Sunday, August 27, 2006
Miami Country Club for the Homeless Developer BUSTED!
As you may recall, yesterday's posting reported the abrupt end to a telephone interview with Oscar Rivero, the Miami developer revealed by the Miami Herald in a front-page story that morning to have taken millions of dollars of public money to build, among other things, a 11,000-square-foot mansion for his wife and himself instead of housing for the poor. Well, it seems Mr. Rivero was giving the interview on his cell phone while driving his black Mercedes C240 to turn himself in at the "Miami-Dade Public Corruption Investigations Bureau" (MVB is not making that up) where the phoner was terminated (see photo by Herald photographer Donna E. Natale Planas). Described in the account as "a 36-year-old lawyer and civic leader," you have to wonder, what was he thinking when he decided to give himself up in the black Mercedes? Didn't he have a Honda Civic parked behind the mansion for just these kind of situations? Maybe he could have borrowed a bike from one of the homeless guys he's building the country club for. Maybe he had a lot on his mind. In any event, he was later charged with two first-degree felonies: grand theft and committing an organized scheme to defraud. If convicted, he could serve a minimum of 21-months in state prison which is probably what he'll get since he's a "civic leader." By that time, with a little creative financing that will allow him to pay back the money he took from the county without totally relinquishing his assets, his "Country Club for the Homeless" should be ready for him to move in. Who says "Crime doesn't pay?"
UpDate (9/21/07): Rivero's 11,000sf mansion will be up for auction on October 3rd. 65% complete, the infamous house has six-bedrooms, nine-baths, a four-car garage, library, billiard room, spa, pool, two-story cabana, and a three-story high grand foyer "adorned with Mediterranean columns and a spiral staircase." It's been on the market since last October for $2.95 million but never sold. SunTrust is owed $1.9 million.
UpDate (5/9/08): This is the story that started us down the dark and dirty lane of local politics. We had no intention in taking that path. We wanted to focus on the arts and ideas in relation to south Florida. But Oscar Rivero's shameless exploitation of the needy was so over the top that we felt compelled to comment on it. That led to more comments on local politics-- which proved a fertile field in Miami and the Beaches for its over abundance of nincompoops and rip artists of the public trust-- and the rest is history. As of today, Mr. Rivero agreed on a plea agreement with the state attorney's office to spend the next 10 years in jail. If he gives up co-conspirators, that time can be whittled down to 21 months. We suspect he'll drop names like there was no tomorrow and more arrests will be made. Stay tuned.
UpDate (7/29/08): Rivero's law license is suspended effective August 21st.