Friday, July 11, 2014

Millionaires like Leonard Abess, Wayne Rosen and Craig Robbins almost got our GOB Millions if not for hero County Commissioner Juan Zapata. By Geniusofdespair


Hero of this meeting, standing up for good government and for the people not getting rippped off: County Commissioner Juan Zapata who gave a passionate speech. He called the plan presented by Osterholt a slush fund. I call it a slush fund for wealthy donors at the expense of the people.  Did this redirection of funds go before the GOB Bond oversight Board like it was required to? I think not.
By the way, I spoke to the Mayor of Palmetto Bay, Tim Schaffer had no authorization to speak on behalf of the Village.

Miami-Dade commissioners balk at plan for business grants

By DOUGLAS HANKS  (this is the Hanks column except the parts in red italics)
dhanks@MiamiHerald.com

Miami-Dade commissioners on Thursday stalled an effort to use property taxes to fund about about $40 million in business grants for projects that included a private-jet hangar, charter school complex and production facility.

After harsh questioning by Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, the commission’s economic-development committee voted to delay considering a request by Mayor Carlos Gimenez to rewrite the rules of a dormant program aimed at recruiting large business ventures. The Gimenez administration wants to allow smaller businesses to use $75 million set aside from a 2004 ballot initiative that gave Miami-Dade authority to use property taxes to borrow $3 billion over several decades for a long list of infrastructure and construction projects.

“I think we had a really good idea that turned into something it wasn’t supposed to become,’’ Zapata said. “If we scream ‘jobs’ loud enough, this will somehow make this a good idea.’’

The current rules tied to the 2004 Building Better Communities bond program limited economic-development grants to $10 million a piece, a restriction aimed at reserving the borrowed funds to businesses and projects large enough to be “game-changing” for the economy, according to a 2010 memo setting rules for the program.

By waiving those rules, Gimenez’s staff want to give $5 million infrastructure grants to six businesses, including Miami Ocean Studios, a planned studio and production campus in northwest Miami-Dade and a for-profit medical school planned by Larkin Health in southern Miami-Dade. The money would reimburse businesses for costs tied to roadwork, sewage hookups and other infrastructure expenses, as well as for public parking facilities, according to presentation documents.

“We are trying to deal with the economy now, rather than the economy they were dealing with in 2004,’’ Jack Osterholt, the deputy mayor overseeing economic-development, said after the meeting. “We wanted projects that were sustainable, and would keep people working.”

The proposed grants, along with money tied to a similar BBC program without a $10 million threshold, include backing for projects tied to several influential people.

Improvements in Miami’s Design District, a popular retail destination controlled by Craig Robins, a top art collector, would get $1 million. Miami-Dade would earmark $5 million for a commercial project backed by the foundation of former congresswoman Carrie Meek.

Another $5 million would go to the Orion private-jet terminal, an Opa-locka business partially owned by Leonard Abess, who famously sold City National Bank of Florida in 2008 for $945 million and then gave $60 million of the profits to employees. A charter-school complex in Palmetto Bay backed Wayne Rosen, one of the top contributors to Miami-Dade commissioners’ reelection efforts, would get $5 million.

After the meeting, Rosen said his Parkside at Palmetto Bay project, which includes retail and housing, would bring jobs to the heart of the village.  (Councilman Schaffer spoke for the Village of Palmetto Bay with no authorization to do so and gave inaccurate information to the Committee. The project was rejected at least twice but Rosen sued or threatened to sue to get the project. It is near the Perrine Enterprise zone not in a Palmetto Bay enterprise zone. An expert was brought in and did not see it as a viable money making project, that is for starters, Schaffer never mentioned any of that he said the village was behind the project all the way. Also the city submitted a different project and it was turned down).

“We are the catalyst to get that downtown district started,” he said. “I believe in the redevelopment of their downtown district, and I’m willing to stay the course to get this project under construction, to create jobs and create a downtown district that I can be very proud of.”

