Monday, May 11, 2015

From: the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos

The Coalition Against Causeway Chaos printed the following over the weekend. Links are interactive on the Coalition website, but not here. To access links, click here.
Maybe some of our readers can identify who the City of Miami elected officials are/were, responsible for this utter mess.

Battle Against Watson Island Project Snowballs.
Court Decision Could Blow Case Wide Open By Exposing Lies and Illegal Behavior By Some Commissioners and City Officials.

On May 5th Judge Thomas Rebull ordered the City of Miami to show cause—by May 22nd-- why it should not be held in contempt or court or face other sanctions.

His order was triggered by the City’s failure to produce records on the Watson Island Flagstone project that should have been produced as required by an earlier court order in September, 2014.

The judge noted that the City had lied under oath when its “most knowledgeable” witness “had produced everything that they had in their possession.” Central to the case is the failure by Miami officials to disclose key information to Commissioners voting on whether the Flagstone project should be continued or stopped.

In his order Judge Rebull directed the City to provide sworn affidavits or live witnesses who under oath will testify on why this information was not disclosed and what steps that have been taken to remedy the problem on non-disclosure.

As a result of this order we will seek to compel a number of elected and appointed officials to testify under oath about what they knew, when they knew it and why was this information kept hidden.

Specifically, in Judge Rebull’s own words. “I’m saying this for the City’s benefit…find out… who knew what when, and when did you find this out, how did this request come to light...? (See page 59 of the complete hearing Transcript)

Among the questions that must be answered:

Why were the Commissioners and the public lied to when an independent appraisal of fair market value showed the City should be charging the developer $7 million per year instead of the $2 million Flagstone is currently slated to pay when the project is complete?
Why were the Commissioners and the public lied to when officials told them that all necessary permits had been in a proper and timely manner when records now clearly indicate just the opposite?
Why was the Cabinet and Governor and the public lied to that a traffic study had been done and was positive when in fact the City official who was assuring them had never even read it?
Why was the Commission and the public lied to when told the City would be liable for $58 million if the project was stopped when, in fact, there was not a shred of documentation for that statement?

All these lies and non-disclosures of highly relevant information that were denied to the Commissioners, the press and public. Information that may have stopped the Flagstone project in its tracks.

Stay tuned. As we put elected and non-elected officials under oath and bring out the true facts of the secret, wrongful actions in the Flagstone matter, you’ll see why this battle against secrecy and backroom dealing is far from over.

You can find a copy of Judge Rebull’s Order here.


On the same day Judge Rebull issued his contempt order against the City, Judge Monica Gordo sided with Miami and dismissed our civil action case for lack of standing.

Disappointed, but not surprised, within hours we filed a notice of Appeal.

We intend to carry this case all the way to the Florida Supreme Court if necessary.

Why? Because if this ruling is left unchallenged, it would be the final nail in the coffin that buries the public’s right to participate in government decision-making.

As the Miami Herald noted in a lead editorial on the importance of standing:

“The history of America is replete with stories of courageous citizens who waged and won important civic battles against a powerful establishment on behalf of good public causes. Often, their battles were won in the courtroom, the venue of last resort for citizens who believe they cannot get a fair hearing from elected or appointed officials who make public policy and approve the expenditure of public money.

“Now, however, the city of Miami is asking the courts to bar the door against local residents whose complaints city officials find inconvenient. If the city succeeds, it would be a significant defeat for the public’s right to fight City Hall.

We would like to think that strict regulations are in place these days to require public input at every turn when important issues arise. Increasingly, however, governments have sought to block public participation, manipulate public hearings and curtail the flow of information. And when the threat of legal action arises, attempts are made to shut the public out of the courthouse, where all parties are equal and issues can be fully exposed to scrutiny.”

Again, stay tuned because this battle in the pursuit of the rights of citizens to challenge their government's decisions is far, far from over.

You can find a copy of Judge Gordo's Order here.


Anonymous said...

And don't forget the lawsuit by Key Biscayne against the city of miami and the mega- miami boat show and marina.

Anonymous said...

A rising tide lifts all boats

Anonymous said...

If anything is built on Watson Island which is owned by the residents of Miami and is always shown as green space on developer brochures I would hope the acting Commission would forever dedicate the rent received to be used exclusively for the expansion of parks in park poor areas of Miami...not to balance budgets.

Can the current Commissioners be counted on to have such foresight? If not, then vote them out of office!!!! This is the last chance Miami has to correct decades of park neglect!!!! Say no to lip service!!!! Steve Hagen