The Mother of All Political Bombs Gets Dropped on Stoddard

Are non-profit hospital mergers making things better or worse?

Grant Miller

GRANT MILLER OPINION PIECE: The Chinese government just announced that it had caught up with the U.S. and developed its own version of the Mother of All Bombs, a giant conventional weapon with the explosive power of a small nuclear warhead.  That news reminded me of what just happened at the January 3rd meeting of the South Miami City Commission.

Stephen Cody, the man who is taking Mayor Philip Stoddard before the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & the Public Trust, dropped the Mother of All Political Bombs on Phil Stoddard.  Two Mother Bombs, actually.

Even the most occasional reader of this newspaper has read about the aftermath of the burglary of Philip Stoddard’s house that allegedly took place in March 2011. What happened in the wee small hours of that March morning continues to radiate outward, like a boulder tossed into a backyard swimming pond.

The South Miami Police were on scene at Phil’s house within 30 seconds after he hung up after making his 911 call.  The first officer on the scene was there quick enough to see a naked Phil Stoddard putting on his pants in front of his daughter and a Russian exchange student.

The South Miami PD did an immediate and thorough canvass of the neighborhood, but no suspect was found and none of the neighbors reporting seeing anyone.  Still, the investigation proceeded. Months went by.

Sixteen months after the alleged burglary, the South Miami Police Department closed the case. The last official acts were a Supplemental Report filed by a Police Lieutenant and an inter-office memo put in the file by another officer.

Mayor Philip Stoddard

It was those last two acts that triggered Phil Stoddard.

The FDLE documents, which Cody provided to the City Commission, state that on July 10, 2013, the Miami office of the FDLE received a phone call from Stoddard claiming that a criminal act had been committed by the filing of the last two reports.

The FDLE took the matter seriously, to their credit. Any charge of police misconduct should be thoroughly investigated, if for no other reason than to preserve the integrity of our criminal justice system.

The FDLE started with a review of the burglary file itself and interviewed Internal Affairs Sgt. Jeff Griffin. From there, they took a statement from Detective Lisa King, who had interviewed the Russian exchange student just after the burglary had taken place.

The FDLE next interviewed Major Ana Baixauli, who gave a sworn statement which was recorded. (A link to the audio file can be found at the end of this article, as well as link to the full report of the FDLE.)  The FDLE summary of the interview of Baixauli states: “While walking them through the house discussing the incident, Stoddard took them to his bedroom and pointed to what looked like a ‘doggie bed’ at the foot of his bed and said that the girls (his adoptive daughter and 16 year old exchange student) were sleeping there. Stoddard called the sleeping area for the two girls ‘the nest.’ Baixauli asked Stoddard again about the ‘doggie bed.’ Stoddard told her, he called it the nest. Stoddard explained that his parents were in town, his house was crowded, and the girls were displaced.”

Former South Miami Manager Hector Mirabile was also interviewed and gave a sworn statement that was also recorded. (A link to the Mirabile interview is also at the end of this article.)

The FDLE also interviewed South Miami High Principal Gilberto Bonce, the school where the Russian exchange student was enrolled.  Bonce stated that he learned of the burglary and the fact that Phil was naked with the exchange student from a link he received in 2013, long after the exchange student left the school. The FDLE summary of the interview states that, if Bonce had known those facts while the exchange student was in attendance, he would have been obligated to contact the Department of Children and Families.

When Stoddard and his wife were interviewed by the FDLE, they reportedly claimed to be the victims of a “conspiracy” and identified two South Miami Police officers who would corroborate their conspiracy claims. However, both officers were interviewed by the FDLE and neither knew anything about a conspiracy.

The agency spoke with Yvonne Foreman, an official with the student exchange program that had placed the Russian juvenile in Stoddard’s home. The alleged burglary was news to the exchange agency. Ms. Foreman is reported to have stated that had “PAX Academic Exchange been made aware of the burglary and the possibility that Stoddard was naked that PAX Academic Exchange would have pulled the child from the home.”

In the end, the FDLE didn’t find any evidence of a conspiracy. Stoddard was left like Captain Queeg, played by Humphrey Bogart in the movie The Caine Mutiny, who nervously rolled a pair of steel balls in his hands as his claims of being unjustly set upon by his officers fell apart.

