Recall Tomas Regalado

Then there's Larry Spring, who resigned as chief financial officer in early June, about two weeks before Igwe was let go.

So who's left at city hall to represent black Miami? City clerk Priscilla Thompson? Community development head George Mensah? Parks director Ernest Burkeen?

"I've known Tomás for 30 years and there's not a racist bone in his body," activist and black-Miami historian Marvin Dunn says. "But perceptions do matter, and he has a major image problem on his hands today in a part of the city that's really hurting."

Mayor Tomás Regalado needs to go.
Mayor Tomás Regalado needs to go.

5. The Feds Are Investigating His Administration

Fifteen years ago, Merrett Stierheim was hired as city manager to save Miami from bankruptcy. When he opened the books, Stierheim couldn't believe what he found. "Within 36 hours, I knew the budget was phony," he says. Federal investigators eventually sent former City Manager Cesar Odio to jail, Tallahassee took over city finances, and Stierheim put together a plan to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.

So when Stierheim read recently that the feds were again closing in on Miami's budget keepers, he didn't just feel frustration — he felt betrayed. "Tomás Regalado was part of the commission that could have solved this problem," he says. "Instead, they ignored it yet again."

Now the feds are about to whack the city for the same crimes Stierheim found. Investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first moved in to seize documents and subpoenaed officials in December 2009. Miami's budget chiefs allegedly had been trying to hide just how deep they were dipping into their strategic reserves — which stood at $141 million just eight years ago — to balance the books as the city lost millions.

Bureaucrats are accused of illegally boosting general funds with $26.4 million in restricted capital improvement cash.

Meanwhile, the city sold $250 million in public bonds to finance boondoggles such as the billion-dollar Port of Miami tunnel and the Marlins stadium garages — perhaps misleading bond investors.

"How this could happen again is anyone's guess," says David Chase, a former SEC investigator who helped probe the city's finances back then. "Welcome to South Florida."

Regalado says he thinks the city will soon reach a settlement with the feds. But with every passing day, legal fees mount. The city already has spent three-quarters of a million bucks defending itself during Regalado's tenure. "It's very sad," Stierheim says.

6. Signs and Red-Light Cameras Are a Failure

To fill a massive, $105 million budget hole last year, Regalado had two brilliant schemes: red-light cameras and new billboards. "Both ideas have been total failures as revenue streams for the city," says Peter Ehrlich, a former city consultant and cofounder of Scenic Miami, an anti-billboard group. "It was all smoke and mirrors from day one."

So perhaps Regalado pushed the project because a longtime buddy and campaign consultant made thousands off the red-light camera deal, and his campaign was heavily subsidized by billboard companies.

In late 2009, Regalado's then-city manager, Carlos Migoya, proposed installing dozens of red-light cameras. On September 17, he awarded a contract worth $152,000 a month to a company called American Traffic Solutions — a firm that was paying Armando Gutierrez, Regalado's campaign consultant and friend, as its chief lobbyist.

Though Migoya promised $8 million in revenues from tickets, the cameras have brought in at most only $700,000 so far, Regalado admits. But the mayor says he isn't disappointed: "We've seen a real reduction in traffic accidents at those lights, so I don't mind if zero revenue comes in."

Then there are the billboards. Regalado's campaign reports show he received at least $8,000 from ad firms, including Fuel Outdoor, Clear Channel, and World Wide Rush.

In his first 20 months, Regalado and his administration have allowed a half-dozen new digital billboards that flash tens of thousands of ads a day. They've also rewritten the sign code, allowing dozens of new gigantic "murals" — draped, building-size ads. And behind the scenes, Regalado supported magnate Mark Siffin's failed bid to erect 40-story digital towers near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

But the signs violate county, state, and federal laws against advertising. And they don't even bring in that much cash. At most, the city receives about $3 million a year from signs, Ehrlich says.

That hasn't stopped Regalado from supporting the city's efforts to opt out of the county's billboard rules (an effort that has so far stalled in committee).

"There's no coincidence that sign companies have flooded campaign contributions to the mayor," Ehrlich says. "Ultimately, plastering Miami in advertising will hurt revenues more than it will help, but the ad companies will be rolling in cash."

