Best Hero (2000)

Robert Beatty

Beatty stood up to the craven Miami city commissioners and mayor who couldn't stand up to their own constituents. And he didn't shrink from publicly admonishing them -- with eloquent directness -- for playing politics with the city's dire financial crisis. That was back in mid-1999, when Beatty was chairman of the governor's financial oversight board, the appointed body charged with guiding Miami back from its near-bankruptcy in 1996. Beatty, a corporate lawyer and former partner in the giant Holland and Knight firm, has since resigned from the oversight board and assumed the role of general counsel for the Miami Herald. He has caught some flak for taking the job in spite of his close association with numerous influential community organizations and powers that be. (He was criticized in 1998 when BellSouth, for whom he was general counsel, contributed to the re-election campaign of state Sen. Al Gutman after Gutman's indictment on Medicare fraud, witness tampering, and money laundering charges). Yet nothing can erase Beatty's history of constructive and occasionally heroic civic leadership. He has served on the boards of United Way, the Orange Bowl Committee, Leadership Florida, SunTrust Bank, Miami-Dade Community College Foundation, the Beacon Council, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and many more. Miami Business magazine, in naming him its 1999 "Business Leader of the Year," called Beatty "the conscience of our town."


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