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

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