Rosen’s venture sparked one of several tense moments during the hearing, with speakers noting he was the top contributor to Commissioner Lynda Bell, who chairs the committee and was running the meeting.

“We have a county commissioner sponsoring this project who is running for reelection and the project would benefit her largest campaign contributor,” Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner said shortly after Bell called her up for a requested speaking slot. Bell said she sponsored the resolution needed to fund the Rosen project only because she represents Palmetto Bay, and that the mayor’s office approved the applicants. “This under the purview of the mayor,’’ she said.

Rosen also dismissed the suggestion that the grant would be related to his campaign contributions to Bell. “My projects are approved on their merits, and there’s no outsiders pushing it,” he said.  (right, Lynda Bell didn't push it at all for her largest campaign countributor Wayne Rosen who gave her campaign and ECO over $23,000.)

The motion to defer voting on the grant proposals passed 3 to 1, with Commissioner Barbara Jordan objecting to the delay. “We have timelines tied to this list,’’ she said.

Thursday’s debate centered on a tiny portion of the 2004 Building Better Communities program, which passed overwhelmingly when voters endorsed eight ballot questions. The words “economic development” didn’t appear on the ballot, but an appendix approved projects tied to the planned bond sales earmarked $75 million for business-grant program.

Despite having 10 years of economic boom and bust, Miami-Dade has yet to tap the borrowing authority tied to the proposed business grants. The Beacon Council, the county’s economic-development arm, hoped to use about $15 million for a major air show near the Homestead air base, but the project failed to win needed backing from the Pentagon.

Frank Nero, head of the Beacon Council from 1996 to 2013, said the new guidelines abandon the original plan’s intent.

“One of the reasons we put in the $10-million threshold was to keep it from being divvied up by commission district,’’ said Nero, who was ousted by the Beacon Council board last year in part over scrapes with Gimenez. “You’re borrowing the money. It better be a significant project because you’re going to be paying off the bonds for 20 or 30 years.”

Along with the business grants, the Gimenez plan would use $18.5 million from the economic-development allocation for beach re nourishment along Miami-Dade’s coast. Thursday’s vote defers taking up the entire recommendation for 30 days.

Dollars for the BBC program come from a countywide property tax reserved solely for debt payments on voter-approved bonds. Commissioners decide when to borrow more money for the BBC program, and Miami-Dade next year will pay about $75 million in debt service tied to the $2.9 billion initiative, according to the latest budget proposal. Projects funded including the Miami Port Tunnel, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, bridge repairs and library construction.

Osterholt said the administration planned to stagger payouts from the proposed business-grant program so that Miami-Dade could avoid increasing debt service tied to the property tax. That would mean the program would have no impact on the tax rate. Either way, the program would have no impact on next year’s budget.

Larry Williams, the current Beacon Council chief, cautioned against dismissing an effort to help smaller businesses grow.

“These are the type of things that lay the foundation for economic development,’’ he said. “These investments can be game changers.”

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crony capitalism. Private businesses, including professional basketball teams, university basketball teams, professional football teams and soccer teams, must pay for their own facilities. This is especially true when the county can't find the money to balance its bloated spending.

Let the free market work!

Geniusofdespair said...

These funds were to be used as potential inducements for significant "game changing" job producing investments
The administrative rules they are waving required very stringent requirements. Also the projects were not to be less than 10m. To avoid exactly what they are doing dividing up the funds for pet commission projects!

Anonymous said...

The project was to create jobs that paid above the medium (at the time approximately $45,000). The funds were to be a reimbursement for funds spent on hard infrastructure. So if a company down the road moved or folded idea was the Infrastructure would still be there .. Road.. Water .. Sewer .. Building site. Etc

It was designed to be used solely to attract MAJOR projects:
Manufacturing
Research
Corporate headquarters .etc.

The new investment by the Company was to generate enough incremental taxes to cover the bond amortization costs .. Anticipated three to four geographically diverse projects.