The investigation of the criminal conspiracy alleged by Phil Stoddard did not end with a bang, but instead died with a whimper.  And the details of the FDLE investigation might have faded into obscurity if the file had not been saved and later produced in response to a public records request.  They are now part of the official records of the City of South Miami.

Almost everything that has happened to Phil in the last several years has spiraled outward from the events of the alleged March 3, 2011 burglary and how he reacted to them.

Photo Credit: ROBERTO KOLTUN RKOLTUN@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

Phil stopped Cody from speaking about the mishandling of the firing of Chief Martinez and the resulting costs on two separate occasions because he was afraid that it would hurt the chances of his reelection.  That resulted in a complaint to the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and their finding of probable cause. The ethics trial is scheduled for March 2019. A finding by the Ethics Commission that Stoddard acted intentionally would result in his automatic removal from office.

The second political bomb that Cody set off at the meeting could do even greater damage to the City of Pleasant Living because of documents produced by the City itself.

Phil hosted a Halloween party for his daughter and her friends at his house in 2014. At the party, a young man, still a minor, went into distress. Phil did not call 911 but had some of the other young men present carry the sick teen out of his house. The boy’s mother arrived just in time to take him to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where he drifted in and out of consciousness.

Cody asked the City to provide him with all text messages between Stoddard and Police Chief Rene Landa. What he got included an exchange of texts between the Mayor and Chief dated November 1, 2014, the day after the Halloween party. The message from the Chief had been redacted by City Attorney Thomas Pepe.

Cody told Stoddard and the Commissioners that he had been able to get a copy of the unredacted text. (When I asked, he wouldn’t tell me how.)  The unredacted text show that November 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM, the Chief sent Stoddard a text with the name and telephone number of the young man who, at the time, was still recovering at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Interestingly, the redacted version didn’t redact the kid’s phone number — it wiped it away entirely.

Section 856.105 of the Florida Statutes requires that a person in control of a residence must not allow or permit minors to consume alcohol or drugs. It doesn’t matter whether the homeowner supplies the booze or drugs to the kids or the kids bring it themselves.  Violating this provision of the law is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.

At the time when Stoddard should have been considered a suspect of violating section 856.015, Chief Landa was sharing the name and telephone number of the minor victim of the crime with him.  That would be akin to Landa divulging the name and phone number of a rape victim to the likely suspect. It goes against every norm of law enforcement. Whether it is a crime will have to be determined.

This matter is worsened by the fact that City Attorney Pepe reviewed the document and, while in his hands, the name of the minor was blackened out and the phone number was removed.  Had Pepe been on the ball, he should have contacted the FDLE and reported Chief Landa. This is a matter the City’s Internal Affairs Division could not have investigated. From all appearances, Pepe kept what Stoddard and Landa did to himself.

And Phil?  He used his position as Mayor to get the Chief to give him the name and telephone number of the minor victim. Someone with no political power would never have been able to get the Chief to divulge the young man’s identity.  Landa, however, being an obsequious bureaucrat, complied with the enthusiasm of a yellow Labrador pup.

The takeaway from these sorted affairs shows that we need more investigations. If the South Miami City Commission will not act and investigate Stoddard, Pepe, and Landa, then the Ethics Commission, the FDLE, and any and all other appropriate law enforcement agencies need to step in and do it quickly.

The force of the two Mother of All Political Bombs that Stephen Cody dropped this month is going to reverberate well into the New Year and may shake the City to its foundation.


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46 Comments on "The Mother of All Political Bombs Gets Dropped on Stoddard"

  1. The truth and transparency always prevail.
    It is just a a matter of time to realize and understand their actions were criminal in nature with malice and the continue attempts to deceive everyone the real truth of their evil actions.
    Is just a matter of time that it will be clear and transparent.

  2. Stoddard never had steel ball!

  3. Law abd Order | January 7, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Reply

    The truth always prevails and the wrong doings also are always uncovered.
    Citizens should be ashamed of their Mayor and Chief. Policies and criminal action are obvious broken or disregarded.

    They all should be held responsible and accountable for their actions on braking the law.

    Imagine what else illegally or unethically is occurring?
    internally

  4. A good man under outrageous assault by political hoods!

  5. You should get a job as speach writer for Donald Trump, you speak the same language…

  6. It is no coincidence that the continuous downward spiral of ethical and moral behaviour of our South Miami government over the past 9 plus years has resulted in a proportionally inverse effect on taxes. In addition, the unprecedented waste of time, energy and resources spent on covering up corrupt behaviour has resulted in creating even more liability. Liability which taxpayers will continue to fund well into the future as our insurance premiums continue to rise. The tax dollars and time wasted could have been better used to invest in improving our decrepit looking down town which would have created more revenue as opposed to the continuous loss of revenue.

