Suspended West Miami Mayor Cesar Carasa is one loquacious hombre. Over three years, the 58-year-old Cuban-American divorcé racked up $70,756.37 in calls to the Dominican Republic using his city-issued cell phone.
Better yet, most of the 10,000-plus calls were placed to lady friends whom Carasa met during frequent vacations to the Caribbean nation.
This past November 30, he was criminally charged for improperly using his taxpayer-funded phone. Shortly thereafter, Gov. Charlie Crist suspended him.
Prosecutors also whacked him for attempting to cadge city employees into making the bill go away.
After reading testimony from a cruisin' buddy — Humberto Amaro — that Carasa "likes the women in the Dominican Republic," New Times got curious. So we dialed some of the phone numbers that appear repeatedly on Carasa's phone records. What follows are the results:
829-365-8767: Carasa keyed it in 220 times between June 22 and September 10 last year. A woman named Santagracia De Leon Cabral answered:
New Times: What can you tell me about Mr. Carasa?
Santagracia De Leon Cabral: He was my boyfriend.
NT: When did you and Mr. Carasa break up?
SDLC: About a year ago.
SDLC: He had some problem. He told me he couldn't come to the Dominican Republic. But I can't tell you exactly what it was because he didn't tell me.
NT: How long did you and Mr. Carasa date?
SDLC: It wasn't that long. Maybe a couple of months.
NT: Where did you meet?
SDLC: In Santo Domingo. I was working in a shoe store.
NT: Were you attracted to him right away?
SDLC: He was charming, a nice man. He treated me nice.
NT: How old are you?
SDLC: Twenty-four years old.
NT: Did he do anything romantic to sweep you off your feet?
SDLC: Can you call me tomorrow? I'm very busy right now.
NT: Sure, when would be a good time?
SDLC: In the late afternoon.
De Leon Cabral did not return subsequent messages left on her voicemail.
809-964-9014: Carasa dialed it 76 times between June 22 and September 10 last year. A woman who said her name was Jacqueline Lachabeel answered:
New Times: Hi, I am a reporter with a newspaper in Miami and I am writing about Cesar Carasa. You know him?
Jacqueline Lachabeel: Yes, he is a friend of mine.
NT: Are you aware that he has been arrested because he made more than $70,000 in unauthorized calls to and from the Dominican Republic?
JL: No, I don't know anything about that. We're just friends.
NT: How long have you known Mr. Carasa?
JL: Two years.
NT: How did you meet him?
JL: I was working in a retail shoe store and he came in to sell us shoes. He took my number so he could call me whenever I had more business for him. We are business friends.
NT: I see. Well, did he ever ask you out to lunch or take you out to dinner?
JL: No, we are just business friends.
NT: Sure, I understand. But sometimes friends who do business together go out to lunch or have dinner, you know, talk to each other. But you never did any of that with Mr. Carasa?
JL: No sir, never... And really, he didn't call me that much.
NT: Then why does his phone bill show he called your cell phone 76 times?
JL: I don't know, but I rarely spoke to him. And I only saw him two, three times. And it was to sell me shoes. Nothing more.
809-481-1157: Carasa called it 140 times between June 22 and September 10 last year. A woman named Judith Thomas Sosa answered:
New Times: I need to ask you questions about Cesar Carasa.
Judith Thomas Sosa: What would you like to know?
NT: When did the two of you meet?
JTS: Approximately two years ago.
NT: How did you meet?
JTS: A mutual friend introduced us because he needed someone to advise him on personal legal matters. I am an attorney.
NT: What kind of legal matters?
JTS: I am not at liberty to say. But it did not involve his position as the mayor.
NT: Well, it must have been some serious legal matters. I see on his phone records he called you often and you spoke for long periods. For instance, Mr. Carasa called you on August 12, 2008, at 9:55 p.m. and the call lasted 43 minutes. Two months earlier, there was another 43-minute call around the same time, close to 10 p.m.
JTS: I'm sorry, but I have to go now.
809-688-1546: Carasa called it 69 times between June 22 and September 10. A woman named Ruth Peña answered the phone:
New Times: How do you know Mr. Carasa?
Ruth Peña: I know him through my boss, his friend, Sen. Adriano de Jesús Sánchez Roa. We met several years ago.
NT: How would you describe your relationship with Mr. Carasa?
RP: We are friends.
NT: Has he visited you when he goes to the Dominican Republic?
RP: Yes, we have gotten together on several occasions.
NT: What do you do when you've gotten together?
RP: Catch up. He tells me what is going on in Miami. I tell him what is going on here in Elías Piña, the province the senator represents. He complains a lot about not getting paid to be mayor.
NT: I see in his phone records that he calls you a lot. What do you guys talk about?
RP: Just your typical friendly conversations. "Hi. How are you? How is your family? etc."
NT: Has Mr. Carasa ever asked you out on a date?
RP: No. Why?
NT: Well, some of his friends say he really likes Dominican women.
RP: Who doesn't? [Laughs.]
NT: Are you shocked that he's been arrested for making more than $70,000 in calls to the Dominican Republic that he wasn't supposed to make?
RP: Well, yes. Shocked that he was arrested. But I'm sure it's a misunderstanding. He didn't strike me as the type of person who would steal.
829-922-0673: Carasa punched those digits 96 times between June 22 and September 10 last year. A woman named Lizzie answered the phone. She would not give her last name.
New Times: Well, I'm calling to find out what you know about Cesar Carasa.
Lizzie: I don't know him.
NT: Well, I have his phone records, and they show he called you frequently.
L: This phone used to belong to my friend Karla. She knows him.
NT: Well, can you give me her new number?
L: I can give her your information so she can call you.
NT: OK. Do you know how Mr. Carasa knows Karla?
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L: Karla owns a business in Santo Domingo that sells shoes and clothes. I think that's how she knows him.
NT: I see. Please give her my phone number.
L: OK, bye-bye.
Karla did not call New Times.