Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ladra's open letter to Julio Robaina

Mr. former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina:

With little more than a week to go before Election Day, I write this open letter so that you know that I am still very much interested in an opportunity to hear personally from you on any issues or concerns you have about this race and coverage of both campaigns.

Of course, I'd bring along a few questions and some documents I want to show you. That's okay, right?

I only ask because you have repeatedly dodged me at public events (practically ran away from me at one forum, and that is why I wear sneakers, by the way) and have refused to return my calls from the very beginning of the campaign. I did stop calling you directly and now try to go through your campaign spokeswoman, Ana Carbonell, but she only returns one out of three calls. And never really answers my questions. Always says she will get back to me. I'm still waiting to hear details about the telephone town meeting you had weeks ago.

Please know that I understand your trepidation, given the nature of the discrepancies and hypocracies I have written about so far. I understand your discomfort with my inquiries. But that is no excuse for a community leader -- a man who wants to be the mayor for all, no less -- to simply ignore legitimate questions. And they are legitimate questions, whether you want to recognize them as such or not. And I am not the only one asking. Sometimes, they aren't even my own questions. At the Miami Foundation forum at UM, I was asking questions for Univision 23 (they had no reporter there and I was just going to hold the mic, not be on air) that were about the seeming collegiality between you and Gimenez, like everybody else asked, and the $19 million surplus that was in the paper that morning, like everybody else asked, and on his thoughts or concerns about complaints that there had been irregularities with absentee ballots, like some others had. Instead of just having the respect to answer me, you ran off and allowed (or maybe instructed) your large bodyguard and attorney and consultant Hugo Arza to grab me by my camera hand and push me back toward the chairs. That is no excuse for you to allow Carbonell to call me names in public and try to discredit or embarass me. I don't get embarassed. And I can't be discredited by anyone but myself so don't bother trying. But as someone who wants to be the future mayor for all, you should have called them off. Instead you turned your face and ran.

Despite your calling me "biased and unethical" at that forum at UM, I am still willing to sit down and hear you out, objectively and openly. I don't take it personally. And not because I claim to be unbiased. Of course I am biased. But I wasn't always and I am not biased because of any hidden agenda or conflict of interest. I have become biased through the consideration of facts, perceptions (real and perceived), connections, contributions and the lack of answers and transparency in your campaign. Not because I have any financial or adminstrative interest in the other candidate. And everyone is biased. If you think Michael Putney and Matt Haggman do not know who they are voting for and why, you are not as bright as you make yourself out to be. Everyone is biased. When they hide it is when you have to be careful. I am transparent about it. So you know where I stand all the time. But that doesn't mean I am planted there.

And it certainly does not mean I am unethical. Are Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera and Nelson Horta of Nelson Horta Reporta blog unethical because they are biased in your favor? Well, yes, they are. Because you may be paying them and because they will not budge from those paid positions.

But I'm also open-minded to the extreme (my friends say wishy washy) and give people the maximum benefit of the doubt. I have changed my mind before, on candidates and policy issues. There is no reason to think that I cannot be convinced that you are the best man for the mayor's job. Maybe you are offended that you have to convince me, but come on! Look at all the strange questionable things, including investigations and other alleged investigations, you don't want to talk about at all. When someone doesn't want to talk openly about things like that, it is usually because talking openly is not going to make them look better. It's usually because talking about it can make it worse. Usually. Not always. So that's why I still give you the benefit of the doubt. Because, really, someone with nothing to hide should be an open book, like I am.

