Sometimes a story cannot be told in few words. Please read this entire letter to fully understand the issue of "Boss Sarnoff"- Influence Peddling and the Three Campaign Checks. After you have read this Please forward it on to as many people as possible
.Thank you, Charles Corda
NOTE: If you would like to see the picture of the three checks Please email me directly CRCorda@bellsouth.net I cannot attach the images of the checks here but I will be very happy to email them to you.
Three months ago I stumbled upon a presentation by the developers of the proposed Grove Harbor Project. I came away from that presentation with a very uncomfortable feeling. I assumed, incorrectly, that I would spend a few hours researching the project and once satisfied that nothing was amiss, my life would continue down the gently undulating road I usually travel. In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined how twisted, and tortuous that road was about to become. Like most people I assumed our elected officials had our best interests at heart. As such, I went about my business paying scant attention to the workings of City Hall.
Yet, as I delved deeper into the Grove Harbor project I began to discover one unsettling fact after another. The more time I spent on it, the more skewed it began to appear. I studied the various codes and master plans that concerned themselves with the Bay front. It appeared to me that this project was in violation of each and every one. I spent countless hours pouring over the Miami Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan, the 2007 Parks and Waterfront Master Plan, The Zoning Code - Miami 21, and of course the Sasaki Plan.
I am a licensed Architect.I have practiced Architecture for 38 years. I did some very basic calculations. It was physically impossible for this building to be three stories as Sarnoff proclaimed.I checked my numbers again...and again... and again.The result was always the same....6 to 7 stories minimum. A building twice the size of what was being presented.
A building twice the size of what Commissioner Sarnoff was publicly saying it was. How could Commissioner Sarnoff not know what I knew?How could Art Noriega of the MPA not know what I knew?How could the Developer not know what I knew ? How could Architectonica, a renown architectural firm, not know what I knew?
They could all run numbers at least as well as I could.
Something was very wrong here.Literally... the numbers weren't adding up.
It became obvious. It appeared to me that no one involved in and promoting this project wanted the actual size of this building known. I was perplexed...truly and deeply perplexed by this epiphany.I did not want to believe for a minute that our esteemed Commissioner might be lying to us.I tried to find alternative explanations. None would suffice. As incredible as it sounds, the conclusion that we were being deliberately mislead and lied to, became unavoidable.
What has followed since is even more incredible and as such, equally unavoidable..Once the realization sank in that the Commissioner and his cohorts were deliberately misleading the public about this project I decided it was time for me to act. I started the "Petition to Stop Grove Harbor". That's when things really started to get interesting. As people became aware of the proposed development and signed the "Petition" , Letters and notes began pouring in about the perceived misdeeds of our elected officials - Commissioner Sarnoff in particular.
Letters about Virginia Key. Letters about Watson Island. Letters about The Brickell Trees. Letters about the West Grove Trolley Garage Letters about the Port Tunnel. Letters about Toxic Contamination, "Old Smokey", Blanche Park and Astroturf. Letters about Walmart in Midtown and of course a great many Letters about Grove Harbor.
Each and every letter laid the issues and misdeeds at the doorstep of Commissioner Sarnoff. It became clear in a very short time that a great many people mistrusted the Commissioner and felt that this Grove Harbor Project was just another scam emanating from his office. It also became clear that this ill-conceived development and Commissioner Sarnoff where inseparable. He is the most visible and ardent promoter of this project.This project is his "baby" It would become impossible to speak of this project without speaking of Commissioner Sarnoff at the same time.
I began to talk to people around town.. "Yes they opposed the project.".." No they would not speak up in opposition"
"Why?" I asked.
People feel threatened by Sarnoff's power.They believe he could make their lives very difficult...believe he could ruin their businesses. Few people I spoke to had any doubts he would do so if provoked. His name was spoken in hushed tones. The fear of Commissioner Sarnoff is palpable. As our group began to grow, we tried to find a meeting space where we could gather to discuss the Grove Harbor Project. We were denied the use of a number of locations around the Grove commonly used for civic gatherings. We were denied support from the various groups and organizations around town. The reason, once again whispered in hush tones...
People were, and remain, afraid of Commissioner Sarnoff...
