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SHOWDOWN AT HIGH NOON

Miami Beach City Attorneys versus Special Masters

Unexpurgated and updated version of article featured by the SunPost Weekly
Updated: 6 September 2012

By David Arthur Walters

There was a showdown at high noon on Wednesday August 22 between the City Attorneys and
the Special Masters. The feuding parties dueled before the legal oversight committee in the City
Manager’s meeting room. It was a steamy day, the only relief inside, besides the air conditioning
that failed to cool the hottest heads, was the ham sandwiches, sweets, and sodas from the Publix.
Alas, a can of Coke exploded and there was no mustard!

Special masters are city magistrates who constitute a quasi-judicial tribunal that hears and
disposes of local code enforcement cases. The special magistrate system is an alternative to
municipal code enforcement boards, relatively autonomous boards of citizens authorized by the
state legislature. It was believed that autonomous boards or tribunals would go easier on accused
code violators provided that they promptly and faithfully comply, or the violation is not grave
enough to warrant the amount of fine imposed, or the fine is too high compared to the equity in
the property at stake. In the event that special masters did not mitigate enough, City Attorney
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J ose Smith drafted an ordinance approved by the commission that allows someone in the city
manager’s office to reduce the fine if it is under $100,000, or the commission to do so if it is
$100,000 or more.

Aggrieved folks believe there has been too much mitigation or there has not been enough of it.
Statistics on the amounts of mitigation in comparison to totals fined over the last few years by
special masters, the city manager’s office, and the commission, were unavailable at press time.

I first got wind of the feud from the SunPost after the City Commission took up the City
Attorney J ose Smith’s proposal to fire Chief Special Master Abe Laeser and replace him with
Special Master Enrique Zamora, who would then fire Special Masters J oe Kaplan and Babak
Movahedi. A chief special master is appointed by the city on advice of the city attorney, and the
chief hires the others. Mr. Laeser said that a subordinate special master job was secured for him
because Mr. Zamora liked him and would keep him on as a subordinate. Mr. Zamora was not at
the meeting because he was away in Cuba handling estate cases, explained Mr. Smith, who also
hails from Cuba. Mr. Smith, in his August 22 Commission Memorandum, which was handed out
again to members of the legal oversight committee, noted that there had never been a complaint
about Mr. Zamora. He attached several complaints about the others.

A resident had accused Mr. Laeser of allowing cases to drag on and on. Another said vigilantism
against party house operators was contemplated by residents because of the delays. The president
of a condominium association complained that Mr. Kaplan was forgetful due to his age, but she
had “heard very good things about Mr. Zamora.” Unbridled rancor was reserved for Mr.
Movahedi, and it came mostly from the city lawyers, particularly Mr. Smith and his assistant,
Alexandr Boksner, and one private practitioner, who was somewhat embarrassed by a formal
investigation into his complaint.

Mr. Movahedi, an international corporate lawyer licensed to practice in the District of Columbia,
was born in Tehran and raised in the United States. He obtained his MBA from the prestigious
George Washington University, and his J D and LLM degrees from Georgetown University. He
was elected a neighborhood commissioner in D.C., where he was involved in Democratic politics
for many years, and owned and operated a famous gay bar called the Mova Lounge. He moved
to South Beach in 2007, and opened another Mova Lounge, on Michigan Avenue right off
Lincoln Road. Mayor Matti Herrera Bower appointed him to chair the Miami Beach LGBT
Business Enhancement Committee in 2008, and he was applauded by the community for leading
the city’s first Gay Pride event—he was dubbed “the Pied Piper of Miami Beach Pride.” He was
appointed special master on March 10, 2010, by Chief Special Master Abraham Laeser, who said
Mr. Movahedi had the requisite “knowledge, skills, and abilities” for the job.

Mr. Movahedi’s high education was rounded out locally when his lounge was cited for a dozen
violations during an annual fire inspection. He protested that different inspectors had not cited
him for the same conditions on previous visits, complained of inconsistent inspection reports and
misinterpretations of law, and threatened to take the matter to court. The inspector tried to
appease him, telling him that positive improvements had been made to the inspection process
including better training, but he was not satisfied. Fire Marshall Sonia F. Machan interviewed
him and found him “very agitated and frustrated, but respectful.”
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To provide our coverage of the showdown between the city attorneys and special masters with
better balance, we contacted Mr. Movahedi’s archrival, Alexandr Boksner, and asked him about
the legal pretext he had referred to during the meeting for his dispute. We also made a suggestion
for improving the system, and asked him for some biographical information since his bio was the
only one missing on the city attorney’s web pages:

“Alex, at the special master oversight meeting yesterday, you mentioned a case you had found
giving a judicial opinion on the constitutional powers of the special master alternative to the code
enforcement board. Would you please email me a copy of the full text of that case? Mind you
that I do not access to a good legal research mechanism. I would really like to know if the special
masters are real judges sitting in a real tribunal. For what it's worth, I noticed some time ago that
an information sheet handed out with a violation notice stated that defenses can be made at law
and in equity, so I supposed equitable estoppel would be included as an "it's not fair" defense.
However, I also noticed that the information sheet differed from the municipal code provisions in
some respects. And I noticed from a file in hand that the technical constructive notice provisions,
which seem to follow the state statute, does not seem to be followed carefully—if they were, it
was not evidenced in the file.

“My take on the technical discussions at the meeting is that the city attorney office in
collaboration with special masters and clerks should sit down with the statutes and ordinances
and documents and describe the correct process to follow in detail, with examples of course, and
make sure that everyone is crystal clear about the right way to do things technically speaking. In
other words, rewrite the manual to accord with the law.

“I personally do not think anyone has to be fired to resolve the human nature issue. Spaniards
became extraordinarily courteous to one another after their Civil War.

“By the way, may I also have a copy of your biography? I do not see one on the City Attorney
Office's page.

“Thanks!”

Mr. Smith replied in his stead, stating that:

“Mr. Boksner will not provide you with legal advice or discuss legal theories. As a former State
prosecutor and Police Legal Advisor, his biography and other personal information is exempt
from public disclosure. And for your edification, special masters are neither judges nor
magistrates. They only have the authority granted by Chapter 30 of the city code.”

Since we had had previous difficulties obtaining public records from the city attorney, we
checked with City Clerk Rafael Granado about Mr. Smith’s refusal, only to find that public
records law only precludes information of the type that would never appear on any city
attorney’s web page anyway. Since permitted biographical information was not forthcoming, we
turned to the Internet, to discover that Mr. Boksner lived in Surfside, Florida, where the day after
the legal oversight meeting, on August 23, proceeding at 10:00 AM, he was scheduled to preside
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as a “special magistrate” himself, for “10 cases pertaining to Town of Surfside Code Of
Ordinances.” A subsequent review of his outside employment reports filed with the City of
Miami Beach this year reveals that he anticipated four hearings each year as Surfside special
master, and that he is also employed by the City of Coral Gables, by and through the Coral
Gables Police Department, handling legal work from his home in respect to a half-dozen
forfeiture cases each year. On May 15 he stated that his outside employment would continue
until further notice, would not conflict with his employment at the City of the Miami Beach nor
interfere with his hours of employment there.

We also found that Mr. Boksner had applied for a job with Osceola County on May 5. His
published application listed Mr. Smith as a reference as well as Miami Beach Commissioner
J onah Wolfson, whom he stated he had known since 2001. He graduated from the Toledo
College of Law that year, after obtaining his AA degree from Ohio’s Cuyahoga Community
College and his BA from University of Cincinnati. He obtained a license to practice from the
Florida Bar in 2001, and, according to his Linked In page, worked as assistant state attorney in
Miami-Dade County for three years, until August 2004. That job was not listed on the Osceola
application, which starts with his employment in February 2005 as assistant attorney with
Charlotte County, leaving there in December 2008 at a monthly salary of $7,291, for a job as
chief assistant county attorney for Marion County until March 2009, at an ending salary of
$7,916. He took a job with the City of Miami Beach that month, and his 2011 job application
with Osceola County shows his Miami Beach salary to be $9,167. His application also lists a
Tennessee license to practice law, and states that he speaks Russian fluently.

Mr. Smith, by the way, received his BA from the University of Florida in 1971, and his J D from
same in 1973. He was engaged in the private practice of law with two firms from 1983 to 2006,
also serving as Miami Beach commissioner 1997 to 2005, and was appointed city attorney in
2006.

Now the attorneys and judges were ganged up at opposite ends of the conference table at the
legal oversight conference. The SunPost had mentioned “bad blood” between the city attorney’s
office and J udge Movahedi. It was indeed evident that Mssrs. Movahedi’s and Boksner’s blood
was at the boiling point.

Mr. Laeser maintained judicial decorum: he was quite reserved and reasonable, reining in Mr.
Movahedi, who was as girded for battle as Mr. Boksner. Mr. Laeser, who also practices privately
and is currently an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the University of Miami, obtained his
BA in History from Christian Brothers College in 1969, his J D from the University of Miami in
1973. He was senior trial counsel, assistant state attorney from 1973 to 2009, prosecuting capital
felonies, with emphasis on high profile cases, homicides of police officers, and multi-murder
defendants.

Mr. Kaplan was calm and remote except when he shouted “liar” a couple of times—the lawyers
on the other end of the table threatened to produce transcripts.

The affair reminded me of the Hatfield and McCoy dispute over the ownership of a McCoy pig
that had wandered onto Hatfield land, where the Hatfields laid claim to it. Of course the famous
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Hatfield and McCoy trial was really not about the pig, but was about the relative dignity and
honor of the feuding families that wanted justice, i.e. vengeance. They were divided by Big Fork,
a tributary of the Big Sandy River. This reporter can certainly understand Irish ire since he is
remotely related to the Hatfields, not to mention kings and traitors.

The city attorneys and special masters were divided by the conference table instead of a creek,
and they had more than one pre-textual pig. The pigs in the poke were named Statute of
Limitations, Discovery, Ordering Inspections, and Equitable Estoppel.

Someone mentioned that a special master had ruled that the city should not be able to take
current action on a violation that had occurred many years ago unless that violation put the
public in danger.

Even worse, J udge Movahedi believed that due process should allow a defendant to discover
whatever information the city might have that would help his case. But the law implementing the
special master agency states that the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure governing discovery did
not apply to it—yet the statute was silent on what sort of discovery could be ordered by the
quasi-judicial agency. Assistant City Attorney Rhonda Montoya Hasan sympathized with the
judge’s wish for adequate due process, but the means to it remained a point of contention. She
suggested making public records requests. Ms. Montoya Hasan, incidentally, has been practicing
law with the city since 1997. She holds a BA degree from Duke University, and received her J D
from the University of Miami in 1996.

Furthermore, Mr. Movahedi had dared to “order” an inspection of structural damage to see if it
endangered the public, when he should have merely “requested” it because he had no state
statutory authority to order a building inspector to do anything at all. However, although the
transcript did have Mr. Movahedi “ordering” an inspection, his order was really a “request,” as
we can see from J ohn Austin’s Lectures on Jurisprudence, which aptly drew the semantical
difference between and order and a request long ago: “A command is distinguished from other
significations of desire, not by the style in which the desire is signified, but bv the power and the
purpose of the party commanding to inflict an evil or pain in case the desire be disregarded. If
you cannot or will not harm me in case I comply not with your wish, the expression of your wish
is not a command, although you utter your wish in imperative phrase.”

Equitable Estoppel was the fattest of all the rather bony pigs in the poke. A government can be
stopped from penalizing someone who relies on its word or conduct that there would be no
penalty in that situation. To do otherwise would be inequitable or unfair.

There are several received forms of equity. The classic example of the difference between law
and equity was given by Blackstone: the law states that the last man on board a capsized vessel
had salvage rights, but if the man was last because he was asleep in his bunk, he should not have
those rights. There used to be separate equity courts, but now courts can consider equitable
principles as well as the strict law. The city’s Notice to Violators – Late Compliance’
instructions state that “Legal or Equitable reasons” may be presented in the Special Master court.

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J udge Movahedi had a case before him involving the purchase of property with the
understanding that the city had allowed or would allow parking on the property, but the city
apparently did an about face after the property was purchased, and went after the new owner.
J udge Movahedi asked a city attorney for pertinent case law on the subject, was presented with
same, and then stopped the city from making good on its claim.

That ruling rankled Mr. Smith, who stated in a J une 12 email that “This ruling is erroneous and
must be appealed forthwith. The notion of ‘equitable estoppel’ is J UDICIAL remedy, and not the
purview of a Special Master. There is either a violation or not. The Special Master exceeded his
authority. Abe, I’ve had enough of this nonsense!”

To the best of our knowledge at press time, the judge’s estoppel ruling was not appealed despite
the continued insistence that it was illegal.

As far as the city attorney and his staff are concerned, code enforcement tribunals are not even a
court although we noticed a higher court referring to them as trial courts. Questions of equity, the
city attorneys believe, can only be decided on appeal to a real court, in this situation a circuit
court. Again, Mr., Smith insists that “special masters are neither judges nor magistrates.” The
special masters doubtless disagree despite their “quasi-judicial” status, and feel their tribunal
should be independent of the executive and legislature to a certain extent. In response to further
inquiry, Mr. Smith acknowledged that the special master ordinance can be repealed without
referendum and the city be rid of the special master agency forever.

We recall President J efferson’s effort to smother the fledgling Supreme Court in its crib,
conspiring to impeach judges for political reasons, although there was admittedly afoot mental
infirmities, judicial errors, and moral turpitude, including a great deal of liquor to boot. Of course
an analogy with the special master court would fail here if it is unconstitutional.

Given that there are two sides to this ongoing feud, one might wonder why the Commission
should not consider replacing the city attorney and his staff instead of the special masters. It
appears that the case presented to the commissioners was stacked against the special masters.
The little “book” of complaints that the city attorney threw at the special masters included a letter
from an attorney, Martin Wasserman, lauding him as “an honorable, excellent attorney and
leader of our legal department,” with “a keen sense of direction that is in the best interests of the
city.”And, he said that Mr. Zamora, the city attorney’s choice for chief special master, “is an
excellent attorney, very highly regarded by the Probate J udges, and would be a credit to the
City.”

Mr. Smith included another letter from an attorney, one Raul Morales, who said that he had
attended his first hearing before Mr. Movahedi, where he discovered that he lacked
professionalism, common courtesy, respect, and class, that he was aggressive, condescending,
and downright rude, noting that he did not even have a license to practice law in Florida. A
subsequent investigation that included listening to the recording of the hearing found that “there
is no discernible evidence of any change of vocal tone, argumentative speech, or inflections
reflecting any improper disagreement.” In fact there was “no indication of bad feelings between
any persons.” Mr. Morales “admitted that no bad language or insulting words were used.” In
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fine, Mr. Morales, who regretted that his complaint had resulted in a formal investigation, had
regretfully misjudged the judge’s mannerisms, his rapid speech, his way of leaning forward, and
the like.

Although ethnic differences and cultural values are being discussed as a legitimate concern
during the current presidential campaign, we might risk being politically incorrect to say that
Babak Movahedi was misperceived because of his energetic temperament, partly due to his
physiognomy, as well as his cultural background, which includes hatred for grand ayatollah
lawyers, and compare his temper to the stereotypically fiery Latin temper, and the stereotypical
aloofness of J ewish intellectuals. We certainly do not wish to aggravate the bad blood and
groundless hatred of the human race itself here with an elaboration of the issues including
original sin and the conduct of Abel and Cain.

Ms. Montoya-Hasan said the situation had become so troubling that certain cases were being
reassigned to other special masters. Of course, selecting compatible judges is nothing new to the
legal profession.

Mr. Movahedi was most incensed by a statement that Mr. Boksner had made in open court, to the
effect that he had no right to interpret Florida law because he did not even have a license to
practice in this state. Mr. Boksner replied that he was simply making the objection as a ground
for appeal. Furthermore, he did not appreciate Mr. Movahedi acting like a circuit court judge.

“The special master is supposed to apply the facts to the law,” Mr. Boksner said.

“My job is to apply the law to the facts,” Mr. Movahedi retorted.

