Monday, June 13, 2011

Questions re the Bank of Julito

We've heard for months now that state and federal authorities are investigating former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina, a candidate for Miami-Dade mayor, for possible loan sharking activities (or "usury" like the feds call it or "shadow banking" like the media calls it) as well as possible tax evasion from the, naturally, non-reported income of such activities.

Reports in the Miami Herald and other news media outlets say Robaina received envelopes stuffed with cash at the home of the now late Rolando Blanco and his wife Mercedes. The three were pals with jeweler and accused Ponzi schemer Felipito Perez, a Hialeah Chamber of Commerce member who dropped the big dime on the 1st Hialeah Bank of Julito looking for less time, saying Robaina charged over the legal 18 percent allowable by Florida law. Robaina has denied that repeatedly, vehemently and, even, indignantly.

Thank goodness, once again, for public records.

Mortgage deeds recorded at the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser's office are a treasure trove for details. And investigators, we are quite sure, are poring over dozens of them, including this one here from a $65,000 loan made to an accused felon in 2006 by the Blancos. They, however, did not seem to be the ones who would profit from it, which is strange, no? If you are putting up the hard cold cash -- to the tune of $65,000 -- wouldn't you want to get something for your risk? No, the borrower was instructed to deliver the 20 percent interest directly to Robaina's address every month.

In the "mortgage note" part of a mortgage deed recorded by the county on Feb. 1, 2007, Luis Miramontes, "promises to pay to Rolando Blanco or order, in the manner hereinafter, specified the principal sum of $65,000 with the interest from date at the rate of 20 percent per annum on the balance ... payable in lawful money of the United States of America at 6140 West 10th Ave., Hialeah."

Well, wait one ño-que-barrato minute. Isn't that Julio Robaina's 6-bedroom, 5-bath home that he purchased in 2002 for $230,000? And isn't "lawful money of the United States" another way of saying "cash"? And isn't 20 percent above the 18 percent allowable by law in the state of Florida for usury interests on loans under $500,000? And are the IRS and FBI agents in this investigation sleeping after a little too many churros and flan? Can someone get them a cortadito, dark? And pronto?

Those "interest only payments" of $1,100.84 were to begin on Nov. 3, 2006 and be delivered on the third day of each month until the final balloon payment in October, 2009. The loan was paid in full on May 14, 2007. Robaina made $6,600 but only because Miramontes paid it off early. If the loan had played out for the whole three years, he would have gotten $39,630 on a $65,000 loan... made by his friend and business partner? Did the Blancos owe him money and that was a way to pay it off? Or was that his money loaned in the Blancos' name? His name is nowhere on the deed, maybe because he didn't want his political aspirations associated with an accused felon he was loaning $65,000 to? A Luis Miramontes with the same birthdate has been charged with grand theft three times and dealing in stolen property once from 1998 to 2000. No wonder he had to couldn't just go to a Regions or a Bank of America.

And guess who is the title agent and notary at the 1st Hialeah Bank of Julito. None other than Hialeah Councilwoman Vivian Casals-Munoz, who notarized the mortgage deed for Miramontes where Robaina's name does not appear anywhere on the form. However, when Ladra spoke to her Monday night, it was referred to as one of the many loans Casals-Munoz, who was appointed by the council in November of 2006, notarized for the then mayor of her city. More quid pro quo? There are at least two other mortgage deeds in our hands with her notary stamp on them. These are to Juana and Jose Antonio Sigler, who took out two loans also in October, 2006. One from the Blancos for $53,425 and another from RVR Holdings, a Hialeah company owned by Robaina's wife, Raiza Villacias Robaina, for $37,000. Is that the same Antonio J. Sigler who owns permits to operate maquinitas at Ily Discount and Ily Coin Laundry on Hialeah Drive? More quid pro quo?

Reached on her cellphone Monday night, the councilwoman said she could not remember how many loans she notarized for the Robainas and the Blancos. Was it more than 20? "I would not be able to tell you out of memory," Casals-Munoz said. Was it less than 100? "It was less than 100." Was it more than 50? "I don't want to say. I couldn't say for sure." When asked what she made on the deals, she couldn't say that either. "I don't have a standard rate. I don't want to give any information out of memory."

She gave an email to send some questions to. I already have a new one I should have asked her when I had the chance: Have you been interviewed or talked to by the FBI or the IRS?

Ladra also has one for the authorities: What are you waiting for?