The offer is still there. And anybody that knows me knows I fully intend to give you every opportunity to convince me that everything I have heard and discovered is BS and that you are just the victim of a vicious conspiracy to paint you as corrupt. I mean, why wouldn't I want that? It makes for a better blog post. So show me how the documents I have that say you got 20 percent interest on a loan made to an accused felon by one of your friends are bogus. Tell me how other loans to people who have maquinita interests in Hialeah is not a quid pro quo, but just a business transaction. Explain to me how you, a real estate developer, couldn't tell you were paying less taxes for years on a vacant property when there was a building on the land and you should have been paying more. Tell me why your Kendall Commons project -- the 160-acres you and your partners planned to develop into homes and commercial centers -- is in foreclosure and tell me how many foreclosures your business partners and you have gone through in recent years and why that should not be questioned as anything but a result of the bad econom. Talk to me again about the need for a reverse osmosis water plant and let's go through the property records around that site so you can address the parcels are owned by your business partners and tell me why that should not be perceived as a quid pro quo or inside backroomd deal. Help me with the math and show me how your firing of 17 firefighters last year right before the union voted on your contract was supposed to save the city money, since an arbitrator made the city rehire them after you resigned and pay them retroactively. Tell me how much that cost the city. Yes, I got a number from another source. But I want to get it from you. Tell me how it is not extortion when you tell fire union leaders, caught on video, that the veteran firefighters will be rehired if they sign the contract. Explain why you need no less than six different PACs to raise $2.5 million for this race. Convince me that your partners, who between the PACs and your campaign coffers have contributed hundreds of thousands to get you this job, are not buying access or favors or preference. Please give me some shred of evidence that disproves the video-taped admissions by Luther Cambell's about his endorsement coming after you promised his friend a job. Show me the reciepts for the Don Shula dinner that might indicate it was just you and Uncle Luke. You can't just say that's preposterous. It's not. It's been done before. And, certainly, you can't be surprised that someone might suspect it of someone like you or with your reputation. That would be like me saying it's slander for someone to call me a sarcastic bitch. It's not. It's been done before.

I really can be convinced. But you have to try. You can't deflect by saying you ran the second largest city in the county and give me buzwords and polished soundites disguised as answers because they are not really answers. And my saying so and pointing out discrepancies or hypocracies in those non-answers does not make me biased. It makes me fairly observant. And consistent.

But I am biased, as I admitted. And toward your opponent, Carlos Gimenez. But it is ridiculous and shameful, really, for your people to say I am a paid campaign staffer. Because since you all know that is not true, then we know you are lying on purpose to discredit me (again, an exercise in futility) and maybe get some to question my credibility and ethics. But that won't work with many and it won't last long when it does. Because it is pretty obvious that nobody is paying me to do this. And because Gimenez and his people do not love me unconditionally. I'm sure they enjoy some of my entries, of course. But I'm an equal opportunity inquirer and ask everyone uncomfortable questions. Gimenez nearly bit my head off when I privately asked a question after one of the debates about one of his kids, his baby girl. He took off his sportscoat slowly, as if he was getting ready to rumble. I had never seen him so angry. But the question was relevant. It ended up going nowhere. Still, I had to ask. His demeanor with me changed from that day forward, not that it changes mine. And I still have to ask more questions he won't like. That's probably not good enough for you, but I can't just make stuff up like your people do. Carbonell was angry at me early on because I didn't write about the "four pensions" -- a lie your own campaign has backed off on, now talking about his one city of Miami pension as if he wasnot entitled to one after working and contributing to it for more than 25 years. I can't just make stuff up. When I get a tip about you, you can bet I confirm it before I write anything. I'd have to confirm any tips your team gives me, too. (Yeah, I know. What a drag.)

By the way, I have asked your campaign people to tell Ladra where she can dig for dirt on Gimenez. (See? He's not going to like that either. Not my problem.) It is my job to look everywhere, even at a candidate Ladra likes. And either the former commissioner really is a squeaky clean nerd or your staff is not very good at the "opposition research" part of campaign work (I would have thought you'd get the best). Because I did give Carbonell several opportunities to provide me with leads I could investigate. "Why don't you write about all his pensions," she retorted, which we already went over. Comparing him to the recalled mayor because they have the same name and their last name ends with "ez" is good for the mailers and such, but not something I can just repeat because you want me to. The two have nothing in common. And it's a little offensive, as a granddaughter of an Alvarez myself. Also, that car thing is way old, and you yourself gave a $900 car allowance to your housing authority director so he can drive around in a BMW with a Miami Dolphin vanity plate. So why is it okay in one case but an example of wasteful spending in another?

