BEST CHUTZPAH Jeffrey Berkowitz For some unfathomable reason, developer Jeffrey Berkowitz wants to inflict on South Florida more so-called art from Romero Britto, as if Britto's infantile decorations weren't already ubiquitous. Berkowitz and partner Alan Potamkin are about to begin construction of a cramped shopping mall and parking garage at the main entrance to Miami Beach -- Fifth Street and Alton Road. A big project like that will spin off substantial money intended for the city's Art in Public Places program (AIPP). Normally the AIPP committee would decide how that construction surtax would be spent and where the resulting art would end up. Berkowitz had a better idea: He'd commission Britto to produce a monumental piece of "art" for his project, which would become the de facto welcoming symbol for visitors to Miami Beach. Not surprisingly the AIPP committee cried foul. Berkowitz sneered: It's my project and my money and I'll do what I want with it. And if the city doesn't like it, tough. Tough indeed. Berkowitz had made a deal whereby he'd sell the potentially lucrative parking garage to Miami Beach at cost. But the committee's snobbish, elitist resistance to Britto led the developer to threaten to break that deal, keep the garage himself, reduce its size, and add more retail space. How's that for (infantile) chutzpah?

BEST CITIZEN Kimberly Green www.greenff.org Kimberly Green is what Miami desperately needs: a native daughter who has applied all of her intelligence and ambition to make this a better place. She is the thirtysomething daughter of former Samsonite CEO Steven Green, who created the Green Family Foundation with his wife Dorothea in 1991. Kimberly took over the foundation in 1997 with a sense of purpose that threatens to swamp anyone who comes in contact with her. No posh South Beach fundraisers for her, no hobnobbing with the rich and powerful. Green took her money to the ghetto, helping fund HIV clinics in Liberty City, computer-literacy labs in Little Haiti, and early-childhood-development programs for underprivileged families throughout the city. She became seriously involved in funding Project Medishare's clinic in Haiti and even spent three years producing a documentary about the lack of healthcare in that country's rural provinces. In a city where narcissism and triviality too often guide the privileged, Green's devotion to improving the lot of others is inspiring. As she likes to say, quoting Seneca: "He who gives when he is asked has waited too long."

BEST CRIMINAL CONVICTION IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

Philip Gratz

BEST CRIMINAL CONVICTION IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS Philip Gratz Hey, dummy, stop shaking your head in wonder at how wise guys end up with million-dollar homes, luxury cars, and extravagant vacations. Here's how: They spend other people's money. Feel stupid? At least you weren't among the boneheads across the country, three of whom resided in South Florida, who sent some $8.9 million to purported stock investor Philip Gratz from 1998 to early 2003. (Apparently they weren't aware that in 1995 Gratz was convicted of scheming to inflate the stock price of a Miami-based luxury-boat-rental company by falsifying its financial records.) Operating out of suburban New Jersey, Gratz lured his victims by promising unbelievable profits: 25 to 50 percent. He lived the good life until his arrest in January 2004. According to the 24-count indictment, he "misappropriated" more than three million dollars in investor funds for a fancy home, real-estate investments, two Mercedes Benzes, artwork, jewelry, watches, home furnishings, a vacation in St. Barthelemy, cruises, limousines, restaurants, designer clothes, retail purchases, and more. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hong persuaded a Miami jury to convict Gratz. This past November a local federal judge sentenced the 40-year-old hustler to a little more than seven years in prison and eight million dollars in restitution. Seven years of splendor in exchange for seven in prison and a ton of cash. Not a great investment. Now who's feeling like a dummy?

BEST DEFENSE AGAINST TERRORISM P. Diddy When Sean Combs lived in Manhattan during the Nineties, he was beset with 99 problems. P. Diddy had a tempestuous romance with J.Lo and a highly publicized feud with Death Row Records, was accused of severely beating Interscope Records executive Steve Stoute, was present during a shooting in a nightclub, and eventually faced charges for illegal possession of a firearm. In 1997, after a period spent mourning the death of colleague Notorious B.I.G., Combs emerged from seclusion with his most successful album, No Way Out. He won a Grammy. And he moved to Miami Beach. Here he led a quiet and unassuming life until the fall of 2001, when, mistaking him for Public Enemy's uniformed, militant, and subsequently banished Professor Griff, South Florida called upon P. Diddy's familiarity with Islamic fundamentalism and knowledge of firearms and kung fu to protect citizens in treacherous times. P. Diddy manifests his protective schemes in many low-key ways. He came out with a line of so-called urban clothing called Sean John, the bagginess of which conceals its true purpose, that of bestowing upon the wearer the ability to don bulletproof under-gear. He shared the secrets of the video-surveillance company he employs to observe his abode with a local doughnut shop franchise. He even organized a team of specially trained penguins. Note to Homeland Security: Sign this guy up.