It was seen as a tool to be used ONLY if there was an opportunity to attract a Major project and if we were Not competitive due to lack of required infrastructure.



That's how it was supposed to work

•Here they are waving their own administrative rules and funding these questionable projects upfront

•Problem Osterholt is clueless .as is the mayor .. who is vetting these ?

•Note taxes will have to raised to fund these bonds and as you know. Will pay more than face value; a bond hence amount to be paid significantly more .. Projects were to generate enough incremental taxes to cover those costs. I doubt very much that will be the case with these ?? Fish processing ?? This is a piñata give away they will require increase in taxes at the very time cutting libraries and police.

Anonymous said...

This government is worse than Tamny Hall. Whose boss tweed said "I saw my opportunities and I took them"
This commission and mayor are directed by lobbyists .. And political opportunists who would make boss Tweed blush.

Anonymous said...

Consultants hired by the Village of Palmetto Bay in reporting on the potential economic success of the re-development of the Downtown area declared that the charter school was not a desirable component in the economic growth of the area and would not contribute to its success.

Geniusofdespair said...

Palmetto Bay: The charter school Parkside houses was turned down by the Village Council twice and approved only following litigation that was settled through political pressure.

Anonymous said...

There is no money just sitting there ..you have to borrow it ..

Next time someone says MIAMI Dade needs more high paying jobs.. A corporate headquarters .. A major manufacturer .. A research or high tech company -- it will be gone!!

Juan said...

Osterholt's comments make no sense..you borrow money you need to pay it back plus interest..over what ever period the term is.. Less term less interest just like your mortgage. Your pay less with a 15 year mortgage than a 30 year .. If you take it out of yearly budgets it is diverting resources from other programs. Plus his comments on the current economy is laughable ..perhaps he needs to read an economic report. Look at the stock market. Value of projects here.. Etc. the projects do not have a viable "but for" justification for these type funds.

In economic development terms that means ... but for the incentive the project could not would not go forward.

Anonymous said...

Rosen should be barred from county hall.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that rules don't apply to the BCC? They will do anything to get funds to their campaign contributors. These elected and appointed operatives are not working for the people, but instead spread funds in spite of the rules to the wealthy and politically connected.
They seem to spend all their time and energy to find ways to help their friends. Is this why there is never enough funding for programs that benefit the public?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think is wrong that Wayne Rosen a rich developer who works with Lennar on projects-- is Lynda Bell's biggest supporter would get 5 million on a for profit venture. Talk about rewarding your campaign contributors, Lynda could have at least waited till AFTER the election. This is unholy. The man doesn't need the grant and the county needs the money. Lynda Bell you suck.

Geniusofdespair said...

I want to once again thank Juan Zapata for his passion for the people and against bad government. He was indeed masterful in sifting through the bull.

Anonymous said...

We need to completely back away from giving private-for-profit companies tax money. Businesses have to make it on their own, as we have no money to even cover basic services. Water and Sewers are a mess. Transportation is a mess. Libraries are being closed. There are massive lay-offs in the Police Department. And you want us to borrow millions of dollars to be paid by the taxpayers for the next 20 to 30 years to be given to private enterprise? Give me a break!


Anonymous said...

This money was suppose to go for infrastructure to catch a big fish a big firm that paid big salaries. It was not suppose to be for minows wo give to campaigns.

Anonymous said...

It is almost like the Commissioners are living in an alternative reality. Just because you can borrow money does not mean you should. Many credit card and other loan offers come to me, and I shred them up, because I like to be debt-free. To continually burden the taxpayers with operations that have nothing to do with public services in a time of great economic scarcity is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

Osterholt is a bully and Gimenez should fire him ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I watched it. You are so right about Zapata.

Geniusofdespair said...

Yes Commissioner Zapata is a public servant not a politician.