  1. Thanks for giving the feds a roadmap for this investigation. It seems they are lost.

  2. Madame Ladra, you are # 1 Candela in Miami-Dade County if you need the 2 bodyguards, you let me know.I'm your fan because I like al pan pan y al vino vino, Cuidese mucho

  3. Ladra, this is no mere list of questions. This is a smorgabord of investigative delights. Each question you pose, begs additional questions. It almost seems like a video game akin to "Where's Waldo?" Where is the smoking gun to indict Robaina? It seems whatever rock you turn over, there lies the roots to another Robaina crime. The best question though, that stymies me and remains unanswered; is why the Robaina supporters don't see the forest for the trees, why do they see the positive traits of Robaina they somehow envision, and not see the forest, Robaina's total disregard for the law in every aspect of his public and private life. Ladra, you are only an investigative reporter, a damn good one; but this question seems to be more in the purview of a psychiatric professional. I do have two additional questions though. (1) A 6 bedroom , 5 bath home, purchased when prices were still elevated in 2002 for only $230,000. That sounds like a sweetheart deal. (2)The notary of record, usually keeps a record. Well, I do, when I notarize significant documents ( transactions of greater monetary value.) The notary's record is not required by law, only by good practice. You might ask Ms. Casals-Munoz to bring her record book, or inquire from the Fla. Secretary of State's office about proper practice procedures and possible improprieties. (I love alliteration with P's. I get to imagine you puckering up. Guess I might need some of the aforementioned psychiatric assistance too.) Keep up the good work, de... Valle, a free press is our last de...fense against totalitarianism. We de...pend on you. ( Sorry, I st...utter when I get emotional.)

  4. Wow, at all cost right? What about Gimenez and his son the lobbyist who made his fortune as a result of dad being a Miami-Dade County Commissioner.

    Can you put a "road map" to that? Gimenez and the Gimenez team will do whatever it takes to make sure Gimenez wins. Really dissapointed how negative this has turned out.

  5. If Gimenez Jr. got the heads up from dad as to who to lobby for the nursing contract for Jackson, maybe this is wrong, maybe lobbying and contracting procedures should be more tightly regulated; but this is not illegal. Someone was going to get this contract. Maybe Gimenez Jr.'s firm was the best priced, or had the best track record. I do not have all those details, but yes, I do not like nepotism in government lobby ing. But one nebulous lobbying impropriety does not stack up against a lifetime of personal and public crimes. Dating back when Robaina was only a realtor, forging a check, bribing officials in Hialeah Gardens; to the present times, not paying real estate taxes on improved commercial property, loansharking, usury, obstruction of justice, organized crime links to gambling, perjury, electoral fraud, ad nauseum. Robaina has made a career of criminality and lies. How can you compare the two track records and not demand Robaina to be taken to county jail and not county hall?

  6. Ladra has heard the allegations about father-son quid pro quo and has sniffed around a bit. There does not seem to be much to it, though. From what I understand, Carlos Jr. represents people mostly at municipalities and at the community council level. The Jackson thing is complicated, but could have been on the up and up. They are legitimate questions, but should be put in context, which I hope to do within the next day or so. Still, no comparison to the public connection between Carlos Jr. and Carlos Sr. and the hidden "business practice" discrepancies of the other guy.

  7. Once the this election is over, I would love to see Ladra sink her teeth into Miami Beach politics. The politicians kowtowing to the lobbyists is out of control. It would be fun to see the Miami Beach politicians squirm.

  8. Personally, I'd like to see Ladra squirm...she is something I could really sink my teeth into. ooo..I'm a bad boy..spank me..PLEASE.

    Miami Beach is not all that different from Hialeah. Money is the root of all corruption, and the real estate is that much more valuable, the taxes that much higher; kinda like Hialeah on steroids. I drove up and down Miami Beach yesterday (not cruising for love)and every construction site had a large poster for Robaina. Hmm, strange connection? Construction interests and Robaina?

    And Ladra? Apologies for my ribald response. I am only a weak man...and you are the Goddess Ladra...Ladra, the thief, that has stolen my heart. Forgive me, I promise to behave in the future....maybe.

  9. Ladra hardly ever squirms. Spankings are obviously more my thing. But I am not sure you deserve one, my purposeful and prophetic poet. And good behavior is completely overrated. ;P

  10. Breaking: Francisco Alvarado is really Uncle Luke. That he has been ghost writing every article and that Luke has just been used for his trade name. More to follow...

  11. Clearly Uncle Luke never wrote his recent "damage control" piece in New Times.
    Luke still comes across as a racist but someone helped him write the long sentences.

  12. Francisco Alvarado is really Uncle Luke. Compare the articles written by Francisco and those of Uncle Luke, they are almost identical in personality and written word. This has all been a scam by the New Times to use the trade name of Luke and his fame.


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