Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke revisits the ongoing saga of suspended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.
Turns out Michelle Spence-Jones was telling the truth. And the evidence clearing her of using a forged letter to obtain $50,000 in county grants was sitting inside one of 52 boxes that Assistant State Attorney Richard Scruggs reviewed before he decided to charge Spence-Jones with grant theft.
This makes me believe more than ever that the suspended city
commissioner was targeted for political reasons.
To recap: Scruggs's
star witness, Barbara Carey-Shuler, says she authorized releasing the
funds to a company owned by Spence-Jones and her family. The former
county commissioner changed her testimony after Spence-Jones's attorney
showed her drafts of the letter. They were written by Carey-Shuler, who
blames Scruggs for the foulup. She forgot writing them; then the
prosecutor neglected to show her the documents during two meetings.
So how is it that a veteran prosecutor, who spent many years as an
assistant U.S. attorney, overlooked the drafts? His job is to seek the
truth. Instead, he presented Carey-Shuler and everyone else with only
half of the facts.
Sometimes it is not about seeking the truth. Sometimes it is about
destroying a person's character in the court of public opinion. Dallas
Cowboys great Michael Irvin once told reporters who were covering his
legal troubles to write about his vindication with the same intensity
they had described accusations against him.
When you are a public figure
and you are accused of wrongdoing, the media puts the spotlight on you.
They splash you on the front pages of newspapers and make you the top
story on the evening newscast.
When Spence-Jones was arrested, every local news outlet crucified her.
The Miami Herald ran a front-page story the day before she was formally
arrested. Yet when Carey-Shuler's deposition was made public this past
July 14, WPLG 10's Michael Putney and Miami New Times were the only ones
to report it. The Herald waited two days to catch up, publishing a
story this past July 16, on a Saturday, the day no one reads the paper.
News stations such as Telemundo 51, Univision 23, WSVN 7, and NBC 6
didn't report it at all.
In my mind, there is no doubt the two criminal cases brought against
Spence-Jones are bogus and meant to keep her out of office. That way,
her enemies can capitalize on all the money that is pouring into the
Overtown and Omni community redevelopment agencies. They are sitting on
close to $60 million that is supposed to be used to redevelop those
With Spence-Jones out of the way, her greatest
enemy, Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, can now dictate what happens
with that money. He is now chairman of the Omni CRA.
And don't expect Rev. Richard Dunn, the man appointed by the city
commission to sit in Spence-Jones's seat, to oppose Sarnoff.
If he wants
to win the November election, Dunn has to be down with the
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commissioners who got rid of this lady. Or else they are going to get
rid of him too.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.