Commissioner Ed Tobin, who acted as a reasonable arbiter, said that Mr. Boksner’s comment
about licensing was out of line because a special master does not have to have a Florida license
or any license at all for that matter. Commissioner Tobin is a former prosecutor and a recent
graduate from the police academy. He observed that Mr. Boksner was an aggressive prosecutor
making his case, perhaps too aggressively. Anyway, he said, he did not see why he should have
to dismiss a special master simply because the city attorney disagreed with him.

“Babak is raising the bar,” he said, and should be valued for that.

Mayor Bower, from the very beginning of the committee meeting, noting that the disputes were
about a small number of cases, viewed the matter as a personality clash. She was tired of the
lawyerlike quibbling. It was an HR issue rather than a legal one. She advised the disputants to
have more respect for one another.

Mr. Boksner then held his peace. However, as the meeting adjourned, a duel nearly broke out
between Mr. Smith and Mr. Movahedi.

“You are not a circuit judge,” Mr. Smith said. “You cannot legislate! You must abide by the
law.”

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“That is what I did! You, sir, have an opinion on what the law is, but that is not necessarily
correct. If you do not like a ruling, then you can appeal.”

Lacking seconds for the fray, the imminent duel was quashed, leaving a Mexican Standoff.

##







MIAMI'I!Dr'l
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SOURCE OF INCOME STATEMENT
Please Print or Type First Name Middle Name Initial Last Name
Name:
Mailing Address:
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If your home address is exempt from public records pursuant to X
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Florida Statutes § 119.07 please check here (read Instructions): Work Telephone: ifi/7 lV sl. -(
Home Address:
Street Address
City State Zip Code
Please list below in descending order with the largest source first! the name! address and
principal business activity of every source of your income including public salary you
received or any person received for your benefit or use during the disclosure period. The
income of your spouse or any business partner need not be disclosed. If continued on a
separate sheet! check here: D
aforesaid information is a true and correct statement.
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATIORNEY
JOSE SMITH, CITY ATIORNEY MEMORANDUM
TO: Jose Smith
City Attorney
FROM: Aleksandr Boksner
Senior Assistant City Attorney
SUBJECT: Outside Employment
DATE: May 15, 2012
l wanted to memorialize our previous conversation regarding my outside employment
with the City of Coral Gables, by and through the Coral Gables Police Department,
regarding those forfeiture proceedings initiated pursuant to the Florida Contraband
Forfeiture Act. In that regard, the Coral Gables Police Department has approximately
four (4) to Six (6) forfeiture cases per year, and any legal work associated with these
forfeitures will be accomplished from my residential address.
Additional, I have been appointed by the Town of Surfside as one of its Special Masters,
which will hear various code violations issued by the Town of Surfside. In consideration
of the volume of code cases and the appointment of three (3) other Special Masters
serving the Town of Surfside, it is anticipated that I will only preside over three (3) to
four (4) code enforcement hearings per year.
This outside employment will not be a conflict of interest with the City of Miami Beach.
Further, the hours associated with this outside employment shall not interfere with my
employment with the City of Miami Beach.
This outside employment shall continue until further notice.
Thank you.



TOWN OF SURFSIDE

SPECIAL MASTER HEARING AGENDA
Thursday, August 23, 2012
10:00am

Commission Chambers
9293 Harding Avenue
Surfside, Florida 33154




1. Opening

A. Call to Order

Special Magistrate: Aleksandr Boksner

Staff Support: Joe Damien, Code Compliance Director
Sarah Johnston, Counsel for the Town

B. Action Items: 10 cases pertaining to Town of Surfside Code Of Ordinances

Special Master Case # SM1200014
Property Address: 9544 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Cine Citta Café I, LLC and/or 9544 Corporation
Violation Summary: Resort Tax (Non-payment of Tax, Penalties & Interest)
Type: Appeal / Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-58
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200015
Property Address: 9472 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Food Gang LLC and/or F & T Real Property, LLC
Violation Summary: Resort Tax (Non-payment of Tax, Penalties & Interest)
Type: Appeal / Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-57
Inspector: Joe Damien




SPECIAL MASTER HEARING AGENDA
Thursday, August 23, 2012, 10:00am
Page 2 of 3


Special Master Case # SM1200016
Property Address: 9440 Bay Drive
Named Violator: Ursula Hoeber De Lopez-Avila
Violation Summary: Property Maintenance (Exterior)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 11-152
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200017
Property Address: 9040 Collins Avenue
Named Violator: 9040 Collins Ave, LLC (Yasmina Surfside, LLC)
Violation Summary: Property maintenance (minimum housing, interior/exterior)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-05
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200018
Property Address: 9459 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Moncheese Pizza Corp.
Violation Summary: Certificate of Use (failure to obtain appropriate CU)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CC) 12-03
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200019
Property Address: 9459 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Moncheese Pizza Corp.
Violation Summary:Local Business Tax Receipt(Appropriate LBTR not obtained)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CC) 12-04
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200020
Property Address: 1413 Biscaya Drive
Named Violator: Mario A. Arber Revocable Living Trust
Violation Summary: Property Maintenance (Deteriorated Dock and Roof)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-49
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200021
Property Address: 9364 Bay Drive
Named Violator: Gabriel Reboh and Nathalie Cohen
Violation Summary:Property Maintenance (Fallen Fence/Vegetation Overgrowth)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-53
Inspector: Joe Damien
SPECIAL MASTER HEARING AGENDA
Thursday, August 23, 2012, 10:00am
Page 3 of 3


Special Master Case # SM1200022
Property Address: 9265 Carlyle Avenue
Named Violator: Wilfredo and Barbara Montejo
Violation Summary: Property Maintenance (Hedge Overgrowth/Encroachment)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-61
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200023
Property Address: 9500 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Emil Franc, Inc. / Shilldev (US) Inc.
Violation Summary: Failure to Obtain Permit (Air-Conditioner Installation)
Type: Judgment and Lien
Department Violation # (CE) 12-47
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200007
Property Address: 9435 Harding Avenue, Surfside, FL 33154
Named Violator: Vittorium Enterprises, LLC
Violation Summary: Failure to obtain a Certificate of Use and/or License (LBTR)
Type: Mitigation of Fines
Department Violation # (CE) 12-22
Inspector: Joe Damien

Special Master Case # SM1200002
Property Address: 9472 Harding Avenue
Named Violator: Food Gang, LLC d/b/a Cine Citta
Violation Summary:Property maintenance (failure to maintain awning/electrical)
Type: Judgment and Lien (Progress Report)
Department Violation # (CC) 12-25
Inspector: Joe Damien


2. Adjournment
+
Non-English speaking alleged violators: The code compliance division cannot guarantee the
availability of a translator for the hearing scheduled of this notice. Nor can the division
guarantee the accuracy of any translation should a translator be provided for you. Therefore, it is
recommended that you make arrangements to bring your own translator to the hearing.

Americans with disabilities Act of 1990: Persons needing special accommodation to participate
in these proceedings should contact the Town Manager no later than 5 calendar days prior to the
proceedings at (305)861-4863. TDD users, please phone via the Florida Relay Service at 1-800-
955-8771.
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4 September 2012

Rafael E. Granado
City Clerk
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
1700 Convention Center Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Email: rgranado@miamibeachfl.gov
Email: researchrequest@miamibeachfl.gov

REQUEST: Alexandr Boksner’s Annual Outside Employment Report

Dear Mr. Granado:

Good Day, Sir. I hope you had a pleasant Labor Day!

This is a public records request brought under Title I Section 24 of the Constitution of the State
of Florida and Chapter 119 Fla. Stat. for the latest J uly 1 Annual Outside Employment Report of
Senior Assistant City Attorney Alexandr Boksner, as required, if I am not mistaken, by Miami
Dade County Ordinance Sec. 2-11.1 The Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance
(below). He also serves the town of Surfside as Special Magistrate, according to a recently
published Special Master Agenda (attached). No doubt everything is in good order, but I want to
show the evidence to whom it concerns.

Your predecessor often extended to me the common courtesy of providing small amounts of
information free of charge, via email to save me the long walk in the hot Sun to City Hall. I hope
you will continue to do so even though the city’s representative apparently considers me as an
enemy of the state, or traitor who has “attacked the city,” despite the fact that my recent pro bono
efforts to help the city have saved the city tens of thousands of dollars. The consequences to me
thus far have been considerable expenses, hearsay about personal threats, and a libelous per se
statement to a prominent local editor.

Sincerely,

David Arthur Walters

CC J oe Centorino, Director
Miami Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust
Re: Public Disclosure Law
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“Mr. Walters: As a former State prosecutor and Police Legal Advisor, his biography and other
personal information is exempt from public disclosure.” J ose Smith (August 23, 2012)

“Mr. Boksner, May I have a copy of your biography? I do not see one on the City Attorney
Office’s Page.” David Arthur Walters (August 23, 2012)


Mr.  Walters.  Did  you  see  the  Dade  ethics  committee  (Mr.  Centorino)  come  to  the  podium  to 
make  their  sales  pitch  to  commissioners  to  spend  $45k  on  an  ethics  class  for  city  employees? 
Tobin was sarcastic, he said something like, how am I to trust you to train our employees when 
I called you to report an ethics violation and you said you could not investigate, you said I had 
to  do  the  investigation,  and  that  I  had  to  prove  what  I  am  reporting  by  providing  pictures  of 
what I saw. Tobin said, "So I should have taken off my job and investigated the case for you?” 
 
“Bide the time and sharpen a stake, being careful not to awaken the one‐eyed monster until it is 
ready, and we shall have the sheep anon.” Nobody 

 

Sec. 2-11.1 The Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance

(k) Prohibition on outside employment.

(1) No person included in the terms defined in Subsections (b)(5) [departmental personnel] and (6)
[employees] shall receive any compensation for his or her services as an officer or employee of the County,
from any source other than the County except as may be permitted by Section 2-11 of this Code of
Ordinances.

(2) All full-time County and municipal employees engaged in any outside employment for any person, firm,
corporation or entity other than Miami-Dade County, or the respective municipality, or any of their agencies
or instrumentalities, shall file, under oath, an annual report indicating the source of the outside employment,
the nature of the work being done pursuant to same and any amount or types of money or other
consideration received by the employee from said outside employment. Said County employee's reports
shall be filed with the supervisor of elections no later than 12:00 noon on July 1st of each year, including
the July 1st following the last year that person held such employment. Municipal employee reports shall be
filed with the clerk of their respective municipalities. Said reports shall be available at a reasonable time
and place for inspection by the public. The County Manager or any city manager may require monthly
reports from individual employees or groups of employees for good cause.




Applicant Name:
Position TItle:
Applicant Qualifications Checklist
A1eksandr Boksner
County Attorney
Minimum Qualifications:
Juris Doctor; membership and license to practice lawthrough the Florida State Bar Association, supplemented by
seven (7) to ten (10) years progressively knowledgeable, responsible, and skilled experience practicing lawwithin
the State of Florida, to include four (4) years within a supervlsoryllead capacity; or any equivalent combination of
training and experience. Experience in a Government setting preferred. Must possess and maintain a valid FL
driver's license.
Related Experience Supervisory Experience Education Veteran
1-3yrs
D
Yes
[l]
Associates
0
Yes
0
4-7yrs
[l]
No
0
Bachelors
[l] No [lJ
8-12yrs
D
Masters
D
13 +yrs
D
other:
J.D_
Florida Bar
Supreme Court of Tennessee
Notes:
Government related experience.
Proceed with Interview
HR March 2011
Yes D No D
JobApps for position: PS101136 Page 1 of4
Aleksandr Boksner
EEO Page Included Below
Application Information
Full Name Aleksandr Boksner
Job Number PS101136
Date of Application 05-05-2011 08:41 AM
Account Name
Job Title
Department
Aleksandr Boksner
COUNTY ATIORNEV
COUNTY ATIORNEV
Qualification Essay
I provide legal representation to the Miami Beach Commissioners, the aty Manager and City Departments
pertaining to its general liability, civil litigation, criminal statutory interpretation, application and procedures and
land use litigation as it pertains to the governmental operations of the City of Miami Beach.
I have litigated In federal and state courts on behalf of Charlotte and Marion Counties, and the City of Miami
Beach for violations of the U. S. Constitution and Florida Constitution, In conjunction with the defense of
statutory causes of action under Section 70.001 of the Florida Statutes known as the Bert J. Harris, Jr. Private
Property Rights Protection Act, Section 768.28 of the Florida Statutes pertaining to the State of Florida's waiver
of sovereign immunity. I have drafted and examined proposed resolutions for execution by the Miami Beach
Commissioners, and provide legal counsel on a full spectrum of governmental Issues whIch impact the CIty of
Miami Beach.
Personal Information
Full Name
Home Address
Aleksandr Boksner
9148 Byron Avenue
Phone Number: 305-216-6258
Surfside, FL (US) 33154
Email
Employment Dates:
03/2009 - Present
Zip Code:
33139
Monthly Earnings:
9166.67
YES
NO
NO
Position:
Senior Assistant City Attorney
City, State:
Miam[ Beach, FL
Immediate Supervisor:
Jose Smith
Employment History
we contact your current employer?
Have you ever been employed by Osceola County?
Have you ever been discharged or terminated from employment?
Have you ever resigned/quit after being Informed that your employer NO
intended to discharge/fire you?
Firm Name:
City of MiamI Beach
Address:
1700 Convention Center Drive
Telephone:
305-673-7470
Duties:
ProvIde legal counsel to the Miami Beach City Commissioners, City Administrator; and Department DIrectors in
reference to Issues pertaining to governmental liability, State of Florida public records, contract Interpretation,
ordinance drafting and disputes, land use, franchise agreements and fees. PrOVide contract review for
compliance with the City of Miami Beach procurement code, In conjunction with the negotiation of various
public/private contracts within the City of Miami Beach. Supervise and prosecute Violations of the City of Miami
Beach Code under the special master code enforcement procedure. Serve as the Pollee Legal Advisor to the
Miami Beach Police Department. Defend the City of Miami Beach in crvrllitigation surrounding land use
dedsions, developmental regulations, orders and interpretations. Handle forfeiture proceedings under the
Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act for the City of Coral Gables and the City of Miami Beach.
Firm Name: position: Employment Dates:
Marlon County, Florida Chief Assistant County Attorney 12/08 - 03/2009
Address: City, State: 'Zip Code:
601 SE 25th Avenue Ocala, FL 34471
Telephone: Immediate Supervisor: Monthly Earnings:
352-438-2330 Thomas Wright 7916.67
Duties:
Legal counsel to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, County Administrator, and Department
http://archive.osceola.orglrnanager/index.cfin?lsFuses=PODuo/JobAonIReoOti/dsn.1ohAnn&
'l/'i1?01 1
JobApps for position: PSI01136 Page 2 of4
Bureau Chiefs, Directors and county staff in reference to Issues pertaining to sunshine and Public records law,
sovereign Immunity, govemmentalliability, contract interpretation, ordinance Drafting and disputes, Marion
County ordinances, land use, and Civil litigation. Legal counsel to the Development Review Committee, Board of
Zoning Appeals and Board of Adjustments. Defended the Marlon County government and It various
departments in civil lawsuits arising from contract disputes, foreclosures, land use, and torts. Supervised the
prosecution of Marion County ordinance violations In accordance with Florida statutory law pursuant to Section
162 of the Florida Statutes. Attend, prepared and conducted depositions of party and non-party witnesses.
Supervised the legal Support staff, and formulated budget expenditures for the Office of the County Attorney.
Firm Name: Position: Employment Dates:
Charlotte County, F10rlda AssIstant County Attorney 02/2005 - 12/2009
Address: City, State: Zip Code:
18500 Murdock Circle, Room #573 Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Telephone: Immediate Supervisor: Monthly Earnings:
941-743-1330 Janette Knowlton 7291.67
Duties:
Provide legal counsel to the Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners, County Administrator, and
Department Directors In reference to Issues pertaining to sovereign immunity, govemmentalliabllity, civil
rights Violations under § 1983, contract negotiation and drafting, ordinance drafting and disputes, Charlotte
County ordinances, land use, and civil litigation. Defend the Charlotte County govemment and Its various
departments in dvll lawsuits arising from contract disputes, bankruptcy, foreclosures, copyright Infringement,
land use, and torts. Prosecute Charlotte County ordinance violations In accordance with Florida statutory law.
Attend, prepare and conduct deposItions of party and non-party witnesses. Investigate individual claIms filed
pursuant to the State of Florida's waiver of sovereign Immunity. Conduct complex legal research on various
governmental issues and draft corresponding motions.
Education History
Type(s) of School Completed.
School History
School Name:
University of Toledo College of Law
SChool Name:
University of Onclnnati
School Name:
Cuyahoga Community College
City, State:
Toledo OH
City, State:
Cindnnatl OH
City, state:
Parma OH
Doctorates
Dates Attended:
08/1998 to OS/2001
Dates Attended:
08/1996 to 06/1998
Dates Attended:
08/1994 to 06/1996
Major:
law
Major:
Psychology/Law
Major:
Psychology/law
Degree:
J.D.
Degree:
B.A.
Degree:
A.A.
Professional Licenses, Certifications and Organizational Memberships
Agency or Organization Name: Type: Field: Number: Expiration:
The Florida Bar Law License Law 0526827 N/A
Agency or Organization Name: Type: Field: Number: Expiration:
Supreme Court of Tennessee Law License Law 027682 N/A
List and Describe any Computer I Software I Typing skills I Experience you have that relates to this
position
Proficient In Windows 98, WordPerfect, Excel, Power PoInt and Intemet
List any other languages other than EngUsh you can fluently read and speak
Russian - Speak
List any Licenses & Certifications you have
Have you ever relinquished a certification or license NO
in any state for any profession?
Veteran"s Preference
Are you claiming Veteran's
Preference?
other Information
Driver's License Info
License Class: E
NO
Other: Operator Valid: YES
http://archive.osceola.orgimanager/index.cfm?lsFuses=Popup/JobApp/ReportJdspJobApp&... 5/5/2011
JobApps for position: PSI01l36 Page 3 of4
Have you ever legally changed your name (other than by marriage)? No
Are you related to anyone currently working for Osceola County? No
Have you ever been convicted or plead Nolo Contendere to a crime? Yes
Please Explain In 1992, I pleaded to, and was convicted for Driving While Ucense Suspended in the State of
Ohio.
Emergency Contact
Name Relationship Phone
Karen Boksner Spouse 3 0 5 ~ 9 9 2 - 4 9 3 5
Address: 9148 Byron Avenue, Surfside, Florlda 33154
References
Reference 1
COMMISSIONER JONAH WOLFSON
1700 Convention Center Drive
Reference 2
CITY ATIORNEY JOSE SMITH
1700 Convention Center Drive
Reference 3
THOMAS L WRIGHT - DIstrict One Chief Counsel, F.D
P.O. Box 1249
305-673-7102
Miami Beach, FL
305-673-7470
Miami Beach, FL
863-519-2623
Bartow, FL
Years Known: 10
33139
Years Known: 2
33139
Years Known: 6
33831
http://archive.osceola.org/manager/index.cfm?lsFuses=Popup/JobApplReportldspJobApp&... 5/5/2011
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 

