Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lynda Bell Weekly Update: $25,000 Windfall. By Geniusofdespair

County Commissioner Lynda Bell's husband got a CRA Grant last night to fix the facade on his Homestead Hotel. He only put down 10% when he bought the $250,000 hotel. Mr. Bell's grant from the Homestead CRA was, coincidentally, for the same amount as his down payment: $25,000.

This is the same CRA that Lynda Bell, his wife, tried to take over last year
. She went to Tallahassee and with Erik Fresen's help tried to stage a coup of the CRA from the city of Homestead to hand it over to the County  -- ignoring the objections from the League of Cities. It didn't work. State Government didn't buy it.

I guess she is happy her coup was a failure now. Her husband made out like a bandit.


Anonymous said...

This is so wrong I cannot even believe it. These CRA's are worse than MDX. How is this even ethical. That place is a whole in the wall with horrible reviews and struggling businesses were probably ignored so this CRA could do a favor for Bell. Where the F is the ethics department. She's on the same path as "I'm not a crook" Martinez. I'm just wondering when she'll get her "free" house in Palmetto Bay. Shame on the Homestead CRA. She did not favors for them and now they reward her because that's who it will benefit in the end. I'd like an audit too of that bar/restaurant while they're looking in to it. It must be nice to be a politician while real businesses in the are without political connection just move away or die in Homestead. What a piece of S she is and will remain, thanks to Homestead. Maybe it would have been better to re elect her since the Taj Mahal is now moving forward than to have her at the BCC!

Geniusofdespair said...

No one in HOMESTEAD did a favor for Bell. I think they are all afraid of how she will get back at them. Bell applied, he fit the criteria.

Anonymous said...

Please please please will someone who can win, run against her!

Anonymous said...

They did do Bell a favor. I've seen it far too often with this and other CRA's. It's subjective as to who gets funds, though the applicants all technically "qualify". I'd like to review the other applicants who got rejected. And to the 3rd anon - anyone in mind as to "who can win"? What are the prerequisites other than being smarter than Bell which is about 75% of Dade County or selling ones soul to the highest lobbyist for campaign contributions which is the other side of winning! It's theoretical. The winning candidate is going to need lots of $$ so it's not who can win it's who can raise funds to challenge Bell's foreseeable war chest of special interest money. Unfortunately that's the reality of the commission campaigns. The winning candidate may also lose due to the absentee ballot situation as well like Flinn did, which is like a broken record still going unanswered two years later! I should say was heard then nothing really substantive done with the Sosa legislation other than someone challenging it in court which it did prevail.

Numero Uno said...

The lesson of Frank Nero, was not lost on the Mayor and Council.

Anonymous said...

Terry Murphy could run.

Anonymous said...

Is this a conflict of interest and an ethics violation? Miami-Dade County enables local CRAs, including the Homestead CRA, to levy tax increment funds for local purposes. Lynda Bell is a county commissioner and was chair of the County's CRA committee. Her husband is now the recipient of a local grant from that county-enabled process. This may not be ethical.

Homestead watcher said...

That hotel has a very long history of public money going into it. Unless I am mistaken, the previous owners got money from the county and from Homestead to renovate and maybe even purchase the place. I seem to think it was over 100,000 ...

It has been a long time, but I know that homestead mainstreet attempted to help get the hotel some money. This was back in the Shiver reign of terror. Someone should ask the county cultural affairs history grant people, OCED (or whomever they are now) for the records. Then go to the city of homestead for the other cra funds and other grants, including anything that may have been a pass through from homestead mainstreet. Don't overlook the state historic funding as well. Downtown homestead has been given over a million dollars over the years for their various projects including the never opened theater, the gazebo, the old city hall, the beer building one the west side of the busway and
the bicycle museum. The brewery was given county money for a facade repair, which was done without having a roof on the building; it looked great (till the building details started falling off), but you could see the stars from inside.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion that hotel is not worth dumping money into. Its a poor example of a bed and breakfast. Plastic tablecloths on the table, it smells moldy and the locals call it the Redland Bedbug Hotel. The local people in Homestead do not eat or drink at this disgusting place. Besides Mayor Lynda Bell supports "pink slime" would you eat a hamburger or meatloaf dinner at this bed and breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Imagine that. A county commissioner working against the interests of a city in her district. That's not the way it's supposed to work. Bell went to Tallahassee to torpedo the Homestead CRA to RETALIATE against the City of Homestead for throwing her out in 2009. But, a full-court press was organized by Homestead and the Florida League and she was stopped -- stopped dead cold and embarrassed.

