By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter
Lew Thaler was elected Commissioner from September 2003 through November 2012. During his commission term, Thaler was also appointed Vice-Mayor by Mayor Norman Edelcup. Thaler lives at Ocean One condominium, 19333 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach, which was built in 1999. According to annual corporate filings, Lew Thaler has served on Ocean One’s Board of Directors at various times beginning in 2001 to the present. Thaler is currently Board Treasurer. Moreover, Thaler served on its Financial Committee. It is obvious that Lew Thaler has actively participated in overseeing building operations at Ocean One.
Ocean One’s newsletter Ocean One Waves is available on the internet. These newsletters clearly reveal a record of mismanagement, waste, abuse of power and possibly worse. While the newsletter’s version of events is highly disturbing, we may never know the full extent of what really happened. Taken directly from the Ocean One Waves newsletter, we summarize below the incredibly bad situations which negatively impacted the quality of life for residents at Ocean One:
1. Illegal Board elections from 2009 and continuing until 2013. Lack of cooperation among Board members.
2. Fifteen Lawsuits that drained financial resources.
3. Hiring contractors without getting competitive bids.
4. Unfulfilled financial obligations left over from a 2010 balcony assessment.
5. Long term problems with transparency, accountability, dereliction of duty of key personnel (General Manager, Maintenance and Housekeeping).
6. Dangerous black mold remediation necessary to Spa bathrooms caused by undetected leaks in men’s & women shower rooms, saunas, bathrooms & foyers contaminating walls, tiles and insulation materials which had to be discarded.
7. Ongoing troubled projects: Renovation of Lobby and structural repair of building. Numerous deficiencies – sloppy painting, poor installation of wood panels, wallpaper and carpet of inferior quality causing work to be halted and redone over and over. Significant cost increase and delays renovating elevator cabs.
8. Fire Code Citation issued in March 2006. Lien not satisfied until December 2008. Ocean One paid fine of $5,085. Source: Miami-Dade County Clerk Code Enforcement CFN#20080791758
9. Unsafe working conditions for building employees.
10. Lack of security of costly building equipment. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment (42” TV, computers, DVD player, drill machines, saws, tools, office supplies, walkie-talkies, etc.) went missing. Items were returned only after warning employees that police would be called.
11. Outdoor beach furniture shabby, rusty and sagging. Plans to replace pool and Tiki Hut furniture put on hold due to “too many more important projects with higher priorities.”
12. Plagued with endless difficulties the Blue Wave Café eventually closes.
a) Café phone did not work making it impossible to order room service to apartments.
b) Café subsidies cost Ocean One up to $4,000 monthly. Ocean One waived rent, provided free utilities but food and service was poor.
c) Repelling odors of frying garlic, onion, fish emanated from Café into Lobby.
d) Many complaints of anti-sanitary conditions, inconsistent menu items, portion sizes.
e) Café received numerous Warning Violations by both the Miami-Dade Fire Department and by the City of Sunny Isles Beach Building & Zoning Departments.
Sources: Ocean One Waves-March 2013, July 2013 issues
These violations of law and incidents of blatant mismanagement exposed residents and employees alike to dangerous health hazards resulting in a diminished lifestyle. The cost of these blunders was simply passed on to residents.
During the years all of these unfortunate events were taking place, where was mayoral hopeful Lew Thaler? LEW WAS THERE!
This was Lew Thaler’s home, yet Lew Thaler was apparently unwilling or incapable of being an effective problem solver at Ocean One Condominium.
Lew Thaler could not provide the capability and leadership necessary to meet those challenges and resolve problems at the condominium building where he lived. Therefore, how can we expect him to successfully perform the far more complex duties required as Mayor of Sunny Isles Beach?
If his building’s situation is any indicator, it is clear that having time to be engaged, and giving it a go, so to speak, is no substitute for competence. In short, perhaps an “A” for effort, but he is not exactly valedictorian when it comes to results.