One of Miami-Dade's longest-running disputes is nearing the end. After a passel of lawsuits back in the late Eighties and early Nineties (and intervention by America's top negotiator Roger Fisher), Bruce Matheson has won a multimillion facelift for the county's most popular recreation spot, Crandon Park. Negotiators have completed a phone-book-size master plan that includes tens of millions of dollars of work, including mountains of landscaping, a new bike trail, a clubhouse at the public golf course, removing hotly disputed ball fields, rebuilding lifeguard stations, and much more. When the scheme is filed in circuit court, presumably in the next few weeks, the clock begins ticking. Within a year the county must move the 83-year-old Calusa Playhouse, one of the area's oldest buildings. "The focus is to maintain Crandon," comments Frank Faragalli, a bureaucrat who has worked with the Mathesons, "to limit commercial development."
Miami's goon has sold his five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath house on Miami Beach. Chris Paciello, the former owner of Bar Room, was indicted last year for participating in the Mafia-connected murder of a New York housewife. Paciello bought the property at 3681 Flamingo Dr. last July 29 for one million dollars. David Lombardi, Paciello's agent and, apparently, a New Times reader, confirmed a deal is pending on the house. "Chris is a good friend of mine," he said. "And you have the nerve to call me after calling him 'Goon over Miami.' Good day." Then he hung up.
It was bound to happen. A federal criminal grand jury has convened to consider indictments related to the Bayfront Park scandal. The court recently subpoenaed all City of Miami records and audits pertaining to the park from 1995 to the present. The paperwork is due Thursday at the federal courthouse. Riptide's nomination for the most likely to be indicted: former parks director Ira Katz, who left in disgrace May 2.
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