Now, her hubbie receives a grant from that same CRA that she tried to kill. There is neither honesty nor personal integrity at play here; only political opportunism. She has no coherent public policy, she does not represent the interests of her constituents; only the politics of personal opportunity.

Bell is unmistakably using her position as County Commissioner to promote her intolerant personal agenda, to damage others, and to seek opportunity for those closest to her. This behavior is unacceptable.

Bell operates from unconscious reflex. She does not think about the consequences of her actions. Her political context is the sick and blackened landscape of her personal wounds and injuries. How long must we endure the manipulations and machinations of this flawed and vicious political opportunist?

When, Lynda Bell, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is this madness of your's to mock us?

Anonymous said...

Recent road resurfacing around the Redland Hotel that Mrs. Bell and Mr. Bell own. I see that the resurfacing of the road stops in front of their hotel and other businesses in the area did not get any upgrading of the road in front of their establishment. I also notice Homestead city workers spend more time around this hotel than any other place. It appears water and sewer might be the problem.

Anonymous said...

Well, recall is possible. But she is moving so fast that she may be looking at prison before the recall can be orchestrated.

Anonymous said...

With Lynda Bell as District 8 Commissioner this district is on Life support. Since Bell has become Vice Chair the whole county will be on LIFE SUPPORT.

Anonymous said...

Two of the best quotes yet on this:

"Well, recall is possible. But she is moving so fast that she may be looking at prison before the recall can be orchestrated."

From you mouth to Fernandez Rundle's ears! She hasn't been there long enough to owe favors!

"With Lynda Bell as District 8 Commissioner this district is on Life support. Since Bell has become Vice Chair the whole county will be on LIFE SUPPORT."

Yep, that is sad but true right now. Sosa should have known better, Moss did know better and I believe he supported Heyman for Vice Chair.

Anonymous said...

That's quite a photo of Bell.

She's a mouthbreather for sure.

Anonymous said...

So CRA abuses are better than Lynda Bell trying to clean them up because Bell's husband met the criteria of the qualifying process.
Is that the point?
Please google Homestead CRA and any of the following: Steve Shiver, Rick Stauts, Homestead Main Street, Carrie Meek Business Incubator, Galata, Audit and Downtown.
The comments position themselves to be hypocritical without knowing the history of the Homestead CRA.

Anonymous said...

Bell is a hypocrite without question. Funding the CRA is bad until it comes to her husband's business after she tried to dismantle the CRA? There are so many businesses on the literal CRA or County grant "dole" system because they're empty shells like the Redland Hotel. The land value due to the zoning makes it valuable. It's use as a hotel is a step up from a flea bag motel though not much better! If one were to read back when this was first purchased, there were comments as to how many and much grants were given in the past. This business is a money pit that was supported by "grants" and continues to do the same until it's torn down and something better is put on that land. One has to wonder what financials were produced to even get a mortgage (DuBois) in the first place because those would be interesting. I also reiterate what the poster wrote about the other applicants who qualified and were not given funds. I want to compare the proven financials and find out if the "losers" had received funding in the past. And, let's see the real bar receipts as reported to the IRS versus what's really coming in.

Geniusofdespair said...

Anonymous 2 above you OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T GO TO THE LINK I SUPPLIED: HERE IS WHAT IT SAYS THERE -- I am not sticking up for CRA's I am calling out unacceptable, sneaky behavior:

"I don't like Homestead's government much, but why did District 8 County Commissioner Lynda Bell go to Tallahassee trying to make an end-run around the local government on the CRA? She wants to change the playing field and give the County power over the CRA instead of the City. That doesn't sound like a good Republican move does it, sending power to a bigger government instead of keeping it local? The League of Cities is against it.