Page 1 of 4


IS ALEX A SECRET AGENT, HIS IDENTITY A STATE SECRET?

David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com>
________________________________________

Alexandr Boksner Biographical Secrets Are Displayed by The Florida Bar
________________________________________

David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com> Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM
To: "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>
Cc: "Kenneth L. Marvin" <kmarvin@flabar.org>, Matti Bower Bower
<mayorbower@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Tobin, Ed" <EdTobin@miamibeachfl.gov>,
"Centorino, J oseph (COE)" <CENTORI@miamidade.gov>
Mr. Granado,

Mr. Smith has implied that Mr. Boksner's identity is a state secret as if he were some sort
of state police officer. The Florida Bar has displayed some biographical information on
its website, so perhaps it should be advised to remove it; therefore I am alerting the Bar.
Is the City's personnel file on him locked tight?

David Arthur Walters



Smith, J ose
Aug 23 (7 days ago)
to Aleksandr, Ed, me, alexboksner, Matti

Mr. Walters:

Mr. Boksner will not provide you with legal advice or discuss legal theories. As a former
State prosecutor and Police Legal Advisor, his biography and other personal information
is exempt from public disclosure. And for your edification, special masters are neither
judges nor magistrates. They only have the authority granted by Chapter 30 of the city
code.



David Arthur Walters miamimirror@gmail.com
Aug 23 (7 days ago)
to alexboksner, aboksner, J ose, Ed, Matti

Alex,

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 

Page 2 of 4

At the special master oversight meeting yesterday, you mentioned a case you had found
giving a judicial opinion on the constitutional power's of the special master alternative to
the code enforcement board. Would you please email me a copy of the full text of that
case? Mind you that I do not access to a good legal research mechanism.

I would really like to know if the special masters are real judges sitting in a real tribunal.

For what it's worth, I noticed some time ago that an information sheet handed out with a
violation notice stated that defenses can be made at law and in equity, so I supposed
equitable estoppel would be included as an "it's not fair" defense. However, I also noticed
that the information sheet differed from the municipal code provisions in some respects.
And I noticed from a file in hand that the technical constructive notice provisions, which
seem to follow the state statute, do not seem to be followed carefully -- if they were, it
was not evidenced in the file. My take on the technical discussions at the meeting is that
the city attorney office in collaboration with special masters and clerks should sit down
with the statutes and ordinances and documents and describe the correct process to follow
in detail, with examples of course, and make sure that everyone is crystal clear about the
right way to do things technically speaking. In other words, rewrite the manual to accord
with the law.

I personally do not think anyone has to be fired to resolve the human nature issue.
Spaniards became extraordinarily courteous to one another after their Civil War.

By the way, may I also have a copy of your biography? I do not see one on the City
Attorney Office's page.

Thanks!



FROM FLORIDA BAR WEBSITE

Aleksandr Boksner

Member in Good Standing
Eligible to practice in Florida

ID Number: - 526827
Address:
Office of the City Attorney
1700 Convention Center Dr
Miami Beach, Florida 331391819
United States
County:
Miami-Dade

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 

Page 3 of 4

Circuit:
11

Admitted:
10/18/2001

Sections:
Government Lawyer

10-Year Discipline History
None

Law School:
The University of Toledo College of Law

Occupation:
Government attorney

Federal Courts:
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Florida Middle District Bankruptcy Court

State Courts:
Florida
Tennessee



Granado, Rafael <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov> Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 2:32
PM
To: David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com>
Cc: "Kenneth L. Marvin" <kmarvin@flabar.org>, "Bower, Matti H."
<MayorBower@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Tobin, Ed" <EdTobin@miamibeachfl.gov>,
"Centorino, J oseph (COE)" <CENTORI@miamidade.gov>, "Smith, J ose"
<J oseSmith@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Inguanzo, Ramiro"
<RamiroInguanzo@miamibeachfl.gov>

Good afternoon Mr. Walters,

Pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 119.071(4)(d)1.d., the following information is
exempt for current or former state attorneys , assistant state attorneys, statewide
prosecutors, or assistant statewide prosecutors:

1. Home addresses, telephone numbers, and photographs; and
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 

Page 4 of 4

2. Home addresses, telephone numbers, photographs, and places of employment of
the spouses and children of such personnel; and the names and locations of schools and
day care facilities attended by the children of such personnel.

Regards,
MIAMIBEACH
Rafael E. Granado, City Clerk
CITY CLERK'S OFFICE
1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305-673-7411 www.miamibeachfl.gov
We are committed to providing excellent public service and safety to all who live, work
and play in our vibrant, tropical, historic community.



David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com> Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 4:10 PM
To: "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>
Cc: "Kenneth L. Marvin" <kmarvin@flabar.org>, "Bower, Matti H."
<MayorBower@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Tobin, Ed" <EdTobin@miamibeachfl.gov>,
"Centorino, J oseph (COE)" <CENTORI@miamidade.gov>, "Smith, J ose"
<J oseSmith@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Inguanzo, Ramiro"
<RamiroInguanzo@miamibeachfl.gov>

Rafael. Thank you. Gee I just asked for the info other city attorneys
have on the city attorney webpage but as you can see counsel declined.
Is he violating the public records act? David



NO RESPONSE TO ABOVE












Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 1 of 9 
 



August 28, 2012

J ose Smith, Esq.
City Attorney
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

Special Master Case No: J B10000105

Mr. Smith:

Thank you for your August 24 explanation of the disposition of the above Special Master Case,
wherein was included an email on the subject received from Steven Rothstein, Esq., who,
according to your J uly 26 email, handled the case and dismissed it for want of service:

“The city issued the violation to a person who no longer owned the unit. The city did not issue
the violation against the actual violator who did the unpermitted work. The city improperly tried
to join the violator in the case without proper service. An appeal to the circuit court was filed.
Mr. Rothstein did the only ethical, legal thing he could do, to wit: dismiss the case.”

I believe there may be a distinction between dismissing a case for lack of service, and mitigating
or reducing a fine because the violator has been good and so on. However, I shall not object to
your statement that, “the City always retains the inherent, sovereign right, in its discretion, to
settle, compromise, or dismiss a case where it is deemed to be in the city's best interest,” if it is
understood that the people are sovereign and the government is obliged to act in their best
interest when deeming what its best interests are.

And you say that, “the City is not required to ‘appeal’ a Special Master ruling in order to
mitigate a fine imposed by the Special Master, as occurred here.” But you and your assistant
claim that the case was dismissed, not that the fine was mitigated, i.e. reduced. Still, in any case,
it would be absurd for anyone to appeal against themselves.

It was not in the city’s best interest to dispose of this case in the way that it did. The mitigating
power, which I believe has its origin in the king’s mercy, or discretionary justice upon due
clamor, as distinguished from punitive and rehabilitative justice, was abused. The clamor raised
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 2 of 9 
 
will be ever the more if the discretion is exercised regularly. No matter how reasonable a
reduction in a fine may seem to the violators, it will appear arbitrary and preferential to those
who believe determinate sentencing constitutes equal justice under the law. ‘Sephardic’ tolerance
is intolerable within the four cubits of the law.

As for the allegedly defective notice, a person familiar with the August 11, 2011, hearing before
special magistrate Babak Movahedi told me the plea made there was specious, that the owner
knew about the violation, had depended on the contractor to take care of it, and intended to make
good and take any fine imposed out of the contractor’s hide.

Doubtless you are far more familiar than I am with the endless quibbling of jurists over
notification whether statutory, actual, constructive or implied. I do not know whether one can
argue in equity in Florida that a defect in statutory notice may be overcome by facts which raise
a strong presumption of notice. I assumed that J udge Movahedi had ruled on the defective notice
issue, therefore I pressed you for further records and an explanation since you said Mr. Rothstein
had dismissed the case due to defective notice, and I saw nothing in the file that the city
provided. Unfortunately, I phrased my question foolishly.

You responded to me with several insulting email on J uly 26, the first one beginning with: “My
comment is that before you accuse anyone of wrongdoing you should know the subject you are
writing about! ...and you call yourself a ‘journalist’?”

It was not until J uly 30, 2012, that you said I had been provided with all records: “All records
you requested were already provided to you. Don't waste your time asking for the same thing
multiple times. My office will not provide you with a tutorial on due process, service of process
or constitutional law. Get your own lawyer!”

I discovered from the recording of the hearing that the owner did not personally appear at the
August 11, 2011, hearing. The contractor showed up with an employee whom he instructed to act
as the owner’s representative, and simply say that the amount of the fine was unfair because the
owner was away and was not receiving her mail. Apparently someone had read the standard
‘Notice to Violators – Late Compliance’, which states that “Legal or Equitable reasons” may be
presented; it would seem then that the prosecutor would have the same privilege, to apply
equitable principles, as has been done in our tribunals for a long time, there being no separate
courts of equity in this country, I think, except in Delaware. I would think even equitable
estoppel could be considered by any sort of tribunal in the land unless the highest court ruled it
out. After all, fair is fair. However, positing fairness has recognized forms, and no legal or
equitable claim of defective notice was made: no definite motion was made to quash the order
for the fine due to defective notice. The contractor said he had gotten a permit within 30 days so
there should have been no fine. I see that compliance permits were approved on October 14,
October 19, and October 20, 2009. But that would not do, for fines run until the violation is
remedied, according to J udge Movahedi. As for the mail, the judge said that the owner was
responsible for taking care of her property and receiving her mail to that end. Wherefore he
denied the motion to mitigate after politely asking more than once on what other grounds he was
expected to mitigate. In retrospect it is questionable whether the contractor and his employee had
any standing in the court unless acting as agent for the owner. Yet in fact the request for the
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 3 of 9 
 
mitigation hearing was made on April 10, 2011, signed by the owner but on the contractor’s
letterhead; and it was the contractor, not the owner, who ultimately paid the settlement amount of
$2,520 on October 6, 2011, the city writing off $26.741.

Notice that the owner had signed a notarized Notice of Commence on September 9, 2009, stating
that she, along with one Ricardo Borkowsky, were both owners, having an interest in the
property. The Stop Work Order and Notice of Violation were given five days later, on September
14, 2009. It was not until J anuary 6, 2010 that Mr. Borkowsky said he had sold the unit on
August 19, 2009, and should not be liable for the violation. The deed was recorded August 25,
2009. Still, notice on him was arguably notice on the owner of record as well since she signed a
notarized document prior to the violation stating they both had an interest in the realty. And if the
contractor were in effect acting as her agent, he knew about the Stop Work Order and Notice of
Violation and she would be served.

You know I wonder about your authority to overrule a case ruling you happen to disagree with.
Sometimes I get the impression that you have too high an opinion of your opinions, and think of
your fatwas as the law itself or even superior to the font of the law, as if you were the grand
ayatollah of the city; that is, upon occasion I perceive that you are obstinately convinced of the
superiority or correctness of your own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different
opinions.

I am willing to admit my mistaken opinions: In this case I admittedly made an incorrect
inference from the facts: that the judge had denied a motion to dismiss the case for want of
service, because I was blind to what transpired during the August 11, 2011, hearing due to your
failure to provide a transcript. It is not true, although you said so, that I was aware that the
hearing record was not kept in your office. Since you are purportedly personifying The City, and
are its attorney, I figured you had access to all files concerning legal matters. It was only later
that I discovered, after hearing references to “transcripts” being in your office’s possession, that
recordings of Special Master hearings are made. Incidentally, transcripts were referred to several
times and produced during last Wednesday’s legal oversight meeting, apparently for the purpose
of criticizing the behavior of special masters, especially Babak Movahedi. Further, if an appeal is
actually made, I understand that a record of the hearing is always produced. In my lay opinion,
you violated the public records law, but without criminal intent, so that issue is dead because no
further compliance, which is the civil intent of the law, is to be had.

My August 15 article, ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob at the Special Masters Court’ concluded with a
naive question about your authority to dismiss cases:

“…. by what authority could an assistant city attorney or the City Attorney himself ‘dismiss’ a
special master’s case when the only statutory venue for appeal seemed to be the circuit court?
And of course he would not appeal versus the city that he represents. Why could we find no
record of the circuit court case? Why is not that record in the file? Perhaps he and the
defendant’s attorney struck a deal before a petition was filed with the circuit court clerk, so no
dismissal upon settlement was filed there either. If that shortcut were taken, why did he not just
say so in the first place? And if that kind of shortcut were routine, would it not arouse reasonable
suspicion of unwarranted dealings behind the scenes? If this sort of defect in service of process is
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 4 of 9 
 
routine, and if the procedures are somehow defective at all levels, is not the city attorney
routinely responsible for advising everyone concerned what changes must be made in defective
routines? We are standing by for answers to those questions at deadline.”

I say naïve or innocent because Sec. 30-77 of the Miami Beach Code reads: “An aggrieved party,
including the city administration, may appeal a final administrative order of a special master to
the circuit court. Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo, but shall be limited to, appellate
review of the record created before the special master. An appeal shall be filed within 30 days of
the rendition of the order to be appealed.”

There was no reason given for the appeal on the notice of appeal. That would naturally appear on
the writ filed in the circuit court, but no such writ was filed, and there was no assertion in the file
from the attorney representing the owner that the appeal was caused by defective notice. Further,
would not App. P. 9.100 (c) (2), requiring a petition to be filed with the circuit court in 30 days,
apply here? If so, there was no appeal and the Special Master Order stood as it was—why
dismiss the case against the City’s best interest?

