Who funded the Miami Politicians for the District 2 Special Election in February 2023?
In the Miami Special election in Febuary 27, 2023 Campaign finance reports revealed Eddy Leal, Martin Zilber, Sabina Covo, and James Torres were all funded by major Miami developers like the Russian OKO Group. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Joe Carollo are also friends with Sabina Covo; Eddy Leal is the Mayor’s office attorney. Sabina is another Christine King puppet for ADLP and Joe Carollo.
I, Christi Tasker, am the only candidate who has consistently stood against the Miami Mafia. I’ve declined taking a single dime from developers, special interest groups, or PACs (Political Action Committees). Unlike Ken Russell and the Ken Russell 2.0s, I will continue to put people over irresponsible development and political favors.
Watch my NBC interview where my own property was being destroyed by this cartel using yo-yo champion Ken Russell who is the front man for the Corruption Cartel run by Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Sloppy Joe Carollo.
So far, there have been two campaign finance reports submitted to the Secretary of Elections. There is one more campaign finance report due BEFORE Election Day. That means there could be a further influx of last-minute developer money delivered yet again.
Sadly many of the candidates have already sold their souls and your city to developer$.
For your convenience, in case you do not subscribe to the Miami Herald, we want to ensure every voter in this democratic republic is well informed. Please do your due diligence as a voter and read this eye-opening Miami Herald article below. If you vote for any of the candidates mentioned, please do not complain when our beloved city is completely taken over by big sugar cube box developers.
Who is funding the Miami Politicians? Miami Herald connects some of the dots; Christi Tasker says, “There are more dominos on the table.”
The race to represent many of Miami’s coastal neighborhoods has spawned more than $1.4 million in political fundraising, a significant sum for an eight-month post that will be up for election again in November. On Feb. 27, voters in Miami’s District 2 will elect a commissioner to serve the remainder of a term vacated by Ken Russell, who had to resign before the end of this four-year term because he ran for Congress last year.
In a 13-person race with no runoff — the highest vote-getter wins — fundraising may not be a deciding factor. Russell won his first election in 2015 despite being outspent by more than $500,000 and entering the race with little name recognition.
But campaign finance reports from the District 2 special election show that real estate developers, lobbyists, land-use attorneys, and other interests are supporting and trying to influence the election. The latest reports, released Thursday, show Miami’s political establishment has a preferred candidate, a few others have separately amassed sizable sums, and a few are primarily self-funded.
The bulk of contributions from traditional donors have gone to Martin Zilber, a former Miami-Dade judge who resigned in 2021 amid accusations of misconduct and ten canon violations. Later, a Florida Bar inquiry found no probable cause to sanction him.
Zilber has raised at least $458,700 in direct contributions and donations to a political committee supporting him, Beautify Grove Miami. This includes $25,000 from MasTec, the infrastructure firm run by brothers Jorge and Jose Mas. They are co-owners of the Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami, and they are preparing to develop Miami Freedom Park, a $1 billion commercial and stadium complex, on the city-owned Melreese golf course property.
Beautify Grove Miami also received $25,000 from a committee called Truth is the Daughter of Time, controlled by former Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, an attorney at Shutts & Bowen. Sarnoff’s connections to City Hall have grown recently, registering to lobby for several interests. This includes representing digital informational kiosks firm Ike Smart City, which has been expanding its operations in Miami. Five days before Sarnoff’s committee cut the $25,000 check, Ike Smart City gave Sarnoff’s committee the same amount.
Sarnoff also represented the city in negotiations over the city’s lease with the Mas brothers for Miami Freedom Park. He represents Commissioner Joe Carollo in a lawsuit by Little Havana businessmen who say Carollo sicced code enforcement on them.
Zilber’s donors include a string of firms and individual attorneys who lobby in the city, including Greenberg Traurig, Akerman, Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes, and several attorneys from the firm that employs him, Krinzman Huss Lubetsky Feldman & Hotte. One of Zilber’s Krinzman colleagues and donors, Mason Pertnoy, is also part of Carollo’s legal defense team in the Little Havana lawsuit, which is expected to go to trial in April.
Big-name developers have also contributed to Zilber’s campaign, including Jorge Perez’s Related Group, David Martin’s Terra Group, and Craig Robins, developer of the Design District.
A few of Zilber’s contributors have active business with the city.
Companies run by developer Nir Shoshani combined to give Zilber $8,000. Shoshani and partner Ron Gottesman are seeking to redevelop 18 city-owned acres in Allapattah, a proposal supported by Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla.
Real estate firm Gencom, negotiating a 99-year lease with the city to redevelop the Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel and James L. Knight Center, gave $20,000.
Treo Group, redeveloping city-owned land on Dinner Key next to City Hall, gave $8,000 in bundled contributions. Aabad Melwani, operator of the city-owned Rickenbacker Marina, and affiliates gave $3,000 in bundled donations. Sabina Covo, a former journalist, has also received contributions from some of the city’s movers and shakers.
