City asks judge to recuse himself

After losing every step of the way (so far) defending the firing of former Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro, the city has asked the trial judge to  be disqualified. I can only guess some folks on the City Commission are unhappy that the judge found the city owed Martinez some $450,000 plus a few hundred thousands in attorney fees, plus maybe even more for the barristers. In case you don’t recall, the chief had a couple of years left on his five-year contract and some city leaders who didn’t want him there conjured up reasons for his ouster. So the the chief then sued for the money owed on the contract balance, among other things as well. Simple enough, right? Hmmm…

Quoting directly the trial judge’s dis-qualifying recuse motion as filed by the city:

“It is the opinion of the city commission that, based on the foregoing grounds, the trial judge has shown that he is not impartial and the city has a reasonable fear that the city will not receive a fair trial and fair rulings in the future, including ruling on the plaintiff’s motion to assess attorney’s fees and  the plaintiff expressed intent to re-quest a multiplier. In addition, if the case is remanded following the city’s appeal, the city has a reasonable fear that the city will continue to be prejudged by the trial court’s bias in favor of the plaintiff and against the city.”

Ya’ gotta love it when our city leaders on one hand want to protect the taxpayers’ money while on the other spend more than $200,000 for its own attorney fees – just as the fun was beginning. If only the city would have paid Martinez the remaining balance due him on his contract, the case would have been closed years ago and we all could have moved on, spending more worthwhile time developing the city hall property and the much-maligned Madison Square development on SW 64 St.

And so there you have it, folks, and don’t you just gotta’ know that more fun is on the way?

Last week ran into “Mr. Boot Camp” himself — Ed Delatorre — over at Deli Lane where it seems Ed is a pretty regular customer, picking up his breakfast goodies to take back to Murray Park where he and his boot campers go through a regime that is not for the faint of heart, even though Ed claims everyone “goes at their own pace” from newbie to the most experienced veteran. As Ed was leaving, I mentally pictured him sitting in a tennis ref’s chair, having a very healthy breakfast while between bites yelling encouraging words like “Go ahead, you can do it! Keep on going!” So, yes, Ed, the next time I see you at the Deli, breakfast is on me.

If you want to reach Ed and his boot campers, take a gander at <>.

BTW: Charles Dusseau, long time area resident and a former Miami-Dade county com-missioner ‘way back in the early 1990s, also Deli-dipping while chattin’ up some folks.

Meanwhile, over at CasaCuba, Palmetto Bay Village civic activist David Singer turns up as does ex-PB publicist Bill Kress, and no, they weren’t seatmates. Also viewed standing near by was real estate attorney Alex Almazan who recently moved to Pinecrest after years of living in South Miami. And, of course, not to forget in the far corner (with his brand-new team): Horace Feliu, for sure planning his next election campaign in the City of South Miami.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you– Pericles, 430 B.C.

For many organizations and elected leaders, there was “no better friend then Bob Levy,” from PATCHES in Florida City where he aided sick children to a host of

“The Three Amigos” Mayor Phil Stoddard, Commis-sioner Josh Leibman and Bob Welsh during happier times... but no más.

“The Three Amigos” Mayor Phil Stoddard, Commis-sioner Josh Leibman and Bob Welsh during happier times… but no más.

others including the Miami Children’s Museum and hundreds of campaigns for decorated Viet-nam veterans, as well those to elect local judges and one that heralded St-Atty. Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s inaugural run for office when her name was not well known. Now she’s again up for reelection in the August primary although she rarely gets a challenger. She recently spoke to a gathering recalling how Levy first got her elected—now having remained in office ever since.

Hundreds of current and past elected leaders and friends gathered at the impressive Baptist Homestead Hospital for a Celebration of Life of Robert M. Levy May 1 (despite a Miami Heat playoff game) and the veteran U.S. Army Airborne paratrooper was remembered as a “Wolf” who was protective and clever in his profession as a government relations professional, and helping fund a number of military lounges including one at MIA. Robert also lobbied for Baptist Health South Florida along with a host of municipalities including the City of Homestead. Numerous past staff members he called “Levites” turned out in a big way and one of them, State Rep. Elaine Bloom, a longtime friend, said “there was no better friend than Bob,” a sentiment expressed by all who knew him and spoke at the moving three-hour event. Several judges (Levy hosted many judicial campaigns) at-tended the event, held in the rotunda of the new and quite impressive hospital, designed similarly to another in Titusville, FL. It replaces the old James Arthur Smith Hospital, flattened by Hurricane Andrew, Baptist deciding to rebuild because there was such a clear need with only one other nearby hospital, Jackson South, a facility hugely occupied with charity care in MDC’s deep south.

The most-moving ceremony recalled ‘the dash and detail’ of his impressive life and his Vietnam military service that included the Hill 875 battle where he fought hand- to-hand combat, was wounded and later received a Silver Star. Baptist Hospital Homestead is celebrating its 75th year in the area and it was Levy, years ago, who helped Baptist make that decision for a new state-of-the-art institution. Bob would email my WDR every Sun-day night to all the people on his distribution list, the blast helping get me established in the early days and always most appreciated. It’s why I and so many others will miss him as a friend: rest in peace, Bob, you made your mark in so many ways.

Thanks for this slightly revised item from <>. Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669-7355, ext. 249, or send emails to <>.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at

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