Friday, February 22, 2019

Legal Amnesia

 I've been too hard on Norman C. Powell, Village Attorney for North Bay Village. 

After former Village manager, Marlen Martell, testified under oath that Powell was aware and had at least tacitly approved the extra legal payments to Stephanie Leon PA to help Lewis Velken around the FRS rules the Velken matter, he told the Miami Herald 

“That’s a complete fabrication,” Powell said. Powell told the Miami Herald that Velken made the employment arrangement without his knowledge or approval.
I've decided to take a new attitude about Powell's statements.

The old Blogger would have been all scoldy and curmudgeonly claiming that Powell was deliberately hiding the truth but the New Blogger is all woke now and completely sympathizes with the frequent memory lapses of this very accomplished attorney

My revelation came after reflecting on his run-in with the TSA, where in his rush to a Christian Retreat, he completely forgot to properly pack his emotional support pistol and was, according again to the Miami Herald, arrested at the airport. 

Then he forgot to tell the commission.

But then former Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps said he did tell her and that it was cool.

Old Blogger implied that this was an unlikely scenario. 

And that's when I woke and thought of another possibility. 

Maybe Norman's got a serious memory problem.
We've either all been there or we are all going there.  You know the moments we used to laugh about when our parents would stand in the middle of the kitchen and say, "Now what did I come in here for?" or when you're talking pleasantly with someone and you completely blank on their name. 

Norman's problem seems to be he's such a busy guy that he completely forgot that when he organized Velken's proposed but never executed contract as Village Manager, he knew about the 3rd party arrangement.

In September.

Of 2018.    

Fortunately, he wrote it down.

Email from September 5 between Norman Powell, North Bay Village Attorney, and David Miller, the then North Bay Village Labor Attorney. 

From: David Miller
Sent: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 11:19 AM
To: Norman Powell <>
Subject: RE: contracts

Good morning, Norman, Please see my questions below, thanks,       David C. Miller | Bryant Miller Olive

1 SE 3rd Avenue, Suite 2200 | Miami, FL 33131      (305) 374-7349 (O) | (305) 790-4404 (C) | linkedin.png  FB icon.png  twitter.png  Add to address book | View professional biography   NOTICE: This email message is intended only for the addressee and may contain confidential information that is legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you may not review, use, disseminate, or copy this message. If you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately by return e-mail or by telephone and delete this message.

  From: Norman Powell []
Sent: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 4:25 PM
To: David Miller <>
Subject: RE: contracts
Importance: High

Good Afternoon David,

Attached is the Manager’s Agreement, including some minor revisions:

1.       The annual salary increased to $147,000.00. There is a $22,000.00 payment due Mr. Velken’s recruitment/temp firm. Should we put that in the Agreement as a separate item or just increase his salary. The name of the firm is Stephanie Leon, P.A. , 6625 Miami Lakes Drive #339, Miami Lakes, Florida 33014.

I’m not really understanding this. Is the payment to the recruiter a deduction from his salary? And does it recur every year? If this is simply a fee due to the recruiter based on a percentage of his salary, then it seems it would be better to be paid directly to her. If we increase his salary under those circumstances, wouldn’t we just owe her more? And if it is a deduction from his salary, I think we’ll need to put something in the contract by which he explicitly agrees to that deduction. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

2.       His retirement will begin February 1, 2019 so that there is no issues with his current retirement.

I’m not sure what that means. Does that mean he wants to opt out of FRS as far as his Village employment goes?

3.       He is currently using a Village vehicle and will just keep using it.


Norman C. Powell, Esq.,
Village Attorney
Law Offices of Norman C. Powell
Telephone: 786-275-6923
Facsimile: 786-348-0167
So you see.  

1.)  He did know about Stephanie Leon, PA although he called her a "recruitment/temp firm."
2.)  Powell apparently did realize that paying Velken through a third party was a way around the FRS rules when he claims that the retirement date is February 2019. 
3.)  I forgot what the third thing is.  

Anyway, it's lucky that there are written records so this stuff can be addressed.

I'm certain with this reminder Norman C. Powell will review all his written documentation and provide a full report of what he knew and when he knew it to his employers, the Commission, by next Thursday.  I expect that David Miller, then our labor attorney, will do the same.

I'm sure of this because it is the ethical and honorable thing to do.

Commissoner from Treasure Island
Andreana Jackson
But this does leave Andreana Jackson in a bit of a pickle.  

You see, at the same meeting where she undoubtedly by accident said that Marlen Martell fabricated an employment agreement regarding Lewis Velken and tried very hard to find out what the finance department knew and when she also reported about a conversation she had with Lewis Velken.

Jackson stated that she had talked with Velken over the weekend and he had told her that Powell did not know about the arrangement to pay him through a third party.

And maybe Velken didn't know that Powell knew.  Maybe.  Although in sworn testimony, Martell says he did know.

Anyway, Jackson is facing a quandary.   Although she may have believed Velken, it's now clear that at least by September 4, 2018, Norman Powell was aware of the Stephanie Leon PA payment scheme and failed to inform the commission. 

Andreana Jackson owes Norman Powell an apology.  She inadvertently and relying on third parties stated something about Powell that is provably false.   It's probably not a good idea to rely on someone under investigation for your main information.

Last September, when Andreana Jackson led the mob against long-time Village Clerk Yvonne Hamilton, Jackson stated she need a clerk she could trust, and by implication that was not Hamilton.

Now that she has this information, I hope she will apply the same standard to the Village Attorney, although perhaps without the attacks on him.  After all, Jackson just wants to get to the bottom of this and move along.

Kevin Vericker
February 22, 2019

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