council. And I advised Shoma that they would have to file a comprehensive-master-plan amendment. But at the time we were going to do this, jurisdiction was with Dade County. And the question is: How do we best get this thing expedited because Masoud [Shojaee] had to close on this property very quickly.

[Price's cell phone rings]

Price: Give me a second. Hello? Yes, Masoud, how are you? Good. Am I awake? That is an interesting question. In about an hour I will be awake. Yes. I'm, I'm still here at the restaurant. And I, I assume you are not coming. Yeah, let's play golf. Can I call you back? Are you at the office? I'll call you at work. Okay. Bye-bye. Sorry.

I'm sorry -- jurisdiction, you said the county had it?

Price: And the thing is Masoud had closed on the property. So we needed a degree of certainty whether this mixed-use concept was going to be accepted. And Masoud said, öWho is very well connected in Doral who can get us a read on this thing?' A couple of names talked about, but the name I use the most often is, um, Ralph Arza. Uh, so we had this conversation. Apparently Masoud met with him and decided that we did not need his employment. In fact he did -- he never hired him on this property. The reason for that is we submitted a proposed conceptual plan. We are using the services of Bernard Zyscovich, considered one of the better land planners in the county. We showed the New Urbanism plan to uh, Terry Nagel [Doral's community development director]; to Henry [Eiler], who is the outside consultant to the city; and as well as to one or two of the commissioners. Master plan is different from zoning. Master plan is legislative. You can lobby the hell out of a legislative act, but you can't lobby on zoning. So after this phone conversation, where I suggested that Ralph is the one who could probably pack the most punch for the buck, Masoud met with him and elected not to retain him. He is not on the payroll of Shoma. He is not working for Shoma. We have been meeting with staff. On October 1, 2004, the City of Doral took over the planning and zoning functions from the county on all matters relating to, uh, the City of Doral. We have -- been moving through the process. The city put a moratorium on, effective probably February 1. And, uh, because of the nature of our plan, and because our plan is consistent with what they want in the area, we were exempted from the moratorium, along with several other projects that were ongoing. However, we are not exempted from the zoning moratorium, which we are under right now. So we can't file a zoning application. We are waiting for the master-plan application to be processed by the state. And that is where we are right now.

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