A public apology to Miami Beach Commissioner Jerry Libbin
Dear Commissioner Libbin:
Please accept my sincere apology for my social media faux pas earlier today. If you allow me a brief moment to explain, I’m sure you’ll see that I intended no disrespect to you or your esteemed office.
You see, I awoke this morning to Fred Grimm’s outrageous column in the Miami Herald entitled Miami Beach Sinking In a Vast Swamp of Dishonesty. The ogre Grimm had the temerity to question the ethics of Miami Beach’s fine cadre of civil servants.
To be honest, Commissioner Libbin, my head began to spin with revulsion as Grimm ticked off a laundry list of petty transgressions. So what if several code enforcers, needing some extra cash, decided to request that cash from a nightclub owner whose business they happened to be inspecting? And big deal that the Feds claim Miami Beach firefighter Henry Bryant, after shaking down the same club owner, drove ten kilos of cocaine up to the Aventura Mall on two separate occasions. The joke was on the buyer: turns out the FBI undercover agent posing as the drug dealer supplied Ol’ Henry with sham cocaine!
Grimm goes on to criticize Miami Beach for hiring code enforcers with criminal histories of petty larceny, cocaine possession, DUI, battery on a spouse and throwing rocks at policemen. I can’t believe that, in 2012, being the subject of a few restraining orders and possessing a history of “profound credit problems” should disqualify you from a position of power and authority. This guy Grimm apparently doesn’t believe in second (and third) chances.
I know you must be under a lot of stress, Commissioner Libbin, what with the Feds wiretapping Miami Beach City Hall like it’s the Watergate. I’m sorry that my Facebook post on your wall (reprinted below) caused you to unfriend and block me.
Just know that I certainly didn’t mean to imply that you possessed the gonads of a field mouse for failing to join the other four City of Miami Beach commissioners (Gongora, Tobin, Weithorn and Wolfson) in demanding a special meeting to discuss the fact that a racketeering operation appears to have been run out of Miami Beach City Hall. Rabble rousers, all of them!
I know you’ll do what’s best for the City of Miami Beach. I’ve even come around to your way of thinking: it’s best to sweep this extortion/racketeering/drug smuggling scandal under the rug as quickly and quietly as possible, with no public hearing whatsoever.
After all, we need to buckle down because the next storm is approaching: Memorial Day is only five short weeks away.
Your constituent in solidarity,
So, Jerry Libbin, the FBI spends eight months running an undercover sting in Miami Beach, Florida that exposes rampant corruption at City Hall: an extortion racket run by Miami Beach code enforcement officials in cahoots with Miami Beach firefighters to shake down small business owners and a racket organized by a Miami Beach firefighter to protect and transport shipments of cocaine out of Miami Beach. This is after three Miami Beach Building Dept officials were charged in 2008 for soliciting bribes, the Miami Beach city manager was investigated by the State Attorney for extorting free tickets to the New World Symphony, and the Miami Beach Procurement Director resigned under a cloud of corruption allegations. Let’s not even get started on the Miami Beach Police Department. After the Miami Herald exposed the prior criminal records of those accused of running the extortion racket out of Miami Beach City Hall, Fred Grimm writes, “it was as if the city had been running a work-release program for the Department of Corrections.” Citizens are outraged. Four commissioners have called for a special meeting to discuss what appears to be widespread, systemic corruption. You have not. Why?