It was only later that you said you wrote an ordinance that authorized the city manager or a
financial analyst such as J immy McMillion to mitigate cases under $100,000, and the
commission to reduce fines above that amount, but you did not cite the ordinance or provide a
copy as requested. Of course I believe you, but I did not see your ordinance as an amendment to
Sec. 30-77, where naive people concerned with Special Master Cases would logically look. No
doubt you could cite it from memory. I want to be sure you made no distinction between
“mitigation” and “dismissals” when you drafted the ordinance, since “mitigation” can mean
anything done to reduce the severity of any form of penalty.

My concern was then whether or not you disposed of a “routine” case incautiously and without
proper authorization from your client the City. I suggested that, in the future, a formal warrant
for special resolution be placed in every file mitigated or dismissed, giving an explicit reason for
mitigation and dismissal, and citing the pertinent ordinance. Then the nature of the disposition
would be clear to everyone, lawyer and non-lawyer alike. The city clerk could get a copy so that
the costs of mitigations and dismissals by special masters, city managers, and commission could
be tracked.

You have highlighted some documents that would indicate, to the initiated party, that the
financial analyst settled this case, presumably in accord with some formula derived from
previous analyses, because the notice was defective, upon your office’s advice. That contradicts
your statement that Mr. Rothstein dismissed the case. Well, maybe he did in a way, by advising
the financial analyst to apply a defective notice dismissal factor of, say, ten percent of the
judgment hence the analyst was motivated to act by the full weight of the law. I attach a
document that indicates that it was not the owner or her attorney that negotiated this settlement
with the finance officer, but rather it was the contractor, who made the payment via one of his
business entities. Files like this would certainly be more easily understood with the inclusion of a
warrant signed by the finance officer or other authorized party as suggested.

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 5 of 9 
 
Now you write that my petitions regarding your office’s disposition of this case nauseate you;
that is, you refer to it as a subject as one I have written about “ad nauseam.” I continued to
petition you because I found your responses including your insults inappropriate to the subject.
That subject involves a loss of $26,741 which the extraordinarily wealthy owner of the property
and her spouse believed they were responsible for and were willing to pay out of funds withheld
from the contractor who created the violation. After the violation was remedied, the contractor
went on to combine and build out the fabulous three units at the Continuum. As you should
know, I had cause to suspect that the scope of the work was grossly understated, that perhaps
$30,000 in permit fees had been evaded, therefore I notified the Building Department of my
suspicion, with advice to look out for dummy invoices and the like when checking into the true
value and scope of the work performed.

In your J uly 31 email to the esteemed editor of the illustrious SunPost, you said that the case was
“routine” and you construed my pleas to you as an attack on the City of Miami Beach, as if you
were the city in its proper person: “Mr. Walters has turned a routine Special Master Code case
(dismissed by the City Manager's office for lack of jurisdiction and service of process), into a
cause célèbre to attack me, my staff, and the City.” I note that you changed the source of the
dismissal: it is now the city manager, not the city attorney—oops.

I did not know exactly what you meant by “routine.” If routine were once a week, the total
written off in a year would be $1,390,532. Needless to say, so-called mitigation of fines,
dismissals, and lax enforcement of the municipal code is conducive to noncompliance and has
been a pressing issue for some time in our community, at least since 2006. The plethora of
complaints generally fell on deaf ears or was given a show hearing or two. The tipping point, in
the community’s favor although it was disgraced, came with the FBI arrests of several city code
enforcement employees.

During my investigation that led to the series, ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con,’ almost every
Building Department file I examined had in my opinion some defect. They were small defects
with potentially fatal consequences. It appeared to me that as long as the forms had four corners,
were signed and notarized, they were passable regardless of substance, as if subject to some sort
of pharisaic ritual. Your office even informed me that it was perfectly legal and proper for blanks
to be sworn to as true, to be filled in later at someone’s convenience. That someone could be a
permit fixer working for an unlicensed general contractor who rents prostituted licenses, neither
of whose names is on the permit applications; and neither the permit fixer nor the licensed
contractor may be known by the owner who signed the application. I was even told that it was
perfectly excusable to put the wrong name on a permit as ‘owner’ when the right owner was
known by everyone, simply because the county assessor’s office had not changed the record—
actually, that was not true in the case I asked about, for I had checked the county record before
the permit was approved, and the current owner was on record. And when your office is warned
of misconduct, it is blind to the warning, the Charter cited as the reason for doing nothing about
it. The defects could be prevented in the future by administrative intervention under the advice of
your office, which you have said you cannot give unless asked by a public official, as opposed to
providing a proactive response to private citizen petitions.

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 6 of 9 
 
There was no cure for the overweening attitude of the last administration, of which I considered
your office to be a part. That is why I said that your office has been instrumental in the
demoralization of the city, and that prevailing conditions fostered turpitude and corruption. Not
that I wanted to single you and your staff out personally until I was confronted by your insults
and an invitation to walk me over the FBI. No, I was of the admittedly rash opinion that the top
three persons in every department should be fired, the city charter revised in certain respects, and
new elections held. Certainly J orge Gonzalez, whom we credit for many good things, was not the
cause of all the city’s ills.

You claim that my efforts are “trash” and “defamatory garbage,” and that you hope my noble
professional as a journalist calling will cause me to retract it.

GIGO

I can only fill what I perceive to be holes in the city’s procedures and records with whatever
rubbish I receive from the city, notwithstanding your expert proclamations of law. As you know,
the ancient teachers whipped boys for not questioning the law. My ‘ashkenazic’ disposition
moves me to dig quite a few holes in search for the hypostasis of things even when I am told I
am digging my own grave.

I wondered about your procedures again in this instance. I wondered why someone did not
reissue the notice if it were defective, and why there was no proof in the file that the state statute
and local ordinance was fully complied with in regard to constructive notice. Indeed, wished you
would be more proactive and help provide your staff and special masters and building
department officials with better processes and procedures. Then you would not have so much
trash to deal with.

There is nothing defamatory in my statements. I have spoken the truth to the best of my ability
given the information you have provided. I have drafted my opinions and have petitioned my
government, and thus far I see no error in them nor libel. Nothing will be retracted nor detracted,
and everything you have said appears in the book of judgments.

As for nobility of profession: a commission for what I have already saved the city would be
substantial, but I have not received a thin dime for my efforts nor have I asked for anything, so I
guess I am not a professional in your sense of the word. I obviously have nothing to gain and
everything to lose for trying to help the city. I tried to give you quarter, but you could not spare a
dime.

Besides, I am no longer sure that journalists are very noble, so I am discarding that title. As for
other titles, you can call me anything you want and I shall not sue you. However, if you order me
to shut up and complain about garbage and trash, I may produce reams of free speech in
response.

Sincerely,

David Arthur Walters
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 7 of 9 
 





Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM
To: David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com>
Cc: "Rothstein, Steven" <StevenRothstein@miamibeachfl.gov>

Mr. Walters:

The attached documentation "expressly" establishes that the settlement and dismissal of the case,
which you wrote about, ad nauseam, was resolved through "agreement by the Finance
Department" (see highlighted language). My department's role was simply to give legal advice to
J immy McMillon, whose job it is to resolve these cases on behalf of the Finance Department.
J UST READ YOUR OWN DOCUMENTS!

As to the appeal filed with the Circuit Court, Appellate Division, you will also find attached a
copy of the Notice of Appeal. You always had this document in your possession. The City did
not receive any other appeal documents filed with the appellate court (i.e. dismissal motions or
orders). I can only presume that the appellant voluntarily dismissed the appeal after reaching a
settlement with the Finance Department. You should also understand that despite what a Special
Master might rule, the City ALWAYS retains the inherent, sovereign right, in its discretion, to
settle, compromise, or dismiss a case where it is deemed to be in the city's best interest. The City
is not required to "appeal" a Special Master ruling in order to mitigate a fine imposed by the
Special Master, as occurred here.

As to whether I did or did not provide you with ALL the records, I provided you with EVERY
RECORD MY OFFICE HAD ON THE VIOLATION. In fact you had many more documents
than I had since you evidently made a public records request to the city clerk. YOU NEVER
ASKED ME FOR THE SPECIAL MASTER RECORDINGS and those records, as you well
know, are kept with the Special Master clerk, not with me.

I would now hope that YOU "dignify" the noble "journalist" profession by running a retraction
on all the defamatory garbage you have written about my office and me.

Regards, J ose Smith

-----Original Message-----
From: Rothstein, Steven
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 2:31 PM
To: Smith, J ose
Subject: RE: Special Master Statistics Request

J S

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 8 of 9 
 
Attached is the Notice of Appeal and documentation obtained from the Special Master file in
connection with the receipt of the mitigated sum as well as the Satisfaction of Lien.

The Notice of Appeal was timely filed on August 29, 2012. The City was provided with a copy
of the Notice of Appeal. The appellate file is maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court,
Appellate Division, 73 W. Flagler Street, Miami, Florida. It is not part of the Special Master file.

The receipts attached reflect that subsequent to the filing of the Appeal, the Finance Dept.
reached an agreement to resolve the outstanding fines for $2,520.00. (inclusive of recording
fees.). Thereafter, the Clerk of the Special Master issued and recorded a Satisfaction of Lien.

From a legal standpoint the lien was defective and should have been released. (A release of lien
would have been filed.) However, since there was a closing pending, the fine was paid on behalf
of the Seller in order to clear title.

Steven H. Rothstein, First Assistant City Attorney
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY







Neves, Cynthia

From: McMillion, J immy
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8:36 AM
To: 'J ihad'
Cc: Neves, Cynthia
Subject: RE: 50 South Pointe Dr #801

J ihad:

The release is being done by the Special Master's Office. Miss Neves has all the documents and
should be getting it completed soon. I will ask her to send it to you when complete. Have a great
day.

MIAMIBEACH
J immy J . McMillion, Financial Analyst
FINANCE DEPARTMENT
1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305-673-7000 Ext 6B05/ Fax: 305-7B6-394-4717 /
www.jimmymcmillion@miamibeachfl.gov
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  August 28, 2012 
Page 9 of 9 
 

We are committed to providing excellent public service and safety to all who live, work and play
in our vibrant, tropical, historic community.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTICE: This message and any attachments are for the sole use of the
intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information that may be
exempt from public disclosures. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is
prohibited. If you received this message in error, please contact the sender (via email, fax or
phone) and then destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: J ihad [mailto:jd@sharronlewis.comJ
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 10:40 PM
To: McMillion, J immy
Subject: 50 South Pointe Dr #801

Dear J immy,

Thank you for taking the time last Wednesday to work with us on case #J B10000105 it's really
appreciated.

Please when you have the chance email me a copy of the release of lien for the above case.

Thank you
J ihad Doujeiji


THE MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 1 of 2 
 

Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith


CITY ATTORNEY BALKS!

J ose Smith refuses to explain a $26,741 write off


By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

August 5, 2012

MIAMI BEACH—Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith responded hastily with a personal
insult and begged the question when asked to provide public records and explain why First
Assistant City Attorney Steven Rothstein, Esq. overruled Special Master Babak Movahedi’s
August 11, 2011 denial to mitigate a fine of $29,261.34 and release a lien on a luxury Continuum
condominium (Case BV09001224). I had referred to his office’s “slipshod” procedures
somewhere in the first three articles of my series ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con, appearing in
the Miami Mirror and in the SunPost.

The condominium owner, Margret Asgeirsdottir, wife to Skuli Mogensen, was cited for starting
construction without a permit. The contractor involved, J ihad Doujeiji dba Sharron Lewis Design
Central, who appeared from the documentation to be acting as the owner’s agent from the
beginning of construction, appeared on her behalf at the August 11 hearing to argue that she had
not received proper notice. I received information from a confidential informant that the
argument at the hearing was specious, that the notice was not really defective. The Order did not
specify findings of fact and conclusions of law other than “DENIED,” so we may assume the
opposing argument was totally without merit. That Order was supposedly appealed to the Circuit
Court, but I could find no record of it actually being filed with the court. A terse directive was
THE MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 2 of 2 
 
simply issued by the City Attorney’s Office to the Special Master, citing no authority, to close
the case due to defective notice. I suspected that the City Attorney’s processing of the matter was
defective.

“The file I obtained from the city clerk discloses no legal reasoning whatsoever for lifting the
lien and dismissing the fine,” I wrote, “except that the original notice was defective. Since the
Special Master would have none of that argument, it is reasonable to question Mr. Rothstein’s
motives for the decision, hopefully based on legal reasoning supported by case law if not your
specific instructions as his superior. In any case, I believe your office should be accountable to
persons besides the City Manager and the City Commissioners, and that the public has a right to
know why the violator got away with murder in this case, figuratively speaking.”

His response was immediate: “My comment is that before you accuse anyone of wrongdoing you
should know the subject you are writing about! And you call yourself a "journalist?” He said the
notice was defective because it was defective, and an appeal to the circuit court was filed. He
noted that I myself had said $2,520 was paid. He did not address my public record request nor
say there were no other records, but simply spoke to the portion of the record I had provided.

I replied that I saw no evidence that the appeal had actually been filed or that the circuit court
had ruled in the defendant’s favor. I wanted those records. Why would the defendant pay $2,500
if the notice were defective? A settlement agreement should be in the public record. Incidentally,
I remarked, the defendant and her husband were extraordinarily affluent persons to whom
$30,000 was small change, so I offered Mr. Smith a $30,000 chair to contemplate on.

Mr. Smith responded that the late A.C. Weinstein, a popular SunPost journalist who had given
up his muckraking to become Chief of Staff to Mayor Dermer and then Mayor Matti Herrera
Bower, was “spinning in his grave.” I said he was spinning because he still inhales, and that Mr.
Smith’s reference was apt because A.C. had sold out—no insult intended, but I was still an
independent journalist.

“All records you requested were already provided to you. Don't waste your time asking for the
same thing multiple times. My office will not provide you with a tutorial on due process, service
of process or constitutional law. Get your own lawyer!”

I referred the issue to J oe Centorino, Director, Miami Dade Commission on Ethics and Public
Trust for assistance in having my request fulfilled. I copied Mr. Smith, who then contacted the
SunPost to discredit me—the racy details will appear elsewhere. The SunPost had accepted the
fourth article in my ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con’ series for publication August 2 but did not
run it on that day.