  7. The Ethics Commission does not have the power to automatically remove anyone from office. Please correct that statement.

    • Rhonda: You are correct that the Ethics Commission does not, by itself have the power to remove Phil Stoddard. They can’t take a vote for removal. However, the South Miami City Charter provides in its Citizens’ Bill of Rights under “Remedies for Violations” the following text: “Any public official or employee who is found by the Commission to have willfully violated this article shall forthwith forfeit his office or
      employment.” Thus, the Ethics Commission does not order the removal from office. The finding of intentional action triggers the automatic forfeiture of office. This is something the voters of the City of South Miami adopted. It’s not a power they granted to the Ethics Commission. It is a power they reserved to themselves.

  8. Tic toc. Tic toc.

  9. This article pretty much sums up the corruption of Mayor Stoddard, but he is not alone, also included are Commissioner’s Welsh, Harris, Liebman, and Gil. city manager, Steve Alexander, corrupt city attorney, Thomas Pepe, City Manager’s side kick, Ms. Kamali, all department heads, including IT, Finance, Planning Director and the list goes on. This is old news for residents who have followed the reign of Stoddard from the beginning, spoke publically about it and admonished for it not only by the motley crew on the dais but by Stoddard’s puppets as well, residents of the city. The way he aligned himself to protect himself and his agenda is even incorporated in the city boards, where he continues to reappoint the same people on the budget committee, planning board, and environmental review board. These appointments are all moles in the city’s government. It amazes me FIU, who employs not only Mayor Stoddard but Mrs. Stoddard as well, has not terminated either the Mayor or his wife for the alcoholic party of minors they supervised in their home. Mrs. Stoddard always stands by her man, if you can call him that, but she is party to the so called robbery in her home as well as the alcohol flowing in their home. I read that RUM was flowing there, just so happens to be Mayor Stoddard’s alcoholic beverage choice, yet he spins this incident and blames the victim. The creepy professor has no backbone or conscience. FIU knew Professor Phil Stoddard and Professor Grey Stoddard allowed their teenage daughter and Russian exchange student sleep at the foot bed of their beds, while Stoddard freely walked around naked, and FIU does nothing? Perhaps FIU didn’t terminate these unfit parents because they need Mayor Stoddard to sell City Hall at a fire sale price to one of their own boards members. Mayor Stoddard, his wife, the city manager, city attorney, finance director, all commissioners should be in prison. Mayor Stoddard and his wife are not fit to be professors of FIU after what has been uncovered and FIU needs to be held accountable. It is time the Ethics Commission holds Mayor Stoddard accountabily, finds him quilty, and removed from office by the Governor, and FIU should terminate this couple immediately for the sake of the young adults in their school

  10. Steven leidner | January 8, 2019 at 10:48 am | Reply

    Reads like a tabloid salacious smear campaign. I can understand Mayor Stoddard wanting to check the status of his daughter’s friend.I doubt he was worried about a 2nd. degree misdemeanor charge except how it would be used politically.
    If he is found guily in a court of law to exposure to the exchange student that warrants legal consequences. I am unaware of the legal standards of an ehics commission and will withold comment.

  11. Anonymous! Who’s got the steel balls – those who have strong opinions and some alleged facts, but who will not own their own words? What exactly is wrong with Mayor Stoddard’s agenda? More trees, more solar energy, lowering crime, lowering taxes (the alleged rise in taxes is an alternative fact), pushing for more affordable housing – are these bad agenda items? If the residents of this City were more interested in the City’s management, the same people wouldn’t always be re-appointed to boards. There are very few people who would like to be members of boards who are not on those boards.

  12. Glad I live in Cutler Bay

  13. Burro, you obviously were called upon by Mayor Stoddard to write anything in his favor and discredit others who post. He is known to do that, that is what sociopaths and liars do. Obviously, you would be embarrassed if you had a fleck of knowledge about the city and all the things he told you to mention. Come back to earth, read the documentation, and use your brain, it is even clear to a 14 year old. There are facts in the paper’s article, even links to depositions. Tic Tock, Tic Tock, the new Governor was just sworn into office. Hopefully the removal of Mayor Stoddard’s behind and the rest of the scum will be escorted out of City Hall and into a van BTW Burro, your name is the only one that seems to always appear in social media where an article speaks the facts of Stoddard, nothing more to be said.

