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CORRUPTION IN WPB MAYORS OFFICE Latest episode is the most blatent yet

For 10 years I have been pointing out corruption resonating from the Mayor’s office in West Palm Beach. The latest episode is the most blatant corruptive action I’ve ever seen. When current Mayor Jeri Muoio was elected many said she was a puppet of former corrupt Mayor Lois Frankel. She has turned out to be no more than a student of Frankel’s corrupt ways. Muoio lives in Ibis, a western gated community far removed from the grittier Dixie & railroad track corridor that holds sway to our most crime ridden & poorest areas. She and a few of her neighbors wanted to cut down 28 Oak Trees because they didn’t have a “Florida feel.” Because western gated communities have already uprooted and cut giant swaths across our land for the profits of developers you can’t just cut down the few trees that are left without city approval. So in late 2010 the Homeowners Association sent word to the city thru application they want to cut down the trees and used an excuse of the tree roots causing “conflicts with the sidewalks and underground utilities.” They wanted to replace them with Palm Trees. So the city did a survey, looked at the trees and underground areas. They determined in writing that “the condition of existing infrastructure appears to be in good condition. Evidence of tree root damage or conflict is minimal and less than would normally be expected in consideration of the tree maturity and planting location.” So Charles Wu, who had worked as the Planning Director in WPB since 2006, denied the application in early June of 2011. On June 24th Mayor Muoio fired him. She claimed she was saving the city money by combining the Planning Department with Zoning & Building Departments, and that resulted in her having to “lay off” Wu. In September Muoio decided to rehire a Planning Director, but not Wu. She hired Rick Greene. So in the end she didn’t eliminate a position at all, but by now forcing the new Planning Director to work under the Director of the new combined departments, a Muoio puppet named Doug Wise, she created another level of bureaucracy and made the Planning Director’s decisions subservient to the Director of the combined departments. In November, just a couple weeks after being hired, Rick Greene somehow decided to revisit to Oak Trees application and approved it - allowing Muoio and her pals to get their way and cut down the Oak Trees. In his letter approving the removal he wrote that his “staff is aware that the live oak trees originally planted have caused problems and conflicts with the sidewalks and underground utilities.” Based on the city’s earlier report when Wu was Planning Director one of them is lying. This is a Mayor who was hell-bent on getting her way and cutting down those trees and if she had to fire a long tenured City Planning Director and lie to the residents about doing it for cost cutting purposes so be it. She would just wait a month then hire another person who, going in, would know that he would be reversing the Oak Tree decision. This is not just about 28 Oak Trees. It is about the means and abuse of power that was exercised to carry out the selfish wishes of Jeri Muoio. Instead of investigating how the two decisions could be so opposite and why the initial decision was overturned, the City brass turned its attention towards who leaked the initial recommendation work denying the application to the press. It turns out the report was public information and obtainable by anyone on the internet. Ignoring that fact, when they found someone they thought they could pin the blame on, senior planner Linda Mia Franco, she was sent a letter of termination. When the PB Post made inquiries into the letter, it was reversed and she was put on a “last chance notice” and suspended for a week without pay. If that’s not corruption, what is? If Mayor Muoio will go to this length to get her way about 28 Oak Trees in her neighborhood, there is no limit to the length of corrupt actions she will to take to get her way about anything.