Michael Gongora raises $70K — but not from Club Madonna

Michael Gongora raises $70K — but not from Club Madonna
  • Sumo

Former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Góngora is getting a good head start on his bid election2017to get his seat back, raising $70,000 (including a $20,000 loan to himself) for the Group 3 race in his first month.

By comparison, the two others bidding for the open seat — because Commissioner Joy Malakoff doesn’t want to be there if Mayor Philip Levine ain’t — combined haven’t raised half of that, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed last week: Adrian Gonzalez , owner of the well-known Cuban eatery David’s Cafe, has raised $23,738 in three months, and Cindy Mattson, a consultant who is a former compliance officer with the U.S. Department of Labor, has raised $7,000, including a $5,000 loan to herself and a $1,000 contribution from. Mattson has also spent the most, with consultant Miriam Almer getting $3,000 and $625 for event supplies. The two boys haven’t spent $1,000 yet, neither one of them, but for some reason it seems like it’s going to e a showdown between them two.

Almost a third of Góngora’s money comes from addresses outside of Miami Beach and it also includes some gongoradeskbundling, most notably $5,000 from businesses owned by James Cavanaugh, who owns and manages and may want to redevelop several properties in South Beach. He also has $2,000 each from the owner of Mango’s and from lobbyist Manny Prieguez. But Góngora also has a ton of smaller checks from a personal trainer and a speech therapist and quite a few activists like Frank and Marian Del Vecchio and Ray Breslin, who is president of the Collins Park Residents Association. These are people who not only vote, but drum up votes from others.

Read related story: Michael Gongora wants back on Miami Beach commission

About a third of Gonzalez’s $24K treasure chest is also from adrianmugoutside the city — from as far away as New York and Philadelphia and Scarborough, Maine. There’s no obvious bundling but there is some development and construction money, as well as sympatico restaurants like Sliderz and Munchies Cafe and bars with names like Foxhole and Drunken Dragon. Gonzalez has been president of the Lincoln Road merchants association and instrumental in bringing some new events to South Beach, but he is running as a family man, only having photographs of himself with his wife and two daughters on his website.

One of the most interesting contributions, so far, is a $1,000 maximum gift from Gayety Theaters, also known as Club Madonna on Washington Avenue, which has been at odds with the city for years and is now in litigation with it.

The strip club was already at fighting with city officials in 2014 over the owner’s request for a liquor license (denied) when authorities found a 13-year-old runaway girl stripping there by force of three other people who were ultimately charged by police. City Manager Jimmy Morales revoked clubmadonnaClub Madonna’s business license. But two weeks later, he reinstated it after the club promised to put in measures that would prevent underage girls from dancing there. A year later, city commissioners passed a human trafficking ordinance requiring stricter records and that strip venues — of which there really only is one — hire a manager to guarantee legal requirements for the nude dancers are met.

So a few months ago, Club Madonna owner Leroy Griffith sued the city of Miami Beach. He says that the new rules have little to do with stopping human trafficking and more to do with shutting down the only strip club on the beach.

Góngora said Griffith offered him a check last month, but he declined.

“He only gives contributions in exchange for a promise to support alcohol and nudity,” Góngora told Ladra.

Okay, sure, but then what do James Cavanaugh and Manny Prieguez give contributions in exchange for?

13 Responses to "Michael Gongora raises $70K — but not from Club Madonna"

  1. Jo Manning   April 17, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I have long been fond of this so-cynical political quote (attributed to several but probably from the mouth of Texas pol Jesse Unruh): “If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, f**k their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.”

    But, nevertheless, it is SO good to hear that some political contributions are not always accepted or acceptable!

  2. gus Chacon   April 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

    DONATIONS ? = What We Want on Return? Is Expected to Obtain Something in The Near Future from The person Accepting the DONATION ? Like A Mandate Required To Do Business ? Like PAY TO PLAY ?
    To See How It Has Work See Miami Dade Transportation if You Donate Nothing gets Done At BCC ?

  3. Tierney Danehy   April 17, 2017 at 8:52 am

    We are so lucky to have Michael Gongora back running for a commission seat. He is smart, very honest, and hard working to say the least. Miami Beach will benefit with Michael on the commission. We need him! Go Michael Go. And thank you for your time and effort.

  4. Jackson Rip Holmes   April 17, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I must be getting old. I think Club Madonna is good forMiami Beach tourism.

  5. Bradley Ugent   April 17, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Ofcourse residents are supporting Michael. We trust him and know he will represent us well. Good for him in not taking money from club Madonna strip bar. This just further proves the integrity Michael has. Bravo Michael!

  6. Michael Tronn   April 17, 2017 at 11:11 am

    When it comes to public service, Michael Gongora is the most experienced. When it comes to Club Madonna, it is a blight on Miami Beach that is likely the singular reason Washington Avenue has never been able to be developed properly. It could become a sophisticated cabaret or a proper nightclub or even a dinner showplace like el Tucan, but as it is is, it is disgusting and does not belong.

  7. Nancy Harrington   April 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Michael is by far the person best qualified for the job. As former City Commissioner and Vice Mayor, he is one who helped to initiate protective measures against street flooding. Michael is professional, and has great integrity and honesty. He has been committed to improving the quality of life in Miami Beach for many years. We are lucky to have him as our candidate.

  8. SILVIA   April 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I miss our Old Commission terribly… Come back Michael!!!

  9. Chantal Kahale   April 17, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Michael Góngora is the obvious choice for this seat. The amount of money he has been able to raise in only the first month shows how much support he has. We all know that no one cares as much about Miami Beach as Michael, and this is simply another way to show that. Good luck Michael!

  10. Jackie Lalonde   April 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    The contrast is clear; a guy who’ll take money from a discusting club busted for having underage young girls dancing vs Gongora whose history of being there for neighborhoods and people endures! Easy choice, Gongora it is, experience, maturity!

  11. Mitch Novick   April 18, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Michael Gongora is highly qualified to serve on the Ocean Drive Association. The campaign donations he’s taken and his “pro” noise legislation of the past makes him a natural.

  12. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz   April 20, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    Since 1997 the Beach Commission and Administrations have gone from bad to worse and now the bottom of the barrel literally

  13. scroll   April 27, 2017 at 2:43 am

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