February 27, 2014 Mr. Nelson Bellido Chairperson Miami-Dade Commission On Ethics and Public Trust 19 Flagler Street Miami, FL, 33130 RE: Complaint C-13-047 Crespo v. De Yurre Dear Chairman Bellido: After 3 years of watching the Commissioners and staff of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust engage in numerous unprincipled, unethical and even illegal actions, I had thought that I had seen it all. I was wrong. The manner in which my complaint against Victor De Yurre (C-13047) was investigated, presented to the Commission in Closed Session and then dismissed – the audio tape of the entire event lasted a whopping 1 minute and 27 seconds – demonstrated once again an appalling failure by investigator Manny Diaz to actually do a real and complete investigation, followed by the staff attorney Miriam Ramos’ failure to present the “evidence” in a fair and honest manner, and worst of all, the response – or complete lack of response - exhibited by any of the members, including yourself, to the glaring inconsistencies evident in the investigative report indicates that either the report was not included in the packet that each of the Commissioners receives before each meeting, or that none of you bothered to read a word of that report before the presentation made by the staff attorney. The way in which this case was handled gives a new meaning to the phrase, “Calling It In,” because this time you all didn’t even bother to use a phone in conveying just how little interest you had in determining “the facts” in this case. Had you done so, you would have realized that the one-sided and biased presentation made by Ms. Ramos ignored some very serious questions about the statements made by the parties that were questioned – questioned as almost all subjects and witnesses are, without being required to do so under oath – and that the most critical “witness” was never questioned at all. The complete lack of interest and attention exhibited by the Commission in this case represents a new low in the behavior of you and your fellow members.

Here’s what you missed, overlooked or ignored. VICTOR DE JURRE’S PARTICIPATION I filed a complaint against Mr. De Yurre for failing to register as a lobbyist. I did so because of a Jennings Disclosure that Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff made at the October 24, 2013 Commission Meeting regarding an ex parte meeting that he claimed he had with individuals associated with a nightclub that wanted a 5 o’clock closing time exemption in his District. Those individuals according to the Commissioner included Victor De Yurre. During the course of the discussion that took place at the Commission meeting on October 24th, the Commissioner referenced Mr. De Yurre by name on several occasions, each time indicating that he had been a participant in this ex parte meeting. Here’s how the Commissioner started off: “Let me just say a few things about this. This is a 5 o’clock closure, and it is a 5 o’clock – yes. So let me make a Jennings disclosure. I met with – I think it’s called Glass. I think it’s called Glass. I remember the folks associated with this particular facility, took a tour of the facility, looked at the parking facilities.” October 24, 2013 Commission Meeting, page 110 Three pages later, in response to a question raised by a woman who lived close to this nightclub who was opposing part of the parking plan, the Commissioner stated: “Just so you know Ms. Stewart or anyone else out there. I drove around and actually walked around, and let me be disclosing it. It was with Victor De Yurre…” October 24, 2013 Commission Meeting, page 113 (Emphasis mine) Further on during the discussion the Commissioner attempted to defend his stand on opposing the 5 o’clock closing by saying: “First and foremost, I don’t take lightly 5 o’clock closures. And if you know anything about me, it’s a very concerned decision for me. I took the opportunity to meet Victor de Yurre out there, and we candidly walked the neighborhood…” October 24, 2013 Commission Meeting, page 122 (Emphasis mine)