Wait, is that question too hard?

Hey, to show there are no hard feelings, as a good faith effort so you give me an interview, I will give you some free media advice: Stop bringing up the car allowance. It only raises uncomfortable questions about your hypocracy.

In fact, may I suggest that, if we do have a face-to-face, you leave your second one at home. Or I'll have to point out the double-talk and discrepancies and you'll go right back to the silent treatment.


  1. "So you know where I stand all the time. But that doesn't mean I am planted there".......
    wow, that is beyond superb, beyond brilliance...that is so good...I think I will steal it...."this is where I stand, but it doesn't mean I'm planted here." Thanx for the gift of explaining transperancy succinctly...oh yeah, the rest of the blog was damned good...but it really stealing if I tell you I'm taking it and making it mine?

  2. Ladra,

    He wont answer, he is a COWARD and a SCUMBAG.

    I got a little open letter of my own.

    Mr. EX mayor Robaina,
    Little time is left and hopefully the front page of the Herald the day after the election will read,
    You are scum, a liar, and a coward. I love te way you yet again CHANGED your answer with michael putney on the channel 10 debate. Your ignorance has cost the City of Hialeah Millions!!! Save the budget of the county by cutting everyone over $80,000 you claim?! WELL LET ME REMIND ALL, that Robaina and his scumbag ways cut my pay by 30%, i make less than $23,000 a year and I got a 30% cut. WHILE Robaina makes over $260,000 and gave himself a 3% cut. WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP?

    Robaina good luck in Jail or Hell, whichever comes first,

    City of Hialeah Employee

  3. Ladra, I have to admit... You are pheonominal and fair. I have been present when you have asked some of those tough questions; How uncomfortable. You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of in the least. People who have things to hide will continue to dodge the questions. These are all questions that need answers before the election takes place. I have nothing to hide and have said time and time again the Julio Robaina is a FRAUD..... I have documented all the facts for well over a two year period now. Media has covered only portions of unfortunately. FACTS are FACTS... Let NO ONE wonder where this information comes from: ME: ERIC JOHNSON..... ONE PISSED OFF PERSON. The damage that Juloio Robaina has inflicted on the City Of Hialeah, Its residents and its workers is draconian to say the least. Families of four sleeping in their cars, Homes lost, families destroyed, Pools closed, Parks Closed, Libraries Closed, POLICE STATIONS CLOSED, 250 employees illegally fired, WHERE DOES IT STOP?????????? Involvement in a ponzi scheme.. Usury charges on loans.. Business deals to only benefit himself and business partners.. Julio Robaina stated that he ended his private business interests 7 years ago but his net owrth has gone from 800 thousand to over 8 million dollars during his tenure as mayor. ANOTHER LIE.... How is that possible??? WAKE UP DADE COUNTY!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ladra,

    Tomorrow at 8:30 am, Julio Robaina will speak and take questions at the Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club at David Cafe 2 at 1654 Meridian AVE, Miami Beach. All are welcome.

    Your question will seem like soft balls against the questions of some of the crabby, old people who attend the breakfast club. These old people are too old to be embarrassed or to filter anything they say. It is great theatre.

  5. I applaud your concern for the community. The truth needs to be known before Miami Dade County makes a huge mistake.

  6. Unfortunately it is not a official or full response but check out realtruthofmiami.come for a response. There are always two sides to every issue.

  7. Madame Ladra's, your open letter to Julio Robainawas great and I loved, Candela in Miami Dade County and your Blog is first class keep the good work and I hope that Mr. Robaina be able to talk to you before the elections. To me Gimenez will win in June 28, because he is more clear and will own less future favors. Your # 1 fan.