Mr. Centorino wanted evidence of withheld records. I said I would submit particulars unless Mr.
Smith extended me the courtesy of addressing the points I raised in support of my thesis that
there must be more information than was disclosed, the absence of which might reflect badly on
the procedures and prowess of his department unless some reasonable explanation were given for
the lack.
##
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 1 of 5 
 



CITY ATTORNEY J OSE SMITH MISINTERPRETS OUR CHARTER

August 21, 2012
By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith, citing the City Charter, has declined to take steps to
protect the city and building owners from contractor submission of fake insurance certificates
and the exposure of the city and building owners to an unnecessary risk from expired, invalid,
and insufficient insurance purportedly evidenced by certificates of insurance submitted by
contractors as one prerequisite to obtaining building permits.
In order to obtain a building permit, the City of Miami Beach requires contractors to submit a
certificate of liability insurance made out to the City of Miami Beach, the insurer having liability
for no less than $300,000 per accident or occurrence for bodily injury, and $50,000 per accident
for property damage. The contractor must also show evidence of workman’s compensation
insurance or a state exemption. As we know, the lack of workman’s compensation insurance
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 2 of 5 
 
became a scandal during the building boom as scores of injured employees, especially
undocumented workers, discovered their employers did not have them covered.
We reminded Mr. Smith that we were in possession of evidence that a certain renegade general
contractor had a tendency to forge certificates of insurance and submit them to unsuspecting
owners of building projects and building managers, and, if caught, to obtain certificates from an
agent for insurance that would be invalid in any event because he happened to be an unlicensed
contractor. Besides that, the policies themselves might exclude coverage necessary for the risks
being taken.
We suspected that this contractor might not hesitate to deceive the city in respect to insurance
and other matters as well. We repeatedly alerted Building Department officials to the risks and
suggested that insurance companies actually be contacted to verify that adequate insurance was
in force for each master permit application. Further, we suggested that a fresh copy of the
certificate for each master permit be initialed, submitted and retained in the permit application
file for future reference as evidence, to make sure the coverage was checked and that there had
been no fraud.
Our suggestions were futile as they were professedly unwarranted by the purpose for submitting
certificates of insurance in the first place.
Tony Gonzalez, the Building Department’s operations manager, responded to our queries and
suggestions, intimating that the certificates of insurance bearing the City of Miami Beach as
“Certificate Holder” does not imply that the City itself is covered by the insurance: it is only
evidence that the insured has insurance. Indeed, no matter whom the Certificate Holder is, the
standard form warns in bold capital letters that the issuance of the certificate does not imply any
contractual relationship whatsoever with between the insurance company and the Certificate
Holder. So the certificate, for which several hundred dollars is charged per Certificate Holder
named, is apparently meaningless except as a confirmation that the insured is insured. That is
why the Certificate Holder, if protection is wanted, should check out the policy and be added to
it by way of a rider.
“The City’s responsibility is to ensure that the contractors are insured and that the policy is
active, period,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “Verifying the amount of coverage is the responsibility of the
contractor, property owners and/or their legal counsel. On government projects the City is
usually added onto the underlying policy (a “rider”) as an additional insured and is listed as such
on the Certificate of Insurance…..” Furthermore, “licensed insureds provide a Certificate of
Insurance to the City. The certificate is not the actual policy or contract and only serves the
purpose of providing a statement of information about the policy. We update the information in
our permitting system from the certificate. The certificate covers the contractor at all project
locations until the policy/certificate expires…. We do not store copies of Certificates of
Insurance; the certificates are simply used as a basis to update our database with limited policy
information under the contractor’s file…. there are no clauses or ‘riders favoring the City in the
Certificates of Insurance provided by contractors.”
If what Mr. Gonzalez said is true, that the city has no responsibility whatsoever because
everyone else is actually responsible, and that the city is not protected by insurance except on
government projects, then getting policy information for all permits applied for by a certain
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 3 of 5 
 
contractor until the policy is said to expire, is merely a perfunctory ritual without meaning or
substance except that it makes officials feel good.
We would be astonished if that were true. It would seem that owners and the city who issues the
permits could be sued for accidents, negligence, and misconduct along with the contractor, so if
the contractor were not really covered, their risk would be even greater. But how would we
laymen know the true nature of such legal complexities?
Mr. Smith, the city’s counsel, will not substantiate the Building Department official’s legal
stance for us because he believes that giving his opinion would constitute giving legal advice to a
private party. And he could not say anything about it to his client, the municipality and its
officers, unless specifically asked to do so.
Nevertheless, we had persisted with the city attorney all along, not only in respect to certificates
of insurance, but by calling to his attention other misbehavior of the “renegade” contractor, some
of it believed to be fostered by the “slipshod” permit review process of his office, which will be
the subject of yet another article.
The unlicensed general contractor, the de facto contractor on millions of dollars of contracts in
the city, claims to all within earshot that his persistent violations of all sorts of regulations are
normal for contractors: “Everybody does it.” His claim may be accurate, at least in respect to one
of the largest developers in Miami Beach whom we are currently investigating. So to say that he
is a “renegade” contractor is not particularly damning if outlawry is permissible. He does appear
to be the creature of a negligent, lax, and perhaps corrupt regulatory milieu, something that we
thought the city attorney would be intensely interested in, therefore we kept him apprised of our
investigation of several projects, reported in our series, ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con.’
For example, lacking a license and wanting to obtain a permit for a major construction project,
our exemplary unlicensed contractor had his trusty permit fixer line him up with a licensed
contractor to sign a permit application to demolish an imaginary bathroom and kitchen in a void
penthouse, where the unlicensed contractor proceeded, with his regular crew, and without
supervision by the contractor on record, to build out the apartment pursuant to a million dollar
contract with the owner, an out-of-town real estate speculator for whom he had done another but
smaller build-out without any permit at all. Our persistence with the Building Department led to
a stop work order being issued but only after nearly $400,000 in work had been done.
We alerted the Florida Attorney General, the Florida Department of Business and Professional
Regulation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the City of Miami Beach Building
Department, the City Attorney, and the Miami Beach Police Department of a possible conspiracy
to defraud the city of its right to permit fees and to protect the community from hazards, all to no
avail. We asked J oe Centorino of the Miami Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public
Trust, formerly head of the State Attorney’s public corruption unit, for his advice in the matter;
however, without looking at the evidence we had, he said we had insufficient evidence for the
State Attorney to be interested. Therefore we went public at considerable risk to the personal
safety of several individuals who gave the go ahead.
The unlicensed contractor had his trusty permit fixer fix him up with yet another licensed
contractor to submit yet another permit application for the big job subjected to the stop work
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 4 of 5 
 
order. And then we were alerted that a condominium building manager at a completely different
location had kicked out the unlicensed contractor’s crew because the manager had checked out
the certificate of insurance put up by the licensed contractor for the purpose, and discovered
there really was no workman’s compensation insurance in force. That might mean that the
certificate of insurance provided on the new permit application for the big job that had been shut
down because the original permit was fraudulently obtained would be false as well.
As we have seen, a false certificate of insurance would apparently be of no great moment to the
Building Department given its official policy of neglect, but we took the matter up with Mr.
Smith anyway. We refreshed his memory about how easy it is to Photo Shop certificates of
insurance. It is even easier to fill in the blanks of the Acord form available on the Internet, stamp
or initial it with the agent’s mark, and submit it to whomever. Owners seldom check it or even
know what it means. Some licensed property managers know what it means and do check out the
certificates, while others are “taken care of.” We noted that a college instructor who teaches
construction law said that falsification of certificates of insurance may be a felony. Therefore
someone must take them seriously! But fake certificates seem to be produced countless times
every day to get into buildings and save a few hundred bucks doing so.
“You may recall my conversations with the Building Department in respect to taking
precautionary measures,” this activist journalist wrote to Mr. Smith, “in respect to general
liability and workmen's compensation insurance, and that I tried to impress staff with the need to
check out the insurance information provided with the carriers for validity and extent of coverage
(watch out for exclusions) for each permit, and to make sure the insurance is still in force and not
revoked for nonpayment of premiums etc. I figured that might be the duty of a Building
Department clerk or especially a law clerk. I received in return an education on what was
presently being done.”

“This is within the Building Department’s purview,” he responded in typical laconic fashion.
“I understand. My hope is that Building or Legal will verify coverage on review of permit
application under advice of the city attorney. Mind you that I proceed to ask questions with
evidence in hand e.g. fake certificates. Condo building managers who are diligent and honest
catch many forgeries. Thank you.”
He cited the City Charter, which he said prohibited him from taking actions not specifically
requested by city officials:
“Under our system of government (see City Charter), these are administrative issues which fall
under the purview of the city administration, not the legal department. We give advice when
requested.”
“Yes, I have read that provision several times and wanted to rewrite it but still some provisions
are subject to interpretation and there is always the common and the divine law. I do believe you
have the power to instruct you review staff to check to make sure policies are in force and make
that check-off part of the application file.”
Mr. Smith’s stance is pursuant to a general policy we have heard about before, after private
citizens made suggestion for improvement to legal processes; to wit: that it is not his job as the
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 5 of 5 
 
city’s lawyer to make improvements to legal processes unless his client asks him to take action
i.e. give advice. His misunderstanding of his duties under the Charter has broad ramifications for
the residents of our great city on the beach.
Article III of the Charter provides, first of all, that it is the duty of the city attorney “to act as the
legal advisor for the municipality and all of its officers in all matters relating to their official
powers and duties.”
If Mr. Smith were on your payroll as your company’s general counsel, what would you do if you
discovered that he was ignoring all sorts of perils to your business because he thought he could
take no action as your legal advisor unless he was specifically asked to do so by you or your
officers? If they could care less, then so should he, until the company goes down the tubes while
you are out to lunch.
Of course an attorney may limit the scope of his representation of a client, but this attorney is our
house counsel, and our house, according to its mission statement, is “committed to providing
excellent public service and safety to all who live, work and play in our vibrant, tropical, historic
community.”
Furthermore, the Rules Regulation the Florida Bar provides that, “a lawyer shall exercise
independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may
refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, and political
factors that may be relevant to the client's situation.”
Even when the scope of representation is strictly limited, the Bar’s Commentary states that a
lawyer may initiate advice: “A lawyer ordinarily has no duty to initiate investigation of a client's
affairs or to give advice that the client has indicated is unwanted, but a lawyer may initiate advice
to a client when doing so appears to be in the client's interest.”
The residents of Miami Beach who cared very much for their community suffered a dozen years
of mounting carelessness under the Gonzalez Administration. People who cared were shoved
aside by those who could care less as long as their positions and retirement benefits were secure
and the boom made the surfaces look good. Citizens were afraid to complain very much for fear
of retaliation. Most of the complaints were about lax, preferential, and negligible enforcement of
the city ordinances. But the administration, and at times the city legislature, did not seem to care
or simply put on a show that it did care, until the community was demoralized then scandalized
by the arrest of compliance officers by the F.B.I. And then City Manager J orge Gonzalez was
forced into retirement, as if everything was his fault, but that alone will not suffice to restore
integrity to local government, for the full truth has not yet been told. His retirement alone will
not do.
We need a proactive, independent-minded city attorney who will represent the city inclusive of
all its residents and not just the power elite.
##

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 1 of 5 
 


Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith


MIAMI BEACH CITY ATTORNEY VIOLATES PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

Ethics Commission Director J oe Centorino Snoozes


August 16, 2012

By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

The staff of the City Clerk’s Office of the City of Miami Beach normally bend over backwards
fulfilling requests for public records under Title I Section 24 of the Constitution of the State of
Florida and Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes.

Former City Clerk Robert Parcher, who retired this year and is dearly missed, established a
transparent system whereby requests were immediately acknowledged and diligently followed up
until fulfilled. That way, people were not left in the lurch wondering if their requests were
received and being honored. Although his successor Rafael E. Granado has apparently
abandoned that system, fulfillment of public records requests is usually prompt. Despite the City
Clerk’s alacrity, he is dependent on his sources. Information possessed by the City Manager’s
office or the City Attorney’s office can be difficult to retrieve at times.

Getting public records from many government agencies in Florida is like pulling wisdom teeth
with your bare hands—try the City of Miami. Inaccessibility to public information was a main
concern expressed at a conference with bloggers and journalists at the Miami Dade Commission
on Ethics and Public Trust held on March 15 of this year. According to a COE staff member
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 2 of 5 
 
attending, unruly bloggers were of special concern to the COE because pressure brought to bear
by them had resulted in the resignation of the commission’s former director, a position now held
by J oe Centorino, formerly a public corruption attorney with the State Attorney’s Office.

The scope of the COE’s jurisdiction is very narrow, but staff will avowedly review almost any
complaint about unethical conduct and refer it to the proper authorities, most likely the State
Attorney’s Office, if some law is apparently broken. That includes denials of public records
request.

“Because openness and honesty in government is entrenched in the Citizen’s Bill of Rights, over
which the COE has jurisdiction,” Mr. Centorino stated in a May 3, 2012, letter, “and because the
COE provides training to municipal governments on these laws, we have taken a broad view of
our role and have responded to complaints about violations of the Sunshine Law and Public
Records Law. What we generally would need for a public records complaint is 1) an allegation
that a public records request was made and not responded to within a reasonable period of time
or 2) an allegation together with some credible evidence that a response to a public records
request was intentionally incomplete or false. We would conduct an investigation into the
circumstances, and either resolve it or refer it to the State Attorney….”

The desultory response style of former Miami Beach Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez
led to an investigation by the COE into possible corruption in respect to a code violation at 1020
Sixth Street (COE report K: 12-040), an abandoned building which constituted a public safety
issue. A notice of a fire code violation with a fine of $1,000 per day had been tacked on the door
but the violation continued for months and there was no record of a lien being placed by the city.
The notice was immediately removed after we asked about it, and a record of it was denied.

COE Investigator Manuel Diaz managed to secure the information wanted and closed the case on
April 17, 2012, finding no violation of the ethics code in light of that information. The notice
was allegedly invalid therefore no fine was due. However, Mr. Diaz failed to interview a city
employee, whose identity was offered to the COE, who would have been willing to answer
questions about corruption of the city’s code compliance processes, but only if asked during a
formal investigation.

Ms. Fernandez admitted that she did not answer all requests, but she blamed the lack of response
in that instance on Assistant City Manager Lynn Bernstein. Mr. Diaz did not forward the record
of the apparent violation of the public records law violation to the State Attorney’s Office.

During our 2010 investigation of alleged drug use by principals and tennis pros employed by city
contractor Green Square Inc., City Attorney J ose Smith caused drug screens and background
checks to be withheld from us until he examined privacy laws, according to the City Clerk. One
of our informants, who came to us when his complaint to city officials including the City
Attorney fell on deaf ears, alleged that the principals were exempting themselves from screening
along with aliens who were advised to serve as independent contractors in order to avoid testing
and withholding of wages. Mr. Smith eventually apologized in 2012 for never providing the
records. We were invited to examine them in person, but all too late, since the witnesses had
disappeared or were no longer interested in pressing the matter because a political solution had
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
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been realized. Curiously, our research of the privacy issue seemed to bear out the argument that
we probably were not entitled to the records anyway, but we would not second guess an
attorney-at-law.

Most recently, we believed the City Attorney was withholding information about Special Master
Case J B10000105. The special magistrate had refused to waive a fine of nearly $30,000 and
remove the related lien from a luxury condominium at the Continuum. But First Assistant City
Attorney Steven Rothstein summarily dismissed it, on grounds of defective notice. We had been
informed that the argument presented to the judge was specious, wherefore we could not
understand the City Attorney’s dismissal without findings of fact and conclusions of law,
including citations of case law, for we knew there are quite a bit of wrangling over whether or
not notices are defective. An appeal was supposedly filed with the Circuit Court, but we could
find no record of an appeal and dismissal at that higher court. According to our reading the
Miami Beach Municipal Code, the only venue for appeal from a code enforcement judge’s order
is the Circuit Court. Alternatively, the City Attorney could have asked for a rehearing.

We supposed the City Attorney, who said the action taken was routine, had taken a shortcut and
cut a deal, but that left a hole in the record that created an appearance of impropriety, suggesting,
as it did, in the light of recent FBI arrests over compliance deals, that the City Attorney might be
hiding the true nature of the deals made.

Mr. Smith insisted that we had been provided with all the records. His claim proved to be false,
for we had not been provided the most important record of all, the recording to the hearing
before Special Master Babak Movahedi.

We referred our encounter with Mr. Smith to Mr. Centorino, asking him to take a look at the gap
between the alleged appeal, for which there was no record provided—it would be ineffective if
no petition was filed with the Circuit Court—and the curt pragma by Mr. Rothstein dismissing
the matter.

“The issue is whether you were provided with the public records you requested,” Mr. Centorino
responded. “Mr. Smith says they have been provided. What evidence do you have that public
records have been withheld?”

We promised, via email with a copy to Mr. Smith, to submit particulars the next week unless Mr.
Smith extended us the courtesy of addressing the points we raised in support of the thesis that
there must be more information than was disclosed, the absence of which might reflect badly on
the procedures and prowess of his department unless some reasonable explanation were given for
the lack.

Mr. Smith was not heard from, wherefore Mr. Centorino was addressed by journalist-at-large
David Arthur Walters:

“Mr. Smith did not respond to my courteous offer to supply the records and/or an explanation in
the matter. Therefore I am in the process of recovering a record that does in fact exist contrary to
his statement that I was supplied with the complete record. And I believe I have strong
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circumstantial evidence that he is probably violating the public records law. However, before
proceeding, I wish to know what consequences a pursuit of the issue might have if he is in
violation of law, including whether or not, if proven, that the violation might constitute of
violation of the Florida Bar's code of professional ethics.”

