Columns

Christmas Trees Wrecked Kevin Burns' Holiday Spirit

Kevin Burns won't be having a Merry Christmas this year. In this week's print edition of Miami New Times (which is available online later today), we chronicle how the former North Miami mayor's 34-year-old business selling Christmas trees is no ho-ho-ho fun.

Banana Republican interviewed several people familiar with Burns' operation, including his chief rival, a former tree supplier, and three ex-employees. All of them had naughty things to say about Burns, primarily that he skips out on his debts.


Craig Steinhart is co-owner of a company that provided Burns with a lot of trees in the Nineties. He won a $72,000 civil judgment from Burns in 1997, yet hasn't seen a cent. When he tried to collect, "[Burns] pretended we didn't even exist," Steinhart grouses. "He didn't seem to care that he screwed us over. There are a lot of decent people who are not like Kevin Burns."

It's just the type of Christmas story that you want to share with children around the fireplace with cups of hot cocoa.

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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.