Anonymous said...

looks like Wayne Rosen is trying to get his money back before Lynda is voted out of office.

Anonymous said...

did this guy wayne rosen open up a fish shack with a Homestead Commissioner and got in trouble?

Anonymous said...

This is a matter of trust. Ethics where are you? We voted for that part of the GOB Bond. We did not vote to give the money to other things. It was suppose to get a company to move into South Florida not make rich men richer.

Anonymous said...

How is that new port tunnel working out for the Mayor not even open and its leaking.maybe we can use that money and stuff the leaks...This place is a joke

Anonymous said...

What's Wayne mucking around in Palmetto Bay for? Has his endless revenue stream from Lennar dried up?

Anonymous said...

Wayne, North Carolina is calling. Maybe there's a short line railroad to attract your attention. Cya bud.

Geniusofdespair said...

He didn't get in trouble but yes. No one gets in trouble in Hudstead. Jimmy Williams? He also was close to the former mayor, selling his wife's Mercedes to Bateman.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate Commissioner Zapata's leadership. We need more commissioners like him in the County. Let's start by throwing out the crooked Lynda Bell.

Shelley Stanczyk said...

Shelley Stanczyk said...

Tim Schaffer was not authorized to speak on behalf of Palmetto Bay.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I was disgusted by the televised committee meeting chaired by Bell yesterday. I live in the Village of Palmetto Bay and that was the only reason I tuned in. It appeared that something good was coming to our little burg from our commissioner. WRONG!

The meeting that was moved from September or after her re-election to before the election was about how she could give a $5 million gift to Wayne Rosen her largest campaign contributor and her husband's.
This was not a Village project or in any way a public project as it turns out but a Somerset Academica charter school and garage that the council turned down twice. And it will only serve the school and condo's located on private property.

A $5 million dollar slush fund payout or payback to Wayne Rosen from the District 8 Commissioner Lynda Bell. BRAVO to Zapata, he smelled the rat.

Tim Schaffer said...

I was informed by several people that a blog had stated that I had no authorization to speak on behalf of Palmetto Bay. I can't remember ever reading this blog nor cared to as I don't read blogs but this time I did. Whoever the writer is, let me make this clear. I am not require to ask anyone on the Palmetto Bay council, including the Mayor, or staff for authorization to speak on behalf of the Village. That authorization was provided to me through the residents of the Village by being elected.

Tim Schaffer
Council Member, District 2
Village of Palmetto Bay

SCR said...

Tim, You are wrong. You don't have a clue who I am, but I believe reside in your district.

Do Not not believe for one puny second that you, as an elected official of any community, has the right to speak on behalf of our entire village or even your district based on your personal agenda without official consent. Otherwise, anything you say is simply editorial comment and should be labeled as such.

Being elected does not give you free reign over village opinions. THAT IS WHY governments use resolutions.

If you wish to get a official resolution representing a full council vote, by golly, you do it. OTHERWISE, I DO NOT want you or anyone else speaking for me in front of the county commission.

DO not misrepresent me or village in front of other official governmental bodies.

IT IS AN ISSUE OF ETHICS.

Anonymous said...

You can speak for yourself Tim at any time. You cannot speak for the village government without the blessings of your council. Not everyone voted for you.

youbetcha' said...

Palmetto Bay: The charter school Parkside houses was turned down by the Village Council twice and approved only following litigation that was settled through political pressure.

Zoning by lawsuits and taking peoples voices away by intimidation and the use of SLAP suits is the new business model for developers.

I have never seen so much lying by lobbyists, their beneficiaries and other slime in all my years in Dade County. This place is a hell-hole of attorneys and other professionals who misuse their considerable skills and knowledge for their love of money no matter what collateral damage occurs.

It is no longer an issue of simply representing a client's interests.

It now has gone so far as to be disrespectful of our laws and using the legal system in such a way that the legal intent of much law has become corrupted. The courts need to stop allowing frivolous lawsuits. We should not be creating law by precedence setting lawsuits which may or may not be upheld on appeal.

