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Has the corruption ended, or is more bentonite needed?

March 9, 2016
I encountered David Mancini on Euclid Avenue and 7 th Street on
the morning of March 7, 2016. He and his crew were attending
to the bentonite mud tanks. I stopped to ask where the 72 ream
was located in hole.

Ninth Street, he said, and walked over meet me. Im David

Im David too, I responded with a handshake.
You must be the David Im looking for, the guy who wrote that
It is all wrong! There is no corruption. I resent suggestions that
my family is corrupt. That could cost me jobs. I have a big
family to feed.

You mean that stuff about the bribery of Gus Lopez, the citys
procurement direction? I wrote that your companies were not
implicated or charged in that case, that it was unlikely you knew
your consultant was bribing him. You didnt read my article.
Send me an email and tell me your objections, and I will put
them into the article.
Im telling you now. I read it, and Im telling you it was all
wrong. There was no corruption and there is no corruption on
our part.
Im actually on my way to edit it.
It is the best writing I have seen about this thing. Its going
national. I should pay you to write the big story.
Bring me a publisher and I shall write it. You saw that I put a
picture of Richard Mancini, the founder of your business, in my
No, it was actually the brother-in-law of his father who started
it. He was a cabinet maker.
That isnt on your website. Your family is interesting. Someone
should write a biography.
It goes back to Italy. I went over there.
You were doing a job there?

No, I went to visit.

You know Mussolini was like Mayor Levine with his public
works programs. One was a big swamp reclamation project. The
mayors state of the city address with its Get It Done motto was
very much like Mussolinis so-called pragmatic fascism

I saw you mentioned Mussolini and the link to the mayors

speech on our website. I didnt understand that. You know, I
thought about removing it from the site, but I am proud of him.
Mayor Levine is saving the city. Without this progress, the city
would regress to the 80s. How long have you been here?
Off and on since the late Sixties.
Then you know about the 80s.

I remember the crime, and the sewage washing up on the

beach, but I was not here all the time.
There must be progress or the city will go back to those days.
People who dont like it should move. You should move.
(I wondered where he was coming from, for I had not said that I
did not like living on Miami Beach, so I supposed that he
assumed from my criticism of city officials who badmouthed me
to him, saying that I did not like their city.)
Look, if I moved into that building across the street, and
discovered it was inhabited by criminals disturbing the peace,
and if I moved a few blocks away into another building, and
found it inhabited by criminals disturbing the peace, then I
believe it would be better to stay put and fight the crime. There
is no better place to go.
Youre wrong. If you dont like what the mayor and the city
manager are doing, you should move to Vero Beach.
Vero Beach is nice.
There you go. So go there.
I like it well enough here for now.
Mancini said has no doubts about global warming and rising sea
levels. He showed me a photograph that he has not yet released
to anyone else, of evidence that he believes proves the level has

risen a foot in a particular area. He said he believes that

the struggle against rising sea levels will ultimately be lost in
some areas, so people would have to move, but many battles can
be won, as made obvious by the progress thus far in Miami
No doubt your family will have a lot of contracts to fight global
warming, I said.
What do you think of the convention center hotel proposal? he
I think thirty stories in the low rise center of South Beach is
way out of context. Ill walk over and gawk at it if it is built.
What about the transportation plan?
No problem. I walk everywhere anyway. I just dont like the
way they are doing things, running over people to get things
done. Jimmy Morales puts himself above the law. They need to
run some bentonite through his office to detoxify it.
Youre wrong. I have never seen such a well-managed city as
the City of Miami Beach. Mayor Levine is not corrupt."
I did not say he was. He may not be criminally corrupt, but I
wonder about moral corruption.
Youre wrong.

What do you think about the old city manager, Jorge

He was good, but things went crazy in the end.

I noticed that only your familys firms, Ric-Man and Mancini,

bid on this job. Why was that?
Everyone else was busy at the time. The job was too big for
small companies and too small for big companies to take on.

I understand that you have the advantage of a long working

relationship with Barry Nailling, the driller, and he had the right
Ive worked with Barry for over ten years.
But what I dont understand is why his company, Spartan
Directional, was registered in Florida months before the job was
even put out to bid. I guess everyone knew you or your brother
would get the job.
Call Barry, get him over here, tell him the reporter is here! he
shouted to a workman, shrugging off my question, and then took
a phone call. I summarized what he had said when he was

I should watch what I say. Are you recording me? he asked,

looking for a recording device on me.
I did not mean to say that I was absolutely sure why only our
companies, mine and my brothers Ric-Man Construction, were
the only ones that bid on the job. That was my guess.
Barry Nailling arrived. He is a quiet type. I asked him if the
record he set when he was with Ranger Field Services was for
the connection of two tunnels under the river or for the total
length of them both, since another company was claiming the
record for total length.
We set the record at that time for a crossing.
I repeated my notes to him, and referred to local politics. He said
he was unfamiliar with the politics. He posed for a picture with
David Mancini.
Well see what happens over the next couple of weeks,
Mancini said, eying me.
David, you suspect I am against you. I am not. I have been on
your side of the fence. I was the business manager for a
contractor-developer who did lots of utility excavations, roads,
subdivisions, no horizontal drilling, though, a lot of blasting. I
know about making the payroll to feed families, capital

shortages, even fending off repossession of equipment with

shotguns because the lawyer said the leasing company had no
right to it. I was not that familiar with the technical aspects. I
looked out the windows once in awhile to see what was going
on. This horizontal drilling thing fascinates me.
Thats interesting, said Nailling.
This tunneling is the conflict business, David I went on after
Nailling walked way. I pointed at the heavy equipment on the
There is no progress without resistance. Civilization is based on
complaints. Someone must resist. I start with one side of the
story. There is resistance from the other side. Then I have both
sides. Then there is progress. You say everything is perfect with
the city. Not so. My objections are not so much to the mayor but
with how his manager does things.
Youre wrong.
If you had the facts I have in hand, if you knew how he puts
himself above the law for the mayor, you would not think so.
Youre wrong! he concluded, turned his back on me and
walked away.

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