The Hilliard's Alive ... Filed under: News Gabrielle Nash Tessler is on a mission to rid North Bay Village of the devilish influence of the Conch Republic's Beelzebub. For the past year, the 85-year-old activist has railed against her town's agreement to pay a guy named Randy Hilliard $2000 per month for public relations for the island community located along the John F. Kennedy Causeway.
"How can someone with such a background be getting taxpayer money?" Tessler says in a heavy Tunisian accent.
Hilliard, who did not respond to six messages New Times left on his office and cell phone voicemail, actually listed himself as "Prince of Darkness" in a Key West phone book. But he has never been convicted of a crime.
His name does come up, though, in the 2005 indictment of onetime Monroe County Mayor Jack London and former county attorney James Hendrick. The feds claimed London lied to the FBI and filed a false tax return. Hendrick allegedly tried to cadge London and Hilliard to lie to lawmen.
The indictment claims a developer paid Hilliard $75,000 in 1996 to help win the Monroe commission's approval for a Marathon resort project. A year later, Hilliard, the feds claim, used $29,000 of the payment to satisfy a lien on a property in Ireland owned by Mayor London. (London pleaded guilty to the federal charge and then died last year.)
Hilliard, who was not criminally charged, is a cooperating federal witness in the case against Hendrick. The trial started this past Tuesday.
The Miami Beach-based consultant's contract with North Bay Village expired at the end of January. North Bay Village City Manager Jorge Forte hasn't decided if he will ask the city commission to renew Hilliard's contract. "We haven't made a determination yet," Forte says.
Hilliard has strong ties in the village. He served as campaign manager for former Mayor Al Dorne and current hizzoner Joe Geller, who did not return two messages left with his secretary.
"Randy is a nice guy," says ex-city Commissioner Tzvi Bogomilsky, "but he carries a lot of baggage." Francisco Alvarado
Sting Snares a Snake
File under: News A prostitute arrested on Ocean Drive? Human trafficking in Miami?
Yup, afraid so.
This past November, members of the Miami Beach Police Department conducted a prostitution sting on (gasp) the tourist trap that is South Beach's waterfront Main Street. The coppers were, basically, men pretending to be on the hunt for a ho.
Quelle surprise! They found one.
The type that charges.
So the officers arrested the young woman (whose name was not released cuz she was only seventeen years old). And during the questioning that followed, she claimed she had been beaten by her pimp, Stacey Greer, a.k.a. Romale Deshun Tyson, a.k.a. Snake.
And she said she was a victim of sex trafficking who was being forced to work as a hooker.
Details of the case are still scarce, but the FBI says agents arrested Greer in Miami a few days ago and he pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force and fraud. Greer, who could face life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced March 30. Joanne Green
Yurt-tastic Filed under: Culture One word for you, kid: yurts.
Flamingo, the Everglades visitor center on Florida Bay, has been hurting since hurricanes in 2005 and 2006 ripped through. Like some kind of wilderness ghost town, the main building and a number of concrete lodges are empty and boarded up.
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Recently the National Park Service wrapped up the first public-input period on the area's future. Options include rebuilding the lodges on higher ground, doing pretty much nothing, or following the "full, international, world-class eco-tourism route," as Kat Berry, a concessions specialist at the park, puts it. That option could include yurts, floating lodges, or "eco-tents." Depending on funding, Barry said, the new structures would have solar-power air conditioning and rainwater catchments. The green lodges could be removed without a trace for storm season.
The public will get to review the draft plan in June, and park officials expect to make a final decision by August. Of course, the whole process might be academic. Some scientists predict that global warming will put Flamingo under water by 2100. Rob Jordan
MAC, We Hardly Knew Ye We are saddened to hear that Miami Art Central (MAC) is shuttering its doors.... Art Basel whips into Miami and out of town like a dream you forget as soon as it's over. MAC provided endurance, bringing cutting-edge visual artists to Miami from all over the world, even if most Miamians never grasped what they meant.
Taken from: Eye On Miami (eyeonmiami.blogspot.com)