Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Wonder if the Mayor Is Okay?

The Herald published a very good article about last week's meeting.  I haven't written anything up because frankly I wonder if it's even worth giving the crude attacks from the Village Attorney and the mayor the light of day.  

But after a full week, it occurs to me that people may be losing sight of the very important issue.  

This is really about desperately trying to keep the extortion attempt against Doug Hornsby, from reaching the dais.  

The meeting was filled with the defensive outrage of Mayor Kreps and Village Attorney Norman C. Powell.  According to the two of them, things are far worse than meets the eye and they can only release selective information but if we knew the truth, boy, the blogger would be singing a different tune.  

First up was Mayor Kreps in which she defended the firing of Robert Switkes because Eddie Lim received poor legal advice resulting in Kreps having to file an ethics complaint against Lim and the CoE agreed with her.  So there's that. 

Then she hopes that the former village Frank Rollason is exonerated in the investigation of an anonymous complaint that Rollason, Bert Wrains and Eddie Lim conspired to use village money for Rollason's personal gain.  

Of course, Rollason was exonerated.  You can read the police investigation here.  But just for the hell of it, Kreps and Powell have reopened the investigation to keep the smoke blocking the extortion investigation.  

Kreps then went on to say that new Village Manager Marlen Martell had no choice but to fire Carlos Noriega, our former police chief, because he would not cooperate on something.  She didn't mention what but then she went on to say that the former police chief was under investigation for overtime fraud and FEMA fraud, had bloated the salaries of the police department, did not enforce the Short Term Vacation Rental ordinance, and mishandled the  hurricane party.  She provided no proof but once again, created a diversion from the question of the extortion investigation reaching the dais.  

Then the mayor moved on to Hornsby.  After saying that she sincerely likes him, she drew some odd distinction between "Citizen Restoration" and "Voting Rights".  I didn't understand it and she didn't either since one of her lawyers fed her the line and it does not appear in any of the court records.  

Finally, she urged Villagers to "connect the dots" which she failed to do.  

What she did do was casually slander everyone she's angry at while providing no proof.  

In closing, Kreps said her remarks would be posted on the Village Facebook page, which as of May 16, 2018, they have not been nor are they on the Village website at 

No proof.  Nothing substantial.  Just a performance for the press in the hope that an upcoming Herald article would be favorable for her.  It was not.  The article was simply accurate.  

The Big Show - Norman C. Powell Takes Aim

This is probably as good a point as any to note again that last week's meeting was a theater piece playing to an audience of one - the Miami Herald.  Marlen Martell noted in her report the following:  "Interviewed with a Miami Herald reporter. Hoping for a positive and factual review of our wonderful Village."  The hope was that the Herald would write an article about how well the dais is handling all the controversy.  They didn't.  

Powell reiterated with more specificity the same accusations that Mayor Kreps had thrown about.  
In his report he claimed:

  • The Fence Investigation into Rollason, Lim and Wrains was substantial and still open. 
  • There were serious problems with the police and FDLE is involved.  
  • FEMA funds were misappropriated and hinted that the Department of Justice was now involved.
  • Carlos Noriega never made a whistle blower complaint.  
  • Powell's direction to vacuum up the data on the village's servers including Homeland Security data was the right legal move to prevent tampering.  
  • There are "6 or 7" other issues which the FDLE has found "probable cause"
  • That another complaint against Eddie Lim came from the "community" (an anonymous email)
Then he shifted to me, the blogger, and recounted a meeting he and I had in January at which he told me to call him if I had any concerns.  (We did have that meeting and he did say that.)  Powell said that I was not vetting information with him, which is true.  When I tried, I got argument, not discussion, but that's a good defense attorney for you.  Not a good municipal officer but still...

Powell is a first amendment advocate, as witnessed by his earning boatloads of money defending the rights of strip clubs to make more boatloads of money, so there's that, but he had to set the record straight on the abuse of irresponsible writing.  (Maybe if I charged $1 per touch?)

None of the above have any substance.  The Rollason matter was based on an anonymous email from a known fraudster IP address, FEMA audits are routine and the vacuuming up of the village servers was done without Homeland Security's authorization.  The rest are too vague and unsubstantiated to even intelligently discuss.  

Why The Drama?

The answer is very simple.  

