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Front Page » Top Stories » Fyi Miami

Fyi Miami

Written by on May 25, 2000



The defeat of a sales tax initiative for transportation isn’t the

end of efforts to

bolster county transportation infrastructure, Mayor Alex Penelas

told the Beacon Council last week. "I am

more committed now than ever in our efforts to bring forth a world-class

transportation system for this

community," he said, adding "don’t be surprised"

if he comes back soon to ask the Beacon Council to push a

new, unspecified transportation initiative.

BOUNCING BACK: It was good to be able to be present, Ryder System

President and COO Gregory Swienton told

those at the Beacon Council’s mid-year meeting Thursday at the Biltmore.

"To those who watched the

Heat-Knicks game" the night before, "if you saw Marcus

Camby fall out of bounds, he fell on me" — leading

Ryder’s human resources head to ask him if he wanted to file for

workers comp.


LATE…: Months ago a blue-ribbon panel that he appointed

recommended an authority be created to run

Miami International Airport, but Mayor Alex Penelas never backed

the findings. Now, with an authority

proposal by County Commission Chair Gwen Margolis before the commission

this week, the mayor hints he has

something in mind. "I can assure you that I will be proposing

major reforms," the mayor told the Beacon

Council last week — something that will make the airport run

more like a business.


Gov. Jeb Bush phones companies to lure them to Florida. County Mayor

Alex Penelas goes him one

better and visits — to keep companies here. "This year

alone we’ve visited 10 businesses," he told the

Beacon Council’s mid-year meeting last week.



Florida Inland Navigation District last week agreed to provide a


matching grant to reimburse the county’s Department of Environmental

Resource Management for environmental

studies done to prepare for the dredging of the Miami River, said

Fran Bohnsack, executive director of the

Miami River Marine Group.



Diane Johnson, senior development coordinator for the City of Miami,

said Florida Inland

Navigation District commissioners strengthened their commitment

to fund dredging when the project was removed

from a competitive grant program. Instead, district commissioners

agreed to negotiate a pact with county and

city governments. Dredging is expected to benefit the Intracoastal

Waterway maintained by the district.

Although the city has not formally sought the funds, Ms. Johnson

said, it will.



International banks in Miami annually draw an estimated 186,700

foreign and domestic visitors,

115,762 foreign clients, 3,262 officers from Latin America and 2,978

officers from US affiliates, says a

survey sponsored by Florida International Bankers Association. Banks

managed $39.5 billion in foreign assets

and employed 5,291 people in Miami at the end of 1999.


VOTES: Political humorist Mark Russell drew laughter

at a recent Northern Trust Bank breakfast

forum with his own presidential poll, throwing into the equation

non-candidates as well as candidates and

rating the results by the volume of applause. The crowd got progressively

louder as he called out Bradley,

then McCain, then Gore and finally Bush. But he got by far the loudest

applause for his fifth choice: "None

of the above."



Mr. Russell clearly knew where he was speaking, and his audience

loved it. "I come to

you," he began, "to announce that I am a candidate for

the city manager of the City of Miami. I know that you

already have one — but it’s only Wednesday." Loud laughter.

"Mayor Carollo called his secretary to say if

the police chief calls to get his name." Louder laughter. And

then, "I came here to personally thank you for

six months of material."


PACO: Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International

Realty, and four other investors bought

84 unsold units at the Paco Rabanne condominium, 5900 Collins Ave.,

for $15 million. Built by Edel

Development, the property got a certificate of occupancy in February

and went into bankruptcy with 39 units

sold. Mr. Defortuna says units at the tower, renamed The GrandView,

range from $190,000-$450,000. "The beauty

of this is it’s one of the few new buildings that can be occupied

immediately — a plus for buyers such as

Colombians who can’t buy in preconstruction and wait." Details:

Ana Defortuna, (305) 868-5900.



Richard Cooper, a director in Cushman & Wakefield’s commercial brokerage

division who had

been with the company 17 years, has moved to Grubb & Ellis, where

he’s senior vice president in the office

services group.


Johnson & Wales University gave R. Donahue Peebles his first honorary

degree — a

doctorate of business administration in hospitality management —

at graduation ceremonies held in the

Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Peebles is president

and CEO of Peebles Atlantic Development

Corp., which is responsible for developing the Royal Palm Crowne

Plaza Resort and Lincoln office building

under way in South Beach and the Bath Club Estates condo under construction

in Miami Beach.



The North American Lake Management Society announced Miami is host

city for its 20th annual

international symposium Nov. 6-11. The program will feature 42 technical

sessions and 150 presenters,

according to Larry Butler, the association’s president.



Historian Paul George will lead a historical education tour and

observe National Bicycling

Month all at once starting at 10 a.m. Saturday when he guides a

2.5-hour, 20-mile bike tour from Mack Cycle &

Fitness, 5995 Sunset Drive, South Miami, to Larkins and Cocoplum.

The tour was organized by the Historical

Museum of Southern Florida. Cost is $5. Details: (305) 661-8363.

BAR BUSINESS: The Dade County Bar Association will install Ervin

A. Gonzalez, attorney with Robles &

Gonzalez, as its president in ceremonies June 9 at the Hotel Inter-Continental

Miami. Details: (305)




The University of Miami and the Turkel Resource Foundation are presenting

sessions on

"Marketing & Public Relations" June 8 and "Fund-raising

104: How to ask for money" July 13 with Bruce Turkel

of Turkel Schwartz & Partners and Louise P. Yarbrough, executive

director for the Health Foundation of South

Florida, presiding. Cost is $25 each. Details: (305) 284-5670.


next Miami Today International Roundtable, co-sponsored by Bacardi

USA, will look at

"The International Future of Miami & Miami Beach as an Entertainment

Mecca" at 5 p.m. June 15 in Penrod’s

South Beach, 1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Reservations requested

by June 8. Casual attire. Details: Jody Bray,

(305) 358-2663.


