During his tenure, Timoney also lost the confidence of 4,520 police union members, screamed "Fuck the Cubans!" at an Ocean Drive magazine party, and accepted a free Lexus SUV from a Miami auto dealer and then lied about it. The ethics commission later fined him $500 plus $342 in administrative costs because he didn't disclose the SUV gift, and the city docked him a week's pay of $4,348.

Timoney also butted heads with the city's Civilian Independent Panel, a watchdog agency set up to investigate police misconduct. Timoney flat-out refused to turn over records related to the Lexus.

"I saw some positive things," says Janet McAliley, the CIP's former executive director. "But I also saw the negatives, especially his handling of people in the streets during the FTAA and his dislike of civilian oversight boards."

Manny Diaz's term as Miami mayor wasn't as great as he wants you to think.
Courtesy of Miami Book Fair International
Manny Diaz's term as Miami mayor wasn't as great as he wants you to think.

The Miami Marlins' new ballpark: There is no doubt that our unprecedented investments served to strengthen our neighborhoods, create jobs, increase property values, and lower taxes. It also became evident that for Miami to continue growing, investments in other large-scale projects in the urban core would be necessary (pg. 155-156).

For years, Marlins Park was a pet project for Diaz, who became a major architect of the final deal for the $560 million stadium in Little Havana. A year before the deal passed in 2009, an ecstatic Diaz told the Herald the neighborhood was due for a "major economic boost."

"Wouldn't it be great to have baseball and soccer and shops and restaurants — a place to sit down and have a beer with friends — in that neighborhood?" he added.

Everyone knows how that turned out. Taxpayers have been saddled with $2.5 billion in debt service over the next four decades. The 37,000-seat stadium, which Diaz swore would transform Little Havana, has had a laughably tiny impact.

The Marlins ended up ranking dead last in first-year attendance of any new ballpark in the past decade, drawing an average of only 27,400 fans per game. And that economic prosperity that Diaz pledged is nowhere in sight. Northwest Seventh Street is still a stretch of low-rent markets and cantinas with iron bars on the windows. The 53,281 square feet of retail shops on the first floor of the stadium's garages didn't attract a single tenant during the season.

Now that the Marlins have traded away their best players and slashed payroll, there is no reason to expect a renaissance anytime soon. And to top it off, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is still investigating the city for allegedly lying to bond holders.

Peter Ehrlich, a Miami property owner who cofounded the activist group Scenic Miami, says Diaz outright deceived taxpayers. "When it came to supporting stupid decisions that were contrary to common sense, Manny Diaz was the biggest cheerleader."

Diaz's affordable-housing record: Part of the problem was that the city's affordable-housing efforts relied on people who couldn't get the job done, who had no experience building anything... Some projects went as far back as the 1980s, with nothing built on the land (pg. 107-108).

Diaz boasts in Miami Transformed that his administration secured $1.1 billion in affordable-housing projects by the time he left office. What he doesn't mention are the serious housing scandals that erupted under his nose.

In fact, his regime so mishandled affordable housing that it sparked the Miami Herald's award-winning "House of Lies" series, which reported these findings, among others:

• In Overtown, the city had paid almost $1.4 million between 1997 and 2007 to B.A.M.E. Development Corp., a nonprofit connected to a local church, which proposed to build 40 houses for the poor. After years of delays, the group ran out of money and the city tore down the unfinished homes at a $45,000 cost to taxpayers.

• In Coconut Grove, the city failed to collect on a $272,000 loan given to a shopping center developer 22 years earlier. Nearly a dozen other borrowers were in default for years, some even decades, including a federal magistrate who did not repay a $1.9 million loan he owed the city for 20 years.

• A $1.1 million debt owed by Diaz's campaign manager, Al Lorenzo, went unpaid for more than a decade until Diaz's administration forgave the loan, which was meant to fix up 61 low-income apartments in Overtown and Wynwood. Most of the buildings fell into disrepair and were eventually torn down at the city's expense.

Then, in late 2003, Diaz's city government cut a new deal with a company owned by Lorenzo's business partner, Salomon Yuken. He received an additional $1.2 million loan, some of which he used to pay down Lorenzo's old debt and unpaid property taxes. Yuken claimed he would use the rest of the money to build 30 houses on the Overtown lots.

Today the properties remain barren, the city has initiated foreclosure proceedings against Yuken, and Lorenzo walked away without paying back a dime.

Max Rameau, a former Miami affordable-housing activist who led a homeless takeover of vacant city-owned land during Diaz's administration, says the ex-mayor's efforts priced out poor residents. "Manny Diaz's assertions that he did something positive for affordable housing is appalling. Instead of building houses and apartments that low-income people could afford, he wanted to provide publicly subsidized housing for the middle class at the expense of Miami's poorest citizens. It is really galling for someone who was significantly responsible for creating the real estate devastation in Miami to take credit for creating affordable housing."

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Mr. Alvarado’s “review” is based on the premise that if you disagree with him, then you must be a liar.Nowhere does Mr. Alvarado make any factual assertions to contradict any of the facts in the book.This is perhaps because he did not read it in full, a practice that seems all too commonplace.When attacking someone, why read what he has to say?

Alvarado accuses Diaz of not covering topics that Alvarado is interested in, so this transgression makes Diaz a liar.This accusatory practice is alive and well in totalitarian regimes, the Republican Party, and now the New Times.

By all accounts, Diaz was a successful mayor and has become the object of national acclaim.This makes him a target of lesser men.It is nothing new for the unsuccessful to attack those who succeed; jealousy is a bad thing.Perhaps Mr. Alvarado should ask why he did not score "the gig of the weekend" to interview Mr. Tom Wolfe?Or why the current mayor (also a purported journalist) was not given that honor?

George Hoover
George Hoover

Dracula the bloodsucking politico que no sabe na'

Gabe Yunes
Gabe Yunes

this fool always reminds me of ''kiko'' from el chavo de 8 lol!!

Miguel Alfaro
Miguel Alfaro

"Quien no tenga pecado que lance la primera piedra". Mentiroso o no, este Alcalde me compro' una pintura, al igual que Carollo, a quienes les estare' eternamente agradecido!

miamitrev2 topcommenter

This is the type of stuff MNT should focus on

Congrats on your first solid article of the year

drakemallard topcommenter

If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ' "The public sucks. Elect me." Put the blame where it belongs: on the people.”

If we lie to the government, we go to jail. If they lie to us, and they do it all the time, it’s not a problem. People used to believe that our better days were ahead of us as a nation, but I think that our better days are behind us


Great article, way to get the truth out there.

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