  14. Antoinette Fischer | January 8, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Reply

    I agree with Mr.Grant Miller that more investigation is needed. A forensic audit, and more will show that City Hall is rife with corruption. I believe that the corruption goes from the top down and it will be found that certain employees have been doing what they are told even when it is wrong.
    Why did the Commission sit there for over a year and not challenge the mayor when they saw that he was using an electronic device to control the voices of speakers during public remarks? Why did the Planning Dept accept an application from a developer that was signed by a person who had no legal authority to sign for the owner? Why did the Commission accept a new Comprehensive Plan which is filled with falsehoods listing property as park space when it is not usable and city does not have a legal right to even call those properties park space? When I complained about those issues and more, the people sitting at the dais were mute and allowed these wrongdoings, and more. Many people have been complicit for years. Shame on the voters who haven’t paid attention to all this and more, over the course of years, and shame on every person who has been complicit in City Hall. Now is the time for whistle blowers to come forward.
    Mr.Wheeler is correct in all of his remarks.City officials have made things worse for the business district in many ways. At the same time a fortune in taxpayers’ money has been spent on questionable contracts without serious consideration from the Commission.
    City Manager Steven Alexander is promoting the sale of the City Hall property to the Lynx Corporation for a low price, and smirked when I tslked about this at Public Remarks last Thursday. Does anyone else think that this should be investigated by the proper authorities?
    There appears to be no moral compass, and only an agenda to pimp our city out to high density developers.
    And yes,the mayor’s poor judgement and other character flaws are already costing us a fortune, and the expenses will continue to pile up.

  15. The article/faux story is a collection of circumstantial allegations and innuendo crafted to paint a distorted picture of Mayor Stoddard’s unavoidable response to the attempted break-in. It has been orchestrated by a Lobbyist working for Stoddard’s opposition. Dirty politics plain and simple.

  16. JLH, it appears you and BURRO have drank too much kool aid of the Mayor’s. Another person asked by Mayor Stoddard to make a comment to deflect. JLH, your foolishness is laughable, there is no circumstantial evidence. The only dirty politics is that with Stoddard at the head with Steve Alexander, city manager, Thomas Pepe, Mr Riverol, the finance director as well as others. The man should be thrown out on his ass and FIU should throw him out as well and that includes his wife. Mayor Stoddard is a nasty creepy dictator and is cornered. Rats like Stoddard get greenies to comment to deflect, unfortunately, the comments provided by his kool aid drinkers are clueless, if they only would accept the truth, start by watching the links provided, testimony, under oath, and perhaps you would retract your stupid statement

  17. Sharon McCain | January 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Reply

    CORRUPTION in the City of South Miami is rampant. That is why the city, formerly known as the City of Pleasant Living is now known as the City of Cesspool Living, thanks to Mayor Stoddard, City Manager Steve Alexander who was terminated from Cutler Bay (lucky them), City Attorney Thomas Pepe, and puppet Commissioners, Welch, Liebman, Harris and Gil. The mere fact the City Attorney took the initiative to redact any portion of the emails (unless it had their social security number, residence, etc) is a crime in itself. Mr. Cody for the sake of the residents, please file a complaint against Mr. Pepe wherever necessary and include the Dade County Bar Association. This attorney, was personal friends of Commissioners Welsh and Harris, long before they became commissioners and even did personal legal work for both, they would never vote him out and helped him get the city attorney’s job and also maintain it.

    Corruption with a big “C.” How hypocritical though clever and the timing was superb of Mrs. Stoddard, wife of Mayor Stoddard, to write the Miami Herald. Her blurb was printed in the editorial section of the Herald on December 19….Read below…..

    IT IS CORRUPTION

    When do we get to call it corruption? Our definition has become so narrow that it seems limited only to public officials who skim public money directly to their own pocket.

    Yet, when Ron DeSantis appoints his campaign donors to advisory positions, is that not corruption?

    When Rick Scott repeatedly undermines Everglades restoration at the bidding of Big Sugar, is that not corruption?