The context of these references to Mr. De Yurre made by the Commissioner all point to Mr. De Yurre being an active participant in the discussions. While the Commissioner stated at the beginning that he had met with “folks associated with this particular facility,” he made it a point afterwards to single out Mr. De Yurre as his companion on this tour. He did not – even though he was standing directly in front of him at the podium - single out or mention Mr. Ben Fernandez, who was the registered lobbyist for this company and had also been on this walk-around tour. Yet, in Mr. Diaz’s investigative report, Mr. De Yurre presents himself as not only a person doing a friend a favor, but as someone who was clueless to anything having to do with the development of the property. Here is a portion of Mr. De Yurre’s statement in the investigative Report. “De Yurre was contact by telephone. He advised that he was contacted by a personal friend, Tanner Davis (Davis), who was involved in the interior construction of the property. Davis asked him to contact Sarnoff and arrange a tour of the facility. As a favor De Yurre contacted Sarnoff and arranged to meet him at the property. According to de Yurre, upon arriving at the property he and Sarnoff were met by Fernandez and the developer of the property. Fernandez conducted the meeting and with the developer conducted a tour of the building and the adjacent facilities. De Yurre did not know anything about the development of the property and was unable to provide any input.” According to this “statement,” Mr. De Yurre would have you believe that he gets a call from a friend who asks him to make a call to a City Commissioner to take a tour of a new nightclub that is in his District and that is coming before the Commission for a 5 o’clock closure exemption, and that even though he claims to be clueless about anything having to do with this project, he not only makes the call but then shows up and spends several hours tagging along like a puppy dog while the club owner, Ben Fernandez and the Commissioner discuss the finer points of zoning and parking. Several glaring problems with this presentation require being addressed before I move on. First of all, all of us at one time or another have been asked by a friend or colleague to call someone as a favor, whether it be to provide a

recommendation, information, or as in Mr. De Yurre’s case, to request that he intervene with someone to request a meeting. Seldom however, after making such a request would we invite ourselves to show up at that meeting, especially if, as Mr. De Yurre claimed he didn’t know anything about what was going on. Also, contrary to the impression that Mr. De Yurre, Commissioner Sarnoff and Mr. Fernandez as well as the staff attorney who made the presentation to you and your fellow members would like to convey, Mr. De Yurre actions do not support his being an uninterested bystander. Here are 5 facts that Staff Attorney Miriam Ramos shamelessly glossed over.

1. Victor De Yurre contacted City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff about a specific zoning application that was headed toward a public hearing and City Commission consideration and action, action with enormous economic consequences for the applicant. 2. De Yurre asked/encouraged Sarnoff to visit the property at issue in the zoning application, and to meet with the property owner/applicant and the applicant’s attorney – who are advocates for approval of the zoning application. 3. De Yurre actually attended the meeting between Sarnoff and the property owner and the owner’s attorney at the site. If De Yurre was not acting as an interested, pro-re-zoning individual, why did De Yurre show up? 4. Sarnoff asserts (not credibly) that De Yurre did not participate in any conversation at the site beyond making introductions. De Yurre’s supportive presence, however, during the meeting is “lobbying by participation.” 5. If Sarnoff’s statements from the dais during the Commission meeting as well as his and Victor De Yurre’s statements to the investigator are truthful, then this meeting between Sarnoff, the owner of the property, Mr. Ben Fernandez and Mr. De Yurre only took place because of Mr. De Yurre’s direct involvement at the request of Mr. Tanner Davis (see below) in reaching out to the Commissioner and asking him to participate in this meeting. Especially important to the inability of Mr. De Yurre to claim ignorance about any of these issues, and a “fact” that was not included in either the Investigative Report or in the presentation made by the staff attorney is that at the time of this meeting Victor De Yurre was a City of Miami Code Enforcement Special Master. He is a Zoning expert, and to believe that he wandered around these three individuals without interjecting his “expert” opinion on any of the zoning issues

that led up to the discussion at the Commission meeting is nonsense, especially since the walk-around meeting was all about zoning and parking issues. The other issue that seems to have been ignored by the investigator and the staff attorney is whether Mr. Tanner Davis, who contacted Mr. De Yurre, was himself in violation of the lobbying laws. If Mr. Tanner reached out to Mr. De Yurre and asked him to arrange a meeting with Commissioner Sarnoff on behalf of his boss, Mr. Lowe, in order to get the Commissioner to support Mr. Lowe’s business interests, doesn’t that make him a lobbyist? And if walked, and talked and quacked like a lobbyist shouldn’t he have registered as a lobbyist? A simple search of the 2013 City of Miami lobbyist records show that no one named Tanner Davis registered to lobby on behalf of anyone. So, how did the investigator and the legal staff overlook this violation when they reviewed the investigative report? Or was it just another example of the selective inattention that the Ethics Commission staff applies to those on the Family and Friends Plan? BEN FERNANDEZ’S PARTICIPATION Mr. Ben Fernandez is not only a well-known attorney and lobbyist, but he is especially well known to Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. It was Ben Fernandez, along with Jeffery Bercow who managed – with the active participation of Pieter Bockweg, then the Director of the City Miami’s Billboard Office in the Planning and Zoning Department - to rewrite the ordinance that provided the opportunity for developer Mark Siffin to go before the Commission in July of 2010 to seek approval to build 2 - 240 foot high illegal Media Towers atop a garage he planned at the time to build on the Herald property. Mr. Fernandez is a regular at City Commission meetings that deal with Zoning and Planning issues. I point this out because if there was one person that was both known to the Commissioner, and capable of arranging for the Commissioner to visit the property in question it was Ben Fernandez. He was the registered lobbyist for this nightclub and as his statement to the investigator points out, he admits to having done just that. Yet, even a cursory review of the minutes of the meeting, or better yet the videotape of the meeting does not show or indicate that Commissioner Sarnoff named or identified Mr. Fernandez as being an individual he held

