Columns

The Grouch Who Rules North Bay Village

Turns out North Bay Village Mayor Oscar Alfonso is not so neighborly. James Carter, a mortgage broker who lives next to Alfonso's three-bedroom waterfront house at 7520 W Treasure Dr., says his property gets completely soaked in water every time hizzoner turns on the sprinklers.

Carter says he's angry that the water is causing damage to his home's stucco siding, boat dock and hot tub. But that his complaints to Alfonso, as well as city manager Matthew Schwartz, have been ignored, the Treasure Island homeowner grouses.

"Alfonso is a real nightmare," Carter says, adding, "And he is always on the edge of the law."


Alfonso resides in a trash heap of biblical plague-style proportions, according to Carter and city public servants who asked for anonymity. For starters, the village politician's property is infested with bee hives, Carter explains. Alfonso has also parked broken down cars and jet-skis in his front and back yards. "I've been inside his house," says one employee. "I almost threw up it was so disgusting."

Adds civic activist Fane Lozman: "When you look up the word 'dirt-bag' in the dictionary you see a picture of Alfonso."

The mayor's dumpy abode is a reflection of his tattered finances. According to the Miami-Dade property appraiser, Alfonso has not paid $9,926 in property taxes from 2008 and 2009. On February 18 of last year, the Internal Revenue Service slapped him with a lien because Alfonso owes Uncle Sam $223, 886 in unpaid income taxes from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. And he is about to lose his home to foreclosure.

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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.