Xavier Suarez Doesn't Rule Out Running For Mayor Against Old Foe Carlos Gimenez

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Xavier Suarez
Eight years ago, Xavier Saurez lost a county commission race to the man who now occupies the mayor's seat on the 29th floor of Miami-Dade County Hall. But defeat has never stopped the X-Man, who last year won Carlos Gimenez's former county commission seat. In the nine months he has been in office, Suarez has grown increasingly frustrated with his old foe.

Suarez tells Banana Republican he hasn't ruled out entering the 2012 mayor's race, which so far, is a two man competition between Gimenez and County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez.

"I want to see what Joe can do first," Suarez says. "He has been very supportive of my ideas, unlike the mayor. The lack of vision with Carlos is very frustrating. But there are all kind of reasons why I would not run for mayor, including the possibility of losing and not having a voice at all in county affairs."

During a sit-down interview at his downtown office and a subsequent phone interview, Suarez laid out a various projects he has been pushing that have been met with a lukewarm response from Gimenez. 

The former Miami mayor complained about a lack of progress in the county's takeover of the Coconut Grove Playhouse to a breakdown in negotiations between the county and the city over Miami's continued use of the Virginia Key landfill. He also has a beef withGimenez's reluctance to cut a deal with the developers of a controversial project at the South Miami Metrorail Station.

"He is on neutral all the time," Suarez says. "It is part of his pattern of doing nothing rather than risk looking bad."

The South Miami project particularly irks Suarez because he believes the county passed up on a good deal to end a lawsuit and move forward on a development that has languished for close to two decades. During a meeting with Gimenez two weeks ago, Suarez says the mayor informed him the county could get a better deal by putting the project out to bid. Gimenez was also reluctant to work with the developers because one of the principals was criminally indicted in the House of Lies scandal, Suarez adds.

With good reason.

To recap the situation, the county had an agreement with a company called Hometown Station Ltd. owned by ex-prominent banker Raul Masvidal to build a $25 million office building next to the South Miami Metrorail Station, with Miami-Dade contributing $5 million. 

However the building was never completed and the county canceled the project and sued Masvidal to recoup the $5 million. Masvidal was subsequently criminally charged for allegedly falsifying bills to hide the purchase of a $150,000 art sculpture for himself using money from the Hometown Station deal. Prosecutors also charged construction magnate Juan Delgado, whom Masvidal had hired to build the project. However, Delgado's case was thrown out this past October.

According to a Dec. 22 letter from the law firm Broad & Cassel submitted to Miami-Dade's real estate development division, Masvidal is no longer involved with the Hometown entity. The new owner, auto magnate Gus Machado, along with affordable housing developer, the Pinnacle Group, offered the county $1.5 million in cash and to pay off a $2 million mortgage on the property. In exchange Machado and Pinnacle would build a 100-unit apartment building and an office building. But Delgado is still involved in the project, Suarez says.

Machado, who recently donated $2,000 to Gimenez's PAC Common Sense Now, met with the mayor this past Feb. 13 to discuss the offer. Gimenez's spokeswoman Suzy Trutie declined comment. "Your questions are related to settlement negotiations and the county is not at liberty to disclose any information," she says. Machado could not be reached for comment.

Suarez, though, says that Gimenez "unilaterally rejected the offer." Suarez complains that the mayor's stance means the county would have to wait until the outcome of the lawsuit against Hometown Station to do anything with the land. "I don't think he understands the value of money," Suarez says. "Who knows how long the litigation will take? There is not even a date set for trial."

Suarez adds, "if you're going to lead, you have to take some risks."

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13 comments
$3 Bil to Marlins?
$3 Bil to Marlins?

Joe Martinez was a cop for 17 years. He needs to spend more time researching issues and he needs a brighter staff. But when he only makes $50,000 per year on his W2 as a commissioner why make the effort?

Why did Martinez vote to give $3 Bil to the Marlins? That vote says it all.

Gimenez is scared
Gimenez is scared

Gimenez needs to step up and act in the best interests of the residents. He needs to stop trying to please sleazy lobbyists and Yes Menfrom Broward County.

Weak elected officials
Weak elected officials

Xavier Suarez is smart. No doubt. His son Francis is no Xavier. Francis is a bit of a dope who is easily manipulated by the hordes of lobbyists who prey on weak elected officials. Sweet guy though.

Weak elected officials like Gimenez who are too scared to offend any campaign donors.

blahblah29
blahblah29

Hahahahah will he show up in his bathrobe at the new Miami Herald Headquarters in Doral!!!!  What a joke, this guy thinks he has good ideas because he thinks he's the smartest guy on the dias, but what's really happening is that he can't swallow the fact that people like his son 1,000,000 times more, City of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, who is being told he should run for Mayor of Miami.  Daddy it's time to take a back seat and let your son take the front seat politically because if you don't you will kill his career!

Battle?
Battle?

Xavier Suarez has many excellent ideas. But is he prepared to do run a winning campaign?

Buying influence?
Buying influence?

Carlos Gimenez continues to pander to the criminal elements of the outdoor advertising industry. Xavier Suarez opposes visual pollution. Gimenez let's the criminals operate freely in Miami-Dade County.

Anyone investigating campaign contributions?

Overpaid employees
Overpaid employees

Carlos Gimenez has done next to nothing to reduce the massive number of overpaid and overly compensated employees at the County. In fact, Gimenez hired a few lightweights giving them massive pay and benefit packages. Gimenez needs to step up and honor his campaign promises.

WAHHH
WAHHH

Martinez voted no to the Marlins Stadium and the Global Agreement. Get your facts right before commenting.

UF1993
UF1993

Actually, Martinez voted for the No-Bid contract that allowed the Marlins Stadium to go forward.  So WAHHH, get your facts straight.  The argument that he voted against the Marlins Stadium only works for the uninformed, which apparently includes you, at least with regard to this issue.

rudexawakening
rudexawakening

I'm a county employee. I can't speak for every department, but mine saw almost 260 people laid off (full time and part-time). I lost 18% percent of my pay and have taken up a second job to help cover the losses. Not complaining. Just telling you as it is from my side of the fence...

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