Two Renegades in Skiffs Prowl the Bay

As waves slap the shoreline, littered with empty beer cans, Fane Lozman points to a pair of derelict sailboats anchored in the water near Pelican Harbor Marina on the 79th Street Causeway. The former Marine turned civic agitator fixes his gaze on a hairy man reading a book on the deck of one of the boats. "That's Frenchie," Lozman notes. "In one of his drunken stupors, he threatened to sink my houseboat and shoot me and my dog, Lady."

For more than a month, Lozman says, he and his dachshund have been repeatedly harassed by Frenchie and his sailboat neighbor Jeff. "The two of them brag about keeping large knives and firearms on their sailboats," Lozman says. "When I learned that nothing has been done to remove these two dropouts from society, I started working my way up the bureaucratic chain of command at the Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department to do something."

Riptide was unsuccessful in contacting Frenchie and Jeff, but an employee at the marina, which is run by the county's park department, confirms Lozman's complaints. The worker doesn't not want her name published because she cannot officially comment, but she says Frenchie and Jeff have threatened to blow up county vehicles at the marina and threatened her with physical harm.

She obtained a no-trespass order against Frenchie -- but only on Pelican Island, a small isle where county residents can picnic and barbecue. She can't do anything about the drunken duo anchoring their squatted vessels in the bay.

"If it were up to me, I'd have kicked them out a long time ago," she says. "They are a bad element over here."

Since North Bay Village Police officers barred Frenchie and Jeff from tying their dinghies to docks around the city, the pair has resorted to hanging out in the mangroves along the causeway, which falls under the park department's jurisdiction, Lozman says.

But when he contacted department director Jack Kardys to complain, he never got a return phone call, Lozman claims. "He's the classic example of an entrenched bureaucrat who has forgotten his job is to serve the public," Lozman gripes. "If Frenchie or Jeff hurt someone, it's gonna be on Kardys's hands."

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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.

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