Monday, January 28, 2008
Carmel on the Case: Simon Charges
Trouble tonight for the Vice Mayor of Miami Lakes. The state has filed a complaint against her charging she sold real estate without a license. It's a story Seven's Carmel Cafiero first broke and tonight, Carmel is still on the case.
WSVN -- Carmel Cafiero: "Ms. Simon, what is your response to the complaint filed against you by the state of Florida?"
Nancy Simon wasn't talking. The complaint by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation charges says she "is guilty of having operated as a broker or sales associate without being the holder of a valid and current license as a broker or sales associate." That's something Simon denied in an earlier interview.
Nancy Simon: "I have not, ma'am."
Carmel Cafiero: "You're certain you haven't?"
Nancy Simon: "I'm certain I haven't."
Yet, the state says Simon collected commissions that add up to $28,144.20 in the year after her real estate license was null and void.
Nancy Simon: "But, the fact is, I've not made one dime off of real estate for three years, one dime."
The state disagrees and turned over its evidence to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, which is now investigating.
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you concerned because it is now being investigated criminally by the State Attorney's Office?"
Simon was on her way into court. She's trying to get a temporary injunction against this man, Gus Abella. His complaint to the state sparked the investigation into Simon's real estate activity.
Gus Abella: "We felt it was our duty to file it."
Simon wants the injunction made permanent.
Nancy Simon: "My fear is that I believe Mr. Abella to have a very violent temper, and I do not want to be exposed to violence."
But Abella says this is pay back for his complaint and the Seven News investigation about it. In our "Lawmaker or Lawbreaker" report, we questioned Simon about her involvement in the real estate business. Now she has testified in addition to being afraid of Gus Abella, she was also afraid of me.
Nancy Simon: "She jumped out of a van at me."
Simon was being questioned by Abella's attorney.
Nancy Simon: "I got scared, I thought I was being mugged. I got in my car and I ran, and as I was leaving I thought I heard 'Channel Seven,' so I turned back.
Abella's Attorney: "You thought Carmel Cafiero was mugging you?"
Nancy Simon: "Well, not Carmel. I didn't know it was Carmel Cafiero. I see two people jumping out of a van and I left."
This, despite the fact I identified myself right away that day.
Carmel Cafiero: "Ms. Simon, Carmel Cafiero from Channel Seven. I'd like to talk to you about the status of your real estate license. Have you acted as a realtor since it's been null and void?"
Simon drove off but then returned.
Carmel Cafiero: "Look out!"
Simon never mentioned she was afraid.
Nancy Simon: "I am sorry that I ran away. I'm just so incensed. I can't believe what's happening."
Now Simon faces a possible fine in connection with the real estate complaint by the state. The hearing on the temporary restraining order is due to pick up again later this week.
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