an ex parte communication with regarding this property. He only mentions Victor De Yurre. If you want to talk about a Jennings Rule violation, then this is as good as it gets. Yet, a obvious as this is, neither Manny Diaz, your investigator nor any of those rocket scientist attorneys on your staff found that important enough to either mention as part of the presentation made to you by Mr. Ramos, or to initiate a separate investigation against Commissioner Sarnoff for this clear-cut violation. Almost everywhere one turns in reviewing this supposed investigation it looks like a bunch of clowns playing at being part of an ethics commission. I will forgo delving into Mr. De Yurre’s standing in the restricted area next to the dais to view the discussion, and any interaction he may have had with Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia – which as I stated to the investigator, I was not privy to, and focus in conclusion on the most glaring example of investigative incompetence in this case: The failure to question or subpoena the bank records of Mr. Mark Lowe, the owner of the property, and the one who would have hired Mr. De Yurre as a lobbyist. IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY The single most important question that was never addressed or answered in this supposed investigation was whether Mr. De Yurre had been paid for his lobbying activities in recruiting Commissioner Sarnoff to attend the ex parte meeting with the owner and Mr. Fernandez, as well as any other activities by Mr. De Yurre that we don’t know about. In that regard, it is mindboggling that Mr. Lowe, the property owner, was never questioned about this incident. It’s cannot be because it was impossible to find him. He gave his address when he spoke to the Commission on October 24 th, and it was recorded in the minutes of the meeting as being 8101 Biscayne Boulevard. While Mr. Fernandez in his statement claims that, “Fernandez said that he did not employ De Yurre to lobby Sarnoff on behalf of the passage of the Resolution (PZ6).” he was not the person to whom that question should have been addressed. That was a question that needed to be asked and answered of Mr. Lowe. Yet, the record is very clear that not only was Mr. Lowe not interviewed, but that no

effort was made to do so, or to question him and subpoena his bank records. At this point, the only way to feel confident of getting to the bottom of this would require putting Mr. Lowe under oath and subpoenaing his bank records. And so, once again, with little regard for professionalism, competence, objectivity or even fairness, the staff attorney spun a factually inaccurate narrative of what transpired, and not one of you on the Commission demonstrated even an iota of curiosity or interest in questioning the facts and conclusions of the presentation. As the tape of the hearing reveals, you all couldn’t wait to move on. So before closing I must once again deal with several issues that cannot continue to be supported by you and your fellow Commissioners. THE ETHICS COMMISSION CANNOT CONTINUE TO ACT UNETHICALLY First and foremost, it is undemocratic and downright Un-American for you to continue to bar complainants from being present at these Kangaroo Probable Cause Hearings. If I, as a citizen, demonstrate enough interest and civic mindedness to go to the trouble of not only filing a complaint, but of having to do so under oath, then I and every other citizen who files a complaint is entitled to be present at that hearing whether or not I am “personally aggrieved.” “Personally aggrieved” is a bogus standard to apply to deny a complainant in a Probable Cause hearing the right to attend any hearing that he/she has initiated through a complaint.. In the American system of justice, Probable Cause hearings are held in public. For years, this Kangaroo system has been allowed to take place by your agency and it is time to put an end to it. Secondly, the time has also come to put an end to the multi-level of treatment that you and your fellow Commission members show to complainants. For the last 3 years I have attended the meetings of your agency and I have repeatedly been treated with disrespect and with open hostility and snide remarks. I’ve had to sit silently while 3 members of the Commission violated the Sunshine Law and my rights in the Carollo case, and on several occasions I have been told to shut up when I have attempted to object to untruthful comments made by individuals and the attorney’s for individuals I have filed complaints against. Only last week, when I sent toy a copy of a letter that I wrote to the Executive Director to complain about the shoddy and incomplete compliance to a public records request that I had to pay $17.55 for, In response, I, received a letter from