The biggest worry of our dais is that the extortion investigation will reach the dais.  That our elected officials will be implicated in a ham handed attempt to destroy Doug Hornsby and although the civil penalties for this are slight - it's a podunk town with a history of nasty politics - the reputation damage will be grave.  And Norman C. Powell was brought in at $204,000 per year plus additional costs to stop that from happening.  

The audience for last Tuesday was just one person - the Miami Herald reporter - and the hope was that it would be a slam dunk destroying the credibility of the critics (me) and would win in the court of public opinion what the courts found baseless.  

When that didn't work, Laura Cattabriga and the village administration colluded to release dark shadowy videos from the Internal Affairs investigation into the famous "Hurricane Party" and hope that by destroying our police department's reputation, the pressure would go away.  They found a willing accomplice in Willard Sheperd of NBC 6 but the report had no substance.   Watch it here.  

This will all continue to grow as a coverup and all of it could be simply handled if the State Attorney's Office goes ahead with pressing charges in the extortion.   That's what will bring the curtain down and I wish I knew why they are delaying.  

Kevin Vericker
May 16, 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hornsby Extortion - The Origin Story

Here's something you probably have lost sight of.  The event which set off all of the purges was the extortion attempt on Commissioner Doug Hornsby, claiming he was ineligible to serve.  Everything that follows including the illegal behavior, the firings and Honsby's removal was not about Hornsby's conviction in Tennessee for cocaine in the 1980's but about extortion of Hornsby to get him off the commission.  

If you haven't been following the police firings, the removal of Hornsby and the whole sordid mess, start here and work your way back.   

There has only been one (1) (ONE) legal opinion on Hornsby's eligibility to serve as a commissioner in North Bay Village and that was in December of 2017 when the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics considered the issue and put forth the opinion that there was no evidence to support the claims that Hornsby was ineligible to serve as commissioner.  Read their conclusions here.  

As regards Hornsby's eligibility, there is nothing illegal.  The court cases sponsored by Marlene Brody and Laura Cattabriga et al were always false and the court tried to give them every opportunity to improve their case but the plaintiffs could not and wound up dropping the case.   

The removal of Dr. Hornsby was done when registered strip club lobbyist North Bay Village Attorney Norman C. Powell dishonestly misrepresented a discussion meeting to be a kangaroo court to remove Hornsby.  Powell was lying about the law and doing it because the courts were ready to throw the matter out.  

When Village Manager Marlen Martell fired police chief Noriega and replaced him with Lewis Velken, who in turn fired the two detectives investigating the extortion attempt, they did so to cover up crimes that seem very likely to reach the dais.   

When the Mayor tried to intimidate me from writing about the extortion attempts, it was to block information from reaching the public.  

The Core of the Hornsby Matter

In the late 1980's while living in Tennessee, Doug Hornsby was arrested and convicted on cocaine charges.  The guy had a problem.   

Hornsby was not the only Vietnam Vet to come home with a drug problem but his was an exceptional story.   

Hornsby served in Vietnam as an unarmed medic, having claimed conscientious objector status as he enlisted in the US Army.   He saw combat, saved lives, was wounded twice and received two purple hearts.   Hornsby never carried a gun.  

His service was mindful, courageous and principled.   

By the late 1980's however, he had developed a problem and the law intervened.   Hornsby served his time in prison and under the laws of Tennessee, his rights to vote were automatically restored.  

You read that right.  When Hornsby registered to vote in Florida, he had every reason to believe that he was eligible and no court has found otherwise.  

In between the time he completed his sentence in Tennessee and he moved to Florida, he completed a second medical residency at Harvard under a rehab program.  In North Bay Village, he developed a key radiology practice and he and his wife Sissy settled into the rhythms of life here in an almost 1950's domestic relationship with Hornsby practicing and Sissy dedicating herself to community causes.   

In 2016, he was approached by Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps who asked him to consider applying for the Commissioner At Large vacancy created when Jorge Gonzalez resigned.    Hornsby did.  

At no point did he hide from the mayor or anyone else his public record of conviction and imprisonment.  

The extortion attempt happened after Hornsby fell out with the mayor and her crew over the mayor's desire to fire Frank Rollason.   

The clumsy anonymous emails and physical snail mail threatened to destroy Hornsby's reputation by disclosing the already very public record and let him know "that's how this city runs." which I think means by threats and shaming.  

