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If it wasn't already official, it is now: North Miami has the sleaziest politics in Dade. Consider the town's latest tangled web, which involves a finalist for mayor getting secretly recorded talking about her ladyparts.
In the days leading up to the May 14 city election, candidate Lucie Tondreau got into a verbal joust with a supporter of Smith Joseph, one of her five opponents. Tondreau says she was in front of the North Miami Public Library for early voting when Joseph's friend, a Haitian-American man she knows only as "Castro," called her a whore. "I don't know if that is his real name or his street name," Tondreau says, "but we got into an argument. He managed to push the wrong button."
So Tondreau, who is a Haitian-American radio host and community activist, told Castro that she must have something to offer because she can have as many men as she wants. She then bragged about the "sweetness" of, well, her vagina. "Because my coco is douce," she said, using Kreyol slang for female genitalia.
What Tondreau didn't know was that Castro was secretly recording her with an app on his cell phone. She claims he then gave the audio to a rival host at Radio Mega 1700 AM who aired the recording May 10. The snippet also made its way to watchdog blogger Stephanie Kienzle, who posted a video with the audio on her site, votersopinion.com.
"They played it in order to destroy me," she says, "but it backfired on them."
Indeed, Tondreau ended up placing second with 27.5 percent of the vote. She earned a runoff with former Mayor Kevin Burns, who nabbed 33.2 percent. Joseph, who placed third, says he didn't know about Castro's recording nor does he know the man's full name.
Tondreau's ladyparts-gate is just one of the gross episodes that turned the North Miami mayoral race into a uniquely bizarre affair. Candidate Anna Pierre, a former pop singer who recorded a tune in the '90s about putting "the sugar on my candy," claimed someone used vodou on her and that Jesus Christ had personally endorsed her. (She came in dead last.) Another contender, Jean Marcellus, was punched in the mouth at his campaign office by a former business partner.
Tondreau says it is sad that her detractors resorted to goading her into saying something inappropriate and recording it for political gain. "There is no need to go that low," she says. "Run on your own record. You don't have to personally smear someone."