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date: Wednesday, April 9 Last user: cci Edition: 1st Section, zone: Nation/World, HeraldDade Last change at: 22:42:29 April 8
111th year, No. 207 ©2014
HEAT CAN’T
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BROOKLYN 88, MIAMI 87, 1D
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Inside today’s Herald
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The official-looking warning
letters began arriving in the mail
last week to dozens, perhaps hun-
dreds, or even thousands of
people.
The Final Warning Notices in-
struct recipients to send a cash-
ier’s check or money order for $57
to an address near Doral as pay-
ment for outstanding tolls of $7 —
plus a $50 fee. Do it, the letter
warns, or face immobilization of
your vehicle, suspension of your
driver’s license or additional fees
of $500.
It’s a scam.
Says who? Says the Florida De-
partment of Transportation —
that’s who. It is trying to track
down the perpetrators, who call
themselves Toll Enforcement
LLC.
No such company is listed on
the Florida Division of Corpora-
tions website.
Calls to two phone numbers
listed on the fake warning notices,
one in Miami and the other in Tal-
lahassee, were not answered Tues-
day. The one in Miami had voice-
mail, but no one returned the call.
The one in Tallahassee just rang
and no one picked up.
The address listed on the notice,
8369 NW 66th St., is a mail- and
package-forwarding business
named USAbox.com, located in an
area of warehouses. Carlos Dom-
inguez, the manager of USAbox-
.com, told El Nuevo Herald that
between five and seven people
have been coming by his office ev-
ery day to inquire about the letters
since last week.
“Law enforcement is handling
it,” said Dominguez. “They are
aware of it and are figuring out the
best way to proceed.”
FRAUD
Fake toll bills are the latest scam
I If you received a letter from something called Toll
Enforcement LLC demanding payment for overdue highway
tolls, ignore it. It’s not legitimate.
BY ALFONSO CHARDY
achardy@ElNuevoHerald.com
‘I see toll violation and
I get upset because I
have SunPass. … I
looked at it asking for
$57, and in language
like a collection letter. I
called the numbers and
there was no answer.’
— Michael Pancier,
an attorney in Pembroke Pines
•TURN TO TOLL TROLLS, 8A
The broad lawn at the Deer-
ing Estate at Cutler runs gently
downhill to meet Biscayne Bay,
washing up between two mas-
sive, palm-lined jetties to be
greeted, on this bright after-
noon, by a mass of young peo-
ple. They flood across the grass,
arms and bodies rippling as
they surge into lines and circles
and lifts in a dance that looks
like both prayer and invocation.
“Keep it alive!” exhorts their
director, Miami choreographer
Dale Andree, striding across the
grass in baseball cap and jeans.
“You care about it! This is
important!”
For Andree, the significance
of this rehearsal goes far beyond
staging a good show. At 4 p.m.
Saturday, these young Miami
artists will join hundreds of
their peers across the country
— from Alaska to Maine, Cali-
fornia to Mississippi, Massa-
chusetts to Nebraska — in the
National Water Dance Project,
a simultaneous performance
that is both tribute and call to
action for a crucial and increas-
ingly beleaguered resource.
Created and organized by
Andree, the project is intended
to draw attention to pressing is-
sues — from drought in the
western United States to sea
level rise in Florida — that in-
The Miami-based National Water Dance Project is
raising awareness of threats to a crucial resource
FAR-REACHING EFFORT: Student dancers rehearse the Water Project Dance at the Deering Estate on Tuesday.
PHOTOS BY CHARLES TRAINOR JR./MIAMI HERALD STAFF
Ripple effect
LEADING THE CHARGE: Chor-
eographer Dale Andree.
BY JORDAN LEVIN
jlevin@MiamiHerald.com
•TURN TO DANCE, 2A
Branding them “bullies” and “ide-
alogues,” Miami Dade College Presi-
dent Eduardo Padrón blasted a
handful of powerful local lawmak-
ers on Tuesday, charging that they
are sabotaging his school’s best hope
for a desperately needed infusion of
money.
Padrón’s unusually blunt re-
marks, made to the Miami Herald
editorial board,
came as a bill circu-
lates in Tallahassee
that would allow a
Miami-Dade voter
referendum on a
proposed half-pen-
ny sales tax to bene-
fit MDC. The col-
lege projects the
five-year-long hike, if approved by
voters, would raise about $1 billion.
This same half-penny bill has
been proposed three times before,
with anti-tax lawmakers repeatedly
refusing to allow the question to go
on the ballot. Past polling suggests
the measure has a strong chance of
passing, should it ever reach county
voters.
This year, Padrón said it is a group
of conservative Miami-Dade House
Republicans who are trying to kill
the measure — going beyond simply
voting against it to organize broader
opposition, a campaign he said had
“crossed the line.”
“They want to show their force,”
Padrón said. “It’s who has more
power, and who can show more
power.”
Padrón identified the measure’s
four key foes as state Reps. Jose Oli-
va, Carlos Trujillo, Michael Bileca
and Frank Artiles.
Two of the lawmakers reached on
Tuesday, Oliva and Trujillo, quickly
fired back, calling Padrón’s attack
uninformed and unfair.
Oliva, in line to take over the influ-
ential House Speaker’s post in four
years, said he is opposed to increas-
MIAMI DADE COLLEGE
School
president
decries
opponents
of tax bill
I With a billion dollars
potentially at stake, Miami
Dade College President
Eduardo Padrón harshly
criticized some local
lawmakers.
BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ
AND KATHLEEN MCGRORY
mrvasquez@MiamiHerald.com
•TURN TO FUNDING, 8A
PADRÓN
TALLAHASSEE — It has be-
come commonplace in Miami-
Dade County: Agents file prop-
erty-tax appeals for homeown-
ers — sometimes without their
permission — in the hope of
sharing in the refund.
For some agents and home-
owners, the practice has yielded
thousands of dollars.
But for the Miami-Dade
school system, a $4 billion public
agency funded partially by prop-
erty taxes, it could cause a $60
million hole in the budget,
Schools Superintendent Alberto
Carvalho said.
Miami-Dade lawmakers are
trying to help him.
Last week, state Rep. Erik Fre-
sen, R-Miami, introduced legis-
lation that would require home-
owners to sign off on property-
tax appeals. He added the provi-
sion, plus language limiting the
length of the appeals process, to
HB 651.
“It closes the infectious loop-
hole that has created a cottage
industry of property appeals
that are triggered not by the
property owners but by those
who profit from the hearings
themselves,” he said.
Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami,
LEGISLATURE 2014
Lawmakers seek to fix $60 million loophole
I Miami-Dade lawmakers are working to close a
‘loophole’ in state law that allows property-tax appeals
to be filed without homeowners’ permission.
BY KATHLEEN McGRORY
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
•Bill allowing concealed guns
during evacuations advances, 6B
•Report faults Fla. voting system
for lagging other states in 2012, 6B
•TURN TO APPEALS, 2A
WEDNESDAY, APRI L 9, 2014 | $1. 00 | FI NAL EDI TI ON | MI AMI HERALD. COM H3

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