7. The Cops Have Run Amok

Get this: The mayor of Miami has not spoken a single word to his police chief in more than six months. Regalado's lawyers won't let him talk to Miguel Exposito, New Times has learned, because the chief has complained to the FBI about the mayor and accused his administration of bribery and mob ties.

But that's OK. Why would a mayor need to "talk" to his police chief? He has only led his department to its lowest point since the end of the '90s with a rash of contentious police shootings, a botched corruption raid, an ugly public fight over gambling, and an embarrassing flap over a reality show.

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30 comments
pirtdab
pirtdab

We don't HAVE to stand for this type of corruption. We can, and deserve to have better.

 For the rest of us who actually CARE about the future of our City and our quality of life,
 HERE is the name you need to know: 

                              JEFF BENJAMIN!

For those of us who live in the City of Miami, and want to see a positive and lasting change in our community; the choice is clear.

Jeff Has been running a grassroots campaign, and has clearly gotten the cold shoulder from every major media outlet in South Florida; yet he still hasn't quit.

Jeff is the most highly educated candidate in the field; holding a PhD in neuroscience. Unlike his opponents, Jeff is not a carrier politician. He has a day job that actually benefits people in our community, in his work with Alzheimer's patients.

Jeff actually has plans to HELP this City grow in a sustainable fashion. His plans for increased affordable public transportation, and the use of energy efficient technology to reduce our carbon foot print while saving taxpayers money; are items untouched by any other candidate out there...and they are just the tip of the iceberg. As you look deeper, you can find that he also has plans to increase trade with the Caribbean, and create thousands of new jobs that will actually provide a decent living wage. He has vowed to root out corruption, by any means necessary; including asking for help from the Department of Justice. -And all that from his page and the few interviews you can find on him.  Imagine if the media did its job to inform the citizenry and actually paid attention to him...

Do the research, get educated, and VOTE November 5th;
for a Candidate you can ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN!
Vote For JEFF BENJAMIN!

Windmichael21
Windmichael21

the most corrupt town in miami dade is bay harbor islands-there has never been spanish commisioner there even though the town is 70 percent latino,let regalato be the chief in bay harbor islands and give him a banana.

Al Crespo
Al Crespo

Police and firefighters call for union votes to recall His Ignorance, Tomas Regalado.

Fire 500 now
Fire 500 now

Tomas Regalado and Johnny Martinez need to reduce pay and benefits for all 4,200 employees immediately. Concurrently, they must fire 500. Reducing the headcount to 3,400 to 3,500 should have been done years ago.

Is Regalado too stupid to know what needs to be done? Is he surrounded by too many idiots?

Sleep walking chump
Sleep walking chump

City of Miami fires it's disgraced CFO Larry Spring. Rookie City Manager Tony Crappola leaves under a cloud taking huge severance checks on his way out the door.

Regalado sleep walks from one disaster to another.

City failing
City failing

Regalado is a bumbling fool. How about the Gucci wearing commissioner Marc Sarnoff? He demands the City pay a policeman to be his chauffeur. Then he gives raises to his cronies.

BeReal
BeReal

This article is a good but I can assure you it is only the surface. The city’s corruption is overwhelming and honestly scary enough to be in the movies. The layers of corruption, mismanagement, bad processes, and backroom deals (to name a few) are massive. Working at the city nowadays is like working in a hostile and violent environment. The corruption starts from as low as employees taking ineligible paid time off (PTO) spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to hiring friends and family into $100K+ roles. You point out some interesting names Victor Igwe, Priscilla Thompson, I suggest you get the story straight about Victor Igwe – the only real fact here is that he is African American. You may want to start with his contract; 45 Paid Vacation Day Per Year, Hundreds of accumulated vacation hours, thousands of accumulated Sick Hours, no different for Priscilla Thompson, Julie Brue, to mention a few. Sadly there are “few” good employees (keyword “few”) and unfortunately their efforts are tarnished by the rest of the garbage. There’s no fixing the City of Miami – the culture of corruption is embedded well into its structure.

