|Jose Luis Castillo|
I only printed the second document that Former Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall mentions -- as you know I am not a fan of Jose Luis Castillo:
These attachments are a request for a hearing under the Town of Cutler Bay charter “Bill of Rights”. But, I do not believe it will be respected. The reasons are articulated in the second document which outlines what has happened in Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay. Many requests made by me as the mayor, for the council to act on possible violations by lobbyists, have been ignored.From Former Mayor Ed MacDougall:
With Kindest Regards,
Ed MacDougall, Private Citizen and former mayor
Town of Cutler Bay
If I am misguided, then I shall discontinue my fight. But, I truly feel it is the duty of each of us to protect our system of government from themselves.
These are the events surrounding a lawsuit filed by Jose Castillo against the Town of Cutler Bay/Mayor MacDougall and Art Nanni through attorney Jeffrey P. Leary. Mayor Eugene Flinn has also been served legal papers by Jeffrey Leary. Mayor Flinn advised in writing that Mr. Leary is the attorney of John Dubois. In addition, John Dubois told me personally that Jeffrey Leary is his attorney.
As mayor of Cutler Bay, I promised not to allow corruption in our Town. In this attempt, I have done the following.
I first brought to the attention of our council that one of our lobbyists, Fausto Gomez, had made a campaign contributions to vice mayor Sochins 2012 election. He made that contribution by check from a company he owns unrelated to his job as our lobbyist. Mr. Gomez did not disclose his contribution which is in direct conflict with our charter and ordinance. The purpose of the charter provision was to ensure that campaign contributions from people that the town hires, especially those made through an unrelated company, are made public. I believe in the rule of law and upholding our charter and as such brought this to the council’s attention at three different meetings. The council refused to hear the matter or put it on the table for discussion. I later filed a complaint with the Miami Dade Commission on Ethics. They replied that there appeared to be a violation but since the council refused to hear it, the Commission on Ethics would not act on the matter.
In 2014 I brought to the attention of the manager that Richard Candia, another lobbyist who was being paid $40,000/year by the town to represent our interests, had taken $100,000 from the Miami Dolphins owner (confirmed in a phone conversation with Richard) to represent them in support of the stadium. Our council had passed a resolution opposing the $400 million tax increase for the stadium. Richard Candia was released as a lobbyist for Cutler Bay and subsequently arrested a couple of months later by the FBI in a corruption scheme. At the time I did not realize my conversation with Mr. Candia was most likely recorded by the FBI.
In 2012, during the largest zoning issue the Town has taken up, the Publix center development, council member Susie Loyzelle consistently voted to approve the site plan, which eventually passed. I eventually learned one of the lobbyists for the project was Jose Castillo, who not only lobbied for the project but had worked as Loyzelle’s former campaign manager. Councilmember Loyzelle never disclosed her relationship with Mr. Castillo, nor did he disclose his relationship with her.
Soon after the Publix vote for their new project, it was brought to the entire council’s attention that per our charter both councilmembers and lobbyists must disclose, prior to a hearing, any conversations they have with each other regarding quasi-judicial matters. Mr. Castillo did not make these required disclosures and since no other member of my council would act, I filed a complaint with the ethics commission. Mr. Castillo pled no contest and paid a fine.
It was told to me then that Jose Castillo would get back at me.
During the recent 2014 election, Jose Castillo ran the campaigns of council member Peggy Bell for mayor and Ed Wolmers for council seat one. At the same time he was running their campaigns, he was also a paid registered lobbyist for a new project, “Old Cutler Village”. In other words, he was being paid to lobby the council, including Peggy Bell, to vote in favor of a zoning change while being employed by Peggy Bell to consult on her campaign. In my opinion this is a conflict of interest, and as such I could not support either individual’s campaigns.
After I was made aware of Mr. Castillo’s dual role as lobbyist and campaign consultant, I decided to come out publicly for Art Nanni. In a letter of support I made the statement that Peggy Bell had as a campaign manager, Jose Castillo, who had pled guilty to an ethics violation. Jose Castillo has sued me personally for slander for using the term “pled guilty” and not “pled no contest”. It has become very personal for him.
While attempting to get my support for his campaign, I had a conversation with Ed Wolmers who stated that Jose Castillo had given him $3,000 to support the vote on the Old Cutler project. Ed Wolmers told me he refused the money, so that must mean he is honest so he would like my support for his council member campaign. Given the illegal nature of such an offer, I reported my conversation to the Town’s attorneys via email. I later learned Mr. Wolmers told two other people the same story, each of whom have filed sworn statements to what they were told. Mr. Wolmers now denies that he made this comment to any of us. The council was advised on the matter but never responded.
Four days before my term as mayor ended, I was sanctioned by the council because of my letter of support for Art Nanni. My sins, so to speak, were that I used the term “pled guilty” and not “pled no contest” with regard to Jose Castillo’s ethics complaint. They argued this constituted making a false statement. The fact that I had signed not only my name but my position as mayor they labeled a misuse of authority, even though it was not done on town stationary nor using town resources. It was Ed Wolmers who asked for a hearing and Peggy Bell who agreed to bring it to the council. Remember, both were still using Jose Castillo as their campaign consultant and both were counting on his ability to get them elected. Also, vice mayor Sochin was photographed in a private meeting in a public restaurant, with Jose Castillo and it was never publically disclosed. Admittedly, not an illegal act, but Add to that, the photograph of Jose Castillo with Cutler Bay council member Susie Loyzelle, Palmetto Bay V/M John Dubois, Palmetto Bay Council member Karen Cunningham and Palmetto Bay Council member Laura Siegel all at a private party, and a picture can be drawn. I have the photos.
We now have a council in which at least two of the five members have openly used Jose Castillo as their campaign consultant. Castillo is listed as a lobbyist for the Old Cutler Road project, the 9.5 acre Old Cutler Village project at SW 184 Street and OCR which they are seeking a "Master Plan change and zoning change”. Jose Castillo first registered as a lobbyist for the 184th Street property on 2/24/14; he amended it on 9/18/14 presumably due to his being hired by Peggy Bell. All lobbyists’ registrations expired on 12/31/14. He re-registered on Jan. 27th. 2015. This project is on the border of Palmetto Bay with Cutler Bay, directly affecting each municipality.