| Crime |

Ex-North Miami Beach Mayor Charged With Stealing $150,000 From Investor

Ex-North Miami Beach Mayor Charged With Stealing $150,000 From InvestorEXPAND
Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections
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When former North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner pleaded guilty last year to campaign-finance violations, a condition of his probation was, naturally, that he not commit crimes while he was under supervised release. Well, this is a former Miami-area public official we're talking about, so here we are: Rosner, age 57, is back in jail today after getting caught allegedly defrauding an investor to the tune of $150,000.

According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, Rosner joined a long-running investment partner, David Rosenbaum, to develop a 2.2-acre plot of land in North Miami. Rosenbaum forked over the $150,000. But the deal went south — and instead of giving Rosenbaum his money back, Rosner dumped $10,000 of that money into his own construction company, used $13,000 to pay down his home mortgage, spent $30,000 on random personal expenses, and then gave himself $86,700 in cash, investigators say.

"Ultimately, the investment account was left with a balance of $350.00," the State Attorney's Office said. Rosner is charged with four third-degree felonies, including securities fraud and grand theft.

The State Attorney's Office mentioned that Rosner's wife, Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel, was also involved in the real-estate deal but was not charged or implicated today. Lawyers representing Zabel said via email today that the judge says the dispute is nonsense.

"Judge Zabel stands by her husband against this baseless and very old civil dispute, which never should have been brought criminally," lawyers Margot Moss and David Oscar Markus told New Times.

Rosner's career as an elected official mostly boils down to arguing with journalists and bloggers and getting arrested. In 2009, New Times reported that the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust found that Rosner used his power as mayor to get away with making unpermitted renovations of his home. Three years later, North Miami-area blogger Stephanie Kienzle pretty much mopped the floor with Rosner during his time in office: She called him out for spending needless money on hotels. In response, he sent code-compliance officers to her home to harass her.

But Kienzle had the last laugh. In 2012, she filed an ethics complaint alleging Rosner used public money to slap his face on local bus benches in order to wish his constituents happy holidays. (He also received some free ads from that same bus-bench company.) Kienzle argued that the well-wishing instead constituted free campaign advertisements; the State Attorney's Office later agreed and charged him with grand theft, unlawful compensation, writing a bad check, and a laundry list of other felonies.

"I knew from day one there was something really fishy with those signs," Kienzle told New Times years ago. "I became obsessed with those freaking benches. I was seeing them in my sleep. But I just knew he'd done something wrong."

In 2016, Rosner pleaded guilty to a single campaign-finance violation and received three years' probation. Looks like that's all out the window now — he was booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center at 11:25 this morning. His bond has been set at $20,000.

"Florida’s securities statutes exist to protect investors from fraud,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez
Rundle wrote in a news release. “Good faith, good intentions, and grand plans mean little when invested monies are transformed into credit card and mortgage payments."

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