Miami Herald exposes ethics of Gimenez and his lobbyist sons...

Miami Herald: The ethics of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his lobbyist sons stink.

The rule(s) against family members lobbing elected relatives.

Family members are NOT free to lobby on projects facing votes from elected relatives. 

Gimenez has influence over the outcome, and or the people and Gimenez SON is getting income for the action... It's called... 


      • RICO = "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act"
      • § 1962. Prohibited activities:
        • (A) - "It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal"

      Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s lobbyist sons have a right to make a living as they see fit. But they shouldn’t be able to get away with constantly making a buck off representing clients with county business before their father.

      It’s a blatant conflict of interest — and nepotism in plain sight. 

      The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust is chock-full of inquiries and complaints about Gimenez and his sons dating back to when he was first elected mayor in 2011. But nothing ever comes of them.

      The sons, one a registered lobbyist with the county, keep popping up as employees of contractors or representatives of entities seeking to do business with county government.
      Why can’t the mayor’s sons wait at least until daddy is out of office to compete for their piece of the county till? Is the world not large enough for them to find clients and business elsewhere?

      County government isn’t a mom-and-pop store where everyone gets a cut of the family business. But it sure seems that way with the Gimenez brothers, who are lobbyists for the soccer stadium and related projects, a small steel mill proposal in Homestead, and a rehabilitation complex — all begging to be built on government-owned properties.

      In the latest episode of the profiting-from-the-county saga, son Julio Gimenez, a construction executive formerly employed by big county contractor Munilla Construction Management, is part of a team trying to secure county land to build a rehabilitation facility for young criminal offenders through the non-profit Neighbors and Neighbors Association.

      The project, modeled after San Francisco’s Delancey Street, is described as a commercial complex and dormitory for people under 27 who might live and work there as an alternative to serving time in Miami-Dade jails or after release.

      Julio Gimenez tried to minimize his role, telling Miami Herald county reporter Douglas Hanks that he’s volunteering his time for a good cause.

      “I offered my assistance,” he said.

      If this weren’t a project entangled in politics, the non-profit, which has other county contracts, wouldn’t need help from the mayor’s son. In an ethical world, a good project gets a fair hearing — no matter who has the connections or not. But this is an attempt at a public land-grab deal by a person who makes a living in construction and stands to possibly benefit from the venture as it goes forward. And this person is the mayor’s son.

      It stinks.

      Gimenez has recused himself from making decisions on the rehab project, but leaving it in the hands of people who work for him is merely coloring within the lines allowed by law. 
      As his appointees and employees, Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp and Corrections Director Daniel Junior are the mayor’s surrogates. Their livelihoods, job performance reviews and careers depend on Gimenez.

      The incarceration-rehab project, part of a controversial national trend toward the privatization of jails, is far from being the most high-profile of the Gimenez & Sons’ issues.
      Son Carlos J. Gimenez is a lobbyist for the David Beckham group — and Mayor Gimenez has waltzed all over town from the onset of the campaign to bring Major League Soccer to Miami with Beckham and his investors in the quest to build a stadium — on public land, of course. 
      Father and son. Beckham stardom. Big money. 

      How cozy.

      And no, in this case, Gimenez isn’t invoking recusal because of a technicality: The son is a registered lobbyist on that project with the city of Miami, not the county.
      We’re talking splitting hairs here.

      It’s all legal, Gimenez insisted in a statement issued through his spokeswoman. He declined to be interviewed by the Miami Herald.

      Gimenez said he properly declares the relation, informs the chairman of the County Commission, issues a recusal, and leaves decisions to that governing body. 

      “When I was elected Mayor I asked the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics for an opinion on the recusal policy regarding any family members, and I follow exactly what the Ethics Commission recommended,” he said Thursday. “There’s a recusal process, and I have zero communication with the Deputy Mayors assigned to any projects that I recuse myself from. I have no involvement whatsoever.

      “The County Charter spells out conflicts of interest and recusal requirements,” he added. “It was approved by a majority of Miami-Dade County voters, and I abide by it.”

      The arrangement may be legal, but it’s not right — and certainly, nor fair to other vendors without the papi connection. 

      The relationship gives his sons an unfair advantage. Dad is the ultimate insider. Even if Gimenez were mum about county business around his sons — which I highly doubt — the appearance of constant conflicts should be enough of a concern to everyone.
      Why is this allowed to go on without serious scrutiny?

      I asked the executive director of the Ethics and Public Trust Commission, José Arrojo, for comment. Appointed to the job last September, he said through a spokeswoman that he’s “getting up to speed on past opinions on the mayor and his sons” and would get back to me later.

      He’s got a lot of reading to do. I’m still waiting. 

      What about the County Commission?

      It makes for an unlikely watchdog for Gimenez. The last thing commissioners want is scrutiny of family affairs, as some have relatives holding nice county jobs.

      It’s all incestuous — and, at least, the public deserves to know.

      Note: This column was corrected to reflect that while Carlos J. Gimenez is listed in the county’s database of lobbyists, his current status is inactive.

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