Deloitte & Touche and the law firm Becker & Poliakoff are offering

a half-day seminar on

"Practical insights for today’s growing e-business" from

5-9 p.m. June 13 in the Coral Gables Hyatt Regency,

50 Alhambra Plaza. Cost is $79; $59 before June 1. Details: (800)

432-7712, ext. 4144.THREE-WAY:

Miami-based 3Com Corp., a provider of data systems, is offering

Latin Americans access to the Internet via

cell phones, promoters say. In conjunction with Vesper in Brazil,

3Com will use third-generation mobile

systems to help people in Latin American countries do e-commerce,

get live stock quotes and send e-mail using

mobile phones, company executives say. Details: (305) 461-8400.



Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the Broward Alliance, the Weston Chamber

of Commerce and

will join together to welcome Semtor — an e-business consultancy

firm — to Weston. The welcoming ceremony

will take place at 1 p.m. May 26 in Suite 190, 3050 Universal Blvd.,

Weston. Details: (305) 347-4349.



Miami-based Willow CSN Inc. has signed Fingerhut Cos. — one

of the nation’s largest direct

marketing and on-line retailers — as its newest client, promoters

say. Willow CSN is a customer-care network

that uses high-speed telecommunications to provide clients with

access to the Willow CyberCenter Network — a

group of customer service specialists or "Cyber Agents,"

company executives say. Details: (305) 810-1844.


WIN: Boca Raton-based announced plans to

give away $500,000 plus as much in related prizes.

The new game in which players must choose a winning window, will

run through Nov. 15, promoters say. In

addition to the $500,000 grand prize WinDough — which promoters

say makes its money through advertising —

says it will also give away one $100,000 prize, two $25,000 prizes

and five $10,000 prizes. Details: (954)


AD & SELL: — a media buying and selling site for the region

and Latin America — announced it

has secured first-round funding from the investment firm Hicks Muse

Tate & Furst. Promoters say Advertium

offers sellers of radio, print, television and the Internet industry

in Latin America the opportunity to post

inventory on-line for free. Company executives will not release

the amount of funding.


TOPICS: E-commerce, telecommunications, technology and

logistics will be just a few of the topics

discussed at the "New Industrial Revolution" seminar at

7:30 a.m. June 15 in the Don Shula Hotel, 6842 Main

St., Miami Lakes. The seminar is being sponsored by the Urban Land

Institute Program. Details: (800)


NEW VP: — an Internet company that unites top Latin American

search engines — announced the

addition of Adriana Scalabrin as vice president of business operations.

Before working at Ms.

Scalabrin was vice president of international media for McCann-Erickson

Worldwide. She has also managed

global initiatives for Coca-Cola, Nestle, General Motors and Motorola.


The Boca Raton-based EmailChannel — a provider of e-mail services

for permission-based marketers

— announced it has received funding from Tampa-based Advantage

Capital Florida Partners. The investment firm

gave the EmailChannel an initial equity investment of $1 million.


Todosport Network Inc., a sports marketing firm on the Internet

for Spanish and Portuguese

communities, announced an initiative with financial site

and MovilGo — a portal for wireless

communications. The partnerships will help US Hispanic and Latin

Americans to access sports content though

the Internet and wireless devices. Details: (305) 695-2690.


MONEY:, which operates on-line auctions in Spanish and

Portuguese, announced it

secured $46.5 million in a second round of financing. Executives

say the financing came from Goldman Sachs,

GE Equity, Banco Santander Central Hispano, Chase Capital Partners,

Flatiron Partners and Hicks Muse Tate &

Furst. Since August 1999 MercadoLibre has been launched in nine

countries — the US, Argentina, Brazil,

Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay and Spain.



United Airlines scheduled a topping off event Wednesday to announce

that construction of

its $26.5 million, 95,000-square-foot cargo facility on 8.23 acres

at Miami International Airport has reached

the halfway point. United is moving 3 million pounds of cargo through

Miami weekly, the airline announced,

after moving 125 million pounds through MIA in 1999. The new cargo

building is due to open in November.


TALK: More communication is needed between the South

Florida Water Management District and county

flood control systems to avert severe flood damage, a county task

force concluded. Thomas MacVicar, a

hydrologist who chaired the group, said more small pumps at coastal

structures are also needed to regulate

the flow of water in extreme circumstances.



After being told response time in emergency services in some parts

of the county averages 7 to

8 minutes Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday called for faster reaction

and a report on upgrading 911 equipment

in 30 days. Randy Whitt, fire board spokesperson, said a task force

is reviewing a substitute automated

dispatch system that would help. County Manager Merrett Stierheim

scheduled a June workshop on the matter.

NO FOOLS WE: Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto blasted unnamed

state legislators whom he said were

bad-mouthing commissioners and County Manager Merrett Stierheim

during a Spanish-language radio program

Tuesday over the commission’s role in handling Jackson Memorial

Hospital. "Some people in this town want to

portray us as fools. They say we are incapable of working with the

Public Health Trust," he said. He said he

would have a transcript of the program read before commissioners

so they would know what was being said about




Miami-Dade Commissioners Tuesday capped at 5% the amount county

contracts of $500,000 or more

can be increased for allowances, contingencies and added services.

They also prohibited change orders that

would raise a contract’s cost by more than 10% without approval

from the county audit department.

First Bank