Anonymous said...

Where was the Palmetto Bay mayor during these proceedings? One would think that he or she would have been present to speak up.

Anonymous said...

Idiot a few above, I didn't vote for Obama but he speaks for me and I respect the office despite an inability to lead.
Here you have a man leading and he needs authorization from a would be blogging mayor? I would bet Madame Mayor wanted to be a ventriloquist through the person of Schaffer when he spoke.
In the words of Pat Riley, everyone get a grip!!!

Anonymous said...

http://www.crespogram.com/index_public_html/VERONICA_DIAZ_WANT_TO_BE_A_JUDGE.html

Anonymous said...

When are the (impenetrable (father) and son going to be put in handcuffs? Oh, Bell too?

Anonymous said...

I am not an idiot and you are rude. But, I do understand what elected officials should be doing. I didn't mention the Mayor, you did.

There should have be a resolution presented during a council meeting. That means a proposal voted on by the council,

Tim nor anyone else should be running their mouths without authority.

David said...

Schaffer is not known for his brains. He call the citizens names while at council. He is looney tunes we all know it in PALMETTO BAY.

David said...

Schaffer is not known for his brains. He call the citizens names while at council. He is looney tunes we all know it in PALMETTO BAY.

Geniusofdespair said...

Okay enough already with Palmetto Bay. I don't believe Tim Schaffer would call his citizens names.

Anonymous said...

All of this is plain stupid and insulting to the taxpayer. Perez Museum was asking for an additional $2.5 million to Miami-Dade County which the Mayor already included in the budget. It happens that the CEO of the Perez Museum received a $25K bonus in 2011 which increase his salary for the year to approximately 280K while no county employee at least those not close to the Mayor received any increase or have received any salary increase in the last 4 years. Te other three main characters for this NON FOR PROFIT earned each one between 150K to 175K, and they want money from the homeowners of Miami-Dade County. Our politicians want to give it to them. It is really sad.

Anonymous said...

To GOD, Schaffer has repeatedly referred to either the Mayor, members of the Council, residents in the audience or residents at large as "Marxists". During one meeting the Mayor threatened to adjourn the meeting if he did not stop referring to the residents of Palmetto Bay as marxists.

Anonymous said...

Tim, you need to check the charter on your ability to represent the Village or municipality you are elected from. According to the Charter of Palmetto Bay and most municipalities the only elected official who represents the municipality to other governments is the mayor. Because you are elected and have an opinion does not make you the official representative. Clearly, the Parkside project was not supported by the Village if litigation was involved to have zoning approved.

Anonymous said...

To Tim Schaffer: If your authority came from the voters to speak, why are you advocating for a project that so many people came to meetings to oppose? Each time the project came up residents spoke against it.
.
Why are you supporting a project that will be guaranteed financial success because it is funded by state tax money ?
.
Why are you supporting this entity receiving $5 million dollars that the owner, Wayne Rosen, doesn't need to build it or be financially viable that will only increase the debt load on the residents of the county?

Anonymous said...

This $5 million is just pay back for the money Wayne Rosen gave to Lynda's campaign and her husband's campaign. Just face it and now it's been said.
.
That's why the meeting was pushed up from Sept. to July before she loses in August.

Let's be sure she loses in August. VOTE

Anonymous said...

Actually, if you look at the agenda of this meeting, Barbara Jordan had a lot more then Bell! However, I want to know why people keep voting for Bonds, then complain they don't want their taxes going up. Stop approving them. It's like increasing the debt ceiling to pay debt service!

Anonymous said...

Tim you could have spoken as a citizen. but not on behalf of the entire council so either your trying to get on the money train for your next election with Wayne rosen or Lynda called you to speak to save her butt, remember homestead had her voted out of office and the entire council that supported her clean sweep....so Tim stay clear

Anonymous said...

We call him JZ.