Phil Stoddard is a White Elephant That South Miami Can’t Afford

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Grant Miller, Publisher

When the ancient kings of Siam wanted to exact revenge on their adversaries, they didn’t have them killed or wage war upon them. They gave them a gift — a rare albino elephant. Due to the animal’s fair skin, it had to be kept indoors.  The cost of keeping a white elephant, a creature that could do no work, often bankrupted the recipient.

Mayor Philip Stoddard is South Miami’s white elephant, a creature who risks bankrupting the City before he’s term limited out of office.  Stoddard thinks himself a gift to the City’s residents, but in truth he’s been as much trouble as the pale pachyderms of legend.

You can start with the wrongful termination suit that former Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro filed against the City of South Miami. Phil led the effort to fire the Chief on the pretext the Chief’s taking the role of Acting City Manager at the request of Phil and the Commission was a de facto resignation as the City’s top law enforcer.

The City lost the case, at trial and on appeal, which eventually cost the City about $1.5 million.  The firing was actually rooted in the Chief’s refusal to remove portions of the investigation of his March 2011 “burglary” that discussed Phil’s frequent admissions that he was naked with a high school foreign exchange student and his daughter when the break-in was supposed to have occurred.

For a while Phil had a blog, where he not only commented on issues concerning South Miami, but used as a vehicle to exact revenge against his enemies.  Keep in mind that this was not an official city venue. It was Stoddard’s private blog. He published columns that went after Martinez and South Miami Detective Jose Diaz, accusing both of illegal activities.

Phil Stoddard, South Miami Mayor

Separately, both men sued Stoddard for defamation.  The Lopez case was scheduled for trial. Stoddard and Lopez were eyeball-to-eyeball when Stoddard blinked.  The case was just dismissed — the Miami-Dade Clerk published noticed of a settlement. Sources I have spoken to say that Lopez was paid over $100,000.

After fighting for so long, why did the City and Stoddard throw in the towel? It’s likely that the result of an FDLE investigation undertaken at Stoddard’s demand proved that the central pillar of Phil’s defense was meritless. Phil claimed he was the victim of a police conspiracy because of the numerous notations about his notorious nudity. The FDLE’s conclusion was that there was no conspiracy against Phil by Lopez and the other officers.

Sources tell me that when the results of the FDLE investigation were tossed into Stoddard’s lap by Stephen Cody and finally made public, Phil had no choice but to pay out through the trunk – er – nose.

The Chief’s slander case against Stoddard is awaiting trial, but I expect that it will be settled like Lopez’s was, quietly and without notice.  That case is being defended with an attorney also provided by the City’s insurer. It remains to be seen how much this will eventually cost the City.

We still need to add in the costs of Phil’s defense of the pending ethics complaint filed by Cody. Phil twice kept Cody from speaking at a public meeting of the City Commission.  Cody complained to the County’s Ethics Commission and they found probable cause that he violated the Citizens’ Bill of Rights. The case is moving forward to a hearing that may determine whether Phil forfeits his position as Mayor.

After initially agreeing to cover the cost of Stoddard’s defense in Cody’s ethics complaint, the City Commission reconsidered and voted not to pay for his defense.  Never hesitant to worm his hand into someone else’s pocket, Phil made another claim on the City’s insurance policy. In a shade meeting out of the public eye, Steve Alexander told the Commissioners that, notwithstanding their decision not to fund Stoddard’s defense and notwithstanding a limit on the City Manager writing checks over $5,000, he was going to pay the $75,000 deductible out of City funds.

Plus, the Mayor just settled the suit brought against him by a young man who went into distress at a Halloween party at Phil’s house and Phil refused to call 911.  Luckily, the young man recovered and is making Stoddard pay. Thankfully, Stoddard couldn’t think of a way to claim that hosting a Halloween party for teens was part of his official duties and sticking City taxpayers with the tab.

Phil has cost the citizens of South Miami close to $2 million for his grudges, his vanities, and his follies.  He is proving to be the whitest of white elephants. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t send the City hurtling towards bankruptcy during the final year of his last term.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. You are spot on with your analogy,Mr.Miller! The mayor has been profligate with our general fund. There is no consciousness of the fact that those tax dollars were earned by the hard work of the people. That money is treated like play money by Stoddard, and that attitude extends to the City Manager and some others, including some elected officials, as evidenced by the votes on the dais.
    As for the settlement of the Lopez case, taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay even one dollar of that expense,since the mayor caused that lawsuit by the reckless use of his own personal blog which had absolutely nothing to do with his official duties. The expenses incurred as a result of our losel mayor’s profligacy will look miniscule when compared with the tragic lose that the people of this city are about to suffer.
    I am referring to the firesale price of our most valuable asset, the City Hall property, which is being sold dirt cheap to the Lynx Corporation. This will be the biggest lose in the history of South Miami! This is being promoted and negotiated by City Manager Steven Alexander who was brought into this city and works at the behest of Stoddard, along with the complicit City Commission.
    The people were conned into voting yes on the straw ballot item, with the carrot dangling in front of them that the sale might pay for a sewer system to replace their undesirable septic tanks. They were told at a recent Commission meeting by the City Manager that there wouldn’t be any county sewer system as a result of the sale! This is no wonder, given the fact that the publicly owned property is being sold dirt cheap to the Lynx Corporation.
    Too many voters in this city have been asleep at the wheel for far too long and have allowed all of this to take place by their poor judgement as voters or their utter lack of even showing up to vote. Ultimately, those who don’t bother to watch meetings or even vote will have to live with the consequences of their poor and feckless disregard for the responsibilities of citizenship. The inmates are running the asylum, and have been for years, while most residents don’t pay any attention. Now we will all suffer the consequences!