BEST DISAPPEARING ACT Alex Penelas Who would've thought I could've vanished so completely. And so quickly! Believe me, it hasn't been easy, which you'd understand if you had spent your entire adult life seeking the public spotlight. It happened so fast I didn't even have time to take an unhurried victory lap to bask in the glow of my many legacies. You know, like my environmental legacy. Remember the sprawling commercial airport I pushed for down in Homestead? Talk about vision. You can't say I wasn't down with spending millions in county resources trying to help some of my biggest supporters get that job done. And didn't I lend a big hand to Mickey Arison so we could preserve the last tract of undeveloped public waterfront land in downtown Miami? You bet I did. My transportation legacy definitely deserved more recognition. Who else could have smoothly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of loyal friends as part of our 1999 "Transit Not Tolls" campaign. Am I bitter that voters rejected the plan? No. It was worth the effort. But I am still steamed that the media claimed the public didn't believe we could be trusted with the money. I'm telling you, all of my damn people got paid. And what about my human-rights legacy? Who else but the mayor was there for little Elian 24/7? People seem to forget that the issue wasn't whether I threatened the president of the United States; the issue was life and liberty in America or living hell in Castro's Cuba. No regrets. And of course there's my political legacy itself -- a staunch Democrat who survived in a sea of Republican Miami Cubans. Don't listen to Al Gore. He's a loser.

BEST DISPLAY OF WEALTH Leonard M. Miller family The current building and real-estate boom has been very good to Miami-based Lennar Corporation, the nation's premier home-construction company, which is now pulling in more than six billion dollars in annual revenues. This past December the family of company founder Leonard Miller, who died in 2002, donated a whopping $100 million to the University of Miami's medical school, now renamed the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. It's the biggest gift in UM's history, and it says "We're filthy rich" in a very classy way.

BEST ERRATUM August 3, 2004

Miami Herald "A map in Saturday's Business section mislabeled Biscayne Bay, the body of water to the east of Biscayne Boulevard...."

BEST FESTIVAL Ultra Music Festival Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Boulevard

Miami We're sure Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes, the perpetrators behind all things Ultra, would love to hear that their little bash by Biscayne Bay is awesome because of the music lineup -- which is in fact awesome. We're sure the City of Miami would like to hear that Ultra is bomshizzle because it brings people of all races and all ages together under one continuous melodious house beat, which it in fact does. But really, folks, we're not gonna kid around here. Ultra is the absolute best festival because it inspires such an uninhibited, gluttonous consumption of recreational drugs. Imagine the extreme pleasures of smoking blunts, snorting coke and special K, and popping Ecstasy pills of every hue in the rainbow -- from noon until well past midnight.

Readers´ Choice: Miami Improv Festival and Coconut Grove Arts Festival (tie)

BEST FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME Katrina Campins Even though she was fired as a contestant during the first season of Donald Trump's The Apprentice reality TV show, Campins has mastered the art of the fame game. A Google search found Campins in People magazine, on Access Hollywood and E!, and in the gossip pages of the New York Post. Wherever she made an appearance, whether it was dashing off to Santa Monica to participate in a Tommy Hilfiger runway show or strutting around in skimpy underwear for Maxim, Campins embodied the perfect Miami woman: vain, vapid, yet voraciously fine. Even when she suffered a broken nose and some bruises after she and her equally photogenic beau Ben Moss tussled with some tow-truck drivers in North Miami Beach, Katrina managed to look exquisite in front of the cameras. If anything, the 24-year-old real estate agent gives hope to all sorority sisters majoring in international finance and marketing at the University of Miami.

BEST FLACK Tara Solomon TARA, Ink.

305-864-3434

www.taraink.com An ageless former journalist gleefully packed it in and went over to the dark side with considerable verve and a very adorable fiancé who got his humble start as a clerk at Sephora. This year Tara Solomon opened an office in Los Angeles (new clients include Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson), notched the Evian and Cadillac Escalade accounts, and earned a closetful of designer clothes, gifts from friends (and clients) Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. Locally notable clients include durable hot spots (restaurants the Forge, OLA Miami, and Sushi Samba Dromo) and soon-to-open mega-destination Karu & Y, a nightclub venture by the Ciccone family (i.e., Madonna and peeps). Through it all, Solomon, who possesses a sharp wit, remains serene and approachable, handling harangues from Dolce & Gabbana hangers-on and hanging with Alicia Keys with equal dignity and aplomb.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®