July 8, 1997


Image of today's outrage

In today’s Outrage, we begin our contest to find the Worst-Run City in America. Thus far, the leading contenders are Miami, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. (See The Outrage Libraries to learn how our contestants qualified for the finals.)

As the finalists are four of America’s biggest cities, we’ve already learned at least one thing — bigger doesn’t mean better.

We begin our contest with perennial contender Miami, aka Metropolitan Dade County.

It seems that Metro-Dade made a very bad deal. They entered into an agreement with Fiscal Operations to run the Port of Miami’s huge cargo cranes. Metro-Dade says Fiscal Operations owes the authority $24 million for deferred rent and cash advances.

Who is Fiscal Operations, you might ask? Is it a local company run by someone with years of seaport management experience? Not exactly. Fiscal is owned by Calvin Grigsby, a San Francisco based bond dealer.

Outraged readers won’t be surprised to learn that those cash advances made by Dade to Fiscal were apparently used to pay for luxury cars, liquor, condo renovations, campaign contributions, lingerie and other expenses not obviously related to the operation of cargo cranes.

Metro-Dade is now suing to terminate Fiscal Operations contract and recover the $24 million it says it is owed.

The real outrage is this — Metro-Dade already gave Fiscal Operations a way out. The existing contract says that if the contract is terminated before the year 2002, then Fiscal does not have to repay the cash advances and deferred rent.

So Metro-Dade is now in an unusual position. First, they must admit that they made a horrible decision in hiring a corrupt contractor. Next, they must admit they bungled the contract so badly that they should not be held to it.

Miami Mayor Alex Penelas says, “We’ve got to be able to exercise our right to terminate and not suffer the consequences.” Isn’t that what our cities are always trying to do — make stupid decisions and not suffer the consequences?

Don’t forget to send us your nomination for America’s worst-run city.

(Source: Miami Herald .)

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