Since Hornsby had always preemptively disclosed his past, the threats seemed empty and designed to get him to leave the dais.   And he fought back by bringing the reports into the light of day or at least the light of the dais by disclosing the extortion publicly at a commission meeting.  

And since then, every action taken by our dais with regards to the firing of the previous village attorney, the hiring of an inexperienced registered strip club lobbyist as village attorney, the removal of Hornsby, the firing of the police chief, the firing of the two detectives investigating, the installation of Laura Cattabriga on the dais, the planned firing of Village Clerk Yvonne Hamilton and the hiring of inexperienced village manager Marlen Martell all reek of a desperate attempt to kill the extortion investigation before it reaches the dais.   Nothing good has come of this.  

And Hornsby was never ineligible to serve.  

Kevin Vericker
May 5, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Isn't There More to this Story?

Yesterday I covered the New Times Article about the firing of Sam Columbano, a North Bay Village detective, which from all appearances seemed to be about his investigation of the mayor's ties with a local supporter and friend who is facing four felony counts of fraud yet remains on three of our boards.  
The firing of two North Bay Village detectives who were investigating the extortion of Doug Hornsby, the embezzlement at a Harbor Island co-op and a false complaint about former village manager Frank Rollason conspiring with Eddie Lim and Bert Wrains look to even the most casual observer like a coverup.  
But wait... Mayor Kreps supporters are going around darkly muttering that Frank Rollason and (fired) former police chief Carlos Noriega are definitely under investigation for felonies by the  FDLE and the Feds.   They really wish they could talk about it but they can't but don't worry, we'll see the truth come out.  

Over at the Incel site, LEOAFFAIRS, an anonymous troll site where cops and cop wannabes post racist and misogynist rants and untruths, the keyboard warriors have been in particular taking me to task as putting out one side of the story while knowing it's not true. 

Here's the problem.  The second side is nothing.   There's no there there.  

The two "other side" stories are:

  1. Former Village Manager Frank Rollason is being investigated for a FELONY by the state isn't he?   Well, that's not true.   It was debunked in yesterday's post.   It was never anything more than an "anonymous" complaint that was easily debunked when Frank Rollason shared all his receipts for the project bills he was accused of conspiring to get the village to pay.  It was a lie.  Don't believe me?  Read the full accounting from the North Bay Village Police here.

  2. Yeah, but the Feds were all over Village Hall pulling records and files on Carlos Noriega, right?

    Yeah, no, not like that.

    The village's claims for reimbursement for FEMA funds after Hurricane Irma are being audited, just like every other city that claimed reimbursement money.

    So the Feds have been requesting files for all overtime, not just the police.  It's what they have to do by law.  Just like your insurance adjuster asks for receipts.  There is no fraud investigation.  
What both these lies have in common is that they are designed to distract from the deliberately executed tactics to rid the village of the people who are investigating alleged crimes that could reach the dais and have already destabilized our government.  Smokescreens put up by self interest.   

Of course, I could be wrong.  I know there will be a stream of invective launched at me from the so called "other side", lies, whispers, threats, all anonymous. I've been there.  

I will reiterate my longstanding offer.  If anyone wants to on record, with your real name, to dispute the facts of the situation, I will publish your stuff unedited.   If you want to chide me and tell me that I don't have the facts, but want to remain anonymous, I will respect that and publish any supporting information you send me.   But it has to be real stuff to support, not just the voices in your head.  

But if you sit behind a keyboard wearing your anonymity to disguise your bullshit, cowards don't deserve the light of day.  

Kevin Vericker
May 4, 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Coverup Is Worse Than The Crime

By now, even the most committed of Mayor Kreps' supporters have to be shaking their heads in disbelief.   

Last month at the commission meeting, Eddie Lim brought up for discussion whether or not the village should remove appointed board members if they have been charged with felonies.  

Andreana Jackson said something about "innocent until proven guilty" and the mayor deferred to the Village Attorney who reminded the mayor and the dais that board members serve at the pleasure of the dais and the dais can remove them at any time.  

Mayor Kreps did not take the hint and the item died for lack of a second.  

And so Ana Watson, currently under arrest and facing trial for four counts of defrauding her co-op with false checks remained on the Charter Review Board and the Community Enhancement Board.  

