With the primary election six days away, undecided voters usually turn to the Miami Herald's editorial board to help them decide who is the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, Miami's only daily failed miserably when it came to its picks for District 2 county commissioner and District 35 state senator.
The editorial board selected Joe Celestin and Kevin Burns, respectively. The two former North Miami mayors have some serious financial troubles that would give voters pause. But the Herald thinks they are just perfect for public office. Yeah, right.
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As noted here previously, Burns -- who is running against former county commissioner and state Sen. Gwen Margolis -- has not been paying his mortgage, and this past April he was ordered to pay $118,000 in a lawsuit he lost. He also bounced a check with the state division of elections and left a $75,000 debt on his U.S. Senate campaign, which he abandoned. In addition to his money problems, Burns has also been fined twice in three weeks by the division of elections for not filing his campaign finance reports on time.
Celestin, who preceded Burns as North Miami mayor, is one of several candidates vying to unseat incumbent county Commissioner Dorrin Rolle -- who definitely needs to go because he ran the James E. Scott Community Association into oblivion. But Celestin could be just as bad. The first Haitian-American elected as mayor of a Miami-Dade city had to pay two separate final judgments totaling $243,000 during the '90s.
And he owes half-a-million dollars to a company owned by local developer Michael Swerdlow for an unpaid loan. To satisfy his debt, Celestin's property at 396 NW 159th Street will be sold at a foreclosure auction on September 30.