After raising nearly a million bucks to unseat four Miami-Dade County Commissioners in the August 14 primary, it seems billionaire auto magnate Norman Braman threw in the towel. According to the last three financial reports for his political action committee Change Miami Dade Now, Braman only chipped in $80,000 for the county commission run-off races in which Luis Garcia and Keon Hardemon failed in their bids to unseat Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson, respectively.
Meanwhile, lobbyists and several VIPs kept on giving to a pair of PACs supporting the two incumbents.
More than half of the money Braman gave to Change Miami Dade Now went to pay for the services of FIU professor and political consultant Dario Moreno. Braman did not give any more money to his other PAC, Vote For A New Miami-Dade Inc. after September 10.
However, Miami-Dade Citizens For Real Reform and Transparency in Government raised a quarter million dollars to help Barreiro and Edmonson. Of that amount, $50,000 came from the Miami Marlins, whose owner Jeffrey Loria owes the pair for getting him his ballpark, and $26,500 from Miami Dolphins owner Stephan Ross, who is looking to the county to foot the bill on improvements to Sun Life Stadium.
Other big donors included the Dade County Police Benevolent Association ($30,000), the Fountainbleau Hotel ($10,000) and lobbyists Brian May ($3,000), Ron Book ($2,500), and Miguel de Grandy ($2,000).
One of the committees spent a ton of money on consultants working for Edmonson's reelection campaign including Irby McKnight ($7,500) and Willis Howard ($22,640). Miami-Dade Citizens For Real Reform also paid $5,680 to Miami Gardens political operative Noucelie Josna, who bills herself as "Queen of Absentee Ballots" on her business card.
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The payment was made three days before Leon County Judge Charles Francis approved an order calling on police to track her down and haul her into his court.
Josna is one of two central figures in North Miami Rep. John Patrick Julien's lawsuit challenging the results of the August 14 primary race against Rep. Barbara Watson, who won a razor-thin election by 13 votes. Julien alleges Josna and Carline Paul gathered fraudulent absentee ballots from nursing and retirement homes.