Al Crespo: Bank robber and justice seeker

Blog: The Crespogram Report

Alias: Al

Age: 70

Primary specialty: Calling Miami city officials assholes, morons, and other derogatory names

Secondary specialty: Uncanny expertise in public records law despite lack of a law degree

Net worth: "My net worth is no one's business, but it's more than Mayor Tomás Regalado's." County records show he owns a one-bedroom condo in Miami Shores with a market value of $49,500. His mother, Alice, purchased the unit in 1992 for $45,000.

Last job: Has worked sporadically as a location scout for New York and European film and television production companies since the '70s.

Criminal record: In 1959, Crespo was arrested for attempted robbery when he and a friend held up the clerk at the Last Chance Motel in Miami Beach with toy guns. He served a year in prison. In addition, he was arrested for stealing a car and robbing banks, jewelry stores, and a motel in Ohio. Four years later, he held up a bank in Connecticut, landing in prison again from 1976 to 1984.

Blog history: Since 2009, Crespo has been unearthing public documents, from internal emails to payroll records to witness testimony, that have been very embarrassing for some of Miami's most prominent public officials. He exposed Mayor Tomás Regalado trying to influence former police Chief Miguel Exposito to quit his job by offering him a $200,000 golden parachute. He also outed city employee Meredith Nation, who was paid to stay home for ten months. And he publicized lucrative severance packages totaling $280,784 doled out to ex-city executives Larry Spring and Tony Crapp Jr.

Even watchdogs haven't been immune to Crespo's probing. January 22, 2011, Crespo posted a series of videos documenting testimony from the Miami-Dade ethics commission's hearing into allegations that its executive director, Robert Meyers, was engaging in inappropriate behavior with his secretary by repeatedly inviting her to lunch with overly friendly handwritten notes. There was even footage of one employee saying, "This is not an ethical place." A couple of days later, Meyers resigned.

Why he's No. 1: Despite his brazen, notorious past — or perhaps because of it — Crespo has become a leader in confronting Miami's most powerful politicians and public officials. He has done the best job of informing citizens and law enforcement officials when our leaders are stealing from the public piggy bank.

<< Honorable Mention | 2. Javier Manjarres >>

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.