This week, North Miami mayoral candidate Frank Wolland went on the offensive for the city's upcoming May 12 municipal election by having a volunteer dress up in a chicken suit and tail opponent Andre Pierre at this past Tuesday's city council meeting and at yesterday's mayoral candidate forum.
Wolland is calling Pierre a chicken because the Haitian-American lawyer won't divulge to voters some very important information about himself.
Specifically, Pierre has been reluctant to say anything about his 4.9 percent ownership interest in North Miami Ltd., a partnership created by the developers of Biscayne Landing, a troubled 193-acre residential and office project being built on a former Munisport landfill just east of Biscayne Boulevard.
For more than a year, Boca Developers, the company that is developing Biscayne Landing, has been fighting with lenders over components of the project. In 2008, Boca Developers faced five demands from lenders to turn over property at Biscayne Landing, including a 323-unit condo building. In addition, the developer owes North Miami more than $1.5 million in rent payments. Biscayne Landing sits on city-owned land.
Considering all the drama surrounding Boca Developers, North Miami voters have a right to know that one of the mayoral candidates has a lot of stake with the developer. According to city documents, Boca Developers set aside 5,800 units for affordable housing that North Miami Housing will sell and rent to low-income families. Each unit would sell for around $150,000. When you do the math, Pierre's interest represents a potential windfall of $5.5 million.
Granted, in today's economic recession, Pierre won't see any dividends anytime soon, unless he has or intends to sell his interest in North Miami Housing -- a question he has dodged throughout the mayoral campaign.
Editor's Note: Andre Pierre sent New Times the following response to the above piece: