Will Miami’s city manager stand up to Joe Carollo?

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Miami's Community Newspapers

We recently asked if Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo was above the law. It looks like we got our answer.

Joe has been on a tear throughout the Magic City rooting out scofflaws who violate the city’s building code. He’s been after Bill Fuller and the Ball & Chain tavern like Batman stalking the Joker.

It turns out that Joe should have paid a little more attention to his Batcave.
Fuller recently conducted a press conference in front of City Hall with proof that Joe hadn’t bothered to pull any permits for the work done at his Coconut Grove house.

When asked about it, Carollo’s office first hemmed and hawed. Then Joe said he followed “state law.” For a man who claims to know the City of Miami Building Code backward and forward, Carollo should know that is not how it works.


His carport was built without any permits or inspections. And from the pictures, it looks flimsy enough to be a hazard in a hurricane, tropical storm, or even a blustery day. And, against the city’s landscape ordinance, he chopped down protected trees.

The revelations that Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo hasn’t ever pulled a permit for construction at his home has angered lots of citizens — Miami residents and property owners most of all because they don’t get to pick and choose which laws apply to them.

Joe, the lumberjack, claims that he is exempt from the City Code and followed the county’s Building Code (which is applicable in the unincorporated areas, not the City of Miami).

Only corrupt politicians get to pick the rules that apply to them, while demanding that the full brunt of the law be brought down on other who might have committed the same acts.

No other citizen, commercial property owner, or investor in Miami can do the same.

The ultimate judge of this comic book saga is Miami city manager Emilio Gonzalez, who as it turns out, is a frequent target of Carollo’s ambush-style attacks.

The question is whether this 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army is steely enough to uphold the law or will he bow down to Carollo’s never-ending, paranoia-fueled assaults?

In truth, he is no superhero, only a scared poliitician tossing insults at his foes — using spurious allegations with absolutely no evidence — to delegitimize any effort at accountability. He also is shameless with the sense of honor of a goldfish, continuing to charge forward and bully and undermine any scrutiny of his Coconut Grove home, which has been shown to contain lots of illegal work.

Ball & Chain owner Bill Fuller has submitted the results of his private investigation into the violations at Carollo’s house to commissioners and the top echelons of the city.

The public deserves not only answers, but also transparency. They need to know that inspectors and officials had full access to Carollo’s house. The only way to get that is by having the media join inspectors, so they can have first-hand knowledge of what happened.

Otherwise, Carollo will show that he is above the law and that he is a swaggering dictator.

Miami’s Community Newspapers has thousands of readers who live in the city of Miami, many of whom have voiced their skepticism that Gonzalez has the courage to do what the law requires.

I call on Gonzalez to act swiftly. The more he delays the inspections, the more doubt will be sown in the hearts of citizens. I also call on the city manager to invite the media to participate in the inspection, so that there can be no doubt whether Carollo broke the law. And, that Carollo’s consequences are in line with his total disregard for the law.

City manager Emilio Gonzalez must show everyone that the City of Miami’s most bellicose vigilante is not above the law.


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