  2. This lecherous little man deserves everything he gets . Shame on the City for keeping this unethical little man as mayor !!! The citizens of South Miami need to open their eyes .

  3. So the citizens of South Mismi turn a blind eye as this man destroys lives, futures and professionals because of his fears of being unmasked. I trained Landa the current Chief. This was a straight laced cops cop who was corrupted by promise of power etc. the City of South Miami does not take their valuable time to vote for thier political leader. Thus you all get what you justly deserve. If the shoe fits, wear it. The city of fools.

  4. $2 million is chump change compared to Stoddard and his hand-picked city manager’s upcoming heist–to sell our city hall site for $26 million, a 55% discount to Stoddard’s pal, an FIU Trustee. That’s $30 million less than what the sales price should be based on recent comparables.

  5. I agree with Bamm-Bamm! This deal should be investigated by the proper authorities snd reported to Governor DeSantis. It looks as crooked as a dog’s hind legs.

  6. The illicit re-zoning of our treasured City Hall property to appease developers is yet another lawsuit waiting to happen along with a malpractice lawsuit against the “City Attorney”. Sadly, he has a record of “opining” against the best interest of South Miami residents and is viewed as being more afraid of losing his lucrative taxpayer paid income than doing what is right by the very people who pay his salary…hence the unprecedented lawsuits. The City’s Charter is clear with respect to the number of votes required by the City Commission to change zoning. With respect to the no-bid, sweetheart deal for the developer, the Lynx Corporation president is a Trustee at FIU. This in itself speaks volumes. The Lynx Corporation is salivating over the fact that they will acquire our iconic City Hall property for pennies on the dollar then flip it to make an obscene profit at the expense of South Miami taxpayers. Looking at the “campaign contribution” by Lynx to PAC’s involved in the last election is a factor which will be made public for those in South Miami who haven’t had the time to follow the money and corruption. The lawsuits will continue and yes…. White Elephant indeed!
    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”.-Sir Walter Scott

  7. Bamm-Bamm, I agree. Maybe that is why FIU continues to cover up for Stoddard and his buddy, Carlos “the exhibitionist” Piñero.” I hear the mayor sent a letter to FIU in defense of this pervert. The case was dismissed without the victims being contacted, go figure how far corruption could reach.
    Maybe the proper authorities are already investigating! FOLLOW THE MONNEY!!!

    YABBA-DABBA DO!!!!!!!

  8. Your beloved Mayor is nothing more than a naughty professor and no not like Jerry Lewis. Tomorrow night he will be exposed for who and what he is. He will be exposed for keeping friends who have been charged with predatory behaviour. He will be exposed for standing up for predators and for being mentored and supervised by predators. All will see who he brings into his City and allows to stay in his home while he is away.

    Burglary? 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😎😎

    Yea right?

  9. Channel 10 news at 11 p.m. tonight. Maybe they will consider some more topics sometime soon. “The Corrupt Sale of the City Hall Property to an FIU Trustee” would be a great one to wake up some authorities from their coma-like Rip Van Winkle sleep. 😪😪😴😴😯🤤😲 Some of the people in City Hall should be wearing orange jumpsuits for many years! The public was really stupid to fall victim to this con job, but the perps have to be held accountable.
    This never would have happened if Hector Mirable had been retained as City Manager. He is a man of sterling character who would never compromise his integrity. That’s why Stoddard and pals voted to fire him. Dr.Mirable refused to go along with the illegal firing of Chief Martinez de Castro. Look at how much money that cost the tax payers!😲 Look at what we stand to lose now! Our most valuable publicly owned asset! Citizens, wake up and realize that you have a corrupt City Hall. “Speak now, or forever hold your peace”,as the old saying goes. 😩😣😭

  10. Channel 10 news tnight at 11 p.m.! South Miami residents need to watch this to see what kind of person they put into office!🤧😳😲😦😝😔

  11. After watching the Channel 10 piece, I can’t help but to wonder. Why would the FIU administration ask Phil to assist in handling this matter. Maybe because Phil, might have some pull at the state attorneys office! Again, abusing his Mayor’s position. Phil has a history of calling the state attorneys’ office to have charges dropped for his friends. FIU police had the women positively identify the perv. Why would the state attorney think that the women would not identify the perv and drop the charges? Sounds like something is going on! Guaranteed that the sale of city hall is mixed up in this.

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