#ALERT: Gimenez admin "currently the subjects of an active criminal investigation" via #MiamiHerald

Miami Herald: Respondent Sirkis and other individuals are currently the subjects of an active criminal investigation by the Office of the State Attorney arising from the facts as alleged in this complaint,” read a Feb. 27 filing by Michael Murawski, an Ethics Commission lawyer.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article138053133.html#storylink=cpy

"Short on cash, Miami-Dade raced to sell four helicopters. That was three years ago."


BY DOUGLAS HANKS

In 2014, Miami-Dade’s fire helicopters came to the rescue of the county’s mayor. Specifically, his budget.

Back in 2014, the county’s purchasing arm, Internal Services, opted to fast-track the helicopter deal, citing the need for the cash in the next year’s budget. Instead of advertising for bids, the county contacted helicopter makers directly.

Three companies responded with bids: Bell, a Texas company that sold Miami-Dade the original four helicopters more than a decade ago; France’s Airbus; and Philadelphia-based Augusta Westland. In early 2015, Gimenez approved a selection committee that included Internal Services chief negotiator Andrew Zawoyski, rescue-squad captain Antonio Hernandez and county pilot Rick Guthery.
The committee opted not to consider Augusta Westland’s proposal, saying the company’s four-ton AW139 chopper was too heavy for some rooftop helipads in Miami-Dade. That left a choice between two bidders.
Eventually, a different message came down from the top. With just two months remaining in the 2015 budget year, Zawoyski’s boss, Internal Services director Tara Smith, called for a slowdown in the push to close a deal with Bell in order revisit Airbus’s proposal. 
“While you continue negotiations with Bell,” Smith wrote in the Aug 14, 2015 memo, “in order to make a best value determination and ultimately an award recommendation, we will need to know if there are other acceptable options for the County.” 
The company hired Floridian Partners, a Coral Gables lobbying firm, on a $10,000-a-month contract, according to a copy of the agreement. 
[Note: MiamiPapers has much more on these lobbyists -- Mr. Doug Hanks protected by not naming in this article ...]
The selection committee opted for Bell’s 412EPI helicopter, citing its roomier cabin, “which is vital to [Miami-Dade Fire Rescue] in a Mass Casualty incident.”



Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article138053133.html#storyl

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Respondent Sirkis and other individuals are currently the subjects of an active criminal investigation by the Office of the State Attorney arising from the facts as alleged in this complaint,” read a Feb. 27 filing by Michael Murawski, an Ethics Commission lawyer.

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