The Miami New Times wondered why and published an article detailing the close links between Watson and the mayor along with the news that while Watson has been allowed to stay on the boards, the cop in charge of the investiation, Tom Columbano, was summarily fired, allegedly in retaliation for investigating the Mayor's close personal friend.   You can read the article here.  

Before there are outraged cries of "Isn't she innocent until proven guilty?", let me explain why the state of Florida suspends elected officials following a felony arrest.  

There is reasonable concern that someone facing a serious charge will use their position to influence investigations and to obstruct evidence.  

It is not to declare them guilty without trial.   It is a sensible legal precaution and Norman Powell should have advised the commission that their best interest is to remove Watson or anyone else charged with a felony, particularly one investigated by that same government, from positions of influence and information.   

I have little doubt that Columbano was fired because of his investigation of a close mayoral confidante.  I have not spoken with Columbano but indications are that this is part of the pattern of the dais to suppress information and investigation that could touch the dais.  

What pattern you might ask?  

Two days before Columbano was summarily dismissed, another North Bay Village detective  named Sam Bejar was called in and fired.  

Bejar had been investigating an anonymous complaint that former Village Manager Frank Rollason, in collusion with Village Finance Director Bert Wrains and then Vice Mayor Eddie Lim had used village funds to pay for a personal home improvement project at his property, the construction of a fence.  

The "anonymous" complaint was sent to Village Attorney and Registered Strip Club Lobbyist Norman C. Powell and was accompanied by a series of check registers, obtained by one Maria Posada, that made the above allegations.  

The whole thing was easy to debunk.  There were no checks that matched the amount of the fully permitted fencing project at the Rollason property and one Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Son of a Gun Frank Rollason had all the invoices and the receipts from his project showing the money was paid from personal funds.   In other words, there was nothing there.  

But some strange things came up in the investigation.  

  • The anonymous complaint came from an email address "" and the sender IP was not masked.  That sender IP is the same one in the embezzlement case.   Reading the memo prepared by Sam Bejar (available here) points pretty clearly to involvement by the same person facing trial for embezzlement.  
  • Norman C. Powell, the actual complainant, refused to cooperate with the investigation.  
What happened next is as the kids say, "Skeezy AF".   After Bejar briefed the new chief on his intention to close out the investigation as "UNFOUNDED", Bejar was summoned to a meeting with the Village Manager, Marlen Martell, Village Attorney and Registered Strip Club Lobbyist Norman C. Powell and new Police Chief Lewis Velken and fired.  

Bejar was instructed to close out the investigation but while trying to do that, his computer was taken over a 3rd party and he watched as files were being deleted.  

This is an email that Bejar wrote to the chief on April 24 in lieu of a closeout report.  Let me warn you right now.  Bejar has perfected the economical writing style of a detective and although the email is only 4 pages long, each sentence is packed with information.   It's a dense read and if you just skim it, you will lose the thread quickly.  Here is the email, a public record.   BEJAR EMAIL.

It is increasingly obvious that this is not about one case of financial fraud.  The mayor, members of the dais, the Village Attorney and the Village Manager are in active collaboration to derail any and all investigations, including the one at the core of all of this, the Hornsby matter, that threatens to implicate the dais in criminal actions and they are not going to stop.   

The Scorecard so far stands:

Chief Carlos Noriega was fired for filing a complaint about illegal copying of Homeland Security information and open investigations by Xact Data Discovery at the direction of Village Attorney Norman Powell. 

Detective Tom Columbano was fired for investigating Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps' ally and friend.  

Detective Sam Bejar was fired because his investigation could not be used against a former Village Manager.  

But stay tuned.  On Tuesday May 8, Mayor Crazy Eyes has put a discussion item on the agenda regarding Village Clerk Yvonne Hamilton's "employment agreement".  Kreps makes no bones that she dislikes Hamilton and Hamilton's insistence on doing things legally.   Kreps will move to fire her.  

Kevin Vericker
May 3, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Marlen Martell Fires The Police Force

When recently hired Village Manager Marlen Martell was interviewed and offered the job, the price was clear - fire Chief Carlos Noriega.   This direction came from the mayor and the village attorney and Martell complied quickly.   

Noriega was fired because the North Bay Village PD is actively investigating the extortion attempt against Douglas Hornsby and because another investigation, involving a close political ally and personal friend of the mayor, has already resulted in an arrest.   While awaiting trial, the person in question serves on two of our key boards.   

