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COMMISSION ON ETHICS AND PUBLIC TRUST MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

INRE:

GEORGE KANE

ETHICS COMPLAINT C09-033

Respondent.

________________________ 1

Petitioner, the Advocate for the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public

Trust, files this complaint against GEORGE KANE for violating Sections 2-11.1 (d), (m) and (0)

of the Miami-Dade County Conflict ofInterest and Code of Ethics Ordinance (the Ordinance)

entitled: Further prohibition on transacting business with the County; Certain appearances and

payment prohibited; and Acquiring financial interest, respectively.

STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION

1. The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust has jurisdiction

pursuant to Section 2-11.1(a) of the Ordinance and Sec. 2-1068 of the Code of Miami-Dade

County.

BACKGROUND AND FACTS

2. At all times material to this complaint Respondent, George Kane, was a City

Commissioner in the City of North Bay Village (the City).

3. Respondent is and has been, at all times material to this complaint, a licensed real estate

agent. (EXHIBIT A)

4. On January 29, 2008, City voters approved a multi-million dollar bond issue to fund the

construction of a new City Hall and public safety complex at the site of the old City Hall, at 7903

East Drive, on Harbor Island, Florida.

5. Scott Greenwald (Greenwald) is a real estate developer who has had a business

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relationship with Respondent for the past two (2) years. Respondent has represented him with respect to several properties.

6. Greenwald confirmed to COE investigators that Respondent was involved with contacting the City on his behalf in early 2009. Respondent's involvement was with regard to a deal wherein Greenwald would develop a property that he owns in the City, at 7914 West Drive (the Indigo site), as municipal offices for City Hall, then lease it back to the City with an option to purchase.i

7. Greenwald further confirmed that Respondent also represents him in connection with a pending lease agreement to have the City move its offices temporarily into the ground floor of Lexi Condominium (Lexi), a building owned by Greenwald and located at 1700 Kennedy Causeway, within the City. Greenwald advised that Respondent took the idea to the City Manager and that Respondent has been working with City officials in order to facilitate the lease agreement.

8. According to Greenwald, the proposed lease with the City is a multi-year lease not to exceed five (5) years and with a minimum of two and one-half (2 ~) years required occupancy. He said the lease is worth approximately $175,000 annually and Respondent stands to earn a commission of approximately $12,500 for the first two and a half years of the lease and possibly more if the City exercises the option to extend the lease.

9. COE investigators spoke with Tim Neal (Neal), President of Neal Realty & Investment Inc. Neal confirmed that his brokerage firm has a listing on the Lexi building and that Respondent is acting as a co-broker or "transactional broker" on the deal and stands to receive a commission as part of the City leasing deal. He further confirmed the commission estimate made by Greenwald.

10. Respondent also represents Frederic Puren (Puren), who owns the property at 1601 79th

2

79th Street Causeway in the City. This property is currently a restaurant/night club called

"Barchetta on the Bay" (Barchetta).

11. On or around February 2009, Respondent approached Mathew Schwartz (Schwartz) 2,

the City Manager. Respondent proposed to Schwartz the idea of building a new City Hall on a

parcel of land on West Drive owned by Greenwald. Respondent told Schwartz that Greenwald

proposed a "design-build" arrangement that would enable the new City Hall to get built faster than

if the City built one on its own.

12. On or about March 10,2009, during a City Commission Meeting, Respondent argued

in favor of the City considering sites to build a new City Hall, other than the site of the old vacated

City Hall. He "explained that there are a number of sites in various places in the City that can be

used as an alternative site for City Hall." (Official Minutes, City of North Bay Village, City

Commission Meeting, March 10,2009 at page 23 - EXHIBIT B). It should be noted that three (3)

of these alternative sites were owned by the Respondent's real estate customers and that

Respondent stood to gain financially if the City entered into an agreement with said customers.

"In reference to discussions regarding the City losing revenue if City Hall were built on an empty

site, [Respondent] mentioned that the potential for development within the next five to 1 ° years is

minimal; therefore, no revenues will be gained by the City in the short term." (Official Minutes,

City of North Bay Village, City Commission Meeting, March 10, 2009 at page 24 - EXHIBIT B).

This statement, it should be noted, served to undercut arguments raised by other city officials

against buying a new site on which to develop the City's municipal offices, citing concerns about

eroding the City's property tax base.

