Please allow me to introduce Demetrio Perez Jr…
Perez first made national headlines as a City of Miami Commissioner in 1982, when he threatened to ban Scarface producer Martin Bregman and director Brian DePalma from shooting on city property unless they made changes to Oliver Stone’s screenplay. He claimed that he was concerned with the negative portrayal of Mariel refugees—thousands of whom were dangerous criminals who turned South Florida upside down and contributed violently to our skyrocketing crime rate—and suggested that the character of Tony Montana be rewritten as “a Communist agent, infiltrated into the United States by the Fidel Castro government.”
Interesting perspective: Flee the oppression of Cuba for the freedom of America so that you can censor people here? I guess he wasn’t as pissed about Fidel Castro ruling with an iron fist, as he was that he wasn’t the dictator imposing his dangerous will on the people.
South Florida voters gave him plenty of opportunities to do so, however, as he was later elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board, where uniforms were a typical part of his platform to transform Miami into his own dictatorial playground.
Perez is also a slumlord and a convicted felon who defrauded the federal government and stole from South Florida’s poorest residents in a Section 8 housing scam in Little Havana. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush removed him from the school board following his 21-count federal indictment.
Most intriguingly, he owns a chain of for-profit private grade schools (a conflict that didn’t seem to concern his constituents when he served as a public school board member), where he actually wrote the textbook. The book is basically an insane ideological rant with chapters on dinner table etiquette and “civic morals” (written without irony) and a history lesson on America’s greatest president, Richard Nixon, and how he got a raw deal.
During his brief stay in Miami, Elian Gonzalez attended one of his schools, where he was shamelessly exploited by Perez.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who recently received $10,000 in campaign contributions from Perez, introduced a resolution that would issue $110 million in bonds to benefit Perez’s private and charter school business ventures. While there is no fiscal responsibility on the part of the taxpayers, Perez would be given the money to buy his private companies from himself and then be paid to run those businesses as non-profit entities, so he’ll no longer have to pay taxes on their revenue
The scheme was endorsed by the Miami-Dade County Commission last week. The resolution passed eight to zero, with no discussion or dissention. This happened after they spent an hour debating and voting on an ordinance to open their meetings with a prayer (that passed, too).
According to Commissioner Barreiro’s chief of staff, “it’s for the children.” If you believe that, I have a baseball stadium I want you to finance.
Welcome to This Week in Florida.
- A Tampa mother-daughter porn duo—known “professionally” as The Sexxxtons—have started a website and released their first DVD (whatever that is). They say their goal is “to be filthy rich.” Well, they’ve certainly accomplished the first half of that mission.
- Christian Slater was among those Floridians disenfranchised in the 2012 election. His ballot was disqualified by Miami-Dade elections officials because “the signature on the provisional ballot certificate envelope did not match the signature on [his] voter registration record."
- Don’t fret, Christian and my other fellow Floridians: Governor Rick Scott has dispatched “a team of experts” to investigate the “problem” with this year’s voting. Which will likely go a little something like this:
- The University of Miami is already internationally renowned for its shameless inability to protect its students and campuses. Last week, after a laptop had been stolen on campus, their emergency alert system (developed following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting) kicked into action, warning students simply that there was a “black male on campus.” Not an unusual occurrence, even in the upscale, predominantly white and Hispanic City of Coral Gables. Follow up messages contained either no information (see below left) or misinformation (that the suspect was armed).
- Four kittens were discovered inside sandwich bags in a St. Petersburg man's freezer by a woman who he ordered to fetch him a beer. Three were still alive. As my bubbie always says, “If it’s in the freezer, it lasts forever.”
- A Volusia County dentist has been accused of using laughing gas on herself while working on patients (again).
- Former Florida Highway Patrolman and Sweetwater police officer Manuel Pardo is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection for murdering nine people nearly 27 years ago. For animal lovers, less moved by the suffering of humans: Pardo was a Hitler fanatic who once had a Doberman pinscher with a swastika tattoo.