First she tried with her pal Erik Fresen in the State House. That failed. Now she is working with her former foe, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla trying to get the Senate to do her bidding.

Yes I know about the corrupt CRA. I had a copy of the audit by Kathy Jackson that was done years ago and reported on it in 2010.

The reason why this deserves a report, Lynda Bell is not doing this unholy alliance with these two State Legislators for good, it is out of vindictiveness against a City Government that doesn't acknowledge her at all. This isn't her first vindictive end-run. She also did it to the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM). When she couldn't get her way with them, she created a Wetlands' Task Force to punish DERM and help Rock Mining -- her biggest contributor. Dennis Moss saw through her charade telling her not to throw DERM under the bus."

Anonymous said...

Great blog, GoD and great after comments too.

Anonymous said...

Is that the same De La Portilla who sponsored the voter suppression law that reduced early voting days and resulted in long voting lines in the last election? Is it the same one that represents a district that was one of three districts that had 2,500 absentee ballots hacked, and we are still looking for the culprit?

Anonymous said...

The City of Miami has the Overtown and OMNI CRA's. Both have a history of corruption and both are run by the corrupt for the corrupt. Billboard Bockweg. Bertie Gonzalez? The County should abolish the CRA's ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Will Honey Boo Boo flash her famous shiteating grin in her booking photo?

Will her lipstick match her M-D Corrections issued orange jumpsuit?

Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Lynda Bell, consider the tenor of these many comments on this and previous blog postings as a referendum on your tarnished reputation and your miserable political future.

Anonymous said...

"Lynda Bell, consider the tenor of these many comments on this and previous blog postings as a referendum on your tarnished reputation and your miserable political future."

can her political future include reading the bible to prison inmates?

This is about as ethical as the free Martinez house thing because the commission budgets the ethics department even though the voters WANT a real ethics department which does something other than give reason why not. I'd like reasons why.

Anonymous said...

While one should not partake of public money while in office for the obvious political damage it will do, there are many past politicians who have family that have done the same thing. You forget Bell did not vote on this so where exactly is the crime?
The COE says this is not an ethics violation. These funds are there for the general public and Mark E. Bell is a member of the general public. The KFR talk and most other points made here are the usual nonsense spewed by those who would rather name call and insult without any facts. Who if anyone bypassed other applicants? It seems to me that would be the Homestead commissioners who dislike Bell according to most accounts.
Check and checkmate.

Geniusofdespair said...

Putz...really. Check and checkmate? You have got to be a lobbyist and not a very bright one. Lynda's attack on the CRA is an issue...a long standing issue. On the one hand she is trying to get the CRA out of Homestead's hands, on the other her family is applying for the CRA funds. Gimme a break.

Geniusofdespair said...

No one said a crime was committed. It is just tacky as usual:
1/15/2013 Part 1
Below are the minutes from the global CRA discussion that occurred with North Miami, Homestead, Naranja Lakes and 79th Street CRA Budgets were at committee in January.

Chairwoman Bell expressed concern over the $100,349 salary for a Museum Education Curator position in the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency’s (NMCRA) FY 2012-13 budget, noting this position was funded in last years budget as seed money to start the position. She also noted concern over the Business Assistance Program as well as other carried over projects and commercial grants. Mr. Lesly Prudent, NMCRA Coordinator, explained that the Museum Education Curator provided services to at-risk children. He said that addressing socio-economic conditions made the community a more viable place to live.

Chairwoman Bell questioned the composition of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee. Ms. Moon noted that a memorandum was distributed last week regarding changes to the TIF Committee structure. She said the TIF Committee reviewed CBO budgets but found it difficult to determine whether funds were being spent properly, even though legal. Ms. Moon explained that the TIF Committee reviewed CRA budgets to determine the allowable use of funds and made a recommendation as to whether expenditures were within the plan and a legally allowable use. She noted these recommendations were not based upon the TIF Committee or the County Administration position on how funds should be allocated.