13. At the March 10,2009 City Commission Meeting, "[Respondent] made a motion to

direct the City Manager to come to the Commission by the next meeting, after the issuance of a

1 The City Commission rejected this proposal on or about April 2009. 2 Schwartz has been the City Manager since January 2009.

3

Request for Proposals with various solutions for the construction of the new City Hall Complex,

including the cost of the current site and all alternative sites, without binding the City to anyone

site." (Official Minutes, City of North Bay Village, City Commission Meeting, March 10,2009 at

page 24 - EXHIBIT B). This is most significant because, days earlier, the City Manager issued a

memorandum to the Mayor and City Commission that discussed the merits of an "unsolicited

proposal" from Greenwald at the Indigo site. In that memo, dated March 6, 2009, the Manager

advised that an RFP such as the one the Respondent requested in his motion would be required in

order to keep the Indigo site under consideration. (EXHIBIT C) The effect of Respondent's

motion at the March 10,2009 Commission meeting was to thereby advance his customer's interest

by keeping the Indigo site "as a viable alternative" for building the new City Hall.

14. On or around early 2009, Respondent "pitched" the idea to the City Manager that the

Barchetta location 3 would be well-suited for conversion into the City's new City Hall.

Respondent admitted to Erik Bojnansky, writer for the Biscayne Times, that he tried to sell the

property to the City. He is quoted as saying, "[a]ctually that was what I thought would be the

highest and best use for it, but it didn't go anywhere ... [t]hat would have been a great place for city

hall visibility, but I don't get to vote on it because I'm the Realtor." (EXHIBIT E)

15. Moreover, former City Manager, Jorge Forte (Forte) 4, stated in an interview with COE

investigators that the Respondent approached him at his office on or about November 2008 and

put forward the idea of acquiring the Barchetta site and retrofitting it to accommodate the City'S

offices. Forte said the Repondent offered a number of reasons why he felt it would be in the City's

best interest to relocate to the Barchetta site. Forte said he told the Respondent he did not believe

the site was viable. Forte said the Respondent did not disclose that he had a financial interest and

3 As recently as August 2009, the Barchetta location remained on Respondent's realty website. (EXHIBIT D)

4 Forte served as City Manager of North Bay Village from November 2006 until the end of December 2008. He was replaced by Schwartz, who began his tenure as City Manager on or about January 28, 2009.

4

interest and was representing Puren, the owner of Barchetta.

16. In or around early 2009, Respondent also asked the new City Manager (Schwartz) to

consider a piece of property owned by Greenwald located on "Broadcast Key" as another possible

site for a new City Hall, Schwartz told COE in an interview. During this interview, Schwartz

described Greenwald as "a major builder here" and someone who "has been trying to get involved

with the City for a long time."

17. Schwartz advised that as a result of Kane's proposals he conducted site analyses of

both the Barchetta and West Drive (Indigo) locations and determined that neither site was

appropriate for a new City Hall location.

18; Schwartz further advised that on or around April or May 2009, after Greenwald was

told that the City would not build on his properties, Greenwald contacted him and proposed a

lease agreement whereby Greenwald would lease space at the Lexi to the City to temporarily

house their offices.

19. According to Schwartz, Respondent was involved in the discussions leading to the

City's decision to enter into a lease agreement with Greenwald for the Lexi space.5 Schwartz

advised a COE investigator that "[Respondent] facilitated the deal" initially serving as a liaison

between Greenwald and the City. Respondent then turned the negotiations over to Greenwald.

Interviews with Greenwald and Neal corroborated that Respondent was considered instrumental in

approaching the City and facilitating the proposed lease agreement at the Lexi. Accordingly, they

said that Respondent would be entitled to a commission.

THE LAW

20. Pursuant to Section 2-11.1 (d) (Further prohibition on transacting business with the

County) of the Ordinance,

5 At the City's June 22, 2009 Commission meeting, the Commission authorized the City Manager to negotiate a lease agreement with Lexi's owner.

