Thursday, June 9, 2011

Robaina $ tied to housing scandal

Every once in a while, mayoral candidate Julio Robaina says something that is so true it's hard to believe it came out of his mouth. Earlier this week, he said "the devil is in the details" at the Miami Foundation's forum. We are pretty sure he was talking about some budget issue.

So are we when we say it now. In particular, a campaign budget issue relating to more bundled contributions found by Ladra as she lazily perused the last report submitted weeks ago, actually looking for something else. These common addresses and connections just jumped off the page.

The devils in these details may be:

  • Developer Lewis Swezy, tied to the "House of Lies" public housing scandal uncovered by the Miami Herald. Swezy has donated at least $14,500 in 29 contributions (we think it's $15,000 but can't find that last $500 maximum check) to Robaina's campaign. Swezy may want more county work. He was awarded some public housing projects after he hired consultant Rene Rodriguez, the former county housing director who was investigated and found to have quietly steered millions in public housing dollars to a group of developers for kickbacks and favors.
  • Developer Sergio Pino, who plunked down $5,000 in ten maximum checks and who is owns West Kendall property adjacent to a 160-acre parcel Robaina and his partners requested zoning changes to develop a community of homes called Kenndall Commons.
  • Developer Carlos Herrera, who has funneled $10,500 into the Robaina campaign through his multiple companies and the companies of his business partners, Jose Fano and Pedro Adrian. So far that we could find, that is.
  • Real Estate investor Sergio Pereira and his business partners, Pedro Pelaez, Jose Gonzalez and Freddy Balsera, who have contributed down $5,500 at least in different bundled contributions. But Balsera has certainly already gotten a return for his investment, getting $168,000 in consulting fees so far for the campaign. Nice work if you can get it.
  • Felipe Valls, who owns Versailles and the La Carreta franchise -- as well as a Hialeah car wash with a plethora of code enforcement and safety violations that are just being overlooked and unenforced, even though a neighbor complained -- gave $3,000 through different companies, but Ladra suspects there is more there that we haven't found yet.
  • Joaquin Aviño, who was found tied to six company contributions totalling $6,000.
  • The Galbut family, who gave $5,000 in 10 separate maximum checks from different family members and real estate, mortgage, retail and nursing home companies.
Now, this does not mean that these generous business people want anything more from their friend, the candidate, than access or a phone call back for their investment. But it may just show voters who exactly Robaina is talking about when he says "when we become mayor."

Are those the people we want to elect?


  1. Chief Rolando D. BolanosJune 10, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Ladra, I would add that there seems to be a pattern of common interest, what some may commonly refer to as "Quid Pro Quo." Notice that in the instance case, the City of Hialeah is advocating in favor of the special interest at the risk of public safety. The Hialeah City Attorney's Office publicly stated that, the City acknowledges the public safety violations, but decided not to force any corrective action, " because to do so would cause a negative economic impact on the business owners." The instant case, coupled with a previous case, wherein the City of Hialeah defended the existence and proliferation of gambling slot machines in Hialeah, have one thing in common. In both cases, the special interest, or business owners, have generously contributed to Julio ROBAINA'S political campaigns. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that on at least two cases, if you contribute to Julio ROBAINA's politcal campaigns, you will enjoy the unequivical defense and protection of the City of Hialeah. In other words, the evidence appears to indicate that in Hialeah, if you pay, you play.


  3. Robaina has a scary list of contributors.

    If Robaina wins, who will be running the County?


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.

Comments that add substance and context to the news and issues in the blog will be posted. Comments that use profanity and abuse this open space to attack others will be saved and, when called for, sent to the appropriate authorities.