Last month, North Miami Beach blogger Stephanie Kienzle ripped her town's mayor, Myron Rosner, after finding that he'd spent more than $500 on hotels in nearby Hollywood and Miami. Days later, a code compliance inspector came knocking at her front door. "I had no doubt the mayor was trying to get revenge," she says.
Kienzle says she has an email that proves it -- and it appears she's not alone. Former mayor Raymond Marin, who lost to Rosner, complained to state officials last week that Rosner had done the same thing to him as a "personal vendetta."
Rosner, a general contractor, defeated Marin to become mayor of the hamlet of 38,000 in 2009. It didn't take long for Kienzle, a legal secretary and NMB homeowner for two decades, to become a painful thorn in his side with her blog votersopinion.com.
She followed that story by requesting his travel expenses. The documents show Rosner spent $224 for a Miami hotel last July, then another $298 on a Hollywood room the next month.
Rosner says he needed to stay put during conferences "due to the Sabbath," which forbids observant Jews from driving. In a fiery blog posted February 16, Kienzle counters that the mayor often campaigns around NMB on Saturdays.
Two days later, Rosner wrote an email to Philip Azan, head of the city's Building Department, to complain about Kienzle's house. "There appear to be several violations at the above property," he wrote in the email.
Rosner admits he sent the email but says there's no conflict. "I complained as a resident, not as mayor," he says.
An inspector later found nothing worth a citation, Kienzle says.
Days later, Marin, a certified public accountant, was fined for an illegal sign at his office. He sent a letter this past Thursday to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle alleging that Rosner was abusing his power.
"The instructions from the mayor to staff may be deemed as... personal vendetta," he wrote.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Again Rosner says he was justified in complaining. "Mr. Marin has had an illegal sign for a number of years," he says. "There was nothing retaliatory about my complaint."
Kienzle says she wants Rosner gone -- and plans to keep blogging until it happens.
"I've never seen such blatant abuse of power," she says.