5

"[n]o person included in the term defined in Subsection (b)(1)

shall vote on or participate in any way in any matter presented to the

Board of County Commissioners 6 if said person has any of the following relationships with any of the persons or entities which would be or might be directly or indirectly affected by any action of the Board of County Commissioners: (i) officer, director, partner, of counsel, consultant, employee, fiduciary or beneficiary ... Any person included in the term defined in Subsection (b)(1) who has any of the above relationships or who would or might, directly or indirectly, profit or be enhanced by the action of the Board of County Commissioners shall absent himself or herself from the commission meeting during the discussion of the subject item and shall not vote on or participate in any way in said matter."

21. Pursuant to Section 2-11.1(m) (Certain appearances and payment prohibited) of the

Ordinance,

"(1) No person included in the terms defined in Subsections (b)(l), (5) and (6) shall ... receive compensation, directly or indirectly or in any form, for services rendered to a third person, who has applied for or is seeking some benefit from the County or a County agency, in connection with the particular benefit sought by the third person ... "

22. Pursuant to Section 2-11.1(0) (Acquiring financial interest) of the Ordinance,

"No person included in the terms defined in Subsections (b)(l) through (6) shall acquire a financial interest in a project, business entity or property at a time when he believes or has reason to believe that the said financial interest will be directly affected by his official actions or by official actions by the County or County agency of which he is an official officer or employee."

COUNT 1

23. On or about March 10,2009, at a City Commission meeting, Respondent engaged in

discussions regarding the potential locations for the new City Hall complex and then proceeded to

make a motion directing the City Manager to consider locations other than the existing site for the

complex. Respondent did so despite the fact that, as a real estate agent, he represented the owners

of several of the properties being considered by the City. Thus, Respondent violated Section 2-

11.1(d).

6 Pursuant to Section 2-11.1 (a), "[r]eferences in the section to County personnel shall... be applicable to municipal personnel who serve in comparable capacities to the County personnel referred to."

6

COUNT 2

24. On or around and between April and May 2009, Respondent served as a liaison between Greenwald and the City which resulted in the City authorizing the City Manager to enter into a lease agreement for the Lexi space. Respondent was a co-broker on the Lexi property and thus was entitled to receive a substantial commission payment upon the signing of the lease. Thus, Respondent violated Section 2-11.1 (m).

COUNT 3

25. On or around and between February and May 2009 Respondent acquired a financial interest in two (2) properties that he knew would be directly affected by the actions of the City government in which he served as a Commissioner. Thus, Respondent violated Section 2-11.1 (0).

A violation of Sec. 2-11.1(s) (1) and (2) (a)-(d) is punishable by imposition ofa fine of $500 for a first violation and $1000 for each subsequent violation as well as an admonition or public reprimand. Pursuant to section 2-1074(p), the Ethics Commission has the power to issue an order imposing the penalty under the ordinance being enforced.

Wherefore, MICHAEL P. MURAWSKI, Advocate for the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, by and through the undersigned Assistant Advocate requests the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust to enter an order against Respondent, GEORGE KANE, finding him in violation of Sections 2-11.1 (d), (m) and (0) of the Miami-Dade County Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance and ordering the payment of a fine in the amount of $2,500.00.

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NOTARY AND VERIFIED STATEMENT

(Pursuant to section 2-1074(a) (1), Code of Miami-Dade County)

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF MIAMI-DADE

Personally known to me, and appeared before me, Michael P. Murawski, being first duly

sworn, says that the allegations set forth in this complaint are based upon facts which have been

sworn to as true by a material witness or witnesses and which, if true, would constitute the

the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust

19 W. Flagler Street, Suite 820

Miami, Florida 33130

(305) 579-2594

SWORN TO and SUBSCRIBED to before me thiS~ of November 2009, in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

(),~RY Pile

" .. ' •• " ~1:> RODZANDRA SANCHEZ

>I- .. ~ * M! COMMISSION # DO 644765

",~... eXPIRES: June 15, 2011

On,Q Bonded Thru Sudgel Notary Services

NOT~

My Commission Expires:

Personally Known ~ or Produced Identification

.----------------------------

(Type of identification produced)

8

EXHIBIT A

Licensee Details Ucensee Information Name:

Main Address:

County:

License Mailing:

LicenseLocation:

Ucense Information License Type:

Rank:

License Number:

Status:

Licensure Date:

Expires:

Special Qualifications

ragt: 1 Ul 1

10:14:09 AM 811112009

KANE, GEORGE A (Primary Name) (DBA Name)

1080 NE 105 ST MIAMI Florida 33138

DADE

Real Estate Broker or Sales Sales Associate SL309687S

Current,Active 09/10/2004

03/31/2010

Qualification Effective

Vi_ew Related License Information ViewJ..ic~nse C__omRJ_ainJ

I Terms of Use I I Privacy Statement I

h ps:llwww.myfloridalicense.com/LicenseDetail.asp?SID=&id=97DD6FCFOEA3B065B6... 8/11/2009

EXHIBITB

. 1.

