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

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