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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are available to all but you must have a name and a contact. If your comment contains either foul language or slanders against individuals, it will be deleted.