|Happier days...Carlos Gimenez, Banah Chairman Alex Perez, County Chairman Rebeca Sosa and Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez.|
Being a cynical sort, I assumed that the newcomer with a criminal past, Alexander I. Perez, had been put into business by the billionaire Fanjuls who influence local and state legislatures thanks to government subsidies. There was no evidence, of course, but the Fanjuls do cast a shadow like Beelzebub.
That Perez was showered with subsidies by local politicians, including the favor of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, only underscored what I assumed to be affiliations stretching in sugary tendrils straight to Tallahassee and Washington, DC.
"This firm loves and serves God above all things," the Miami Herald reported of upstart Banah Sugar in October 2012. The phrase was printed in the lobby of Banah Sugar's new 300,000 square foot headquarters.
The Miami New Times elaborated on the reams of political support for Banah, "Alexander I. Perez, a would-be sugar baron in Hialeah, has been a media darling at 1 Herald Plaza. In February, El Nuevo Herald featured Banah International Group's new $32 million, 300,000-square-foot warehouse. Last week, the Miami Herald's Business Monday chimed in with a mostly positive profile.
County politicians love him too. Mayor Carlos Gimenez helped him get $400,000 in tax breaks, and the commission even named a street after his company. But all the praise glosses over some key details — namely, that Perez is a convicted cocaine trafficker who faces a spate of lawsuits that raise serious doubts about Banah's ability to deliver on its promises to bring hundreds of new jobs to Hialeah."
New Times also noted that Mayor Carlos Gimenez claims he was unaware of Perez' record and "relied on the Beacon Council". Pfah.
Three days ago the Herald reported Banah Sugar filed for bankruptcy, too busy serving God to tell fact from fiction. Who could possibly be surprised, of the distinct sulfuric aroma rising from the page.
|From the Banah Website|