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MIAMI MIRROR TRUE REFLECTIONS

Message to Public from Green Square Bollettieri Posted on Flamingo Tennis Center February 13, 2014

GREEN SQUARE TENNIS HOAX NOT A HOAX


The Fat Lady Was Just Rehearsing
UPDATE March 5, 2014 By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRRROR Miami BeachEveryone present thought Howie Orlins tennis management team had finally trounced Jimmy Bollettieris team 5-1 at the City of Miami Beach Commission meeting held on February 12.

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As opposing teams left the meeting to respectively guzzle champagne or gnash their teeth, it seemed that the Bollettieri team, doing business as Green Square Inc, had by final resolution of the commission lost its contract to manage the historic Flamingo Park Tennis Center and its North Shore facility, after a dozen years of mismanagement and contractual breaches that had been ignored by City of Miami Beach Officials. However, on the very next day, Bollettieri fans at the Flamingo Park center were informing the public that the ball was still in the air because the decision had been revoked. Tennis center staff posted a notice on the entrance: PROCEEDING OF RD9 WAS REVOKED AT END OF DAY. NO WINNER I received an image of the notice with someone giving the finger in front of it. I was incredulous because Wednesday afternoons decision in favor of the Orlin team was supposedly final. Finally, a motion to waive the bidding and award the contract to Orlin passed with the necessary five votes, I had reported, much to the dismay of the Bollettieri fans, with only Wolfson voting against it. From the city commissioners: You have to have five. We have five. You have five? Good, then its over with, congratulations! The outcry was outrageous, with one man yelling that he wanted his tennis membership dues back. Commissioners, adopting a paternalistic tone, did their best to quiet the temper tantrum. Surely the notice that the decision had been revoked was just another display of bad sportsmanship by the Bollettieri fans who had booed every play the Orlin team made at the last two commission meetings. But my usual distrust of politicians, especially if they are lawyers, set in, especially when it was rumored that professional politician and lawyer Jimmy Morales, currently city manager of our strong, apolitical city manager, weak mayor system, had managed to undo what appeared to be the final decision. After all, Morales had stated at the meeting that he had collaborated with the Bollettieri team on certain issues, and emphatically stated that, whatever happened, he would not recommend a waiver of the bidding process, as is required by the city charter, which was precisely what the commission proceeded to do with the necessary five votes, on their own motion to waive and give the contract to the Orlin team.

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The Bollettieri supporters were hoping that the waiver would not be forthcoming, so that the issue would go out for bid yet again in a process that might take two more years, leaving them with a month-to-month possession of the tennis centers and their revenues. A previous bidding process had put the Orlin team in first position, with Bollettieri shoed-in as fourth or last placenormally only three bidders are on the final evaluation list. The bids were rejected in an egregious violation of due bidding process standing as a monument to the travesties of the previous commission controlled by regressive interests. To his credit, Morales had recommended the Orlin team back then, yet, at this latest match he asked if he could reconsider his recommendation. As for his no to waiving the bidding process this time, he ignored the previous travesty, the capricious and unreasonable rejection of the bidding process so as to avoid Green Square Bollettieris loss of possession of the tennis centers, and the exigent need to discontinue the delays in awarding the contract, saying, Our recommendation would have been to have another competitive bid process. I don't think there are circumstances for me to say to waive this in either direction. My normal recommendation would be to go out to a normal procurement based on the direction you all give. I discussed Morales statements with others present at the commission meeting. Indeed, his statements in their entirety, of which I have quoted only a part, seemed self-contradictory at the time, and it was feared that the doubletalk amounted to a double cross. Morales denied that anything at all had been done at his behest. He said he did not care what other people said because he knew the truth, which he deemed was evident in the record of the hearing itself. A cursory examination of the record, led me to the opinion that Morales was simply trying to cover all the bases, and that his waffling was due to the apparent fusion or con -fusion of the rejected bidding process with the new effort to waive a new bidding process and award the contract to the winner of the previously tossed-out bids. Still his intent not to waive bidding in any event was troubling. Ironically, given the fact that the previous bids had been arbitrarily and unreasonably rejected, the Green Square Bollettieri lawyer argued that the issue should be the nature of the process and not who is the best manager. Since the bids had been tossed, the process would require, without the city managers waiver of that process, a brand new bidding process, which would give his client a new lease on life.