    Corruption is the unfair diversion of public resources for private gain.
    Let’s call it when we see it.
    -Gray Read, South Miami

    Mayor Stoddard’s wife prefers to be recognized as Gray Read, not Gray Stoddard. Her blurb was nothing more than the start of a propaganda machine against the new Governor of the State, Ron DeSantis, the one person who could remove her husband from his seat as Mayor of the City of South Miami if the Ethics Commission finds that her husband acted intentionally in the case brought by Mr. Cody. This is how Stoddard and Company rock and roll, and I agree with Mrs. Stoddard, she described corruption better than anyone, I guess she would know. BTW Grey or Mrs Stoddard, as you know, your husband has reappointed board members in the city over and over again for the past 8 years, I guess you described your own husband in your article when you were referring to Ron DeSantis

  18. Cristina Lanao | January 8, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Reply

    If everyone stopped playing politics and did their jobs as they are supposed to, there would be less antagonism. One urgent issue I hope is being addressed is the everincreading exiodus of stores at Sunset Place. The latest departures are Gap and Banana Republic. Soon that mall iwill be a ghost town. How can the rest of the stores survive without foot traffic? South Miami government, get it together!

    • If you miss the GAP OR Banana Republic go to Dadeland, easy in easy out and no fee for parking. South Miami should really ask Dade County to take them back, it is too small a city to sustain itself. Parking is there 2nd largest revenue maker next to Ad Valorum Parking. Pinecrest is just beautiful. Even though they don’t have a “downtown” their various malls are well maintained, great assortment, great restaurant chains and easy in and easy out. Impressed with Pinecrest Commercial but than again, it appears they have commissioners with some business savvy. South Miami has a Mayor who has a PH d after his name and prides himself as a dissector of frogs amongst other things. THan you have two other commissioners who are products of the 70’s if you know what I mean, and than a commissioner who I have heard doesn’t work for a living and is not forthright as to how he pays his bills, no wonder South Miami is a cesspool as one poster stated.

  19. Horace G. Feliu | January 8, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Reply

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.“
    -Sir Walter Scot

  20. HORACE G FELIU | January 8, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Reply

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we start to deceive.”
    – Sir Walter Scot

  21. Bamm-Bamm Rubble | January 8, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Reply

    Perhaps the owners of Sunset Place should stop issuing only short-term leases. Short-term leases don’t promote stability or make for a successful shopping experience. Neither do high parking fees, which South Miami’s city leadership is addicted to. Retail is thriving and new retail is being built everywhere outside of South Miami’s downtown. Very strange that downtown South Miami is a dead zone–perhaps just another hoax manufactured by Mayor Stoddard and his high-density developer friends.

  22. Elaine Stouffer | January 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Reply

    The people solicited by Stoddard to comment on this paage in order to put a fire on the factual article in the Community Newspaper as well as the people who commented with negative comments about Stoddard, I ask if you think it is OK that a university professor or anyone for that matter who has an adopted teenage daughter as well as a female teenage exchange student living in their house and parades around naked, than you are all a bunch of sickos like they are. Mayor Stoddard and his wife should have been investigated by Federal Agencies when it happened, but it appears they tried to cover up their dirty secret and even go as far as firing the Chief of Police at the time. To what end will these evil, toxic, inhuman people go?

  23. Antoinette Fischer | January 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Reply

    Those individuals who posted comments in disapproval of Mr. Miller’s article will be shattered when they find out how much money us taxpayers have to pay for lawsuits that are the result of the recklessness of Mayor Stoddard. The cost for the illegal firing of former police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro already mounted up to approximately a million and a half and that is only 1 lawsuit! Mayor Stoddard led the charge to fire the former police chief and his groupies on the commission thoughtlessly voted yes . The city Commission has been told that the taxpayers will have to pay a deductible of 75000 dollars on another legal issue, and there is more in the works. For those who are doubters, they will all be dumbfounded and shattered when they learn that Mr. Miller’s article is fact based. Those individuals should reread his article and focus on all the references to public record and fact, and also open the links that Mr Miller has provided at the end of his article. Mr. Miller is no fool, and I’m sure that he has excellent legal counsel.He knows better than to publish an article based on falsehoods.
    It is so unfortunate that so many voters in this city do not do their due diligence in order to discern the difference between propaganda and fact. These people do not even bother to watch the commission meetings and have no idea of what is really going on in City Hall under the leadership of Mayor Stoddard / Steven Alexander.