For weeks we had no place for our group to meet, until we were finally offered an open corner in the Bookstore in the Grove. We tried to get support from the Grove BID.. no chance..controlled by SarnoffThe Sailing Club...Sorry..we can't jeopardize our lease. Shake-A -Leg " Sorry Sarnoff will kill our pending grant..the developer has offered us $30,000 we don't want to lose it. The Grove Chamber..No reaction what so ever from the people who would suffer the most if the Grove Harbor project came to fruition.
The Grove Merchants..Again in whispers ....We don't want Sarnoff to send Code Enforcement.Center Grove Neighbors Association.. No Chance.. "Sue McConnell Works for Sarnoff"The Village Council...Firmly under Sarnoff's control through Michelle Niemeyer and Jessica Lewis who steadfastly denied my request for equal time following Art Noriega's and Enrique Torre's pro Grove Horror presentation.
Even Scotty denied our request to meet at his restaurant. I am told he was threatened with immediate eviction if he worked with us.
Something obviously was happening here...Pretty much everywhere we turned we encountered the same obstacle.FEAR of REPRISAL by Commissioner Sarnoff. FEAR of Commissioner Sarnoff.It was beginning to appear to me that Sarnoff was doing everything possible to bully those who oppose him and thereby suppress their right of free speech and freedom of political choice. His political power is growing by the use of threats, fear and subjugation. It became painfully obvious to me we now had our very own "Boss Sarnoff" If you can't suppress opposition to your schemes with simple bullying you have to at least attempt to buy people off .Take the case of Dr. Robert Malone.
Dr. Malone is currently running for the Fifth District Commission Seat about to be vacated by Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.Spence-Jones is promoting Keon Hardemon.Sarnoff is actively campaigning and raising money for Richard Dunn.Sarnoff has stated he believes Dunn is the frontrunner. He believes Dunn's antique medical tool selection will give him a guaranteed second vote on the City Commission, further consolidating his control of the City of Miami.
So why on earth Did Sarnoff attempt to "gift" Dr. Malone $1500 for his campaign?
Was it intended as an inducement for Dr. Malone to leave the race?Was it a paltry bribe to Dr. Malone for his cooperation in some form?What was Sarnoff attempting to buy with this unsolicited "donation"?We may never know what purpose this "gift" was intended to serve.We do know Sarnoff made a BIG mistake when he sent those checks to Dr. Malone.Dr. Malone, a truly honest and very capable person, rightly refused to accept the money from Sarnoff.Dr. Malone has stated he has never done business with, does not know the principles personally, and has no particular reason to be associated with the companies who wrote these checks.Dr. Malone immediately returned the three checks to Sarnoff, and duly noted same on his report to the Elections Department.Finally someone has stood up to Sarnoff.
Dr. Malone made it known he would accept no gifts from Sarnoff.Sarnoff would not forgive or forget. He is now quite vocal, persistent and insulting in his attacks on Dr. Malone.Of those 3 checks refused by Dr. Malone, the one I find most interesting is from the architectural firm Architectonica, the firm responsible for the design of the Grove Harbor project, of which Sarnoff is the primary promoter. Architectonica is also the firm that has prepared the design and drawings Sarnoff is currently using to promote Regatta Park, on the site of the existing convention center.
NO RFP has been issued for the Regatta Park design.
NO PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT was made for the selection of consultants for the Regatta Park Design.
NO COMPETITIVE BIDS of any kind have been solicited by the City. Sarnoff has simply asked Architectonica for a design.
Why would three checks be offered to Dr. Malone by Commissioner Sarnoff?
Three checks , from three companies, that have no relationship what so ever with Dr. Malone? Why would Architectonica write Dr. Malone a check for $500 , immediately following Dr. Malone's meeting with Sarnoff? Perhaps Sarnoff ordered them to do it?
Given the circumstances and the origin of all the checks, it seems pretty likely.This is how influence peddling works.
Sarnoff promotes, Architectonica designs the Grove Harbor Project. They are working together.Sarnoff literally then hands the Regatta Park commission to Architectonica. Architectonica then writes a check to someone they don't know and Sarnoff gives it to that person.No mystery here..Quid pro quo. The only problem in Sarnoff's scheme..Dr. Malone rejects the money.Sarnoff is apparently doling out projects and favors in return for cash contributions while the people of Miami are lied to and abused in the process.
This is how power grows:
Bring your friends to the public trough.
Let them imbibe as much as they can.
When the time comes, they owe you allegiance...and some money for you to spread around town when you ask for it.
The end result of all of this... Unbeknownst to most of us: