It was a side of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine few ever see.
But there he was back on February 24, 2015, giddily offering up a warm and fuzzy tribute to two of his favorite people, Frank and Marian Del Vecchio; lavishing praise on the couple at a birthday celebration for Marian at the Cibo Wine Bar on South Beach.
Frank Del Vecchio, for those who don't follow Miami Beach politics that closely, is a long-time Beach activist and ardent Levine supporter. (During his 2013 run for mayor, Levine included the Del Vecchios in one of his TV spots.)
Just before presenting the Del Vecchios with a key to the city, Levine reminded them that they "make everyone be their best." Continuing, Levine said they were "the engine keeping everyone [at City Hall] honest, pure and good. You've done so much for our entire city."
But what a difference a few months makes.
Last Thursday, a day after Levine ally and Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson ran the first of two full-page ads in the Miami Herald attacking journalist Michael Putney, Del Vecchio sent an email to his friends with the subject line, "Setting the record straight."
Del Vecchio, a retired attorney, told friends what he thought of Levine's activities on behalf of the political action committee, "Relentless for Progress."
Well, it didn't take long for someone to forward Del Vecchio's email to Levine.From: Frank Del Vecchio
Date: August 20, 2015 at 3:23:31 PM EDT
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: Setting the Record Straight
To set the record straight: Do not infer from my past support of Mayor Philip Levine that I condone the Relentless for Progress PAC [RFP], which he defends. I do not.
Although the PAC has been artfully structured so as not to be, on its face, in technical violation of state and local law, I consider it an unethical practice for a sitting Mayor and Commissioner or intermediaries to solicit contributions from vendors and developers who stand to benefit from Commission action. It violates the principles of integrity in government which I hold paramount.
Frank Del Vecchio
Less than 45 minutes after Del Vecchio hit the "send" key, Levine sent him this short response:
At 04:05 PM 8/20/2015, Philip Levine wrote:
I am sorry that you question my ethics.
Later that day, Del Vecchio wrote back: "Phil: I've been straight with you all along about my feelings. Frank"
To which Levine responded:
Yes but you threw me under the bus by clearly insinuating or rather saying that you do not support me anymore.
There were very few vendors who contributed to this PAC and only ONE developer as defined in our code. I guess I am a developer as well based on your rationale!!!
[To] everyone else, the majority are my friends that I have known for years!!! I am the guy who spent $2M to clean this place up, doesn't take a salary or expenses, funding my reelection campaign and spends out of pocket constantly when asked for a million reasons and causes and you gave the impression that I am not ethical.
I am hurt and appalled at your email.
Del Vecchio responds: "I am also hurt and appalled by this current mess that is affecting us all."
Levine writes back:
From: Philip Levine
To: Frank Del Vecchio
CC: Marian Delvechio
Subject: Re: Setting the Record Straight
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:55:15 +0000
It is not affecting us "all." Only you are in the "fog of war" and are letting some inside baseball folks with a variety of allegiances and nothing to do cause you to jump ship when the ship isn't on fire!!!!
I would have expected my "friends" to stick up for me, call me out gracefully when they don't agree but not to try and damage me.
This "controversy" was created by a commissioner who wants her husband to take over the family business, a disgruntled commissioner who failed his ethics test and cannot be a police officer and Mt. Sinai who tried unsuccessfully to coerce us into not allowing Baptist to come to Miami Beach! This is election time!!! Last time I was anti Hispanic, Fidel Castro's business partner, a fraudulent businessman and a rich guy buying the election. This time I am unethical for following the law per our City Attorney and assisting to raise a few bucks like EVERY other elected official including our County Mayor!!!! Oh by the way, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled as well!!!!
No need for continued emails back and forth.
I guess there's nothing left to say except to play this oldie from 1966....
Earlier on Random Pixels: Miami Beach's sleazy millionaire mayor Philip Levine, has no moral compass