OFFICIAL MINUTES

CITY COMMISSION MEETING

TUESDAY, MAilCH 10, 2009, 7:30 P.M.

CITY OF NORTH BAY VILLAGE 1666 Kennedy Causeway, #700 North Bay Village, FL 33141

CALL TO ORDER, PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. ROLL CALL

Mayor Oscar Alfonso called the Regular Meeting of the City Commission to order at 7:45 p.m., and Mr. Del Santos led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The following members of the Commission were present at roll call:

Mayor Oscar Alfonso

Vice Mayor Reinaldo Trujillo Commissioner George A. Kane Commissioner Frank Rodriguez Commissioner Paul Vogel

The following staff members were present:

City Manager Matthew Schwartz Assistant City Manager Robert Pushkin Police Chief Roland Pandolfi

Interim Finance Director Joseph S. Geller . Interim Finance Director Gerard Pirri Chief Building Official Paul Gioia

City Clerk Yvonne P. Hamilton

2.

A.

PROCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

There were no proclamations or awards.

Minutes DRAFf

Regular City Commission Meeting March 10,2009

Page lof26

Interim City Attorney Geller mentioned that he will request an Executive Session on labor management negotiations to obtain additional guidance based on discussions that took place this evening. He explained the City's goal to ensure that all outstanding issues are brought to a speedy conclusion. He mentioned discussions on preparing pre-settlement of cases with the administration, as well as during the Executive Session on some of the outstanding litigation that is costing the City a lot of money.

Mayor Alfonso mentioned that the City Attorney has set a part on certain cases during his short time in the position that would save the City a lot of money.

11. CITY MANAGER'S REPORT

A. NEW CITY HALL COMPLEX ALTERNATIVE

City Manager Schwartz reported that he had meetings with residents of all three islands, which were very informative. He explained how crucial lobbyists are to assist the City in finding projects they can push forward and the need for in-house City staff to work on the projects. He mentioned plans for internal reorganization in the City for more efficiency.

Mr. Schwartz discussed an unsolicited proposal from Scott Greenwald for the property at Indigo as a potential site for the New City Hall Complex. He explained that he had indicated looking at some other sites that could be available, but staff felt that none of them or the indigo site would work as an alternative to building the new complex. Mr. Greenwald provided more detailed information about building the facility at the Indigo property and the proposed preliminary cost to build on other sites. He advised the Commission that if it were interested in pursuing the matter, he could issue a Request for Proposal for alternative sites and present the information at next month's meeting. He advised the Commission of the need to make a decision on the site that it will select, if it wants the project to be shovel ready, so that the process can move forward, He mentioned his meeting with the Fire Department, who did not eliminate the proposal completely, but expressed some concerns. He discussed advantages to the Indigo with its nearness to the community park and with its waterfront opportunities, which has the possibility of some grant opportunities. He stated that the existing site has very limited reuse opportunities since it has to be used for public purpose. He advised the Commission that it was crucial to make a decision in April or May.

Minutes DRAFT

Regular City Commission Meeting MardI 10,2009

Page 22 of 26

Mayor Alfonso referred to the Commission's earlier decision to spend monies for a Master Plan. He suggested that it would be more appropriate at that time to address an alternative site for the new municipal complex, if it were not going to be at the 7903 East Drive Site, as the matter is in its very preliminary stage. He further suggested that monies should not be spent on researching the matter any further at this juncture, as focus needs to be placed on what the causeway is going to look like and where the municipal complex is going to fit.

City Manager Schwartz advised the Commission of the need to make a final determination in the next two months on whether to build on the existing site or to look for an alternative site as the project needs to be shovel ready. He mentioned

. the viable proposal from Mr. Greenwald. He noted that the Fire Department will be relocated in August, and the City has a commitment with the department for $4.6 Million towards the building of the new facilities as a joint venture.