Mr. Centorino dismissed the matter, on the same day, without giving us a chance to show him
our evidence:

“There are both civil and criminal consequences to a public records violation, though the
criminal one is only misdemeanor. And that would apply only if there is proof of an intentional
violation. Otherwise, it is a civil infraction. A civil law suit may be brought by a citizen which, if
successful will result in an award of attorney's fees. Usually, our main concern is getting
compliance. More to the point, I have seen no evidence of a violation here, other than your
opinion. Mere speculation will not cut it. Circumstantial evidence would have to be very strong
for such a matter to be pursued. Mr. Smith's statement that all public records have been provided
will be accepted unless there is evidence otherwise. If you have such evidence, you would need
to present it to the State Attorney's Office, Public Corruption Unit, 305-547-0664 for
consideration.”

The fact of the matter is that many concerned Miami Beach residents are none too pleased with
the history of the public corruption work of the State Attorney’s Office even while Mr. Centorino
headed public corruption work there. He has asserted that much was done to curb Miami Beach
corruption by that office and during his tenure, a matter we are currently investigating.

He naturally took umbrage, adopting a bullying tone, when Mr. Walters said bloggers attending
the March 15 COE conference with bloggers said he had done little to curb corruption, referring
to him as “Sleeping J oe.” Their chief complaint is that he tends to ask complainers to do his
work for him; not only to show that there is reasonable suspicion of a violation to conduct an
investigation, but to come up with probable cause to try a matter.

In any case, a man cannot see “evidence of a violation” when he refuses to look at it, as did Mr.
Centorino in this instance, not giving us time to show it to him.

As for “compliance,” we hear that word often from state and local regulators. So-called
compliance and not punishment is the objective of liberal laws. That is precisely why
misbehavior has become so normal that nobody thinks it is wrong because everybody does it. If
caught, so what? It is only a traffic ticket. The IRS used to call it “voluntary compliance,” but
with the Service obedience is not as voluntary as scofflaws might suppose.

The bottom line here is that the public record law can be scoffed at with impunity. J ust deny that
any record exists. Then provide it if someone comes up with it. “So we made a mistake,” suffices
for forgiveness. Criminal intent is difficult if not impossible to prove in these cases. How many
criminal charges have been brought for not providing public records? How many convictions
have there been? Make a public records request for that information, and you may discover that
the joke is on the people. Compliance is awfully voluntary.

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We had already recovered some direct evidence not supplied by Mr. Smith when he said
everything had been provided. And then we retrieved a kind of record that we are informed the
City Attorney seldom delves in when he defies the judges of the code enforcement court: the
recording of the hearing. Indeed, the City Attorney’s office is gaining a reputation for ignoring
the records of the code enforcement court’s proceedings, repudiating sound case law, defying
ordinances, and even for publicly insulting the judges—something attorneys used to be clapped
in irons for in the old days, and now are fined, jailed, and disbarred.

As it turned out, the arguments for mitigation presented to J udge Movahedi were specious,
attractive but not legally valid, as we had been informed. But the defendant’s representatives,
who were not attorneys, did not state that the notice of violation had never been served on the
owner of the property but had been served on the former owner, and therefore move to quash the
order for fines and release the lien due to defective notice. Whether that argument would have
swayed the judge if it had been made remains to be seen at this time.

We finally note that the City Attorney did get $2,520 out of the deal, paid by the contractor who
had started construction without a permit, so the argument of defective notice may not have been
as perfect as it was portrayed. Apparently it was only 90% valid.

##



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Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith


THE CITY ATTORNEY’S CAUSE CÉLÈBRE

A Fifteen Million Dollar Defective Routine

8 August 2012

By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

MIAMI BEACH—Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith refused to provide journalist David
Arthur Walters with public records and explain why his first assistant, Steven Rothstein, had
ordered the Special Master to dismiss Special Master Case No. BV09001224 that the city had
brought against Margret Asgeirsdottir, the owner of a luxury condominium 801 at The
Continuum, for allowing construction on her apartment to proceed without a permit. The
dismissal cost the city $26,741 in fines, a sum that would have been small change to Margret
Asgeirsdottir and her husband Skuli Mogensen.

Mr. Smith responded to our journalist’s several requests with: “And you call yourself a
‘journalist’?” “My office will not provide you with a tutorial on due process, service of process
or constitutional law. Get your own lawyer!” He also said he would walk him over to the F.B.I.

The activities of the unlicensed de facto general contractor involved, J ihad Doujeiji, who was
then doing business as Sharron Lewis Design Central because his companion, the late Sharron
Lewis, had her general contractor’s license registered with that firm, has been the subject of our
investigative series ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con.’ We have called him a “rogue” contractor,
but he claims that he does what almost every contractor does, “get ahead of jobs,” and we tend to
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believe him given the processes of the Building Department reviewed by the City Attorney’s
Office. Indeed, we believe lost permit fees run into the many millions of dollars.

We discovered that Mr. Doujeiji, at about the time of Ms. Lewis’ death, completed construction
of a luxury condominium unit at Icon 1801 without a permit. He then lined up a flooring
contractor’s license to piggyback on at Condominium 2602 at the Continuum, laying down the
floor with his crew and then building out the apartment without pulling the necessary permits for
the additional construction. His handy permit fixer, Orestes “Trusty Rusty” Innocenti, got a
general contractor to sign onto a permit for the demolition of an imaginary bathroom and kitchen
in a void penthouse TS3 at Sunset Harbour, and Mr. Doujeiji’s crew had constructed nearly
$400,000 of improvements before our persistence with the Building Department finally caused a
stop work order to be issued. We went to downtown Miami to investigate the contractor, and
discovered that he was renovating an office and apartment building for a limited liability
company in which he was a member, doing so without a contractor’s license or permits.

J ose Smith was directly addressed on the issues but he was customarily mute. We addressed him
again after we discovered that Special Master Babak Movahedi had refused to reduce a
$29,261.34 fine and waive the lien on Continuum 801, yet First Assistant City Attorney Steven
Rothstein overruled the Special Master and ordered him to dismiss the case due to an allegedly
defective notice. The defective notice argument had been presented by J ihad Doujeiji, apparently
appearing as attorney-in-fact for Ms. Asgeirsdottir at an August 11, 2011 hearing, but the Special
Master would have none of it: “DENIED.” A licensed lawyer for Ms. Asgeirsdottir filed a
statutory notice of appeal to the circuit court with the Special Master, but we could find no
evidence it was actually filed with the court or that the court decided the matter—Mr. Smith
refused to provide us with any such record. A short time after the notice of appeal was given,
$2,520 was collected from one of Mr. Doujeiji’s business entities, and called a “finance
agreement,” apparently a settlement and unspoken admission that the notice was not defective.

City of Miami Beach Special Masters are magistrates with jurisdiction to judge code
enforcement cases by authority of Florida’s Local Government Code Enforcement Boards Act,
which was intended to provide local autonomy for the equitable resolution of cases. Our
municipality has an alternative system whereby cases are brought before magistrates instead of a
board. Cases before a board would be prosecuted by the city attorney. Code inspectors initiate
the charges before the magistrates.

First of all, we found no authority given to the city attorney to dismiss special master cases. That
would be tantamount to having a prosecutor overturning a judgment and making a private deal
with the guilty party.

As we shall see below, Mr. Smith claims the city manager dismissed the case, providing us with
no evidence of an order from the city manager. That may be a Freudian slip: since the forced
resignation of former City Manager J orge Gonzalez, it has been de rigueur to blame him for
everything.

We have indeed allowed for the possibility that the notice may have been defective, even though
a confidential source has informed us otherwise. Still, the documents on hand in the file the city
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provided are inconclusive. We concluded that IF notice was defective, THEN a great deal of the
blame lies with the city attorney whose duty is to make sure that processes are legal.

Mr. Walters asked the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust for
assistance in obtaining the information we wanted, and we courteously copied Mr. Smith. Instead
of responding to the COE with a copy to the journalist, he addressed the editor, publisher and
owner of the SunPost, a local paper that published the first three articles of the Getting Ahead of
The J ob Con Series:

“Mr. Walters has turned a routine Special Master code case (dismissed by the City Manager's
office for lack of jurisdiction and service of process), into a cause célèbre to attack me, my staff,
and the City.” Further conflating his ego with the City of Miami Beach, he went on to libel Mr.
Walters—the racy details which will be provided in a future article.

There is no cause for celebration of a costly routine. If there were only ten such routine cases
each month, with a total cost of $250,000, the annual cost would be $3,000,000. That would be
around $15,000,000 during his tenure as city attorney. Add that to far more in lost permit fees. It
is his refusal to respond to a simple question except with personal insults and an attempt to
suppress the press that has made this case a cause célèbre.


##













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Pussy Riot Confined in Acquarium ‐ Bigotry in Modern Russia 


CITY ATTORNEY JOSE SMITH’S PROFESSIONAL BIGOTRY

August 18, 2012

By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

I was astonished when I received a copy of Miami Beach City Attorney J ose Smith’s letter to the
editor, publisher, and owner of SunPost, a weekly to which I occasionally contribute articles, and
read that he, in an effort to discredit me, called my reference to the well known struggle between
J ews and Cubans for dominance in Miami Beach “bigoted, delusional, and defamatory.”
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“I happen to be BOTH!” he bawled, claiming that my criticism of him was an attack on the city
itself, an identification that in my opinion was delusional. His pronouncement that I was deluded,
implying insanity, in an attempt to ruin my reputation as a journalist, was libelous per se hence
requires no proof of damages, but I have no intention of hiring a licensed bully to play that
cowardly game.

I had no idea that Mr. Smith was a Cuban or J ew or both or neither when I made the reference to
a Cuban coup or deal that resulted in dominance of the city administration by Cuban Americans
for the last dozen years. Two old-timers had related to me some lore about the arrangement.
Little did I know that J ews overpowered the reprehensible discrimination against them and
dominated the seven-member commission since World War II, until J ose Smith was elected
commissioner in 2001, hence the Hispanics had a majority on the commission for the first time.
“The civilians” or regular residents wanted to hire one Melinda Carlton from Kansas, but J orge
Gonzalez of Hialeah was installed as City Manager and proceeded to fill the administration with
Cuban Americans favored by the Hialeah power elite. Mr. Smith was going to run against David
Dermer for mayor but a deal was made that he would get the highly paid city attorney post if he
declined to do so. Or so the story goes.

“Mr. Walters has crossed the line. That kind of language is reprehensible and should be
condemned. I have always had enormous respect for the SunPost and its writers. I hope that you
will take appropriate steps to insure that your writers continue to earn that respect.”

The editor, Kim Stark, delayed publication of one of my articles in order to consult with her
mom. That article was eventually published, but valid criticism of the City Attorney Office was
edited from a subsequent article before it was published. And the editor killed a previous article
reporting the facts of the public record conversation with Mr. Smith because she felt it looked
like a “blog” instead of a “factual report.” I was not outraged, however, for the World Wide Web
is big enough for all our facts and opinions. Besides, we all have some J ewish aspects, and we
should not allow ourselves to be crushed into full acquaintance with the almighty due to
groundless hatred.

In fact Mr. Smith had violated the public records law by refusing to fully disclose what
transpired in a special code enforcement court case, claiming that all records had been turned
over to me, when in fact the recording of the hearing wherein special magistrate Babak
Movahedi refused to mitigate a $30,000 fine had not been turned over to me. An assistant city
attorney overruled the magistrate after cutting a $2,520 deal with the defendant’s attorney, who
noticed the code enforcement court of an appeal to the circuit court but apparently did not
actually petition the higher court. The reason given for the “dismissal” was “Defective Notice.”
But I was informed that the argument before the judge was specious, and assumed that argument
appertained to the defectiveness claimed by the city attorney, therefore I made a public record
request for all records of the case.

Mr. Smith falsely asserted that there were no other records than the documents I had been
provided. He disparaged me in public record email and completely misrepresented my request
with such remarks as “You should know the subject you are writing about! ...and you call
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTONS 
 
Page 3 of 5 
 
yourself a ‘journalist?’ While you concede that ‘the original notice was defective’ (a due process
violation), you incredibly assert that there is ‘no legal reasoning whatsoever for lifting the lien
and dismissing the fine’. Are you serious? What are you talking about?”

I had not conceded the defectiveness, and therefore refused to allow him to bully me into
thinking that I had. I replied that I was a far better journalist than he was an attorney. A further
request for an adequate explanation was of no avail: “All records you requested were already
provided to you. Don't waste your time asking for the same thing multiple times. My office will
not provide you with a tutorial on due process, service of process or constitutional law. Get your
own lawyer!”

That display of professional bigotry and overweening official arrogance convinced me that he is
not the sort of attorney I would want serving me unless he was insulting my worst enemy,
providing that enemy could not afford an attorney. However, according to the charter provision
outlining his responsibility, he does not serve me or the people of Miami Beach: the
“municipality and all of its officers” are his clients. That is, The City. The members of a church
are The Church, but the residents of a city are not The City. As we have seen, Mr. Smith
identifies himself with The City, conflating his ego with the institution in which he is
narcissistically submerged, therefore he serves himself. And he has said more than once in
writing that it is not his place to do anything at all unless he is specifically asked to do so by the
municipal officers.

If we have any doubts about his conduct or criticism of his office, we are ordered to get our own
lawyer, as if we could afford one. I am left to suppose that all his assistants have to do when
dismissing a case is to say something like “Defective Notice,” and mumble “Due Process” and
that should be the end of it for they are officers of the court with unsurpassed knowledge of the
law. We wonder if the city manager or commission, the city attorney’s client, authorized him to
make this particular deal. We may never know since there is no record of it in the file. If this deal
is as “routine” as he has claimed to the editor Kim Stark, the procedure certainly fosters
corruption.

But wait a minute! We heard that the judge, a highly qualified lawyer himself, considered the
defendant’s argument specious, attractive but invalid. What happened? And what right does a
city prosecutor have to “dismiss” a case decided by a judge in favor of the city, when there is no
evidence of an appeal actually being filed with the higher court? Should private attorneys know
that all they have to do is file a notice of appeal, and mouth a formula, and then the city attorney
will defy the magistrate without thoroughly examining the case, and fold for ten percent?

“Get your own lawyer!” is the answer we get from J ose Smith, Esq.

That reminds me of the notion that we are all subject to the rule of law despite our relative status.
That notion, according to some doctors of jurisprudence, can be dispensed with because there is
really no such thing as the Law. We are ruled by men, by what they happen to decide, no matter
how wise or stupid they may be, and not by the Law.

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTONS 
 
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“You have not complied with the public records request,” I responded, “therefore I shall see if
the state attorney can assist me with the request. I see you are using the usual excuse. You do not
represent the people, you represent the power elite. Mr. Austin would agree.”

The allusion was to philosopher J ohn Austin (1790-1859) and the theory of legal positivism,
which denies the notion that law is posited by divinity or is grounded in human reason, and holds
that laws are essentially commands posited by a recognized sovereign backed by threats of
retaliation for disobedience.

Incidentally, I am informed that Mr. Smith is “someone who likes to keep a low profile, a very
powerful man, one who plays hardball behind the scenes.” Indeed, the greatest fear restraining
Miami Beach residents from open criticism of the administration over the last dozen years has
been the fear of retaliation. That came to mind when Mr. Smith, during our intercourse, offered
to walk me over to the FBI—I am a great walker and would beat him there, though I would
rather take a bus to save on shoe expenses.

The law, then, is posited as the rule of men, of legislators, judges, and regulators, and is not the
rule of an objective law independent of men. Sovereign commands may be condoned by
reasoning, but no justification other than the threat and possibility of retaliation is required from
high authority. Oliver Wendell Holmes J r. in The Path of the Law asserted that there is no basis
in reason for which contradictory legal reasoning is correct. Richard Posner more recently
posited that legal reasoning can dispense with the notion of the rule of law.

Now every lawyer has a little judge within, and a city attorney like J ose Smith may feel he and
his staff have enough inherent sovereignty by virtue of high office to issue pragma with no other
explanation than that Due Process requires it. The rule of men is such that Mr. Smith is not
required by law to advise or represent or explain anything to the members of the community
inasmuch as they are subordinate to the power elite of which he is a member and to whose
governors alone he must answer. Fortunately, since the ruling elite are elected, the community
may dispense with his services indirectly.