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Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, an old guard turned reformist commissioner, the only commissioner supporting the Bollettieri team at the hearing, was actually overheard apologizing for supporting Bollettieri to reformist mayor Philip Levine, who is emulating a strong mayor although his formal executive powers are minimal. Previously, Wolfson had insisted that, The law is clear, the ordinance says the commission needs written recommendation from manager to waive competitive bidding. But Raul Aguila, the chief deputy city attorney, said, I don't agree with that. In order to waive competitive bidding you have to have a recommendation from the city manager, but the commission is not bound by that recommendation. The city manager doesn't necessarily have to make a recommendation in the affirmative to waive competitive bidding. Now the logical ramifications of the deputy city attorneys proposition are a little mindboggling. The record of the hearing indicates that an affirmative recommendation of a waiver of bidding was expected from Morales but was not tendered when asked for. The applicable city code seems to require the city manager to recommend a waiver in order for the commission to vote upon it. Sec. 2.367 (e) provides that, The city commission, upon written recommendation of the city manager, may by resolution adopted by a five-sevenths vote of the city commission waive competitive bidding when the city commission finds such waiver to be in the best interest of the city. In the event of such a waiver the city commission may authorize the execution of a negotiated contract. The ordinance does not declare that, if the city manager is asked for a waiver and does not provide one, then the commission can waive by a five-sevenths voteonly six commissioners voted on the instant matter since Commissioner Deede Weithorn recused herself because the general manager of the tennis center is her brother-in-law. Aguila did not provide any authority for the doesnt necessarily of his opinion, but I shall buy it nevertheless. After all, the city manager serves at the will of the political authority. That is, the city commission is his boss. If he refuses to waive the bidding process, he can be fired and another manager appointed to give one. At least that is my nave opinion as a layman with scant knowledge of the law. My further inquiry into the revocation notice affixed to the door at the tennis center led me to think that it was poppycock plain and simple, that Bollettieris Green Square was toast. What was actually happening, I was told by persons who said they were in direct contact with the commissioners, was that the commissions decision would be placed on the consent agenda for

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the next meeting, to be held March 5, where it will be then be routinely rubber-stamped along with other items. I was nonetheless somewhat suspicious, since my job is to be skeptical. For one thing, I intuited that the public notice made by Green Square at the tennis center must have some factual basis. As for consent agendas, I learned that items thereon can be and are often challenged by commission members and members of the public, and voted down. Despite the hoax at the tennis center that resulted in wildfire rumors, Jimmy Bollettieri was alleged overheard admitting the contract has been lost, and stating that he would get the contract back the next time around. However, when I called the tennis center to say that I had guests coming into town who wanted me to ask if Bollettieris team would still be managing the place in May, the answer was resoundingly affirmative from the mouth of Green Square manager Victor Weithorn. I should have taken Morales advice to listen to ever y single minute of the September 12. If I had rented a computer to do so, I would have discovered that the commission took up the issue again, at 4:00 pm, after their final decision had been made at around 2:30. Practically everyone was gone by then. City Attorney Raul Aguila referred the commission back to the tennis item, and advised that a step to be taken to prevent complaints about due process. He reiterated his casuistic stretching of the charter language: the city manager does not have to positively recommend a waiver of bidding for the commission to waive. His recommendation not to waive would be sufficient but it must be in writing and not oral as then given. He did not urge the city manager to jot down a negative recommendation in long hand for the record. Instead, he suggested that the last final decision be amended in order to put the resolution on the agenda at the next meeting along with the necessary written recommendation of the city manager and thus suit due process requirements. In fine, it was finally moved, and unanimously passed, that the last final decision be amended to express the non-binding sentiment of the commission that the bidding process be waived and the contract finally awarded to Howie Orlin again at the next meeting. That is not what happened on March 5. The conclusion, arrived at in a few minutes without public discussion, was obviously forgone during maneuvering upon which the Sun did not shine for everyone who thought the proverbial Fat Lady had already sung for them. As for the waiver, Morales made his intentions quite clear: He would not recommend waiving the bidding process. However, if the commission reverted to the old bidding process, which he deemed fair and reasonable, he would reiterate his endorsement of Howie O rlins team, who was the first bidder. No decision to award the contract had been made back then; Green Square had remained in month-to-month possession of the tennis centers pending further
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action, and then Orlin was supposedly awarded the contract. Therefore it was moved and unanimously passed to revert to and take up the old bids, consider public opinion again, and award the contract to one of the bidders. So the Green Square Hoax was not a hoax at all. Ultimately the decision in favor of Howie Orlin was revoked. The judges behind the scenes have ordered a rematch. Absent a waiver, one less vote will be necessary to give Green Square a win. The wishy-washy commission may very well come down in its favor. If it had wanted to do the right thing, it would have stuck with its socalled final decision to waive the bidding process and aware the contract to Orlin. # # Note: this is not a joke.

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