Monday, October 6, 2014

Jorge Brito, the Kennedy House and My Endorsement

Jorge Brito faced some tough decisions in his 30 years law enforcement career. As a beat cop, as a detective, and as a part of the Miami-Dade public corruption unit, sometimes decisions had to be made in the blink of an eye.  But particularly as a detective, what mattered most was getting the decision right.

The toughest decisions are the personal ones. The decisions that affect your home, your community and your wallet.

Brito had to face that decision last year at his home, the Kennedy House. Condos are famously argumentative and emotions can run high but it's a safe bet to assume that every owner has their own best interest at heart and want the maximum benefit for the larger association. After all, if the condo is poorly run, the residents' homes and their most important investment deteriorate.

As president and later treasurer of the Kennedy House, Brito saw there was a lot that could be improved and approached it as a simple question of process and priorities. Jorge Brito took the time to figure out what the owners wanted, educated himself and the owners on what the condo needed, created a realistic plan and worked with the management company to execute on what was doable and affordable.

Still, things weren't going right. The money didn't add up. There was more money being spent than planned and there were fewer results than expected. Bad management decisions were vigorously defended by some residents even when they were shown to be causing damage to the building and their own home values. It didn't make sense.

That's when the detective in Brito came out. When something doesn't work the way it should, it's time to see what else is going on. Brito didn't fly off with accusations and half baked conclusions. Instead he methodically and carefully investigated the management company running the Kennedy House.

It became obvious that something was very wrong in the finances. That discovery led him to the conclusion that there was something very wrong going on with the management company. The deeper he investigated, the clearer it became that this was not a management issue.  It looked more like an actual crime.

A cop is a cop and when enough evidence had accumulated, he brought it to the North Bay Village Police Department. Brito came in with the books, the photos, and the witness list that all pointed to serious criminal activity in his own building. He did this knowing that a condo scandal would have a direct hit on his property values and his closest neighbors, the people with whom he shares a common roof. Still, this looked criminal and the biggest lesson of 30 years on the force is that if you ignore the criminal, we are all the next victim.

The North Bay Village Detective Bureau did not seem particularly interested. They took notes, held meetings, agreed there was a problem, lost files, made promises, but nothing was moving. And the money kept leaking out of the Kennedy House.

Finally, Brito took the information he had to the Miami-Dade Economics Crime Unit who took the same information, analyzed it and decided there was probable cause for an arrest.

The building manager was arrested on August 29.

I don't know how this story turns out but I wonder how many of us would have done the same? Earning the enmity of your neighbors, knowing that the story would get to the press and affect your home values, being President of an already contentious building and knowing that your neighbors and co-owners were looking to you for guidance through that storm, knowing that a sleazy political process might even try to use it against you, I probably would have just sold and been done with it. Not Brito.

As Mayor, Jorge Brito may not find the same type of patterns in our Village that led to this situation at his condominium. But I do know that with all the issues, Jorge Brito is not afraid of the tough, uncomfortable decisions that have to be made. Brito won't allow the streets to go uncleaned while we are paying for maintenance that doesn't happen. Brito won't let taxes go up another 35% without shining a light on where the money is being spent. And I do know Brito won't be afraid to look under the rocks and see what's really happening.

That's why I'm supporting him. When you do things the right way, you do the right things. I can guarantee you that I won't like all his decisions and I certainly won't like what's underneath some of the rocks, but we can finally know that we finally have a Mayor who's not afraid of the hard truths and the tough decisions, one who has the experience to understand what needs to be done and the integrity to do it right. 

Kevin Vericker
October 6, 2014

6 comments:

  1. Values, honesty, strength of character and the intestinal fortitude to stand up to corruption, look at it in the eye and bravely attack it without true concern for repercussions. Those excellent qualities, absent in most politicians and quite a few public servants, are the distinguishing traits of mayoral candidate Jorge Brito. It is often said that in times of uncertainty a person's true colors rise to the surface. I have been lucky to witness Jorge in those dire times and I can attest that his ethical character is unchanging beyond reproach. I have seen the passion Jorge has brought into his role as an activist in North Bay Village. I have witnessed his attempt (for several years now) to bring about a change of local government that will be beneficial to all residents of this city. If you cherish our democracy and you are tired of unscrupulous politicians voting for or against city projects on the basis of how such action is going to affect or benefit them personally, then Jorge Brito is worth your vote. With the mayoral election still one month away, do yourself a favor, reach out to Jorge directly, meet with him if possible and let him explain his political platform to you, your relatives and/or associates. I guarantee you Jorge will not let you down. If you are looking for accountability and honest service in your new mayor, Jorge Brito is your candidate.