I asked Mr. Smith’s esteemed colleague, J oe Centorino, Director of the Miami Dade County
Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, for the assistance that he had promised everyone in
getting public record requests satisfied or referring them to the State Attorney’s Office. He asked
me for evidence, which I promised to provide. However, as I prepared to furnish circumstantial
and direct evidence, he dismissed me with a statement that he had no evidence, he had only my
opinion. J oe is a great teacher of ethics, but he tends to doze off from time to time.

As it turns out, the recording of the hearing before Special Master Babak Movahedi did reveal
that the argument made by the violator’s representative, who was also the contractor’s employee,
was specious, i.e. attractive but insufficient. She simply said that the fine was not fair because the
owner was away and did not receive her mail. But she did not move the judge to quash the order
for the fine and order the lien released on grounds that the original notice was defective. So the
owner did not get her mail. So what? She should have made arrangements to get her mail, to take
care of her property. Mitigation “DENIED.”

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTONS 
 
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The owner and her husband thought they were legally responsibility for the fine, so they had
withheld the money from the contractor who had created the violation by starting the job without
a permit, something he believes everybody does because they get off easy if they are caught
doing it. The contractor got an acquaintance of the owner, who was also the contractor’s
employee, to represent the owner, and the contractor also showed up at the hearing himself. After
mitigation was denied, the contractor hired a lawyer to represent the owner. Apparently, all the
lawyer had to say to the city’s counsel was “Defective Notice,” and agree to pay $2,520—it
would be paid by the contractor. The defective notice, then, was only 90% defective.

The original notice does appear to be somewhat defective because it went to the right address but
with the previous owner’s name on it. Knowing lawyers, we believe there is room for some
quibbling. For example, one official document signed by the owner, notarized and filed with the
county clerk, declared that she and the previous owner were co-owners therefore arguably
service on him was service on her. And we know very well that the entire fine could have been
collected given the fact that the owner was ready to take the fine out of the contractor’s hide.

In any case, I have now learned a great deal about the professional bigotry of our current city
attorney, and, as a consequence, I tasted the “bad blood” between him and the special masters he
wants removed as soon as possible so he can have his own people installed. That is not to say
that I intend to continue “attacking” him until he retires or is fired from his lucrative position of
overbearing power. But I shall be glad to point out the facts that I do know and draw reasonable
inferences thereupon. Sometimes wrong inferences are drawn when we are too easily insulted
and when information is not fully disclosed. That is the lesson I hope he has learned.

##
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Getting Ahead of the J ob Con at the Special Master’s Court

August 15, 2012
By David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR

Our investigation into the public records of renegade contractor J ihad Doujeiji dba Sharron
Lewis Design Central et al in conjunction with our series Getting Ahead of The J ob Con led us to
an old code violation citation that was disposed of by Special Master Babak Movahedi on
August 11, 2011. The special magistrate denied a request to mitigate a fine of nearly $30,000.
However, First Assistant City Attorney Steven Rothstein dismissed all but $2,520 of the fine and
released the lien on the property at 50 South Pointe Drive Suite 801, stating that the original
notice of the violation was defective. We questioned the City Attorney’s Office, whose
relationship with the current Special Masters has become controversial of late, about the
dismissal.

Mr. Doujeiji had been caught demolishing the luxury condominium at the Continuum without a
permit, so a Stop Work Order and Notice of Violation were noticed to one Ricardo D. Borkowski
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 2 of 5 
 
at that address on September 14, 2009. However, Mr. Borkowski had sold the unit on August 19
to Margret Asgeirsdottir, and the deed was recorded on August 25.

Mr. Doujeiji had induced Ms. Asgeirsdottir to sign a Notice of Commencement in blank. He
filled in the blanks himself, indicating that both she and Ricardo D. Borkowski owned the unit,
and then he had his significant other, Sharron Lewis, whose general contractor’s license he
worked under, notarize the document on September 9, five days before the Notice of Violation
was issued and fifteen days after the property was conveyed to Ms. Asgeirsdottir.

Mr. Doujeiji is accustomed to having owners sign blank documents even under penalties of
perjury. Affiants may be held responsible for the content of affidavits they sign in blank, as if the
person filling in the blanks were their agent. We do believe Mr. Doujeiji was acting as agent for
the owner, and of course he had full knowledge of the notice of violation and later notices of
hearings, some of which were mailed to the owner at his business address. We speculated that
any notices appertaining to Ms. Asgeirsdottir served on him could be construed as service on her.
And since a document signed by her indicated Mr. Borkowski as a co-owner, service on him
could be construed as service on her.

We are uncertain of the date Ms. Asgeirsdottir signed documents, if she did in fact sign them,
and, if she did, whether she had appeared before the notary in person. Flooring permit
application B1001203 was also ostensibly signed on September 9, 2009, by Ms. Asgeirsdottir,
her signature again notarized by Ms. Lewis, and the blanks were filled in by Mr. Doujeiji, but
this time he did not put Mr. Borkowski’s name on the document as co-owner. The permit
application itself was not filed until February 29, to be approved March 23, 2010. Incidentally,
an assistant city attorney has informed us that signing a blank permit application under penalties
of perjury to be filled in later as needed is a perfectly proper procedure.

In any event, the inspector found the interior walls and ceilings of the Continuum apartment
being demolished without a permit. The violation continued hence a complaint was filed in the
code enforcement court, where a Special Master’s hearing was scheduled February 4, 2010, and
a notice thereof was sent to Mr. Borkowski at the property address. On J anuary 26, Mr.
Borkowski notified the court that he did not even own the property for it had been sold to Ms.
Asgeirsdottir prior to the date the violation was noticed. On J anuary 13, 2010, Cynthia Neves,
clerk of the special magistrate court, had already detected the error and directed that the notice of
the hearing be resent to the same address but with Ms. Asgeirdottir’s name on it. Envelopes with
notices were returned thereafter unclaimed, addressee unknown, one marked “Not (here) 1-15-
10.” This would be the case for later notices as well. We saw no evidence in the file such as an
affidavit that constructive notice was given as per the Miami Beach Code: If both certified and
first class mailings are returned, then constructive notice can be given by publication by posting
the notice on the property and at City Hall, proof of that notice being provided by affidavit.

She did not appear at the February 4 hearing, where the Special Magistrate J oe Kaplan ordered a
fine of $150 per day, to run from March 29 until reaching $25,000. The magistrate’s order was
filed in the circuit court on May 17 at which time it became a lien on the property. The fine
mounted to $25,000 plus costs.

MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 3 of 5 
 
Mr. Doujeiji eventually completed the demolition, flooring and renovation of the fabulous
apartment, which comprised three units conjoined, at a total stated value of $123,100, paying
permit fees of $11,437. Given his modus operandi, i.e. “getting ahead of the job like everybody
does,” without paying full permit fees if he can get away with it, and given the luxurious nature
of the unit, we estimated the real value of the construction to be several times that, with unpaid
permit fees of $30,000 or more. More recently, in 2011, he got a flooring contractor to pull a
permit for Continuum 2602, laid down the floor and proceeded to with a full a non-permitted
build-out of the unit. He completed a build-out in Suite 1801 at the Icon without pulling a permit
at all. In 2012, his expeditor Orestes “Rusty” Innocenti helped him get a contractor to pull a
permit at Sunset Harbour TS3, but for a completely empty space, for the demolition of an
imaginary bathroom and kitchen; Mr. Doujeiji’s crew managed to complete nearly $500,000 of
new construction there before he was caught red handed. Lately, he has allegedly been
renovating an office/apartment building in downtown Miami without permits and a general
contractor’s license, right under the noses of city and county inspectors.

There are no doubt other unpermitted jobs completed by Mr. Doujeiji that we are unaware of.
We single his jobs out merely as an example of what seems to be a general practice due to a lax
and perhaps corrupt regulatory milieu. That is, what he does is what almost everybody does at
one time or another. We have been asked to investigate instances of unpermitted construction
and fine write-offs that would make his infractions a drop in the bucket.

Ms. Asgeirsdottir and her husband Skuli Mogensen allegedly discovered the lien on her property
when they proceeded to sell it in April 2011. Mr. Doujeiji, whose companion Sharron Lewis had
passed away in March that year, was informed that the amount of the fine would be deducted
from his bill; therefore, he had better get rid of the lien if he wanted to be paid. On April 10,
2011, a request to “mediate the fine” was sent to the code enforcement court on Sharron Lewis’s
personal letterhead. The letter was ostensibly signed by Ms. Asgeirsdottir, the signature
appearing radically different than her supposed signature on previous documents. That letter was
construed as request for mitigation and was honored, notwithstanding Miami Beach Code of
Ordinances 30-76, that any such letter be executed under oath.

According to a recording of the event which we retrieved, Mr. Doujeiji and an unnamed person
representing Ms. Asgeirsdottir appeared August 11, 2011, before Babak Movahedi, the
magistrate sitting in the case, and asked him to mitigate the nearly $30,000 fine, including
expenses, basically because it “was not fair.” The owner’s representative stated that the owner
lived out of the country hence did not receive mail appertaining to the case, that she had no idea
there was a fine on the property, and had only become aware of it a few weeks past. Mr. Doujeiji
said he began construction without a permit, thinking he could get the permits right away. He
thought there should be no fine since he pulled the permit about 30 days after the citation, and he
was appearing in hopes that the judge would help him. Besides, only some drywall was removed
as part of the demolition. The judge did not buy the purportedly specious arguments. He said he
was not presiding to help anyone but to find the facts and apply the law. He looked at the
photographs and noted that far more than a little demolition had occurred—in fact, the apartment
was devastated. He said the owner had the responsibility to know what is going on with her
property. Ignorance is no excuse, he said, and getting mail about the property is the owner’s
problem. If the contractor started the job without the owner’s consent, then that would be a civil
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 4 of 5 
 
matter between the owner and the contractor, and the owner can sue the contractor, but that has
nothing to do with responsibility for the fine. In any event, he said, the date a permit is approved
does not matter: a fine runs until the work that cures the violation is finished, and so it ran. Since
the owner’s representatives offered no legal grounds for mitigation, or good reasons why the fine
was unfair or inequitable, mitigation was denied.

We note that a formal motion to quash the order for the fine and waive the lien on grounds of
defective notice pursuant to the pertinent Florida statutes and local ordinance was not made at
the hearing by the persons appearing for Ms. Asgeirsdottir. We do not know if the Special
Master would have granted mitigation or dismissal if that formal argument were made.

Harold Rosen, an attorney, was finally engaged Mr. Doujeiji or Ms. Asgeirsdottir to represent
her. He filed a copy of a notice of appeal to the circuit court with the special master on August
29, 2011. City Attorney J ose Smith referred us to a circuit court case, but we found no appeal
actually filed with and disposed of by the circuit court itself. Indeed, we found nothing after that
in Special Master File BV09001224 except an order from First Assistant City Attorney Steven
Rothstein to “dismiss” the case, along with copies of two checks totaling $2,520, identified as a
“Finance Dept. Agreement, Defective Notice Per Finance, T C. Attorney” (sic). We could not
say upon what authority the City Attorney could dismiss a case decided by the code enforcement
court short of appealing it to the circuit court as provided by state law and local ordinance. But a
city attorney would not appeal against the city’s interest, to dismiss a case decided in its favor. If
there were a settlement agreement contrary to the findings of fact and rulings of law by the
special magistrate, we believed the settlement should have been documented with a thorough
explanation and the case dismissed by the circuit court. In the alternative, perhaps the city
attorney could have applied to the special magistrate for a rehearing of the matter.

“The original notice was defective,” City Attorney J ose Smith said when we questioned him on
the matter, describing the matter as a routine code violation case dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction and service or process. He kindly gave the explanation that was not on file:

“The city issued the violation to a person who no longer owned the unit. The city did not issue
the violation against the actual violator who did the unpermitted work. The city improperly tried
to join the violator in the case without proper service. An appeal to the circuit court was filed.
Mr. Rothstein did the only ethical, legal thing he could do, to wit: dismiss the case. The
subsequent owner paid a $2,500.00 fine after the work was legalized.”

At first glance, Mr. Smith’s reasoning appeared to be sound; that is, if the original notice served
on the former owner were controlling and the subsequent notices to the correct owner were
irrelevant. But there was no written record of that disposition so we remained somewhat
skeptical. Even if the notice were fatally defective, as we thought to be the case after reading the
state statute and city code in respect to service of process, we still wondered, by what authority
could an assistant city attorney or the City Attorney himself “dismiss” a special master’s case
when the only statutory venue for appeal seemed to be the circuit court? And of course he would
not appeal versus the city that he represents. Why could we find no record of the circuit court
case? Why is not that record in the file? Perhaps he and the defendant’s attorney struck a deal
before a petition was filed with the circuit court clerk, so no dismissal upon settlement was filed
MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page 5 of 5 
 
there either. If that shortcut were taken, why did he not just say so in the first place? And if that
kind of shortcut were routine, would it not arouse reasonable suspicion of unwarranted dealings
behind the scenes? If this sort of defect in service of process is routine, and if the procedures are
somehow defective at all levels, is not the city attorney routinely responsible for advising
everyone concerned what changes must be made in defective routines?

We are standing by for answers to those questions at deadline.


##

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 1 of 9 
 



September 24, 2012

J ose Smith, Esq.
City Attorney
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

Amended Closing Argument, Special Master Case No: J B10000105

Mr. Smith:

Thank you for your August 24 explanation of the disposition of the above Special Master Case,
wherein was included an email on the subject received from Steven Rothstein, Esq., who,
according to your J uly 26 email, handled the case and dismissed it for want of service:

“The city issued the violation to a person who no longer owned the unit. The city did not issue
the violation against the actual violator who did the unpermitted work. The city improperly tried
to join the violator in the case without proper service. An appeal to the circuit court was filed.
Mr. Rothstein did the only ethical, legal thing he could do, to wit: dismiss the case.”

I believe there may be a distinction between dismissing a case for lack of service, and mitigating
or reducing a fine because the violator has been good and so on. However, I shall not object to
your statement that, “the City always retains the inherent, sovereign right, in its discretion, to
settle, compromise, or dismiss a case where it is deemed to be in the city's best interest,” if it is
understood that the people are sovereign and the government is obliged to act in their best
interest when deeming what its best interests are.

And you say that, “the City is not required to ‘appeal’ a Special Master ruling in order to
mitigate a fine imposed by the Special Master, as occurred here.” But you and your assistant
claim that the case was dismissed, not that the fine was mitigated, i.e. reduced. Still, in any case,
it would be absurd for anyone to appeal against themselves.

It was not in the city’s best interest to dispose of this case in the way that it did. The mitigating
power, which I believe has its origin in the king’s mercy, or discretionary justice upon due
clamor, as distinguished from punitive and rehabilitative justice, was abused. The clamor raised
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 2 of 9 
 
will be ever the more if the discretion is exercised regularly. No matter how reasonable a
reduction in a fine may seem to the violators, it will appear arbitrary and preferential to those
who believe determinate sentencing constitutes equal justice under the law. ‘Sephardic’ tolerance
is intolerable within the four cubits of the law.

As for the allegedly defective notice, a person familiar with the August 11, 2011, hearing before
special magistrate Babak Movahedi told me the plea made there was specious, that the owner
knew about the violation, had depended on the contractor to take care of it, and intended to make
good and take any fine imposed out of the contractor’s hide.

Doubtless you are far more familiar than I am with the endless quibbling of jurists over
notification whether statutory, actual, constructive or implied. I do not know whether one can
argue in equity in Florida that a defect in statutory notice may be overcome by facts which raise
a strong presumption of notice. I assumed that J udge Movahedi had ruled on the defective notice
issue, therefore I pressed you for further records and an explanation since you said Mr. Rothstein
had dismissed the case due to defective notice, and I saw nothing in the file that the city
provided. Unfortunately, I phrased my question foolishly.

You responded to me with several insulting email on J uly 26, the first one beginning with: “My
comment is that before you accuse anyone of wrongdoing you should know the subject you are
writing about! ...and you call yourself a ‘journalist’?”

It was not until J uly 30, 2012, that you said I had been provided with all records: “All records
you requested were already provided to you. Don't waste your time asking for the same thing
multiple times. My office will not provide you with a tutorial on due process, service of process
or constitutional law. Get your own lawyer!”

