You may have seen or heard that Commissioner Valerie Newman and ex-City of Miami Police Chief Ken Harms have accused me and my wife of improper behavior.
I want you to know that these accusations are absolutely false. They are part of a political smear campaign against me and other members of the City Commission who are routing out some of the worst corruption this city has even seen. Last week the Commission fired the city manager, a man who had been protecting a corrupt police chief. Now the police chief and his promoters, Valerie Newman and Ken Harms, are fighting back by attacking my family. Remember, Newman and Harms strongly pushed the hiring of the city manager and police chief. Unknown to me at that time, the manager and chief had a relationship that goes back decades.
First I’ll set the record straight:
Twenty months ago (March, 3, 2011) a masked intruder came into our home early in the morning, terrified my family and stole $6,000 worth of computers. At 6:13 am that morning, I was awoken by a horrific scream from the 17 year-old exchange student who was part of our family that year. I vaulted out of bed to defend her, as any parent would, without taking time to get dressed.
She told police that when she came out of her own bedroom in the dim, pre-dawn light, to prepare for school, she saw someone in the kitchen area whom she first assumed was me. When she realized it was a stranger wearing a bag over his head, she screamed and locked herself in the bathroom off the hallway. My parents were visiting so the house was a bit cramped, but the exchange student always had her own bedroom.
The burglar who entered and robbed our house was never caught despite his reappearance in front of our home a few days later. But now, nearly two years later, I am being accused of acting improperly as a host parent because I did not take the time to dress before going to the aid of our exchange student. At the time of the robbery, the police interviewed the exchange student and concluded that there was no reason for concern about her welfare or that of our then 12-year-old daughter.
The current accusations are ‘supported’ by so-called ‘evidence’ that the police leadership ordered to be added to the police file 16 months after the burglary.
Newman and Harms have even suggested I committed the burglary myself.
So now, just days after the commission fired the city manager, and the police chief stands to lose his job, this ‘evidence’ of an almost two-year-old incident is pushed into the hands of any reporter who will stoop low enough to consider it a story.
WHY WOULD ANYONE DO SUCH A THING TO ME AND MY FAMILY?
I have been investigating the Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro for the past nine months. So far, he has been charged with 4 ethics violations by the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission and will stand for a hearing in January – if he’s found guilty, he automatically forfeits his position. In addition, I have presented proof, uploaded to my blog last week, that the chief committed numerous misdemeanors. The City Manager, whom the City Commission fired last week, had allowed Chief Martinez de Castro to repeatedly abuse the authority of his position.
For example, in the case of the burglary of our home –
- Original police investigation noted were ‘lost’ or destroyed despite the importance of retaining notes in an open investigation of a burglary.
- The police leadership ordered new records to be manufactured 16 months after the burglary occurred.
- The police chief released confidential records to his friends Valerie Newman and Ken Harms who further twisted the story when they took it to the press 20 months after the burglary of our home.
Who is safe with a man like Chief Martinez de Castro running the South Miami Police Department? If a corrupt police chief will do these things to the elected Mayor, just imagine what he would do to the average citizen, or a member of our minority community, or a visitor?
If you got on the wrong side of this police chief, what would he do to YOU?
THAT is the real story here. And it’s a shame, not only because our city does not deserve such abuse, but because it discourages rational and responsible people from taking part in municipal governance. I ran for Mayor to serve my fellow citizens and to make our city a better place to live. Instead I am embroiled in a morass of shenanigans, corruption, and cronyism. But cleaning up this mess is necessary for our future as a city, so I remain undeterred. This corrupt excuse for a law enforcement official MUST GO.
I look forward to returning as soon as possible to the productive issues that will move our city forward. In the meantime, my family and I thank you for your support.
Philip K Stoddard
Philip Stoddard, Ph.D.
Mayor of South Miami
Read on Mayor Stoddard’s blog.