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  2. An honest politician is hard to come by, even in such a small community such as NBV. It's comforting to know that there is finally someone who has the best intentions of the city at heart without any hidden agendas.

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  3. Today, the voters of North Bay Village received the first of what I fear will be numerous negative mail pieces from the campaign of current Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps. The mail attempts to discredit mayoral candidate Jorge Brito for his role as complainant against the association manager of Kennedy House Condominium. The mail piece highlights a letter mailed to candidate Jorge Brito by an association attorney. What the mail piece does not describe is the fact that Jorge Brito acted as any law abiding citizen would have if placed in the same position. The association manager was arrested for embezzlement and uttering a forged instrument which translates to forging the signature of Jorge Brito on an association check. In addition, said manager is currently under additional investigation by the North Bay Village Police Department for additional criminal acts involving theft and mismanagement. All said, Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps abandoned her campaign platform and resorted to mud slinging as a last resort to turn the tide. Mayor Leon-Kreps is well aware that Jorge Brito is a formidable opponent. For many years he has fought for our citizens on many fronts and his campaign platform is transparent and free of sleazy politics. The piece put out by Mayor Leon-Kreps is paid for by a Tallahassee PAC and its contributors include Ron Book and many other unscrupulous contractors only interested in robbing us of every available piece of greenery. I commend Jorge Brito for standing up to a condo association that was definitely headed down the wrong path. I also thank him for refraining from any sort of mud slinging and for trying to bring sensible government to North Bay Village.

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  4. This will not be an anonymous posting....my name is Kennedy Rosario. I'm a retired MDPD Detective and a retired Special Investigator of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics. My background is posted here solely as an identifier. I'm an original member of the then Professional Integrity Squad of the Organize Crime Bureau that eventually morphed to become the Public Corruption Investigations Bureau. My knowledge of North Bay Village dates back to 1984 investigations centered around organized crime activities at the "Place For Steak" restaurant, long time residents will recognize that name. Unfortunately, since that initial investigation, I have been part of numerous investigations , both criminal and Ethics, of elected officials and employees of NBV. As further disclosure I am President of an Investigative Agency of which Jorge Brito is a VP. I have known Jorge for Decades both professionally and personally. I am aware of the shenanigans Jorge has uncovered at his place of residence. Jorge has on occasion sought my counsel on these matters. NEVER has Jorge acted in a manner other than professionally and ethically. NEVER has Jorge acted in a manner that benefitted him personally, unless one realizes that in doing the right thing his place of residence will rid itself of an organization, as opposed to an association, that is clearly operating outside of the bounds of integrity. NEVER has Jorge asked any one of the multitudes of investigators / detectives that would be proud and privileged to help him if asked to help in his quest to find the truth of what may be occurring in HIS place of residence. NEVER has Jorge acted in a manner that his professional training did not dictate. And most importantly Jorge has NEVER acted in a manner contrary to his personal integrity. I too, if so inclined, can attest to the underlying lack of integrity of the persons named in this article seeking to sling mud at Jorge.....and for what...really... to uncover wrong doing, bringing those facts he professionally deemed pertinent to duly authorized Law Enforcement entities for investigation. I am also, in Broward, a sitting board member of my Condo Association. What Jorge has done, how Jorge has acted is to be commended. I did not publically endorse Jorge, I have not monetarily contributed to his campaign...why....in order to keep our professional association apart from his seeking elected office. NOW I have spoken out....Jorge is, has been and will continue to be a person of integrity, honesty and a person who UNSELFISHLY seeks to better his community. NBV can only benefit from Jorge's election. I know, professionally, what a HONEST politician looks like....I can and have looked Jorge in the eye and seen a man of character....No matter the outcome of this election, Jorge will continue to be a trusted associate and above all, friend.

    Kennedy Rosario
    Citizen

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  5. Voters of North Bay Village, do you want a honesty, values, strong character, you will get that with Jorge Brito as Mayor, I've known Jorge Brito for over 30 years as a friend, partner at the Miami-Dade Police Department and now as a business partner, Jorge will do what's right for North Bay Village and it's residents, Don't listen to Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps negative adds, Vote for Jorge Brito.

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  6. Neighbor in north bay villageOctober 10, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    I applaud you for coming forward and bringing to light you firsthand experience and knowledge of Mr. Brito's character and efforts to rid the community of corruption.

    Please follow the comments regarding Jorge Brito character here as well:

    http://www.votersopinion.com/2014/10/07/little-j%cc%b6o%cc%b6h%cc%b6n%cc%b6n%cc%b6y%cc%b6-mitch-wants-a-strip-club/#comment-48508

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