Vice Mayor Trujillo discussed that information was presented to the people during the campaign for the bond issue that that the New City Hall Complex would be rebuilt on the existing site. He expressed concern that building on the Indigo property will reduce tax revenues. He spoke about the City owning the exist land, and stated that he did not see the need to address alternative sites. He suggested that instruction be provided to the City Manager to commence the process for building on the existing site. He mentioned the signing of the contract with the Shell Station for swapping adjacent property in that area, which would make the project shovel ready. He advised the Commission that the City is already committed to building on the existing site and to move forward on the matter.

Interim City Attorney Geller cautioned the Commission against having discussion that focuses on one particular alternative site, which could result in some question regarding the RFP to be issued. He explained the City Manager's suggestion to request RFP's for potential alternative sites, which could be issued for consideration by the Commission. He advised that the Commission could authorize the City Manager to continue to investigate the matter without being site specific and issue an RFP for alternative sites. And if the administration deems that it was appropriate, information could be submitted for consideration by the Commission in April.

Commissioner Kane explained that there are a number of sites m, various, places in . the City that can be used as an alternative site for Cit¥- Hall. He stated that if the ~ Fire Department is allowed to remain at the existing location, the project can commence sooner.

Minutes DRAFT

Regular City Commission Meeting March 10,2009

Page 23 of26

City Manager Schwartz confirmed that the Fire Department would have trailers at Pelican Harbor in August.

In reference to discussion regarding the City losing revenue if City Hall were built on an empty site, Commissioner Kane mentioned that the potential for development within the next five to 10 years is minimal; t:llerefore,. no revenues .will be gained by the City in the short term, He cited a problem with the City spending $25,000 per month for office space and rental of trailers. He suggested. that the City Manager renegotiate the lease for office space or look for an interim site, since $25,000 per month for rent was too much.

Interim City Attorney Geller noted that the process has already begun.

Commissioner George A. Kane- made a_motion_to direct the: €ity- ManagerL to:..come to the Commission by the next meeting".. after the issuance of a Request for i Proposals with various' solutions"" for the construction of the New City Hall

~ ~ Comple~cluding the cost~ of· the" cmreni".site-.and4llL,alternative sites, .. withl>ut binding. the' City to any one- site; Vice Mayor Reinaldo Trujillo seconded the motion. The votes on the motion were as follows: Commissioner Paul Vogel- Yes, Commissioner Frank Rodriguez- Yes, Mayor Oscar Alfonso- Yes, Vice Mayor Reinaldo Trujillo-Yes, and Commissioner George A. Kane-Yes. The motion carried 5-0.

12. UNFINISHED BUSINESS

A. APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS TO THE CITIZENS BUDGET AND OVERSIGHT COMMIITEE

The Mayor and Commissioners submitted written ballots on the Budget and Oversight Committee for tabulation by the City Clerk. North Bay Island Resident Alvin Blake, Treasure Island Residents Kevin Vericker, Max Crown, and Sophia Lima, and Harbor Island Resident Eddie Lim were appointed to the Committee.

Ann Bakst and Flo Clein, who received two votes for alternate members, were appointed to the Committee by a majority vote of the Commission.

Minutes DRAFr

Regular City Commission Meeting Mardi. 10, 2009

Page 24 of 26

EXHIBIT C

,

. ./

....... , ...

)

MEMORANDUM

Date:

March 6, 2009

To:

Mayor and City Commission

From:

Matthew Schwartz City Manager

Subject:

North Bay Village Municipal Complex

During the Regular City Commission Meeting on February 27. 2009, Mr....S.cotLGr.eenwald, q[the Greenwald Group, presented an unsolicited proposal for the development of the bJ.Qrth.Bay Village.Municipal.Complex at the vacant Indigo loUooatecb>ab1~UA",WesLDrive,_ Harbor Island. The City Commission directed staff to review this proposal and to identify additional sites that could accommodate the North Bay Village Municipal Complex and to further discuss with Mr. Greenwald the development of the former Indigo site.

