When It Comes to Feeding the Elderly, Political Connections Help

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Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Siejas
​Today, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas will wave her nefarious wand to help a longtime county vendor hold on to a multimillion dollar contract to feed the handicapped and the elderly for at least another month. The county commission is set to vote on the extension with Esteban Bencomo's Construction Catering Inc. even though the move will cost taxpayers $250,000.

The Miami-based caterer can thank the wicked witch of the northwest who championed his services over a competitor that had beat out Construction Catering for a new contract by offering a lower price.

The Construction Catering extension shows how county commissioners use their powers to help their campaign supporters continue getting county business. Seijas went to bat for Bencomo during the January 11 meeting of the county commission's Internal Management & Fiscal Responsibility Committee.

County staff recommended awarding the bulk of a $10 million five-year contract to Hialeah-based Montoya Holdings Inc., a company that has food contracts with the state Department of Health and Miami-Dade Public Schools. The county's procurement director Miriam Singer informed the committee that the new deal was nine percent less than what the county was paying Construction Catering the past two years.

Even though Construction Catering was awarded a small portion of the new deal, Seijas sought to delay the award to Montoya Holdings. "I don't want to engage in any discussion on this," Seijas said during the committee meeting. "I have a long list of questions."

She made the motion to extend Construction Catering's current contract for 30 days while staff answered her questions. "I want to know has anyone tasted it?" Seijas barked. "The savings will be from the mouths of the elderly and I am not about save money in what they eat. If anything else we have to feed our elderly and our children correctly. I have some concerns...30 days are more than enough that we can alleviate those concerns."

Following Seijas' lead were commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Barbara Jordan, who also claimed to have questions about the winning bidder and the new contract. "It might be perfectly fine," Diaz remarked. "But I have learned to be very cautious...at least in my conscience I want to double check."

Jordan claimed she wanted to make sure "quality is the top priority here and not just the cost factor."

The only commissioner to show any sense of fiscal accountability was Carlos Gimenez. "Not that I want the cheapest food but if everyone bid on the same items and we got a better price," he said, "then unless someone demonstrates otherwise, I think I am going to go with the recommendation from staff."

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concerned citizen 2
concerned citizen 2

You would have to ask them what else is behind this contract? Because procurement decided to eliminate a performance bond, which protects the intrest of the county in case the supplier does not perform. Obviously, procurement is being persuaded because they awarded the contract to this new company without experience or previous knowledge in the ederly food program.I believe that procurement removed the performance bond in order to favor this new company. If this company is not good enough to provide a performance bond to protect the intrest of the county, they should not be awarded a contract of such magnitude. The article mentioned the relation between the current food provider with certain political personel, but they failed to realize that the new company (Montoya Holding d.b.a Pelotas Cafe) has a lot more political influence. I wonder who is behind this decision to remove the performance bond and makes it easier for an unexperienced company to be awarded that contract, and also who is getting kick backs from this new company.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Raul Martinez is behind this one, construction catering and Raul are close. Francisco I'm surprised you would go after your jefe Raulito, maybe you can find kick backs when Fidel Castro sorry I meant Raul was Mayor and construction catering had all the City contracts. lets see if you are a real report.

fred
fred

What on earth does this woman know about eating correctly? Look at her!

Rob
Rob

This political pig is facing a recall and laughs in our faces by pulling this shit!

Wake up call people.

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