To the casual observer, this is suspiciously redolent of a coverup.  It looks and feels like a neurotically desperate attempt to squelch legitimate criminal investigations out of fear that they could reach the dais.  

What happened yesterday only reinforced that.  Sam Bejar, who was brought on by Chief Noriega, had been charged with managing the PD Internal Affairs investigation into misconduct and was working closely with the detectives investigating the extortion and the embezzlement cases, both of which are seen as threats to the dais.   

As is usual when a new chief comes in, Lewis Velken sat down with Bejar on Monday to review the open investigations and the case load.  It doesn't paint a pretty picture and from what I understand, Velken, who had a stellar reputation at the Miami-Dade Police Public Corruption team, acknowledged the gravity of the situation and reassured Bejar that he should continue with his work.   

Tuesday, Village Attorney Norman Powell and Village Manager Marlen Martell overruled the police chief, called Bejar into a meeting without the chief present and summarily fired him.   

The protocol lapse of overriding the chief in his first week is the mark of amateurs and the whole thing stinks of retaliation and suppression to protect.   Norman Powell should have known better and Marlen Martell, fresh from her betrayal of the voters who trusted her in North Miami Beach, should have been more politically astute than to engage in something so idiotic, but they don't know.  Neither one has experience in running legal or city management, Powell was a strip club lobbyist in North Miami Beach until the end of 2017 and Martell was a commissioner in the same city (who voted to enhance the strip club experience) and resigned leaving her city in chaos.  They are enablers for an increasingly antidemocratic mayor and commission.   

We need the feds, badly.  

Kevin Vericker
April 25, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Retired Miami-Dade Police Lt. Lewis Velken was snuck in last night by recently hired Village Manager Marlen Martell. The four corruptocrats, Mayor Crazy Eyes Kreps, Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband, Commissioner Laura Cattabriga* (*pending a lawsuit on her illegal installation), and "Vice Mayor" Andreana Jackson obligingly voted without comment to hire Velken.  Actual Vice Mayor Eddie Lim notified the clerk that he was too well to engage in the sleaze last night and sensibly absented himself.   (*note - Lim didn't share his reasoning with me.  I'm surmising.)

The first two choices withdrew from the process for unpublished reasons and it was absolutely critical to get a chief in ASAP.   So Velken, who had a good reputation at the MDPD but never served as a high level command officer, was hustled in and installed.   

The room was jam packed with ...
people from out of town.  You see, the announcement of Velken as a chief for North Bay Village was made countywide, including Crime Watch chair Carmen Caldwell, but was deliberately not posted or announced in North Bay Village.  Our commission and administration wanted it that way because they are terrible people.  

You see, it was critical to fill the chief spot because when Martell fired Carlos Noriega and she lied about not knowing that there was a whistle-blower notification presented to her, Noriega let the village know that he intends to sue.  

Our Village administration came to to the conclusion that since the chief is likely to prevail in his lawsuit,  it was critical to put in another chief now.  The courts hate complications and might be hesitant to insist that a recently installed chief be let go when they find the previous chief was fired illegally.   It just complicates things.  

So a chief had to be found and installed ASAP to make it more difficult for Noriega to come back.   And it might work.  

Now I don't know if Velken has been instructed that the North Bay Village PD is to stand down on the extortion investigation in the Hornsby matter, or told to make sure that a current embezzlement investigation does not implicate sitting members of the dais.   I'm pretty sure with his reputation in Miami Dade PD's Public Corruption unit that even our creep commission would have been careful to not be explicit.  But Velken must be aware that protecting the commission from prosecution is the prime directive and that he was hired in hurry by people who do things in the dark to replace a popular chief.  It's going to be a rocky run. 

Kevin Vericker
April 19, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

New Comment Policy

I have long allowed Anonymous comments on the blog but recently the trolls have been out in force.  Hiding behind the courage of masked keyboards, the troll warriors are using the anonymity to attack individuals who are completely unrelated to the current low crimes and misdemeanors driving our village.  Names are mentioned.  Large scale conspiracies alleged.  No facts given then whiny butt hurt complaints that I am somehow a censor.  

So screw it.  You got something to say, put your name to it.  I'll publish it, once I verified it's you.   You don't want to put your name to it?  Then get lost.   You're useless.  

Special note to Anonymous KS:  you have a hell of a nerve questioning my integrity.   

Kevin Vericker
April 13, 2018