Between direct contributions and a political committee supporting her, Dream Miami PC, she has raised about $86,900. Developer OKO Group, which gave Zilber $10,000, also gave Covo the same amount. Two Greenberg Traurig attorneys who regularly lobby in the city, Carlos Lago and Iris Escarra, gave her $1,000 each. Law firm Bercow Radell gave her $1,000. Developer Ugo Colombo gave Zilber $2,000 in bundled donations and gave Covo’s committee $5,000.
The single largest contribution went to a committee supporting Eddy Leal, an attorney who works in Mayor Francis Suarez’s office and took leave to run. On Jan. 24, Citizens for Florida Prosperity PC received $125,000 from another committee, Florida First Forever. Five days earlier, Florida First Forever received $201,000 from San Manna LLC, a company that lists real estate agent Marcelo La Manna as a principal. La Manna is employed as an associate at Piquet Realty.
Citizens for Florida Prosperity PC has existed since 2016 and has had ties to the Republican Party of Florida and GOP donors. It has received donations from and given contributions to conservative political groups through several election cycles in different parts of Florida. The committee does not necessarily have to spend all of its money on any one campaign, including Leal’s.
Leal told the Miami Herald he is not fundraising for the committee, and he’s not familiar with its donors. Leal received $1,000 from former District 2 candidate Grace Solares in a direct contribution to his main campaign account. He has raised about $28,100 in direct contributions, mainly from attorneys and real estate agents.
Candidate James Torres, president of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance, has raised $105,400 in direct contributions and donations to a political committee supporting him, Roundtable Miami. Torres received $7,000 in bundled donations from developer Moishe Mana and affiliated companies. Mana is the largest landowner in Wynwood, and he is the single largest landlord in Miami’s downtown core, with dozens of properties in the Flagler District.
Companies affiliated with Bar Lab, the hospitality company behind the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach and Margot Wine Bar on Flagler Street, gave Torres $2,000. Monty Trainer, a longtime Grove advocate and the founder of the Bayfront raw bar that bears his name, gave Torres $1,000. Roundtable Miami received $10,000 each from aircraft data collection company Avionica and William Cormier, a Realtor in Virginia.
Three candidates with more than $20,000 are mostly self-funded: Lior Halabi, Lorenzo Palomares, and June Savage.
Candidates have to turn in finance reports one more time before voting ends. The next report is due Feb 23.
Article written by JOEY FLECHAS 305-376-3602
Joey Flechas covers government and public affairs in City of Miami for the Miami Herald, from votes at City Hall to neighborhood news. He won a Sunshine State award for revealing a Miami Beach political candidate’s ties to an illegal campaign donation. He graduated from the University of Florida.
Message from Neighbors For Christi Tasker re: Miami Politicians:
In the first Coconut Grove Women’s Club town hall, Christi told the audience that most of the politicians on the stage were Government Gangsters funded by BIG DEVELOPER$, and they could be stopped with your votes!
Christi knows firsthand because she deals with developers like OKO Group that do not pay fair wages, and they illegally shut down roads, disrespecting our fundamental rights.
Christi researched the OKO Group developers back to Miami politicians: Xavier Suarez, the father of Mayor Frances Saurez. Xavier Suarez lives across the street from Christi. He has allowed the developers to destroy his HOA property and Brickell Townhomes, the property directly next-door to the Una Residences project, was fined when their amenities suffered damages after a mass aquifer breach. Miami politicians have no shame in their domino game. And neither should we – we must remove them from office with our votes.
What will any Suarez connection like Eddy Leal, James Torres, Martin Zilber, or Sabina Covo do to protect your property? NOTHING. THEY HAVE ALREADY SOLD OUT TO THE DEVELOPERS! FOLLOW THE MONEY.
Ken Russel, with the staff, called the City of Miami Police and allowed the same developers to run over tax-paying citizens and hang large, heavy beams over their heads, breach our aquifers, and silt our bay – all while they were in charge of funding. Police officers often do NOT agree with their stand-down orders or call a politician’s orders. They tell Christi they have to call politicians to OK or issue tickets or citations to a developer.
Voters, as if we needed one more reason for you to VOTE CHRISTI TASKER, now it’s more evident than ever. If we continue to vote for developer-funded politicians, we will get the same results. We have the opportunity to stop it.
Please go to the polls, and take ten neighbors.
VOTE CHRISTI TASKER, and make our voices heard.
Christi has a reputation for helping people for over 20 years, and there’s press proof of her helping District 2 – click here to watch her on NBC News.
END THE CORRUPTION. Christi does not need a motion or permission from the City Manager to do the commissioner’s job and protect the people and our City assets. She needs your vote.