  8. First, let us start with hypocrisy. You accuse Robaina of it constantly without any facts apart from the disputed position on the Marlins Stadium, yet you routinely practice it yourself on your blog. Your letter is dripping with sarcasm, satire and accusations which you state as outright facts. Would you really expect him or his campaign to respond to that type of letter? No, you wrote it purposefully in a way for him not to respond, which again feeds your theory of avoidance. Nevertheless, I will do it for him! Your feathers get ruffled when you are accused of being a paid blogger (without evidence according to you) yet in your open letter this morning you do the same thing to Nelson Horta. It’s hard to take you seriously when you do things like this in your “open letter”. Also on the hypocrisy angle, do you think Robaina’s campaign would share information on Gimenez with someone they consider to be his ally? Have you written about the fire fee? Does someone need to do your research for you to write on that? His son’s lobbying at the county? His robocall on Hialeah? His condemning of the Marti Theater? Frankly, the whole business of you calling anyone a hypocrite is a joke.

    Second, if you need to ask why individuals make or receive loans at high interest rates then you clearly do not understand business. Loans made at what you consider to be “outrageous” interest rates are made daily everywhere in the world because capital lent speculatively has a higher return associated with it. Look up junk bond issuances and mezzanine capital, the institutions who originate those loans are not criminals but Julio Robaina is? Did someone force the recipients of the loans to take the loan? Now that would be a crime. Is 18% interest usurious? Not in Florida and as a matter of fact in New York and other jurisdictions no interest rate is usurious. A payday advance loan has interest rates in the triple digits and some credit card rates are over 24%. Has anyone other than a convicted felon, who swindled dozens of people, claimed Robaina to not report “cash” payments? You call Robaina intelligent in your letter (maybe that’s filled with satire and contempt too), do you really believe he would accept cashed stuffed in envelopes? If there was a basis for all this investigation do you not feel they would have indicted him already?

    Third, his business life. It’s amusing people touch this subject because his opponent has NEVER MANAGED A BUSINESS. He has lived almost his entire life in the public sector, are we not trying to get away from people who have no idea what it is to be entrepreneurial? Gimenez does not have much to attack because he has NOT DONE ANYTHING. Here is some TRUTH for you to digest because it is becoming apparent you are either a very bad reporter, gullible, paid off or just plain lazy. Kendall Commons was brought into the UDB long before 2006 and by Michael Cease, not Robaina or his associates. In your May 11th posting you completely garble all the facts. Dave Brown’s piece was brought into the UDB and Robaina has ZERO interest that parcel. Kendall at 172 has never applied for entry into the UDB nor has any property he has EVER owned. Robaina has ZERO interest in Sergio Pino’s Parkland. Robaina has had some properties go into foreclosure, LIKE ANY REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL HAS IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS. What you should be writing about is how he and his partners have managed to resolve their issues by working with the lenders. Water plant? Go back and research who originally put those plans into motion. Did Julio Robaina also create Hialeah’s traffic situation? He has been in office close to seven years, not twenty plus like his predecessor who did create some of the good and bad which is Hialeah. Did you know Elaine that there were other firms competing for that contract? see rest at

  9. I as going to vote for Gimenez, but then that retard idiot llorente stated his support for Gimenez and I have no other choice but to vote for Robaina... Thank god that idiot came in third place, he didn't do anything in Tally.

  10. Heard your interview on WQBA. Kudos for standing up for your letter, and trying to get as much airtime as possible.

    It was clear that Tejera invited you only to attack your article and reputation, instead of actually conduct a professional interview.

    You are right to question Tejera's show as biased in favor of the Robaina campaign.

  11. People need to realize that morals and ethics are important in a democracy. Thank you for the information you provide.

  12. I can only hope the citzens of Miami Dade county vote for Gimenez. Robaina is being investaged by many agencies for a reason. He only is looking to benefit himself and any cost.

  13. Is it true that Julio lives in a penthouse in Miami Beach not Hialeah and drives a Bentley?

  14. Is it true that Julio lives in a penthouse in Miami Beach not Hialeah and drives a Bentley?

  15. Julio Robaina admits to owning a condo on Miami Beach where he lives with his 5 kids and his wife. Blue and Green Diamond condo.


I have decided to moderate comments for a while as there are some that are simply off-subject and have become personal and offensive in nature, attacking not just me but others through this venue.

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