  24. FIU will never recover from the tragic and disastrous collapse of the pedestrian overpass fiasco however, it can make an attempt to improve its academic image by making sure immoral and unethical educators are shown the door.

  25. Deryl Spielman | January 9, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Reply

    Oh lordy who cares. This article explains nothing about why Stoddard chose to do the two things he is in trouble for; why he was naked, and why did he want the phone number. Have you met Stoddard? He’s not a conventional person, has strong opinions, and knows more about things than you ever will. I would appreciate it if we stop bringing this up and perpetuating the news as it’s not really news. Do not fall victim to the same relics our state and federal political games and media play.

    These types of things should be settled adult to adult like most of us do in our ordinary day to day life, and in our relationships with people. Only those looking to gain something for themselves especially those running for political positions in our government try to sulk in these negative stories, and not focus on the positive. Those in government need to eat, breath, and navigate the social constructs of our society just like every else. Somehow though we claim they must uphold some extra moral law that every mundane other person gets away with.

    • Who cares if he was naked by himself. Who cares if he’s naked with his wife. Being naked with a daughter the age she was when this happened is super creepy. Being naked with an exchange student is more than creepy. It has a certain Humbert Humbert on speed quality to it. Why was he naked? Could it be that he’s a pervert? Why don’t you ask him on the record?

  26. Not rumor, not innuendo, just cold hard facts backed up by documentation. Not political but who is Phil Stoddard? Who are his friends? Why do his friends also have a problem being clothed in front of kids?

    Hint: Dale Leary who married his exchange student? What was Phil Stoddards relationship with Leary that lasted 7 years?

    Stay tuned.

  27. Antoinette Fischer | January 10, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Reply

    Mr Spielman, you choose to trivialize and sweep dirt under the carpet. Complaints related to public officials must go through a process whether you like it or not! If citizens have no recourse for complaints, then government becomes a dictatorship. It is difficult enough as it is, for citizens to obtain recourse. You belittle citizens with your attitude that the mayor knows so much, so therefore, nothing should be investigated. The amount of knowledge that a person has, has nothing to do with their level of integrity, nor does it mean that their actions should never be questioned. Amount of knowledge has nothing to do with whether a person choses right or wrong. A great amount of knowledge should make a person even more responsible to do the right thing. No citizen should ever feel subservient to an elected official, nor should any citizen ever feel intimidated by an elected official because of any perception that the elected official has a great deal of knowledge. You might be very surprised by the amount of knowledge of some of your fellow citizens who are not elected officials!

  28. Just wondering what political opponents a lame duck mayor would engender. I have not heard anything about Mr. Stoddard’s political ambitions beyond his current office. Somehow it serves certain Defenders of the Faith to reflect on non-existent political opponents seeking to defame Mr. Stoddard. If you are so inclined to mention this as a motive for a so-called smear campaign, who are these folks? Please share.

  29. Embarrassed Citizen | January 11, 2019 at 9:55 am | Reply

    Debate all you want about Stoddard and the useless City Manager and Commissioner Harris, but some truths are in black and white. Look at the non-existent condition of the South Miami’s business district. Stores closing, evictions of 2 restaurants, no foot traffic and the place looks like a worn down has-been. The Mayor and Manager will not let any of us do anything creative or positive in the area and never ever walks around to speak to its shop keepers /owners. It is an area that pays 68% of South Miami’s operating budget, and with the downturn the residents are going to have to pay more. Maybe then the residents will open your eyes to how this group has destroyed a once shining gem of an area.They think new businesses will fix the problem, but they are closing faster than an automated door. No foot traffic, no customer base and total lack of support from a useless City Hall. For years we have been begging them to support the area and we are totally ignored. They spend their time covering up for their mistakes or self serving themselves. I can not wait to rejoice when these useless people are out of their leadership roles because there is no leadership in South Miami. To let such a beautiful area disappear is a big crime to this City. Shame on all of you!