Ms. Moon said the goal was for CRAs to present their budgets and organizational issues directly to the County Commission and not to depend upon County staff to do so. Chairwoman Bell noted expenditure determinations were made by the CRAs, their boards, TIF Committees, council members, municipalities and cities. She said this was a form of self-governance or self-policing and although the County determined legal sufficiency, it did not comment on whether the expenditures were proper.

Chairwoman Bell noted she had attempted to obtain statewide changes on two occasions; however, these efforts were blocked by the League of Cities and other city lobbyists. She said that her efforts were an attempt to bring transparency to the process and that the public needed to be made aware that taxpayer dollars to restore slum and blight were being used for other purposes.

Geniusofdespair said...

part 2

Ms. Moon pointed out that not all CRAs were approved in the same manner. She explained said that some CRA budgets were approved by the County Commission prior to spending funds and other CRA budgets were only submitted to the Commission for their consideration. Ms. Moon noted each CRA had different redevelopment plans, budget approval processes and make-up. Chairwoman Bell said she believed all CRAs should have uniform standards and parameters, even though each city had differences and distinct needs. Commissioner Zapata echoed Chairwoman Bell’s comments about her efforts to enact changes in Tallahassee and the legislative process.

Commissioner Zapata asked Chairwoman Bell to explore whether the Commission Auditor could review CRAs in order to assist the County Commission in developing policy and operational parameters to guide them in the future. Chairwoman Bell responded that the Commission Auditor could be asked to undertake this effort, noting that the Office of Audit and Management Services or the Office of Inspector General would usually review those operations after-the-fact and report on funds already expended.

Commissioner Suarez noted his CRA experience at the City of Miami where the City Council and Mayor served as the CRA board. He proceeded to inquire about the composition of the County’s TIF Committees. Ms. Moon responded that the TIF Committee was composed of County staff from the Office of Management and Budget, the Finance Department, the Regulatory and Environmental Resources Department and the Housing Agency. Commissioner Suarez expressed concern that the budget approval process was not the same for all CRAs. He noted his support for Commissioner Zapata’s suggestion that the Commission Auditor review CRA proposals prior to County Commission consideration. Commissioner Suarez said that although he read all memorandums, he was not aware of any critical review of the NMCRA before today. Chairwoman Bell commented that she did not believe this review would make any difference; that the CRA proposal would still be legally sufficient and remain within the paradigm of their plan.

She clarified that the review by the Commission Auditor would put CRAs on notice that the County Commission was looking at their expenditures and would make the process more transparent.

Chairwoman Bell said she would continue her efforts to clean up the CRA process with the Florida legislature.

Anonymous said...

CRAs are meant to invigorate downtown areas of slum and blight redevelop and remodel buildings that have fallen into disrepair.

The CRA process in Miami Dade county are reelection tools of the boards. Zapata, Bell and Suarez are correct and I am with them.

Anonymous said...

To the "Check and checkmate" putz above GoD - are you 12 or just dumber than Bell or her staff or two or more of these? If you're a lobbyist you may want to seek some technical training school.

Bell most certainly has her hands all over these CRA's and this is just a lot bit more than a simple "my husband" which is actually her in Florida because she technically has a 50% interest of anything including businesses her husband owns. Yes, it's wrong on a whole bunch of levels and an ethics complaint is sure to follow this PoS not only on this issue but the mortgage with 10% down on the same property purchased for less than the actual value according to the comps. Let them show the profitability of the business or even the viability of it standing on it's own which they cannot do. Then they can give an accounting for the prior "facade grant" given to that same property about 5 yrs ago. Let ethics investigate the other applicants who didn't receive funding and let them dig deeper as to how much this same property has received in numerous grants over the past 10 years and has never been profitable. Let them dig deeper than what's even written about here because there is much more than this. The CRA itself who approved this needs to have a microscope on it because I'd like to know if these are the same people she basically said were either incompetent or corrupt or both. This stinks deeper than a lot of stuff especially after reading the minutes. If she threatened them which could be possible in a back door kind of way using Tallahassee and misusing her Commission position, that is most certainly a more serious and Jail able offense.

