Chapter 1 – Council Meeting, October 9, 2013
One would think that the City of Doral Council meeting on October 9, 2013, was an episode of those popular Telenovelas that the Latin community is so used to. The drama and the saga and the tension among the City Manager and the Mayor was evident as it played out on live TV.
The Agenda is ignored and Mayor Boria starts the meeting by stating, “I want to exercise my rights as a Mayor and recommend the termination of the City Manager.” He does not state the reason why he wants the termination other than making random statements about Joe Carollo’s volatile personality and erratic behavior in the office. He says that Mr. Carollo has “problems with conduct” and that he will have more problems because of this behavior. The Mayor further says, “He screams at me for no reason, and I can’t work like this. Mr. Carollo has screams and uses “bad words”. His behavior is not normal and not what a manager should be.
The Mayor then apologizes to Councilwoman Ruiz for what the he (the Mayor) did to her referring to the issue of her being Vice Mayor and then removing her. And, turns to Councilwoman Fraga and says, “and to you too Christi I have to apologize.” He makes accusations that the City Manager spied on the Councilwoman and pried into their private lives.
Councilwoman Ruiz states that the council had awarded the Mayor every courtesy and respect when he brought in Carollo. That the process that is in place for hiring Charter Officials was not followed because the council trusted the Mayor.
Councilwoman Rodriguez states that the only one that showed any “erratic behavior is you Mr. Mayor, not the Manager.”
Councilwoman Fraga asks, “if you knew about all of this for so long, why wait until now, Mr. Mayor.”
Vice Mayor Rodriguez Aguilera reminds the Mayor that “in the City of Doral, we do not have a strong Mayor”.
The meeting turned into a long dragged out back and forth during which Mayor Boria pounded on the dais with his gavel and reminded the Council that he was the Mayor, little of the City’s business was conducted, and Mr. Carollo sat quietly unable to speak, answer, or address any of the accusations made by the Mayor.
A Vote of Confidence was taken and Mr. Carollo was give a 3-2 Vote of Confidence from the Council and not terminated but allowed to continue to stay and work with the City.
The Meeting adjourned and the items not addressed on the agenda were deferred to a Special Meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Chapter 2 – Special Council Meeting, October 15, 2013
The Special Council Meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, started with a jammed packed City of Doral Chambers where media and residents all gathered to watch the drama on fold. First item on the agenda, City Manager to address the Council.
City Manager, Joe Carollo, wasted no time in addressing one by one in full detail the accusations made the previous week by Mayor Boria. He not only addressed the accusations but also gave detailed information about some of the dealings and associations of the Mayor. Mr. Carollo stated that this had been the reason for the Mayor’s “sudden” turn on me. Mayor Boria recused himself when Mr. Carollo stated that he would be addressing the topic of the Grand Florida and the recent arrest of Mr. Tovar, a business associate of Mayor Boria, and Javier Bellon. Both gentlemen were arrested after a police investigation and video tapes proved that Mr. Tovar together with the testimony of an eye witness, Mr. Bellon, filed a false police report. Councilwoman Ruiz tried to put a cap on Mr. Carollo’s speaking time, but it was to no avail.
Mr. Carollo addressed the stunned and silent council for what was close to two and half hours. During which time, the following points were addressed:
The Mayor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. The City Manager started out by reading statements and comments made on the Mayor’s twitter and Facebook accounts in which he insulted not just Mr. Carollo but members of council, one such twitter statement identifying Council members as “la mejicana y las cubanas”. Comments also made accusations about the police department and Mr. Carollo being involved in drug trafficking.
The Week’s Vacation to Vegas. Mr. Carollo brought out paperwork with the Mayor’s signature approving his Vegas trip. “This was a business trip, not a vacation.” stated the City Manager, “and the Mayor was fully aware that I was going. As a matter of fact, he and Mrs. Boria also had plane reservations and were scheduled to go.” Mr. Carollo explained in detailed the circumstances of the trip and his dealings with Mr. Trump who was to announce during the Miss USA pageant that the next year’s event was to be held in Doral. After Mayor Boria’s imprompt decision to not attend the pageant, Mr. Trump and Mr. Carollo felt it best to hold off on the announcement. “The Mayor approved this trip, he knew where I was and why.”
The Grand Floridian. Mr. Carollo again in great detail outlined how this had been a turning point in the relationship dismantling between the Mayor and himself. Even after the City attorney had advised the Mayor that he could not vote on anything related to the Grand Floridian, the Mayor still insisted that he could. He spoke of how the Mayor’s son had tried to pressure him, Mr. Carollo, and the then City Manager Mr. Jimenez into putting the item back on the agenda after it had been pulled. “If it hadn’t been for me, he would be in jail.” Said Mr. Carollo to the Council.
Tovar. The Manager went into details Mr. Tovar’s arrest, and stated that “he filed a false police report and this report was investigated like any other report would have been.” Chief Blom addressed the council on this matter as well stating that a full investigation and consultations with the State Department’s office had proved the arrest valid and with merit.
The Letter from the Ethics Committee. Mr. Carollo showed and read parts of the letter from Mr. Centurion regarding the decision made and how it stated that special attention needed to be paid to this project to ensure that all the proper procedures and rules be followed. “When I said to Mr. Tovar, we are going to do things the American way, the right way, it was because, Mayor Boria has not been clear like he states.” Mr. Carollo said as he held the letter up, “I will not allow this City to be given a black eye on my watch.”
Again, these are all incidents that the Manager was made aware of and looked into before the Mayor proceeded on any venture.
The two hour long speech from the City Manager also mentioned an array of shady characters whom the Mayor brought into City Hall and or met with to conduct the City’s Business. “I have so much more to bring forth.” Stated the Manager, but instead the Council thought it was prudent to continue the meeting and bring back the Mayor.
The Mayor then stated that he thought the Manager’s statements were lies and “exaggerations”. And it seemed like the two men would go at it again, but instead of allowing the two to start a war of words, the council intervened and finally addressed the items of the agenda.
FPL Lines that would benefit the area specifically where the Grand Floridian was being built. Mr. Carollo stated that the Mayor wanted the City of Doral to pick up half of the cost involved. The total cost was approximately 70,000 million dollars. “This an outrageous amount and the city should not pay this.” Said the Manager. The council discussed this topic and it was decided that the power lines were not necessary but a matter of aesthetics. More information would be needed before a decision was to be made.
The meeting adjourned and the next Council Meeting was set for November 13, 2013.