Politics

Carollo Again Filmed Looking for Code Violations Outside Ball & Chain Bar

Carollo Again Filmed Looking for Code Violations Outside Ball & Chain Bar
Anonymous
You might assume that after getting busted lying to ethics investigators and almost definitely violating city law by directing code employees to go after one of his political enemies, Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo would lie low for a bit. But that is not the Carollo way. According to documents first obtained by blogger Al Crespo, Carollo is back to his old tricks — namely, bothering Ball & Chain, the bar co-owned by his political nemesis Bill Fuller. The commissioner was videotaped outside the Little Havana bar once again just two nights ago.

According to documents and sources with knowledge of the event who spoke with New Times, Carollo was poking around the area and asking local business owners and residents if Ball & Chain's music was too loud or whether cars were being improperly parked. Funny enough, the few neighbors recorded talking to Carollo and his associates actually say that the bar doesn't bug them and that they typically go home and sleep through any music that emanates from the club.

In the other footage, Carollo and his cronies are filmed walking around the club while a band covers Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." On film, Carollo tells someone tied to Ball & Chain that a parking lot they're using is not up to code.

"You know what you're doing here is illegal!" Carollo says as he films the encounter with an iPhone. A Ball & Chain worker disagrees and says code enforcement told him the lot was legal.

Importantly, Carollo at one point in the clip says he'll "ask code enforcement again" if the lot in question is operating legally. As New Times laid out a few weeks ago, it is illegal under City of Miami law for Carollo to speak directly to the city's code-compliance department. By law, he must take any complaints to the city manager. If he speaks directly to code enforcement, he can be removed from office, fined $500, or jailed for 60 days. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle would need to bring the case, but she has virtually never enforced this part of city law.

In a third clip, someone else filmed Carollo as he stormed away from the camera and hid behind a building. He then comedically leaned out from behind the building and snapped a photograph with his own phone. Here's the full footage:

A manager at Ball and Chain also wrote up an internal "incident report" yesterday, which New Times obtained:


Somehow, Carollo — an outlandish figure who has been accused of racism, domestic abuse, libelous communist smears, and even nearly identical code-enforcement abuses over his multidecade career as a Miami elected official — has evaded punishment for his latest antics. He simply says he's trying to rid Little Havana of rich landowners who abuse their power, but Fuller says Carollo is instead trying to shut his businesses down, all because Fuller helped Carollo's 2017 election opponent, Alfie Leon.

As part of a Miami-Dade County Ethics & Public Trust investigation earlier this year, Carollo's own aide, Stephen Miró, said his boss told him to lie to ethics investigators. (Carollo denies the claim.) Video obtained by New Times also shows Carollo lied to the ethics board about other details, though he was not under oath at the time of that interview. Infamously, he also allegedly barked, "I am the law!" at Ball & Chain's valet parking attendants at 1 a.m. this past February.

Multiple code-enforcement officials told county ethics investigators that Carollo personally directed them to research whether Ball & Chain was breaking the law. According to multiple code-enforcement officials, Carollo's actions almost certainly violated city law.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.