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
19 West Flagler, Suite 820
Miami, Florida 33130
305-579-0273 Fax

Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance in Plain Language
The Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics ordinance establishes the minimum standard of ethical conduct and behavior for elected officials, public employees, members of county and municipal advisory boards and quasi-judicial bodies.
Voting Conflicts

Commissioners may not vote on matters in which they would or might profit or be enhanced by the vote.
Commissioners may not vote on any matter in which they have any of the following relationships with the person or entity seeking a benefit:

1. Officer, director, partner, of counsel, consultant, employee, fiduciary, beneficiary
2. Stockholder, bondholder, debtor or creditor.
Commissioners may not vote on matters or participate in discussion regarding matters in which the decision will affect them in a matter distinct from the matter in which it will impact the public generally.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Bell will continue her efforts on all failed efforts in the pass that she could not convince other politicians on. This includes the Redland trash dump, the 9 owners of cleanup effort, pink slime, CRA's, and making our lives a living nightmare/hell until 2014. This includes friend and foe.

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Minutes
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
9:30:00 AM
Commission Chambers

Members Present: Barbara J. Jordan; Jean Monestime; Audrey M. Edmonson; Bruno A. Barreiro; Rebeca Sosa; Xavier L. Suarez; Lynda Bell; Dennis C. Moss; Sen. Javier D. Souto; Juan C. Zapata; Jose "Pepe" Diaz; Esteban L. Bovo, Jr.
Members Absent: Sally A. Heyman
Members Late:None Members Excused: None Members Absent County Business: None

8G2 122542 Resolution    Clerk's Official Copy Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee     RESOLUTION APPROVING THE BUDGETS FOR FISCAL YEARS 2011-12 AND 2012-13 FOR THE HOMESTEAD COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY(Office of Management and Budget) Adopted
Resolution R-81-13
Mover: Lynda Bell
Seconder: Rebeca Sosa
Vote: 11 - 0
Absent: Heyman , Suarez

Anonymous said...

It is not an ethics violation. Stop the speculation and reprints of things that have no relationship to the facts.

Anonymous said...


Miami-Dade Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee Minutes
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
2:00:00 PM
Lynda Bell (8) Chair; Esteban L. Bovo, Jr. (13) Vice Chair; Commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz (12), Barbara J. Jordan (1), Xavier L. Suarez (7), and Juan C. Zapata (11)
Members Present: Jose "Pepe" Diaz; Barbara J. Jordan; Xavier L. Suarez; Juan C. Zapata; Esteban L. Bovo, Jr.; Lynda Bell Members Absent: None Members Late: None Members Excused: None Members Absent County Business: None

Chairwoman Bell called the meeting to order at 2:26 p.m.

3D  122542 Resolution    
Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee          
Mover: Barbara J. Jordan
Seconder: Jose "Pepe" Diaz
Vote: 4 - 0
Absent: Suarez , Bovo, Jr.
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record.
Chairwoman Bell commended Mr. Rick Ammirato, Executive Director, Homestead Community Redevelopment Agency (HCRA) for his efforts in producing a fantastic CRA report and budget.

Anonymous said...

Chairwoman Bell commended Rick for his efforts for producing a fantastic report and budget, well said since her husband received $25,000 for their hotel. That would be a fantastic report for any citizen applying for the CRA funds and getting this amount. So self serving!!!!

Anonymous said...

CRA is not a local Law enforcement issue it is a FEDERAL Law enforcement issue:
On behalf of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice would like to thank you for your many messages on law enforcement issues and activities and other matters of special interest to many groups across the nation. The Attorney General appreciates the fact that so many citizens have taken the time to express their views and thoughts on these important matters.

By Mail
Correspondence to the Department, including the Attorney General, may be sent to:
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
By Phone

Department of Justice Main Switchboard -

Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line - 202-353-1555