305soldier
305soldier

You guys had a chance to get him when he was taking gas from a city card for personal use. That was ten years ago, the monster has now grown into miilions in mismanagement and defrauding the taxpayers.

Mayor Corrupt?
Mayor Corrupt?

What's up with Regalado? He is a novice mayor with a low IQ and corrupt friends.

Regalado is a crook
Regalado is a crook

Tomas Regalado and his friends and campaign manager have been raping the taxpayers for years.

Anyone notice Regalado trying to give the Marine Stadium site to his buddy Manny Puch, the shyster lawyer?

Guest
Guest

None of that stuff yoiu mentioned can be pegged on Regal.

Mikeabo
Mikeabo

Only 5 pages this article is way to short

CHARTERREFORMNOW
CHARTERREFORMNOW

Small mind, just because the old County Mayor and the new County Mayor share the same first name, that does not make the new Mayor a "virtual carbon copy" of the old Mayor. Why don't you try researching the issue. If you did, you would find that the New Mayor was the Old Mayor's loudest critic on the County Commission, and not just recently, since 2004 when they were both elected. Really, comments like that really put into question your credibility, assuming you had any to begin with.

El_Bananero
El_Bananero

Regalado has never answered what he did with Torriente's briefcase. You did not mention that in your story.

305soldier
305soldier

Thank you for writing what the Propaganda Herald refuses to. Its a shame that we live in such a clueless city. A city that we allow these crooks to walk in and stuff their pockets with taxpayer money. Only 10 to 15% percent of the population here votes

How do these crooks get elected? pastellitos. Read the http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com...local politician talks about voting scams.

Fcking incredible!!

Regalado bites
Regalado bites

Tomas Regalado has been a total failure as Mayor. The City must reduce pay and benefits to its 4,200 employees. In fact, Regalado must get new novice City Manager to fire over 500 employees with the worst attitudes.

Will Regaldo and Martinez be men and fire 500 slackers?Or will they be cowards?

Miamian
Miamian

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Insiders know how bad things really are and the bloggers are doing a pretty good job in uncovering all the dirt under Regalado's regime. Highly qualified staff are jumping ship or being laid off for not doing the dirty dealings asked of them. That will result in many lawsuits and cost taxpayers. The city is scrambling to find good talent in many department and the cronies are destroying the little good that existed. All of this will have long time repercussions to get the City to bounce back. Tim: Regalado is close to Braman, so in this case, Braman is not the man for the recall. If we wait on that, it will never happen. Braman needs Regalado to build his Kia dealership in Wynwood and who knows where else.

Nan1052
Nan1052

This is an example of why I'm so glad to no longer live in Miami (Mee-ah-mee)

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

welcome to the banana republic

nepotism that how you get a job in miami  just ask the city workers

"a college degree does not guarantee a job"

Nepotism in the workplace

Under Florida law, public officials are banned from "appointing, promoting, employing, advancing or advocating for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement in or to a position in the agency in which he serves or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative." For example, if a municipal chairperson recommends or appoints his daughter for a clerical position in his office, then he is running afoul of Florida nepotism law

Under Florida law, the legal definition of what constitutes a relative for the purposes of nepotism in public employment is clearly defined. In fact, the law provides a laundry list of familial labels that constitute nepotism. These labels are "father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister.

Jhonny Seafood
Jhonny Seafood

uhh if memory serves me correct Teele shot himself in the NEW TIMES lobby

DaGuerre
DaGuerre

Angel Zayon is 30 years old? Better check that.

loveboat2010
loveboat2010

Thanks to people like you this just may happen, a small but meaningful dent on the banana republic..

Epw101
Epw101

Did you even read the article?? Employees are not even mentioned in the story.... Move on already... We were decimated last year to the turn of over 25% per employee....

Julian Munoz
Julian Munoz

Greed and corruption are an American pastime! The "me" culture is what helped construct the fable story of an American Dream.

Jose D. Duran
Jose D. Duran

Teele shot himself in the lobby of the Herald building after talking with DeFede over the phone, who taped the conversation without Teele's knowledge and was subsequently fired from the paper for doing so.

seep
seep

Memory does not serve you correct(ly).

 
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