Ms. Sibilia the agency’s Communications Director, accusing me of sending you a “rant.”
“I am very disappointed that you felt it was necessary to rant to

the Chair of the Ethics Commission when my colleagues and I have responded to your requests in a timely fashion.” Just how out-of-control are the employees of this agency when a citizen cannot send a copy of a letter of complaint to the Chairman of the agency without being berated for sending a “rant,” especially when 2 of the 3 audio portions of the last Commission meeting were not provided me, even though I had paid for them. In addition, the blatant refusal to place defendants and witnesses under oath makes your hearings nothing but a charade. If the complainant has to submit a notarized complaint, then the defendants need to be treated the same way Time after time - as I’ve repeatedly been able to document – people accused of wrong doing have lied to your face, while you and your fellow Commission members have sat passively and allowed it to happen. Sadly, the biggest liar by far has been Mr. Murawski, your so-called Advocate or Prosecutor. But that’s another story for another day – coming very soon. Nor am I the only person who has been treated in this unfair fashion. It took Professor Copeland, your predecessor, 143 days to respond to a letter written by Mr. Dusty Melton regarding his allegations of how his complaints against a lobbyist who had admitted to your investigator that he had broken the law, but whom you and your fellow Commissioners refused to punish, had been handled. And there are other examples of citizens and even employees who have complained about the treatment they’ve received at the hands of your agency, most often by the actions of your “Prosecutor” Mr. Murawski. Yet, on the other hand, you and your fellow Commissioners have absolutely no problem is providing unlimited time and latitude to parties that come before you with high-priced lawyers and allow them debate for hours without so much as saying a peep about time restrictions. In the Sarnoff case last year you allowed his lawyer to argue the case, come back two months later to re-argue the case, and then come back again to re-reargue the case again all in an attempt to remove the words “Probable Cause” from a letter of instruction to the Commissioner for his failing to report a junket that he and his wife took to Brazil. In the process, you allowed the Commissioner to speak on his behalf even after his lawyer had gone on for almost an hour, and in the process the Commissioner flagrantly lied to you. When I tried to object – I was after all the complainant in this case - I was told to shut up.

Then in the case of AECOM v. CH2M Hill (Ethics 13-11) you and your fellow Commissioners allowed the lawyers for both parties to duke it out for almost 2 hours, and when they finally finished rehashing every minutiae of argument that they could find to argue about, you allowed Peter Hernandez, the President of AECOM to speak for over 20 minutes without interruption to complain about how unfair the whole process had been. There have been times when I have been denied my measly 3 minutes during the Public Hearing portion of the meeting because I’ve been interrupted by one of you, and then told my time was up. The members and staff of the Unethical Commission have been dealing from the top, the bottom and the middle of the deck for so long now that none of you even have any comprehension of just how rigged and corrupt your behavior is viewed by a growing number of people in the community. THE PARTY’S OVER Because you are the new Chairman I’m going to show you more respect than your members has shown me in the last 3 years. Like Mr. Melton request to then Chairman Copeland, I want a letter from you explaining to me how now that you have been provided this information, what do you intend to do about it? In turn, if you decide that the De Yurre case was handled properly and that the behavior of the Commission’s staff, starting with Mr. Murawski, as well as the manner in which you and your fellow members conduct business represents the highest ethical standards that you all are capable of, then please provide me a written explanation of why I should not immediately file a complaint with the Florida Bar against you, Kerry Rosenthal, Lawrence Schwartz, Joe Centorino, Michael Murawski and Miriam Ramos for being the latest sorry examples of unethical and unprincipled Florida lawyers who are using your Florida Bar licenses to screw over the public. Also, please be aware that unlike Mr. Melton, I’m not going to sit around for 143 days waiting for a response. Cordially,

Al Crespo

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