I believe the charges were completely politically driven under the guise of upholding the town charter which of course is done selectively. All this five days before the end of 8 years of service by the mayor. The mayor promised to fight the censure by the council (passed on a vote of 4-0). He will appeal this legally as well as bring forth legal proceedings against Wolmers/Castillo for Castillo's alleged, offering Wolmers $3,000 to support the change of zoning on SW 184 St and Old Cutler. Castillo is a registered lobbyist for that project. The Mayor also stated he would be pursuing another legal matter against Council Member Loyzelle regarding a serious voting impropriety on the removal of prior town manager Alexander. The room was full of McDougall supporters and very few there were supporters of Bell and Wolmers. It was a very sad moment for Cutler Bay. Whatever Castillo touches seems to turn bad.
The censure vote itself was a three ring circus with acting Chair Sochin trying to second his own motions and Bell trying to guide Sochin and being advised by staff that she could not take over. The whole thing was as nasty as Palmetto Bay during the Palmer Trinity days and that is saying something. At times Loyzelle seemed as mean and pugnacious as Gov. Christie of NJ towards the Mayor. Bell was much more controlled but if looks could have killed...and Wolmers, a sad case of a man who would do anything to be elected, joined in. I'm sure there was a lot of encouragement by Bell and maybe others to pursue this action against the Mayor.
From the Miami Herald an earlier article leading up to this:
The latter complaint, brought by Town Council candidate Ed Wolmers and sponsored by council member and mayoral candidate Peggy Bell, alleged that a letter sent by the mayor to the town’s residents on Sept. 25 violated a town charter rule against officials “intentionally misusing his position to threaten, harass or otherwise attempt to intimidate any other person including but not limited to any citizen, employee or colleague.”
The complaint alleged that the letter appeared to be official, and that it criticized Bell and others.
“The question at hand is, is this an official communication from the town to the residents or is this just a personal opinion from the mayor,” Wolmers said in his complaint at the meeting. “The issues that I raise are a misuse of power and a misuse of office. While the mayor is entitled to his opinions … the message clearly is intended to send a message of distortion and rhetoric.”
Wolmers is running against incumbent Seat 1 council member Mary Ann Mixon. In his letter, MacDougall speaks of lobbyist Jose L. Castillo, the campaign manager for Bell and Wolmers. In his complaint, Wolmers writes that MacDougall used “rhetoric created with the sole purpose of accusing Peggy Bell and Ed Wolmers of association with a ‘corrupt’ lobbyist.”
“I think because I’m named in the violation, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on it,” Bell said. “I just think they brought it forward because I didn’t think it was likely anyone else would be able to do it.”
MacDougall said he “demanded a public hearing” regarding his letter endorsing Nanni. The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Town Hall.
|Art Nanni running against Peggy Bell. Art's wife is a volunteer on many fronts.|
Genius: Environmentalists praise Ed MacDougall on his environmental record. But acknowledge his short temper.