On January 29, 2008, the voters approved construction of a Public Safety and Administrative Complex at the site of the now vacant City Hall/Police Station Complex at 7903 East Drive, Harbor Island. In addition. Miami-Dade County has committed $4.6 Million Dollars for the replacement of North Bay Village Fire Station #27 as part of this complex.

Staff-has looked at a number of additional sites along the 79th Street corridor, none of which met the minimum development criteria or were economically viable.

Therefore, attached for your review, please find the additional documentation provided by Scott Greenwald including a fact sheet regarding the preliminary review of the existing city property and the proposed Indigo site. In addition, we have met with Miami-Dade Fire Department to discuss the scheduling for the new facility and possible alternative locations.

If the City Commission determines the Indigo site as a viable alternative, it is recommended that the City issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a potential alternative site forthe North Bay Village Municipal Complex forreview attltecAprif City Commission meeting.

IIIKI)

( ')

)

\.. )

Memo to City Commission March 6, 2009/Page 2

It is extremely important that a final determination on the location of the facility be made by May in order to meet the needs of the Fire Department and start the actual design process, so that it will allow the City to potentially capture additional public funding for the recently enacted Federal Stimulus Program.

MS/df

Attachments

/11I(z)

, .

.

MEMO

Date:

March 6, 2009

To:

Matthews Schwartz, City Manager Paul A. Gio~hief Building Official

_____ .... '-="-_. --

From:

Subject:

Site Location: 7914-16-18 West Drive Harbor Island

Site Size: 33,600 square feet

Potenial Building Size 90,000 square feet 6 stories

Disadvantages:

f-Loss of taxes ofS 22,000,000.00 on a future development 2-Fire & Police access from 1-10 = .001

) 3-Police & Fire responding from a high end residential island

4- Location is not readily visable to visitors and the general public.

),

I, {_

Advantages:

1- Adjacent to the city park

2- Maybe more financiaDy attractive tban the old city haD site 3- Potenial speed of development

4- Creation of an enhanced bay walk 5- Potenial opportunity for marina 6- Greater feasibilty in design

IllIl~)

)

. MEMO

Date:

March 6, 2009

To:

Matthew Schwartz, City Manager Paul A. GiOia~ief Building Official

From:

Construction on

Subject:

Old City HaD Site

38,700 square feet

New Construction:

Areas

Square Feet

I-City administrative offices •••••••••••.• ~12,OOO 2-City Council chambers ••••••••••••.••••• 1,200 3-City Commissioners offices •••••••.••••• 2,100

4-Recrea.tion area •••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 1,200 5-Police Department •••••••••••••••••••••••• 6,500 6-Fire Department .•••••...•••••.•••••••.... 4,500

Total 27,500

7-Parking Garage .••••••••••••••••••••••.• 24,500

Total Bldg.

52,000

Disadvantages:

I-Cost factor $ 12,000,000.00 plus 10% change orders, overruns. 2-Normal Government restraints to put all the necessary construction documents together.

3-Normal and expected time delays during construction on any government project.

Advantages:

L-Free site

2-Restricted uses of the site 3-Greater visibility

4-Greater access for Fire & Police Departments 5-No loss in potential real estate taxes.

6-Potenial ability to utilize funding for a bus facility

) ($ 475,000-2009 proposed Federal allocation

EXHIBITD

Home

About

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Contact

r~t; I VI I

George A. Kane of Beachfront Realty

Office 305.534.4242 Fax 305.534.4262 Mobile 786.877.1679

eMail george®condokane.com

Commercial Properties

Many available commercial investments with excellent return, and the opportunity for future

Name: Barchattas Restaurant

Description: Large Restaurant Site with Mixed Use Development Available SPrice S 4,900,000. Without Licenses

4th P - Beach Gourmet Cafe

SOSE Cafe Next to Mansion Disco, Crunch Gym, and all the action!!! Asking S 65,000.00

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:llcondokane.comlservices/services.htm

8111/2009

EXHIBIT E

IVlll '-'IUUIJ tV rlUUIJ

Crude to Prude

IU' ..... n-"' .... by Erik Bojnansky

sin city, North Bay Village now battles bare breasts

Coming attractions: Prime rib and leg of stripper. featuring nude female dancers.

r(1gt; 1 Ul :J

D

North Bay Village, a city dredged from the bottom of Biscayne Bay, has seen its share of scandaL But so far it's never allowed a strip club within its borders, and many residents want to keep it that way -- even if it means spending thousands of dollars at a time when money is scarce. However, such a "gentlemen's club" may be opening for business nonetheless.

