Friday, October 30, 2015

It pays to be Mayor Philip Levine's friend [Part two]

Who's your "Sugar Daddy," Leonor? 


It wasn't democracy's finest hour.

At an Oct. 1, 2013 Miami Beach mayoral debate (see video above) at the Shore Club, the insults were flying ... many of them originating from a table where unruly supporters of candidate Philip Levine were seated.

One resident got up to chastise Levine for his now infamous "mañana" remark.

Levine responded by attacking the woman; suggesting that she was best friends with his opponent, Michael Gongora, and adding incorrectly that Gongora had appointed her "to all the various boards."

Watching all of it from the side of the room was Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson. And behind him, whispering in his ear, was Wolfson's aide, Leonor Hernandez.

Leonor Heranndez - wearing "Levine for Mayor" stickers on her blouse -
whispers in the ear of her boss, Miami Beach commissioner Jonah Wolfson
during a mayoral debate on Oct 1, 2013. 

(Screen grab from the video above.)

Hernandez proved herself extremely helpful to the mayor in 2013 by taking a leave of absence from her city job and working round the clock for Levine's campaign, getting all those votes from the elderly in Miami Beach's senior housing. She put her own elderly mother to work with the seniors, as well as her son on robocalls and political mailings, and her husband at campaign fundraisers. Getting the mayor elected was a family affair.

She was rewarded handsomely, with a job she desperately needed, and - for a woman who declared bankruptcy, and with her husband has nearly $5.0 million in judgements against them for apartment buildings and two single family homes on Miami Beach foreclosed on - somehow ended up with a $287,000 home paid in cash in Cutler Bay with no explanation.
There was speculation that Philip Levine bought it, or loaned her the money. He has loaned money to friends before.
She and her husband lost their two side-by-side waterfront homes in North Beach to foreclosure in 2014, after years of appeals and legal maneuvering.

The properties were foreclosed on in lieu of judgements of $1.5 million and $1.9 million.

There are other outstanding judgement liens - see detail below - and code violations that were never paid.


via Miami-Dade Property Appraiser's Office.
Click here to enlarge.

Mayoral aide Leonor Hernandez's home in Cutler Bay. 


Now, two years later, Hernandez is working for Levine as he campaigns for reelection.

Officially, she's on leave of absence from her city job.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and his aide, Leonor Hernandez, (seen at his
right elbow) at a recent campaign event in North Beach.  (Click image to enlarge)

But questions abound.
Did Hernandez submit a request for this outside employment?

Is she on an official leave of absence to perform political campaign work? When was the leave paperwork submitted, to whom, and is it on file with the City HR department?

Is she drawing down any leave time (using accrued vacation leave and therefore receiving a paycheck, and also access to health care coverage and other benefits) while on leave to do campaign consulting?

And what about sending a city employee who regularly visits senior centers as a constituent aide (city employee) into those same centers during elections?  Even if on leave, it violates the very first bullet in the Commission On Ethics memo [below]. How are the residents to know whether she is there as a city employee or as a private citizen/campaign volunteer? She is always functioning in an official capacity to represent the mayor.

Click here to enlarge.

Perhaps Mayor Levine will answer some of these questions before election day.

But don't hold your breath.

Despite a lot of talk in 2013 about cleaning up corruption at Miami Beach City Hall, Levine's actions over the past two years prove that he's really no different than those who preceded him.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment on anything you read here.

All comments must first be approved. Spam and spam links will not be tolerated or approved.