Weekly News update from KB Independent

December 18, 2023

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A  lawsuit unsealed in federal court last month alleges dozens of South Florida’s most luxurious country clubs and homeowners associations – including one in Key Biscayne – improperly got as much as $29 million in federal pandemic or “PPP” loans and should be ordered to pay up to triple damages. 

The Ocean Club Community Association in Key Biscayne is accused of getting $1 million in CARES Act loans forgiven when it was legally barred from doing so, according to a lawsuit by a man who describes himself as an investor familiar with club operations.

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Williamson said having the senior managers witness the vulnerability of the beach in real-time may work to the island’s advantage as it seeks inclusion in the Federal Shore Protection program.

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The incumbent operator of Key Biscayne’s popular youth soccer program emerged as the frontrunner in a competitive bidding process this week, but the selection  — normally routine — was engulfed in controversy, complete with allegations of physical intimidation and official concern over transparency for a contract worth at least $1.6 million.

One bidder said the process is now tainted. 

On Friday, Village Manager Steve Williamson was informed by procurement officials that KB Soccer Inc., run by Marcelo Radice, was recommended by the evaluation committee. Over the coming weeks, he will review the work before presenting a new contract to the Village Council in January or February.

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A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge ordered Yahoo! to disclose whether it turned over private emails of Dr. Jorge Mendia – a prominent OB-GYN and former council member – to an attorney who claims she was defamed in a letter to the editor where the word “nefarious” was used.

The Dec. 6 order came as a result of Jennifer Allegra’s court filing to discover the identity of the mysterious “Paul Nichols,” who wrote letters to the editor to the Islander News.

“We do not know what Yahoo! turned over to Jennifer Allegra,” said Mendia’s attorney Alejandro Rodriguez on Friday. The Court ordered Yahoo! to provide an affidavit identifying what it produced.”

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A contract aimed at fixing Key Biscayne’s nagging and lagging maintenance issues is in limbo after council members punted on Tuesday, while also engaging in a remarkable public discussion of ongoing union negotiations and whether the Village needed to address stubbornly-high inflation. 

The union  issue left one elected official questioning his colleagues’ discretion in discussing a sweetener for outstanding union contracts, because labor discussions typically are reserved for closed-door Council sessions. 

“We make an offer, they make an offer, we compromise,” said Council Member Ed London. “It’s not a public discussion. Maybe, I’m missing it but as long as I’ve been negotiating union contracts it’s never been.”

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Dana Stettin remembers from the time she was little her dad imbued her with his business – and really his life – philosophy.

“You work hard and be a loyal person,” she said. “You never tried to take something that’s not yours.”

Marc Port died Dec. 1 at the age of 85, leaving an imprint on Key Biscayne like few others that went way beyond establishing Key Pharmacy as an island institution. His health had suffered the last few years. “I think his body just gave up after a while,” Stettin said.

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Late in the evening on Dec. 16, 1773, more than 100 people boarded ships in Boston Harbor. Members of the Sons of Liberty had a plan: stop chests of tea located on the ships Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor from being unloaded – by any means necessary. By the next morning, the harbor had been turned into a teapot, with more than 90,000 pounds of Wuyi, Souchong and Congou teas thrown out of their chests and into the water.






IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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The Republican Party of Florida suspended Chairman Christian Ziegler and demanded his resignation during an emergency meeting Sunday, adding to calls by Gov. Ron DeSantis and other top officials for…

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A blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document said. “The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and…

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Miami-Dade commissioners decided not to give developers more time to comply with their lease for the Miami Wilds waterpark and hotel project — one more nail in the coffin of…

INTERNATIONAL

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One of the most controversial articles in the draft said that “the law protects the life of the unborn.”

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Economy Minister Luis Caputo said in a televised message the Argentine peso will be devalued by 50% to 800 to the U.S. dollar from 400 pesos to the dollar.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “The era of fossil fuels must end — and it must end with justice and equity.”



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