Mo' Ammo

"Basketball-size holes? Certainly."

Mo' Ammo
Filed under: News

Following the ambush of two narco cops by AK-47-toting thugs in Opa-locka, Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Audrey Edmonson drafted a resolution at a Halloween meeting, urging the Miami-Dade Police Department's special units to consider carrying more serious firepower.

Commissioner Jordan, who met with the officers and members of the Tactical Narcotics Team in the hospital, said the cops felt "outnumbered and outgunned." Commissioner Edmonson went a step further: "When Miami-Dade County goes out to fight drugs, I expect them to win."

MDPD Director Robert Parker thanked them for their concern. He cautioned against "diminishing results for that kind of escalation" and noted that big bullets fired from police muzzles have a funny way of finding their way into innocent civilians.

Edmonson interrupted, stressing the importance of "winning," which she defined as "our cops not getting shot up."

"I understand," he replied judiciously. "But if we start working with AK-47 rounds and they go out and get .60-caliber machine guns, should we get .60-caliber machine guns?"

A discussion of ballistics ensued. Parker pointed out that bullets can do all kinds of damage, from BB-size holes to great, big basketball-size holes.

"Basketball-size holes?" asked Edmonson, alarmed.

"Certainly," Parker replied.

"Well I don't think we want to make basketball-size holes in people. Are they using that type of weaponry?"

"The criminals? Yes, they are."

"Well I don't think we need any basketball-size holes."

With that, Edmonson and Jordan seemed to agree it would be best for the department to prepare a report consideringbigger guns for the Tactical Narcotics Team. The meeting adjourned pleasantly. Calvin Godfrey


More Wackenhut Graft Charges
Filed under: News

This past week, a former Wackenhut guard accused Miami-Dade Security Manager Terry Grant of receiving kickback money to overlook contract mismanagement.

The evidence — third-hand allegations — might be slim, but if true, it explains how the massive fraud might have gone unnoticed at the highest levels of county government. Wackenhut is accused of bilking taxpayers of millions. Former Metrorail guard George Nietzsche said he was one of fifteen to twenty employees who received up to $28,000 annually for time not worked. "I didn't steal," he told Wackenhut's attorney during a three-and-a-half-hour videotaped deposition. "I was told to do something and I did it. I think Wackenhut actually stole from the county."

Nietzsche alleges that his supervisor, Robert Pereira, told him: "Don't worry about it." Grant had received $100,000 from the company, Pereira allegedly told him, "and he wasn't going to make a big deal about it."

Grant said he would not reply to accusations made in a deposition.

Nietzsche further claimed that a guard named Sterling Horn had approached Grant with a full complaint about the way Wackenhut was running the Metrorail contract. "Mr. Horn went directly to Terry Grant at the county," Nietzsche testified, alleging that Wackenhut immediately transferred Horn to a guard position on Star Island. Grant is quoted in a January 2006 Miami Heraldarticle as saying he hadn't heard any allegations of wrongdoing.

Miami-Dade Transit hired Grant in 1981 as a property manager in the Facilities Maintenance Department. He was prime overseer of Wackenhut's massive security contract until 1997, when he was promoted to security manager.

Reached by phone, Pereira, who now works at Wackenhut's office in Atlanta, laughed at the allegation. "No sir, no sir," he said, denying making the comment and adding that he had "no authorization to talk to news people."

Wackenhut's attorney, Christine Welstead, filed an emergency motion Wednesday, November 1, in an attempt to deny New Timesaccess to the deposition. By the time Mark Veith, the plaintiff's counsel, arrived in the courtroom, New Timeshad already viewed the four-and-a-half-hour tape. "I don't think George Nietzsche knows what he's talking about at all," Welstead said by telephone.

Sterling Horne could not be reached for comment. — Calvin Godfrey


Nice Wheels
Filed under: Flotsam

In front of the Setai hotel, the thing was shimmering — a pristine, pearl-painted spaceship boasting 16 cylinders, 1001 horsepower, and a $40,000 sound system. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4: at $1.3 million, the fastest and most expensive car in existence.

Costumed valets ogled from their podium, and passing dudes snapped pictures with camera phones. Grinning Swiss salesmen leaned into the autumn wind and proffered coffee and pastries.

The previous night, they had sat down at a table with a handful of automotive writers who sang the car's praises over champagne, wine, and five courses of high-end Asian fusion cuisine. Tom DuPont (publisher of the DuPont Registry) called the Veyron "a marvel."

"We expect most of the people who buy the car will never drive it," said George Keller, Bugatti's publicist. He drives a Volkswagen.

My copilot for the most ostentatious ride in human history was Bud, a race car driver from Pennsylvania, who took me on a sphincter-puckering two-second journey from 0 to 60.

Then it was my turn. The driver's seat (a white, sharply angled leather cradle) buzzed with the hum of the engine.

A key inserted into a small hole to my left, Bud informed me, would raise the Veyron's top speed to 254 miles per hour. Without the key, I could get to only 230.

I pulled off I-395 to see if I could go nuts on the road to Parrot Jungle Island. A state trooper parked under the bridge put the kibosh on that. Soon enough, I returned the thing to the Setai, fairly dejected.

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