- An Orlando man waited patiently for the elevator doors to close, then choked his girlfriend until she passed out and drug her unconscious body down the hallway. Turns out, there wasn’t as much privacy on the elevator as he hoped and the entire incident was caught on surveillance video.
- Call it, The Agony of Ecstasy: A 39-year-old Spring Hill woman, suffering from a rare and debilitating sex arousal disorder, committed suicide. Doctors believe that “persistent genital arousal disorder” is caused by nerve malfunction. It leads to repeated unstoppable orgasms and those inflicted, “must masturbate for hours for just a few minutes of relief.” The woman had attempted suicide at least three times prior.
- City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones—who was wrongfully accused in one state criminal case and acquitted in another—filed suit against Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, among others. She accused them of false arrest, fabricating and concealing evidence, malicious prosecution, and violating her civil rights and the First and Fourth Amendments. The 106-page complaint also alleges that their conspiracy is a violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
- A Lehigh Acres dad was found driving around with his 2-year-old son—and a needle, two small baggies, and blood pouring from a fresh track mark on his arm.
- City of Miami Beach Police Officer Eliut Hazzi was fired for abusing his position and falsifying police reports in a 2009 gay bashing incident that cost taxpayers $75,000 in a legal settlement with the victim. He’s getting his job back.
- For Floridians dreaming of a White Christmas, the Coast Guard unloaded 4,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $45 million in St. Petersburg. The white stuff was seized from smugglers in the Caribbean.
- A Deerfield Beach man called 911 to say: “Um, I just stabbed a homeless man… I don’t know if he’s dead or not.” He was. And now 23-year-old John Stabile has been charged with the first-degree murder of 42-year-old Bradley Suessine.
- Seminole High School in Boca Ciega was locked down after a student brought a mercury-filled thermometer in for a chemistry class project. No one was ever in danger, but a hazmat crew was on hand to maximize the overreaction.
- A 20-year veteran Orlando cop has been charged with sexual battery on a woman that he arrested a few weeks ago. Not for nothing, he “gave the victim $40 and told her he'd give her another $100 the next time he saw her.”
- As we all know, the expansion of civil rights based on gender identity or sexuality is a gateway to hedonism—just like marijuana use is a slippery slope to bath salts. An organization called the Florida Family Council is concerned that a proposed change to the Orange County School Board’s nondiscrimination policy is going to lead to cross-dressing teachers in classrooms.
- Police responded to a call about a naked man on a Tarpon Springs golf course. But when they got there, the golf course was bare, too. The naked man attacked a 7-Eleven clerk and led cops on a car chase before being apprehended.
- Elsewhere in Florida golf course news, Michael Jordan was thrown out of “swanky” LaGorce Country Club in Miami Beach for reportedly violating the dress code by wearing cargo shorts. No word on whether he was sporting his Hitler mustache.
- An 8-year-old Georgia girl was bit on her hand while she fed a dolphin at SeaWorld theme park in Orlando. To paraphrase Chris Rock: That dolphin went dolphin.
- A Miami man faces 20 years in federal prison for smuggling birds from Cuba in his pants.
- A Palm Coast man left a pit bull (a dog, not Miami’s hip-hop legend) to babysit his girlfriend’s 10-month-old while he split to drink at a bar.
- A father and son were arrested in Seffner where they were allegedly running a massive dog-fighting ring for the last 20 years. Investigators say there could be as many as 100 animals buried on their property.
- A Lido Key condominium building was evacuated when a fire broke out in one of the units. The unit that was being used as a meth lab.
- A St. Petersburg man stabbed his roommate to death during an argument over a "missing corn dog."
- An Ocala man was shot by a cop, handcuffed and placed facedown on the ground, where another cop stunned him with a stun gun for several minutes. Now they’re rightfully being sued for wrongful death.
- The scene of the “longest shootout in FBI history” is for sale. The Ocklawaha house of “Public Enemy No. 1” Ma Barker is listed at $889,000, down from the original $1 million asking price.
- Have It Your Way: Three Miami-area Burger Kings were robbed in two days.