This past March, Michael Pulwer, owner of Miami-based Pleasure Emporium adult stores, entered into a contract to purchase Barchetta on the Bay, the former bayfront restaurant at 1601 79th Street Causeway, for an undisclosed sum. His plan: Transform it from an Italian restaurant into a steakhouse

Kane and his client accepted the pending offer from Pulwer, whose representatives then declared . intent to tum Barchetta into a dual-purpose flesh pit -- one part for eating, the other for ogling.

ou know who goes to those clubs?" asks 36-year resident Ann Bakst. "People who are basically not all together."

a 1964 law prohibiting adult entertainment anywhere in North Bay Village, city officials refused grant an operating license to Pulwer, who promptly sued, claiming a violation of his First lUTIemlInent right to free expression -- in this case, nude dancing.

commissioners then hired constitutional law attorney Bruce Rogow for $35,000 to develop a new one that doesn't ban strip clubs outright but requires that they be 500 feet away from residential parks, religious institutions, and schools. North Bay Village being less than a square mile in size, restriction would leave just one specific place where women could entertain while naked -- namely, J:jSfC)a(]LCa!5t Key, an island that is home to WSVN- TV (Channel 7) and an unused radio tower owned by Ef"",,,'.I,n1"V"T Scott Greenwald. (Greenwald did not respond to a BTrequest for comment.)

June 22, the commission passed a first reading of the proposed ordinance by a vote of 4-0, with

:/ /www.biscaynetimes.corn/index. php?view=artic1e&catid=50%3Acommunity -news&i... 8/11/2009

ragt; L. Ul .)

ane abstaining. A second and final reading is scheduled for this month. Says city manager Matt S hwartz: "This new ordinance will pass constitutional muster."

P wer's attorney, Mark Goldstein, believes the new ordinance unlawfully "singles out" his client. In a dition, says Goldstein, for months the city has used the old, unconstitutional law to block Pulwer om doing business. "This is a fight that the city is ill-advised to take on," he asserts, warning that ogow's fees plus damages owed to Pulwer could cost North Bay Village up to $300,000. (Federal

J dge Cecilia Altonaga heard arguments from both sides on June 24. No decision had rendered by BT's p ess deadline.)

F rking over several hundred thousand dollars is about the last thing North Bay Village needs right

n w. Facing a 20 percent drop in its tax base, the city is already cutting services and slashing staff laries. "Basically we're looking at how the city will survive the next two years without raising taxes," ys Richard Chervony, president of the watchdog group Citizens for Full Disclosure of North Bay illage. Still, Chervony supports the potentially costly fight against X-rated businesses. "If I want to equent a strip club," he says, "I will get in my car and drive to a strip club. It is going to further

d preciate property values. It's the wrong element to bring to the city."

avid Lombardi, president of Wynwood-based Lombardi Properties, agrees that a strip club won't ost property values. "It brings in all these cheesy, horny idiots who want to get drunk," he says. "I r ally don't think it'll be positive for the area. What's it going to bring? A liquor store? A condom ore?"

J ffMorr, president and CEO of Majestic Properties, concurs in Lombardi's assessment, but allows at an upscale adult club -- one that is low key -- may not be so bad for property values. "It might bri g in a little excitement," he offers.

nee upon a time, excitement was not foreign to these parts. In the 1950s, a string of restaurants and ghtclubs sprung up along the causeway, attracting celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland. F r a time Dean Martin owned his own club, Dino's. Alleged mafia lieutenants were also hanging ound, and quite possibly getting a piece of the action. Prostitutes were also busy, though discreet.

ing business where Barchetta now stands was Nick and Arthur'S, which had a reputation for

e cellent food throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, the property was taken over by Billy's on e Bay. When Billy's took off for Broward, Landry's Seafood Restaurant moved in, and after Landry's c sed in 1996, the place changed hands so many times locals lost track.

