People watching the City of Miami meeting last week were surprised when Commissioner Joe Carollo went with the majority and voted against the very contract he helped negotiate with Ultra Music Festival organizers, even after getting everything he demanded.
The three-day electronic music event was kicked out of Bayfront Park, its home the past 18 years, when commissioners voted Sept. 27 unanimously not to renew their contract for next year. They cited the noise and traffic bothering downtown residents as their prime concerns.
But in reality Carollo is just trying to trade in one noise and traffic nightmare for another: Formula One racing. He thinks that if he can appease the downtown residents on Ultra — there, I did that for you — then it will be easier to sell the Miami Grand Prix.
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And he’s doing it for his new BFF, lobbyist CJ Gimenez, son of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. CJ represents Formula One racing interests.
But what people need to know is that its not apples for oranges.
Yes, the Formula 1 racing would likely not extend into the wee hours of the morning like Ultra does. But the noise is arguably worse and the traffic is still going to be a nightmare. And the agreement negotiated so far with the city manager provides far less rent to the city than Ultra, whose organizers had agreed to pay $2 million annually to the city for the three day use of the park, a demand Carollo had made.
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But Carollo and the Gimenez clan have a very special relationship. It’s a relationship where Mayor Gimenez was paying him $6,000 a month through his political action committee — for what? nobody knows — and where Crazy Joe paid the mayor’s daughter-in-law Tania Cruz, an attorney, almost $60,000 for mailers and campaign work. Both CJ and Tania, photographed right at a 2017 campaign event, were very present during Carollo’s commission contest and Cruz helped represent him after Alfie Leon challenged his residency.
Yes, it was an anonymous vote to deny Ultra another year. But Carollo was the one who negotiated and brought the contract to the table. Was it sabotage? Did he bring a poison pill?
Why wouldn’t he make it easier for his pal CJ to get Formula One passed? Todo en familia.

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