Florida has a problem policing itself. As far as public corruption is concerned, little law enforcement is accomplished unless the feds come to town.
In recent years, we’ve had federal investigations into financial mismanagement at Miami-Dade Transit, abuse at Florida youth prisons, ongoing investigations into Miami Police Department shootings and the boondoggle that is the taxpayer-financed Marlins Baseball Park.
This week, for the second time in just over a decade, the Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Miami officials of misleading investors about the financial health of the city.
It seems that city officials shifted funds from one account to another, in an effort to trick investors into thinking the city was financially solvent, just before they sold them hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds.
Miami has already spent 1.4 million tax dollars in attorneys’ fees to defend against the latest accusations and now faces fines for violating federal laws again. In the late 1990s, SEC investigators found that the city had defrauded bond buyers and made officials pinky-swear to never ever do it again.
At this rate, I expect to see Jimmy Carter down here in November to observe elections.
Welcome to ‘This Week in Florida’
- This is one of the most unsettling stories ever in the history of everything anywhere: A Largo puppeteer was arrested for allegedly planning to kidnap, rape, cook and eat children. Shortly thereafter, this old video was discovered of Brown on a Christian TV show talking with a puppet about “dirty pictures” and “evil thoughts.”
- Remember the tranny in Miami who was busted last year for pretending to be a doctor and injecting patients with a toxic concoction, including Fix-a-Flat, to enhance their butts, hips, thighs and breasts? Well, that really happened. And, this week, he/she was arrested for manslaughter after one of his/her victims died.
- Raids on six warehouses in Hillsborough County were part of a nationwide crackdown on “spice labs,” where producers of ‘bath salts’ and synthetic marijuana concoct their sinister brew.
- After the tragic massacre in Aurora, Colorado, some Florida moviegoers decided to carry their own concealed weapons to the movies out of an (over) abundance of caution: Gunfire erupted outside a theater in Port St. Lucieafter a midnight screening of ‘Dark Knight Rises.’
- The Orange County Health Department is investigating the ‘Wild Africa Trek’ at Walt Disney World’s Animal Planet theme park in Orlando for being too authentic after dozens of tourists have experienced nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
- If you were in prison, you’d probably want some oxy and/or roxy. A Homestead woman was just busted in Collier County for conspiring to obtain 600 Oxycodone and 200 Roxicodone tablets to smuggle into the Dade Correctional Institution. Unfortunately for her (and the prisoners), her co-conspirators turned out to be undercover cops.
- Two South Florida doctors have been charged in the deaths of nine former patients. The duo was previously indicted for their involvement in a pill mill operation that dispensed over 20 million pain pills while generating $40 million in revenue in two years.
- The Florida Panthers NHL team just partnered with a casino operator in an effort to bring gambling to the site of their arena in Sunrise. Never mind the pesky matter of illegality. This is Florida.
- In 2005, a South Florida man was sentenced to 364 days in prison for assaulting his wife. While incarcerated, he gouged his own eyes out. The man was released early after his wife agreed to take him back and, in May 2006, he gouged her eyes out, leaving her almost completely blind. This week, he was sentenced to 25 years for that attack.
- Fort Lauderdale police are investigating “a possible case of road rage” caught on surveillance cam. Based on the video, I think there’s a strong possibility it is indeed a case of road rage: A driver pulls his BMW into a driveway, exits the vehicle and fires off several rounds from a handgun at a passing pickup truck. It’s like watching the Zapruder film and saying we have “a possible case of presidential assassination.”
- A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent plead guilty to sexually assaulting three women whom he groped while they were in his custody at Miami International Airport.
- Never underestimate the ingenuity of Florida fraudsters: A Lauderhill mom was caught on security cameras in a UPC label-switching scheme that netted her tens of thousands of dollars, after she paid significantly reduced prices for toys and then resold them on eBay.
- Mandy Dawson, a former democratic state lawmaker who represented parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for tax evasion because she failed to declare income generated from political payoffs.
- Tampa is one of the strip club capitals of America and they are prepping hardcore for the upcoming Republican National Convention. One adult industry trade publisher said, "The only thing the adult club owners and me can compare it to is the Super Bowl -- except that it's five times bigger.” It was confirmed this week that Sarah Palin porn doppelganger Lisa Ann (star of Who's Nailin' Paylin?, Obama Is Nailin' Palin, Letterman's Nailin' Palin, You're Nailin' Palin, Hollywood's Nailin' Palin, and, of course, Who's Nailin' Palin? 2) will be in town for the festivities.
- Florida criminals have got to follow the rules of the road: In Port Charlotte, a meth dealer was busted on seven drug charges and two weapons charges after he was pulled over for having a defective headlight. Another man, pulled over for speeding in Collier County, was charged with human smuggling when police discovered six illegal immigrants in the vehicle.
- Stoned South Florida seniors say the cutest things.
- A Palm Bay man who calls himself “Jesus Christ,” attacked his neighbor with a crowbar because he believed he was Satan.
- Finally: 31 years ago this week, on July 27, 1981, when I was three-years old, my mother took my six-month old brother and I to the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida. We were in the Sears department store and, while my mom was distracted with shopping, I thought it would be fun to hide from her. I slipped between the clothes on a rack and, peeking out, watched her call my name and frantically search for me. I finally jumped out to surprise her. She was not surprised. She was pissed.
She grabbed my wrist with one hand and pushed my brother’s stroller with the other, towards the store exit, while loudly lecturing me, “Don’t you ever do that again! I was scared to death!”
Just then, a voice came over the PA system: “Adam Walsh, your mother is looking for you. Please find the nearest sales associate or security guard and so we can get you back to your mommy…”
My mom continued, referring to the announcement, “You see, some poor mother can’t find her son!”
Two weeks later, Adam’s severed head was discovered in Vero Beach by fishermen. His body has never been found.
The abduction of Adam Walsh became an iconic crime of the 1980s. His father, John Walsh became famous as host of the long-running TV series America’s Most Wanted.