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Perez-Roura Jr. also told detectives that he had met Miranda on several other occasions at the Latin American restaurant on 41st Street and paid him $2,000 and $3,000 to bribe city officials. The Versailles received various violations while Miranda was the engineer of record, Perez-Roura Jr. told detectives. But each time, they were dropped.
Then, in 2009, Miranda insisted the building needed a new fire alarm system. He arranged for another company to do the work for $70,000.
But after the system was installed, another inspector put the Versailles on fire watch because no permit had been issued for the work. The fire inspector — whose name was blacked out in the report — later took Versailles off that watch list, even though there still was no permit, presumably because he too had received money, Perez-Roura Jr. told detectives. The same inspector had also "signed a form stating the alarm installation job cost $1,000 (instead of $70,000)."
The Versailles was in shambles, but under protection thanks to the bribes. When another analyst found holes knocked clean through walls, hotel management simply said Miranda already knew about it, and no citation was given.
When the Versailles finally fired Miranda in 2009, the city issued a stop order on all construction until the hotel hired another architect. But when the new architect resubmitted the plans that Miranda had already had approved, they were rejected. The fire department suddenly found no less than 67 violations. Perez-Roura Jr. tried to speak with officials in the fire and building departments but was told "someone" had put a hold on the project.
(Rey Miranda adamantly denies ever paying a bribe. "That is a total lie," he says of Perez-Roura Jr.'s claims. "Anyone can accuse anyone of anything. Talk is very cheap. You have to ask yourself: How does someone benefit by throwing an accusation of that nature out there?")
Listening to this story, Gonzalez was aghast. "It just stank to high heaven," he says. "It sounded like someone was writing these [violations] off in order to get a payoff or at the orders of someone higher up."
On March 16, 2011, Dets. Azim and Travis met with then-Assistant State Attorney Joe Centorino to discuss the bribery accusations. Centorino told them that "no criminal activity [was] evident," according to the Special Investigations Unit report.
Perez-Roura Jr. also claims to have corresponded via email with Otero and Fire Marshal Sonia Machen regarding the corruption.
(After initially saying Perez-Roura Jr.'s name "did not ring a bell," Machen later emailed New Times to say that she did, in fact, remember Perez-Roura Jr. and that his allegations were "totally false" and "an attempt to discredit [her] so that the condo association would not have to incur the cost it would have taken to correct the fire code violations.")
"You know what I really don't understand?" Perez-Roura Jr. says. "I believe they have enough to do a real investigation, but I haven't seen them do anything."
Gonzalez was also stunned by the inaction. "I kept waiting to hear back about the case, but there was nothing." It didn't help that the new police chief, Ray Martinez, disbanded the Special Investigations Unit when he took over in March.
Even though no one was ever charged, Gonzalez believes his career was wrecked by taking the allegations to the cops. His performance evaluations plummeted, and his health began failing. "My life became miserable," he says.
Gonzalez finally quit after getting into a tit-for-tat September 5 with an assistant fire chief who suspected Gonzalez and another firefighter of tape-recording a meeting with him. Furious over the inaction and the hostile treatment, Gonzalez went home and typed up his resignation letter. He estimates he gave up $200,000 by leaving early.
"I couldn't take that type of harassment anymore," he says. "I was going to end up having a heart attack with all the games they were playing."
Yuri Moros's running shoes slapped the Venetian Causeway concrete. It was a blazing-hot August afternoon in 2005, and the Venezuelan professional trainer was staying in shape. Life was good. Business was taking off. Pop star Ricky Martin had endorsed his workout regimen. And Moros had recently gotten married.
Suddenly, Moros heard a screech. A silver Hummer had pulled a U-turn and was slowly following him. When he glanced over his shoulder, he saw a familiar figure shouting angrily — his wife's ex-husband, Adonis Garcia.
Moros was all too familiar with the six-foot-three firefighter who seemed to relish opportunities to intimidate his replacement, so he turned up the volume on his iPod and tried to ignore him. Instead, Garcia reached into his glove compartment and pulled out a handgun, according to a police report. Then he aimed it at Moros, who fled down a side street. Garcia was charged with aggravated assault, though prosecutors later declined to pursue the case.
In the years since, Garcia has risen from rank-and-file firefighter to one of the most powerful members of Miami Beach Fire Rescue: a captain, a union president, and even the department's official spokesperson.
But Garcia's personal travails echo the problems that have multiplied under his and Otero's leadership, as the department has been rocked by scandals, firefighter arrests, and two lawsuits over sexual and racial harassment.
jose smith the city attorney has been the the longest and perhaps he is the corruption problem in miami beach.
Take a look at the New MB Risk Manager from MDC omg she worked with Risk Mgr. Miguel Solomon who fired for setting up fake insurance claims. Now MB has this adjuster from MDC to help City Atty Jose Smith settle cases with out anyone looking at anything.. Super Job HR dept, and the want to be City Manager Kathie Brooks... Is anyone paying attention to what they are doing???Hello Inspector General all the dirt is buried in the Risk Mgt Dept and the City Attorneys Office. Oh I forgot that is not open to Public Records...
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Sure sounds alot like the MIA /305 that I know. What, you didn't think the banana republic just went away, did you? Another example of how you can do whatever you want in Miami, as long as your money is green.