Who is behind exMiami, a curious blog that details development around town? Well, no one seems to know, and, of course, any mystery in Miami must have some nefarious explanation. Right? Well, maybe, maybe not.
Yesterday, blogger Al Crespo alleged, with little evidence, that PR maven Tadd Schwartz of Schwartz Media Strategies, a company hired by many big-time developers, was behind the blog. But today, Schwartz was quick to issue a denial.
"Schwartz and his company certainly have the right combination of clients, staff, political and business connections to create and maintain a website like exMiami, and it's actually a pretty interesting strategy for a company like Schwartz's if they were to be operating a parallel website like this, to promote the interests of their clients without their fingerprints being visible," wrote Crespo.
Crespo, however, provided no evidence to back up his claim. Instead, his story was inspired by a tweet from Grant Stern, a real estate consultant and one of the leaders of the fight to keep Walmart out of Midtown.
@EleazarMelendez you can hide behind anonymity, but you can't hide Tadd Schwartz is your publisher/benefactor when writing that article
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) September 9, 2014
Schwartz Media Strategies, of course, refuted the claims in a blog post later that day.
"So to put the rumors to rest, our firm is in no way connected with exMiami. Though we find it telling - even comical - that a small group of people with ulterior motives of their own have gone to great lengths to link our company with the site, absent a single shred of proof other than the fact that some of our clients have been the subject of accurately-reported coverage in the past."
Which begs the question: who is exMiami?
The site launched in 2012 as a message board with a handful of regular contributors with generic sounding user names, none of whom gave any indication to their real identities. By 2013 the site had morphed into a full-fledged blog. All stories are bylined by "exMiami Staff." The URLs registration info is oddly anonymous.
However, the site style is pretty straight forward. No snarky commenting, though it may jump to the wrong conclusions from time to time.
Most of its "scoops" appear to be just the result of someone lurking through public records that are easily available online. Sources seem to be planning and zoning board meeting agendas. The site never seems to reach out to get quotes or confirmation of the info it writes about beyond those public records.
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So if the site does have a nefarious secret agenda, it's tough to pin down what it is exactly. Then again, if there isn't an agenda, why keep everything so secretive?
Stern now says he's going to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) September 16, 2014