    • Embarrassed Citizen: It appears you as well as the merchants downtown never had a business plan that should have been created over 10 years ago. People allover the world prefer internet shopping. You can blame yourselves for your failure because you never planned. Poor business minds. Downtown South Miami was NEVER supported by South Miami residents, the majority shop strip malls surrounding the city and outside the city zip code. The mindset in South Miami as always been if we build they will come, that mindset isn’t working anymore. Businesses come and they go in six months, some who have no business experience, like restaurant proprietors as well as Mom and Pop businesses downtown that have been in South Miami for years but never had a business plan once the internet took off. Contrary to everyone still living in the past, South Miami is no longer desirable nor operational anymore. That is what happens when you elect five dumb people to the city commission as well as their hire for a city manager who is laughing all the way to the bank. South Miami has become the mecca for developers who love to rub noses with the city manager and members of the commission, they sell to the lowest bidder (why?) and couldn’t give a dam about the city or it’s residents. On another note, the businesses never paid 68% of the city’s operating budget, that was a lie created by Commissioner Liebman years ago, a lie that gets him free meals downtown. All businesses should close shop and move elsewhere or retire. The city now has a reputation of being a heaven for low income housing, assisted living facilities, amongst other ajectives not fit for social media.

    • Bamm-Bamm Rubble | January 12, 2019 at 11:32 am | Reply

      The amount of foot traffic is a poor indicator of the success of our downtown since most businesses have an online presence. As an example, I order take-out from Deli Lane and East Thai & Noodle House at least twice a week via Grubhub. Why bother going downtown, only to pay those exorbitant parking fees that our city commission is hooked on? Have they ever tried lowering the parking fees?

      • Parking Fees is needed in order for South Miami to survive. Do away with parking fees and the City of South Miami would have to dissolve because it couldn’t survive on just tax revenue.

  30. Bamm-Bamm Rubble | January 11, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Reply

    I would love to see auditable supporting documentation on the derivation of the “68% of South Miami’s operating budget.” I sat down over the holidays and couldn’t get anywhere near that for the downtown and I’ve been doing cost studies professionally for almost 30 years. I recall years back when two different pro-growth groups tried to tell the same tall tale, one group was led by John Edward Smith and another group led by Brad Cassel. At the time, I had asked them for the supporting documentation and it was never provided. Now comes our very own Mayor Stoddard, a known pathological liar, who concocts the same tall tale and we’re never provided with the supporting documentation again.

    • Antoinette Fischer | January 12, 2019 at 10:22 pm | Reply

      Perfect example of a glib statement with no documentation to back up. We have been hearing the claim for years that we,the tax paying residents are being subsidized by the business district. “Subsidized” is the word used by the mayor. What a turn off! Ironic when we are forced to subsidize his follies. When in doubt of a statement that sounds like an outright lie ,or dubious at best, always ask for documentation to back up the claim. Chances are,you will get it when hell freezes over! Forensic audit is needed for CRA and City Hall.

  31. In light of the facts that are backed up by public record, koolaid drinkers will soon have to face the truth about their icon, who was very foolish to run for a fifth term. He should have sold his house and moved to China. He would fit in very well within a communist dictatorship. Instead he will crash and burn. Due to his huge ego he couldn’t face facts that it was time to go. He and his cohorts will all get their asses canned!

    • No country would accept this individual, Phillip Stoddard, nor his wife who works too hard to support his dirty deeds. I hope those kool aid drinkers as well as the drunken skunks on the dais, Comm. Liebmann, Welsh, Harris, Gil, Alexander and Pepe will be investigated and thrown in the slammer for reasons that will soon be blasted all over social media and the newspapers. Crooks almost always get caught especially when they feel they are untouchable, that happens to be the case here.

    • Bamm-Bamm Rubble | January 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Reply

      Stoddard can’t run for a fifth term. He’s termed out.

      • Didn’t Mr.Pepe state that Stoddard could indeed run for another term, but as a Commissioner, not mayor,since he has not yet had the opportunity to exploit that office yet? I don’t think we have to worry about it, though. By the next election cycle his his address may not be within the boundaries of our city. At very least,Gov.DeSantis will have been made aware of serious issues.
        Beware of candidates who have already made their intentions known to some. City may be exchanging one poison for another. City needs candidates who want to serve with integrity rather than exploit the office for personal gain and agendas. South Miami is very vulnerable to fall victim to these types. Pay close attention to campaign contribution donors. Sometimes their identities are disguised, but with a little research you can get to the truth!

  32. Lucille Sauers | February 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Reply

    I emailed this article and others written about the mayor to many residents and friends. One person sent me reply which said, ” What a scumbag! When is your next election? You need to get rid of him a.s.a.p.!”
    I knew that a long time ago, but unfortunately most people were still being fooled, and didn’t know what was really going on. Now they have to face the truth, and so much damage has been done!

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