- This is why they say, “There’s Always A Florida Connection”:
The woman who Lindsay Lohan was arrested for punching at a New York nightclub is from West Palm Beach—where she used to work as a psychic. The 28-year-old palm and tarot card reader Tiffany Eve Mitchell goes by the, uh, professional (?) name “Ava” and owned Psychic Visions, a business near the legendary Breakers Golf Course. Insert your “she-should-have-seen-the-punch-coming” joke here.
A 60-year-old Florida man was found unconscious behind the wheel of his rental car with the engine still running by the University of Colorado police in Boulder. He ate a pot brownie from a Denver dispensary and planned on "going to the mountains.” Like most people in Boulder, he had absolutely no idea how he wound up in Boulder.
A Miami man filed suit against former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, alleging they had a sexual relationship while the man was underage. This civil suit could ultimately lead to criminal charges because, the complaint claims, “Clash transported him across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.” This is the fourth accuser—the second from Florida—to come forward in recent weeks.
- After four hours of drinking during last week’s Monday Night Football game, a 50-year-old Silver Springs man was so pissed about the Redskins beating the Giants that he beat his wife, barricaded himself in his home, and shot repeatedly at police during an hours-long standoff.
- Three men in Lehigh Acres were caught packaging 70 pounds of pot as Christmas presents, complete with packing peanuts and festive holiday wrapping paper.
- Former Florida Republican leaders say that voter suppression was the primary intention of new state election laws pushed through by GOP legislators that reduced the number of early voting days and limited the ability of organizations to register new voters. And now, Florida Democrats want the feds to investigate.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott’s “Job Czar,” Hunting Deutsch, resigned amid reports he collected unemployment for over a year while he and his wife traveled Europe. It was an ironic position for a man who hadn’t had a job for three years prior to the appointment (he was fired from his bank executive gig in 2009, which is how he qualified for the benefits) and, during his tenure as the head of the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity, it has gotten much more difficult for those in need to access unemployment.
- A rent-a-rabbi was busted at Miami international Airport for an insurance fraud scheme where he would collect his luggage and then claim it was lost. Over and over and over again. He generated over $30,000 in the scheme.
- A Flagler County couple, tired of their 15-year-old daughter lying, drinking, staying out late, and sneaking boys into the house, did what any responsible parents would do: Forced her to stand in a busy intersection holding a sign.
- Owners of the Miami Heat want to start negotiating an extension on their “sweetheart” lease at Miami-Dade County’s American Airlines Arena—eight years before the current deal expires. This arrangement has cost taxpayers $84 million and yielded the county $0.00 in revenue sharing since the team moved in 12 years ago.
- A Boca Raton millionaire dropped $200,000 on a blimp that he intends to fly around with signs calling out corrupt politicians in Palm Beach County.
- And it was a big week for Florida bad girls going worse:
An Ormond Beach woman was busted for drunk driving in a Wal-mart parking lot while throwing shit-filled paper towels at 3:30 AM. Or, as locals call it: The only thing to do in Ormond Beach. This was the second time the woman was arrested in a week (the previous charge had nothing to do with poo or Wal-mart).
Meanwhile, at a Lee County Wal-mart, a woman posed as a store employee, holding a clipboard while two accomplices emptied three cash registers.
A Bradenton woman allegedly beat up her boyfriend after he ended their love-making session… prematurely. He got off and went to sleep, leaving his woman unsatisfied. She woke him up with her fists.
In Pasco, a woman got into an argument with her boyfriend over his pet cat. She stabbed the boyfriend and threw the cat out the window.
A Bartow mail carrier poisoned her husband's tuna fish sandwich with crushed Trazodone pills in a failed attempt to murder him. Perhaps this could help explain the half-hearted nature of the endeavor: Investigators also found a “pouch containing cannabis” in her bedroom.
A former stripper in New Port Richey, who was hooked on Oxycodone, got sentenced to 15 years in prison for dragging a cop from the side of her truck during a chase.
Previously - Titty Twisters and Striptease Turkeys
Billy Corben is the co-producer and director of Cocaine Cowboys, The U, and the upcoming Broke for ESPN 30 for 30 Vol. II, among other films. He also runs The Billy Pulpit.