|Aventura City Manager Eric Soroka with his wife - The City Clerk|
So in December 2008, when Soroka (Aventura City Manager being sued by Aventura former principal) and Mayor Susan Gottlieb decided to commission a book on Aventura’s history, it seemed quite possible that our government was coming around. They chose Seth Bramson to write the book.And:
Bramson, who teaches Florida history at Florida International University and Barry University, is known for his well-regarded histories of the Florida East Coast Railway and of South Florida cities, such as Miami Beach, Hallandale Beach, and the Curtiss-Bright cities of Hialeah, Miami Springs, and Opa-locka. He received recognition from the leaders of the City of Miami for chronicling that city. On behalf of Aventura, Soroka and Gottlieb committed to underwrite the publication of 500 books.
After Bramson submitted his draft to Soroka and Gottlieb, they invited him to what he thought would be a routine meeting to discuss it. At that meeting, according to Bramson, Soroka and Gottlieb blindsided him.
They had essentially rewritten his book, deleting chapters and pictures, and eviscerating the substance of his work. Never before had leaders of a city profiled in one of Bramson’s books censored its contents.
Mayor from Hell: Susan Gottlieb - never saw a development she didn't like. Nasty as they come. When she was running, I met her at the polls and she was so dismissive and unpleasant, I changed my vote.
This past August our city attorney (who is employs Soroka’s son) used the taxpayers’ dime to write a letter to Bramson’s publisher. The letter stated that “the City has not authorized Mr. Bramson to write a history of the city or to use photos, papers, or other property of the city in the proposed book.”
The city attorney’s letter is disingenuous. Since when does the subject of a book have to authorize its publication? If that were the case, the publication of many nonfiction books, including biographies, would essentially cease.
Under what statute or theory does a city have exclusive ownership of photos and papers in its possession? What happened to the public records laws under which anyone has the right to review and copy municipal papers and records?
Despite the ludicrousness of the letter, it had the desired chilling effect. Bramson’s publisher, not wishing to face a lawsuit, bailed.
I talked to Bramson myself and he also told me they wanted him to remove a photo of an African American from Aventura's Ojus history. It wasn't just about the Soroka case. Read the whole article. It is revealing. Aventura also pulled advertising from The Biscayne Times. This is like Lynda Bell retribution.