2004 hotelier Frederic Puren had become the owner and opened Roger's, which lasted a couple of y s. Puren then leased the 12,300-square-foot facility to Claudio Gottardo, who renamed it Barchetta

d opened for business as an Italian restaurant. That too ended in failure - at least as an eatery. In rent months, Barchetta has been operating as an after-hours club for special events. City manager S hwartz says neighbors began complaining about noise and fights, but Gottardo has begun working th city officials and now has North Bay Village off-duty police officers providing security.

though Ann Bakst has complained about Barchetta's late-night shenanigans, the longtime activist p edicts that its mutation into a nudie bar will be much worse. "It is going to bring hookers!" she

e claims. "More hookers than they had in the Sixties. Girls are going to be walking the streets down h re to meet the guys coming out of the strip joint, coming out fully erect!"

A orney Goldstein scoffs at such talk. He assures that the new club will be first-rate. The only things it

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·11 attract to North Bay Village are Mercedes, Porches, and luxury power boats docking from the bay. " e're not talking about opening up a brothel in a residential area," he stresses. "We're talking about a gh-end adult-entertainment facility in a commercially zoned area"

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November 19, 2009

George Kane

1666 Kennedy Causeway, Suite 700 Miami, FL 33138

Re: Ethics Complaint # C09-033

Dear Mr. Kane:

Please be informed that an Ethics Complaint was filed against you today, by the Office of the Independent Advocate (OIA). This complaint will be addressed at the next scheduled Ethics Commission meeting on Wednesday, December 9th at 10 a.m. I have enclosed several documents for your consideration.

The first is a copy of the complaint. Next is a copy of the probable cause memorandum I will be submitting to the Ethics

. Commission recommending that they find probable cause with regard to the allegations in the complaint.

You are entitled to a hearing on the issue of probable cause.

However, if you wish, you may stipulate or agree to probable cause. There is a Stipulation to Probable Cause enclosed.

After probable cause has been established, either through stipulation or a hearing, you will have the right to ask the Commission for a settlement offer or for a public hearing.

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at (305) 350-0656.

Enclosures

Cc: Benedict Khuene, Esq.

WEST FLAGLER STREET .. SUITE 820 • MIAMI, FLORIDA • TELEPHONE: (305) 579-2594

November 19, 2009

George Kane

1666 Kennedy Causeway, Suite 700 Miami, FL 33138

Re: Ethics Complaint # C09-033

Dear Mr. Kane:

Please be informed that an Ethics Complaint was filed against you today, by the Office of the Independent Advocate (OIA). This complaint will be addressed at the next scheduled Ethics Commission meeting on Wednesday, December 9th at 10 a.m. I have enclosed several documents for your consideration.

The first is a copy of the complaint. Next is a copy of the probable cause memorandum I will be submitting to the Ethics Commission recommending that they find probable cause with regard to the allegations in the complaint.

You are entitled to a hearing on the issue of probable cause.

However, if you wish, you may stipulate or agree to probable cause. There is a Stipulation to Probable Cause enclosed.

After probable cause has been established, either through stipulation or a hearing, you will have the right to ask the Commission for a settlement offer or for a public hearing.

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at (305) 350-0656.

Enclosures

vCc: Benedict Khuene, Esq.

WEST FLAGLER STREET • SUITE 820 • MIAMI, FLORIDA • TELEPHONE: (305) 519-2594

November 19,2009

George Kane 7903 East Drive

North Bay Village, FL 33141

Re: Ethics Complaint # C09-033

Dear Mr. Kane:

Please be informed that an Ethics Complaint was filed against you today, by the Office of the Independent Advocate (OIA). This complaint will be addressed at the next scheduled Ethics Commission meeting on Wednesday, December 9th at 10 a.m. I have enclosed several documents for your consideration.

The first is a copy of the complaint. Next is a copy of the probable cause memorandum I will be submitting to the Ethics Commission recommending that they find probable cause with regard to the allegations in the complaint.

You are entitled to a hearing on the issue of probable cause.

However, if you wish, you may stipulate or agree to both legal sufficiency and probable cause. There is a Stipulation to Legal Sufficiency and Probable Cause enclosed.

After probable cause has been established, either through stipulation or a hearing, you will have the right to ask the Commission for a settlement offer or for a public hearing.

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at (305) 350-0656.

Enclosures

Cc: Benedict Kuehne, Esq.

19 WEST FLAGLER STREET • SUITE 820 • MIAMI, FLORIDA • TELEPHONE: (305) 579-2594 .