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Volte-Face Tennis in Miami Beach

Volte-Face Tennis in Miami Beach

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Published by Ryan Webster
Bollettieri’s Green Square Team Wins Rematch from Vacillating Commission. The joke is still on The People. There will be a rematch.
Bollettieri’s Green Square Team Wins Rematch from Vacillating Commission. The joke is still on The People. There will be a rematch.

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Published by: Ryan Webster on Mar 06, 2014
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Tennis Court Revolution Oath
Bollettieri’s Green Square Team Wins Rematch
 from Vacillating Commission
March 5, 2014 By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR
In an about-face surprising only to the politically naïve, the commission of the
City of Miami Beach effectually revoked its previous “final” decision to award the contract for the management of the city’s tennis centers to Howie Orlin’s team instead of Jimmy Bollettieri’s
incumbent team dba Green Square, Inc, a Subchapter-S corporation treated by the IRS as similar to a partnership so that profits and losses can be passed through to its shareholders to report on their individual tax returns. Green Square had been running the tennis centers in an almost continuous breach of its contract with the city, the terms of which were grossly neglected by city officials for over a
dozen years. Its partners cried poor as they reported nearly $100,000 losses according to its 2012 Form 1120-S tax return prepared by Commission Deede Weithorn, yet they fight tooth and nail to keep the contract. The contract expired on April 15, 2012, and was put out for bid while Green Square retained month-to-month possession of the courts. Normally, only three bidders would have made the final list. However, Green Square was shoed onto the list as the fourth place bidder. Orlin, the top bidder, would normally have been awarded the contract. If a final agreement could not be made with Orlin after his team was chosen by the commission, it could have then been made with the next bidder on the list, and so on down. Yet on September 11, 2013, the commission, in a travesty that made a joke of the spirit of the
state’s contract procurement law, capriciously and unre
asonable threw out the bids on pretext of working out some thorny issues with Green Square, allowing it to continue managing the centers on a month-to-month bases, with the intention of ultimately awarding the contract to Green Square. To accomplish that end without a new bidding process, the city manager would have to provide a written recommendation that the bidding be waived. At the February 12 commission meeting of this year, City Manager Jimmy Morales said he saw no exigent reason to waive bidding either way. The commission, on the advice of Chief Assistant City Attorney Raul Aguila, that it could waive the bidding process on its own volition without
the “affirmative” rec
ommendation of the city manager or on his refusal to make the recommendation, then made three motions: A motion to put the contract out for bid again failed. A motion to waive bidding and give the contract to Green Square failed. A motion to waive bidding and award Orlin the contract passed with the necessary 5 of 6 votes needed for the waiver
Commissioner Deede Weithorn recused herself because her brother-in-law is the general manager and owns an interest in Green Square. From the city commissioners:
“You have to have five. We have five. You have five? Good, then it’s over with, congratulations!” 
 The outcry was outrageous, with one man yelling that he wanted his tennis membership dues back. Commissioners, adopting a paternalistic tone, did their best to quiet the temper tantrum. Later in the day, long after the players, coaches and sponsors had left to gnash their teeth or drink champagne, and with the commission chamber nearly emptied, Chief Assistant City Attorney Raul Aguila worried
that the city manager’s “recommendation” to waive the bidding
, the “recommendation” being a
 refusal to make a recommendation, was not in writing as required by the city charter. Wherefore he was anxious about suiting the requirements of
Due Process, so he gave the commission cause to instantly amend its final decision, converting
it into a “non
binding expression of sentiment.”
To wit, the commission would take up the matter at the next meeting, and then, with the so-called non-affirmative recommendation of the city manager committed to writing, waive the bidding process and give the contract to Orlin. Everyone was certain the contract was in the bag for Orlin, that the final resolution would be put on the consent agenda and rubber-stamped. That is, until Green Square posted a notice on the door at the Flamingo Park tennis center, to be pulled down shortly thereafter, that there had been no win at all, that the final decision of the commission had been
 at the end of the day. Although several people scoured the video of the meeting, no such revocation could be found. No one noticed the brief, sentimental motion of the commission that suddenly took place at 4 pm as aforesaid. So the Green Square notice of revocation was deemed to be a practical joke or hoax. But it was not a hoax. Perhaps the
 decision was the hoax. Perhaps a deal had been cut somewhere the Sun does not shine. The proverbial Fat Lady was yet to sing. Hopefully her voice would not be diminished by a diet, as the beautiful voice of Maria Callas was said to have been diminished as she lost weight and became the most beautiful woman in the world. Here is the volte-face: On the morning of March 5, 2014, the commission took up the tennis contract item prior to the consent agenda and without public participation. The city manager recounted previous events, and reiterated his decision not to recommend a waiver. However, if the city commission reverted to the original bids, his positive recommendation for the Orlin team would stand, for he had already deemed that process to be fair and reasonable. The commission went right through that open door. It unanimously decided that it would reconsider the original bids, listen to public testimony, and decide on the contract at its next meeting. In other words, it will go back to square one, and, perhaps, it will undo the travesty conducted by the previous set of commissioners, but do not count on it.
1. The spoiler was Raul Aguila
’s opinion that a refusal by the city manager to recommend a
waiver constituted a negative recommendation that would allow the commission to waive on its own motion. If that were true, the deal would have been done as intended if the city manager had committed his refusal to writing. Raul Aguila was just doing his best to serve the best interests of his client. I was willing to swallow the logical absurdity since it would be foolhardy to risk up to $250,000 to challenge it in court given the size of the contract. However, the Bollettieri team has a wealthy friend, energy trader Mark Fisher, dedicated to the principle

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