I discovered from the recording of the hearing that the owner did not personally appear at the
August 11, 2011, hearing. The contractor showed up with an employee whom he instructed to act
as the owner’s representative, and simply say that the amount of the fine was unfair because the
owner was away and was not receiving her mail. Apparently someone had read the standard
‘Notice to Violators – Late Compliance’, which states that “Legal or Equitable reasons” may be
presented; it would seem then that the prosecutor would have the same privilege, to apply
equitable principles, as has been done in our tribunals for a long time, there being no separate
courts of equity in this country, I think, except in Delaware. I would think even equitable
estoppel could be considered by any sort of tribunal in the land unless the highest court ruled it
out. After all, fair is fair.

However, positing fairness has recognized forms, and no legal or equitable claim of defective
notice was made: no definite motion was made to quash the order for the fine due to defective
notice. Indeed, the case record does not show that the owner asserted a due process claim at any
time. A notice of appeal was filed with the special master court. By then it was too late to assert
defective notice, and it was not even then asserted, for no writ was presented to the circuit court,
which would have had no choice but to consider the record alone and affirm the special master’s
judgement, since it could not newly hear the case (de novo). The only record referring to
defective notice on the owner is your assistant Steven Rothstein’s “dismissed for defective
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 3 of 9 
 
notice,” repudiating the special magistrate’s finding against the city’s best, in effect throwing
$26,741 away, and act that you have referred to as “routine.”

However that may be, the contractor said he had gotten a permit within 30 days so there should
have been no fine. I see that compliance permits were approved on October 14, October 19, and
October 20, 2009. But that would not do, for fines run until the violation is remedied, according
to J udge Movahedi. As for the mail, the judge said that the owner was responsible for taking care
of her property and receiving her mail to that end. Wherefore he denied the motion to mitigate
after politely asking more than once on what other grounds he was expected to mitigate. In
retrospect it is questionable whether the contractor and his employee had any standing in the
court unless acting as agent for the owner. Yet in fact the request for the mitigation hearing was
made on April 10, 2011, signed by the owner but on the contractor’s letterhead; and it was the
contractor, not the owner, who ultimately paid the settlement amount of $2,520 on October 6,
2011, the city writing off $26.741.

Notice that the owner had signed a notarized Notice of Commence on September 9, 2009, stating
that she, along with one Ricardo Borkowsky, were both owners, having an interest in the
property. The Stop Work Order and Notice of Violation were given five days later, on September
14, 2009. It was not until J anuary 6, 2010 that Mr. Borkowsky said he had sold the unit on
August 19, 2009, and should not be liable for the violation. The deed was recorded August 25,
2009. Still, notice on him was arguably notice on the owner of record as well since she signed a
notarized document prior to the violation stating they both had an interest in the realty. And if the
contractor were in effect acting as her agent, he knew about the Stop Work Order and Notice of
Violation and she would be served.

You know I wonder about your authority to overrule a case ruling you happen to disagree with.
Sometimes I get the impression that you have too high an opinion of your opinions, and think of
your fatwas as the law itself or even superior to the font of the law, as if you were the grand
ayatollah of the city; that is, upon occasion I perceive that you are obstinately convinced of the
superiority or correctness of your own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different
opinions.

I am willing to admit my mistaken opinions: In this case I admittedly made an incorrect
inference from the facts: that the judge had denied a motion to dismiss the case for want of
service, because I was blind to what transpired during the August 11, 2011, hearing due to your
failure to provide a transcript. It is not true, although you said so, that I was aware that the
hearing record was not kept in your office. Since you are purportedly personifying The City, and
are its attorney, I figured you had access to all files concerning legal matters. It was only later
that I discovered, after hearing references to “transcripts” being in your office’s possession, that
recordings of Special Master hearings are made. Incidentally, transcripts were referred to several
times and produced during last Wednesday’s legal oversight meeting, apparently for the purpose
of criticizing the behavior of special masters, especially Babak Movahedi. Further, if an appeal is
actually made, I understand that a record of the hearing is always produced. In my lay opinion,
you violated the public records law, but without criminal intent, so that issue is dead because no
further compliance, which is the civil intent of the law, is to be had.

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 4 of 9 
 
My August 15 article, ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob at the Special Masters Court’ concluded with a
naive question about your authority to dismiss cases:

“…. by what authority could an assistant city attorney or the City Attorney himself ‘dismiss’ a
special master’s case when the only statutory venue for appeal seemed to be the circuit court?
And of course he would not appeal versus the city that he represents. Why could we find no
record of the circuit court case? Why is not that record in the file? Perhaps he and the
defendant’s attorney struck a deal before a petition was filed with the circuit court clerk, so no
dismissal upon settlement was filed there either. If that shortcut were taken, why did he not just
say so in the first place? And if that kind of shortcut were routine, would it not arouse reasonable
suspicion of unwarranted dealings behind the scenes? If this sort of defect in service of process is
routine, and if the procedures are somehow defective at all levels, is not the city attorney
routinely responsible for advising everyone concerned what changes must be made in defective
routines? We are standing by for answers to those questions at deadline.”

I say naïve or innocent because Sec. 30-77 of the Miami Beach Code reads: “An aggrieved party,
including the city administration, may appeal a final administrative order of a special master to
the circuit court. Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo, but shall be limited to, appellate
review of the record created before the special master. An appeal shall be filed within 30 days of
the rendition of the order to be appealed.”

There was no reason given for the appeal on the notice of appeal. That would naturally appear on
the writ filed in the circuit court, but no such writ was filed, and there was no assertion in the file
from the attorney representing the owner that the appeal was caused by defective notice. Further,
would not App. P. 9.100 (c) (2), requiring a petition to be filed with the circuit court in 30 days,
apply here? If so, there was no appeal and the Special Master Order stood as it was—why
dismiss the case against the City’s best interest?

It was only later that you said you wrote an ordinance that authorized the city manager or a
financial analyst such as J immy McMillion to mitigate cases under $100,000, and the
commission to reduce fines above that amount, but you did not cite the ordinance or provide a
copy as requested. Of course I believe you, but I did not see your ordinance as an amendment to
Sec. 30-77, where naive people concerned with Special Master Cases would logically look. No
doubt you could cite it from memory. I want to be sure you made no distinction between
“mitigation” and “dismissals” when you drafted the ordinance, since “mitigation” can mean
anything done to reduce the severity of any form of penalty.

My concern was then whether or not you disposed of a “routine” case incautiously and without
proper authorization from your client the City. I suggested that, in the future, a formal warrant
for special resolution be placed in every file mitigated or dismissed, giving an explicit reason for
mitigation and dismissal, and citing the pertinent ordinance. Then the nature of the disposition
would be clear to everyone, lawyer and non-lawyer alike. The city clerk could get a copy so that
the costs of mitigations and dismissals by special masters, city managers, and commission could
be tracked.

Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 5 of 9 
 
You have highlighted some documents that would indicate, to the initiated party, that the
financial analyst settled this case, presumably in accord with some formula derived from
previous analyses, because the notice was defective, upon your office’s advice. That contradicts
your statement that Mr. Rothstein dismissed the case. Well, maybe he did in a way, by advising
the financial analyst to apply a defective notice dismissal factor of, say, ten percent of the
judgment hence the analyst was motivated to act by the full weight of the law. I attach a
document that indicates that it was not the owner or her attorney that negotiated this settlement
with the finance officer, but rather it was the contractor, who made the payment via one of his
business entities. Files like this would certainly be more easily understood with the inclusion of a
warrant signed by the finance officer or other authorized party as suggested.

Now you write that my petitions regarding your office’s disposition of this case nauseate you;
that is, you refer to it as a subject as one I have written about “ad nauseam.” I continued to
petition you because I found your responses including your insults inappropriate to the subject.
That subject involves a loss of $26,741 which the extraordinarily wealthy owner of the property
and her spouse believed they were responsible for and were willing to pay out of funds withheld
from the contractor who created the violation. After the violation was remedied, the contractor
went on to combine and build out the fabulous three units at the Continuum. As you should
know, I had cause to suspect that the scope of the work was grossly understated, that perhaps
$30,000 in permit fees had been evaded, therefore I notified the Building Department of my
suspicion, with advice to look out for dummy invoices and the like when checking into the true
value and scope of the work performed.

In your J uly 31 email to the esteemed editor of the illustrious SunPost, you said that the case was
“routine” and you construed my pleas to you as an attack on the City of Miami Beach, as if you
were the city in its proper person: “Mr. Walters has turned a routine Special Master Code case
(dismissed by the City Manager's office for lack of jurisdiction and service of process), into a
cause célèbre to attack me, my staff, and the City.” I note that you changed the source of the
dismissal: it is now the city manager, not the city attorney—oops.

I did not know exactly what you meant by “routine.” If routine were once a week, the total
written off in a year would be $1,390,532. Needless to say, so-called mitigation of fines,
dismissals, and lax enforcement of the municipal code is conducive to noncompliance and has
been a pressing issue for some time in our community, at least since 2006. The plethora of
complaints generally fell on deaf ears or was given a show hearing or two. The tipping point, in
the community’s favor although it was disgraced, came with the FBI arrests of several city code
enforcement employees.

During my investigation that led to the series, ‘Getting Ahead of The J ob Con,’ almost every
Building Department file I examined had in my opinion some defect. They were small defects
with potentially fatal consequences. It appeared to me that as long as the forms had four corners,
were signed and notarized, they were passable regardless of substance, as if subject to some sort
of pharisaic ritual. Your office even informed me that it was perfectly legal and proper for blanks
to be sworn to as true, to be filled in later at someone’s convenience. That someone could be a
permit fixer working for an unlicensed general contractor who rents prostituted licenses, neither
of whose names is on the permit applications; and neither the permit fixer nor the licensed
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 6 of 9 
 
contractor may be known by the owner who signed the application. I was even told that it was
perfectly excusable to put the wrong name on a permit as ‘owner’ when the right owner was
known by everyone, simply because the county assessor’s office had not changed the record—
actually, that was not true in the case I asked about, for I had checked the county record before
the permit was approved, and the current owner was on record. And when your office is warned
of misconduct, it is blind to the warning, the Charter cited as the reason for doing nothing about
it. The defects could be prevented in the future by administrative intervention under the advice of
your office, which you have said you cannot give unless asked by a public official, as opposed to
providing a proactive response to private citizen petitions.

There was no cure for the overweening attitude of the last administration, of which I considered
your office to be a part. That is why I said that your office has been instrumental in the
demoralization of the city, and that prevailing conditions fostered turpitude and corruption. Not
that I wanted to single you and your staff out personally until I was confronted by your insults
and an invitation to walk me over the FBI. No, I was of the admittedly rash opinion that the top
three persons in every department should be fired, the city charter revised in certain respects, and
new elections held. Certainly J orge Gonzalez, whom we credit for many good things, was not the
cause of all the city’s ills.

You claim that my efforts are “trash” and “defamatory garbage,” and that you hope my noble
professional as a journalist calling will cause me to retract it.

GIGO

I can only fill what I perceive to be holes in the city’s procedures and records with whatever
rubbish I receive from the city, notwithstanding your expert proclamations of law. As you know,
the ancient teachers whipped boys for not questioning the law. My ‘ashkenazic’ disposition
moves me to dig quite a few holes in search for the hypostasis of things even when I am told I
am digging my own grave.

I wondered about your procedures again in this instance. I wondered why someone did not
reissue the notice if it were defective, and why there was no proof in the file that the state statute
and local ordinance was fully complied with in regard to constructive notice. Indeed, wished you
would be more proactive and help provide your staff and special masters and building
department officials with better processes and procedures. Then you would not have so much
trash to deal with.

There is nothing defamatory in my statements. I have spoken the truth to the best of my ability
given the information you have provided. I have drafted my opinions and have petitioned my
government, and thus far I see no error in them nor libel. Nothing will be retracted nor detracted,
and everything you have said appears in the book of judgments.

As for nobility of profession: a commission for what I have already saved the city would be
substantial, but I have not received a thin dime for my efforts nor have I asked for anything, so I
guess I am not a professional in your sense of the word. I obviously have nothing to gain and
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 7 of 9 
 
everything to lose for trying to help the city. I tried to give you quarter, but you could not spare a
dime.

Besides, I am no longer sure that journalists are very noble, so I am discarding that title. As for
other titles, you can call me anything you want and I shall not sue you. However, if you order me
to shut up and complain about garbage and trash, I may produce reams of free speech in
response.

Sincerely,

David Arthur Walters





Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM
To: David Arthur Walters <miamimirror@gmail.com>
Cc: "Rothstein, Steven" <StevenRothstein@miamibeachfl.gov>

Mr. Walters:

The attached documentation "expressly" establishes that the settlement and dismissal of the case,
which you wrote about, ad nauseam, was resolved through "agreement by the Finance
Department" (see highlighted language). My department's role was simply to give legal advice to
J immy McMillon, whose job it is to resolve these cases on behalf of the Finance Department.
J UST READ YOUR OWN DOCUMENTS!

As to the appeal filed with the Circuit Court, Appellate Division, you will also find attached a
copy of the Notice of Appeal. You always had this document in your possession. The City did
not receive any other appeal documents filed with the appellate court (i.e. dismissal motions or
orders). I can only presume that the appellant voluntarily dismissed the appeal after reaching a
settlement with the Finance Department. You should also understand that despite what a Special
Master might rule, the City ALWAYS retains the inherent, sovereign right, in its discretion, to
settle, compromise, or dismiss a case where it is deemed to be in the city's best interest. The City
is not required to "appeal" a Special Master ruling in order to mitigate a fine imposed by the
Special Master, as occurred here.

As to whether I did or did not provide you with ALL the records, I provided you with EVERY
RECORD MY OFFICE HAD ON THE VIOLATION. In fact you had many more documents
than I had since you evidently made a public records request to the city clerk. YOU NEVER
ASKED ME FOR THE SPECIAL MASTER RECORDINGS and those records, as you well
know, are kept with the Special Master clerk, not with me.

I would now hope that YOU "dignify" the noble "journalist" profession by running a retraction
on all the defamatory garbage you have written about my office and me.
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 8 of 9 
 

Regards, J ose Smith

-----Original Message-----
From: Rothstein, Steven
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2012 2:31 PM
To: Smith, J ose
Subject: RE: Special Master Statistics Request

J S

Attached is the Notice of Appeal and documentation obtained from the Special Master file in
connection with the receipt of the mitigated sum as well as the Satisfaction of Lien.

The Notice of Appeal was timely filed on August 29, 2012. The City was provided with a copy
of the Notice of Appeal. The appellate file is maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court,
Appellate Division, 73 W. Flagler Street, Miami, Florida. It is not part of the Special Master file.

The receipts attached reflect that subsequent to the filing of the Appeal, the Finance Dept.
reached an agreement to resolve the outstanding fines for $2,520.00. (inclusive of recording
fees.). Thereafter, the Clerk of the Special Master issued and recorded a Satisfaction of Lien.

From a legal standpoint the lien was defective and should have been released. (A release of lien
would have been filed.) However, since there was a closing pending, the fine was paid on behalf
of the Seller in order to clear title.

Steven H. Rothstein, First Assistant City Attorney
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY







Neves, Cynthia

From: McMillion, J immy
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8:36 AM
To: 'J ihad'
Cc: Neves, Cynthia
Subject: RE: 50 South Pointe Dr #801

J ihad:

The release is being done by the Special Master's Office. Miss Neves has all the documents and
Special Master Case No: J B10000105  September 24, 2012 
Page 9 of 9 
 
should be getting it completed soon. I will ask her to send it to you when complete. Have a great
day.

MIAMIBEACH
J immy J . McMillion, Financial Analyst
FINANCE DEPARTMENT
1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Tel: 305-673-7000 Ext 6B05/ Fax: 305-7B6-394-4717 /
www.jimmymcmillion@miamibeachfl.gov

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-----Original Message-----
From: J ihad [mailto:jd@sharronlewis.comJ
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2011 10:40 PM
To: McMillion, J immy
Subject: 50 South Pointe Dr #801

Dear J immy,

Thank you for taking the time last Wednesday to work with us on case #J B10000105 it's really
appreciated.

Please when you have the chance email me a copy of the release of lien for the above case.

Thank you
J ihad Doujeiji