Barreto Group Defends Staff In Letter Withdrawing Bids For Country Club And Burger Bob’s

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]


Following Gables Insider‘s article on Friday, January 21st, informing residents of the City Manager’s request for Commission approval to negotiate a contract with Barreto Investments for the Coral Gables Country Club while withholding the proposal and the RFP from residents; the Barreto Investments sent a letter to the City informing the City that they would be withdrawing their bid for the Country Club, as well as their bid for Burger Bob’s.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to withdraw our proposals for the lease and operation of both the Coral Gables Country Club (the “Club”) and the Burger Bob’s location,” said the letter.

Second Withdrawal By Barreto Investments

This is not the first time Barreto Investments withdraws its bid. Following Gables Insider‘s article on the City working around the set process to award a contract for the tenancy of Burger Bob’s to Barreto Investments, they withdrew their proposal for Bob’s and they became unresponsive to their bid for the Country Club.

Defending Staff

“Zeida [Sardinas], you are to be commended for you incredible hard work and professionalism during this process. The same is true for the City Manager, the entire City Commission, and all staff. You have maintained steadfast leadership and integrity throughout what has been an unnecessarily painful process for everyone involved,” said Barreto Investments.

Sardinas is the City’s Asset Manager and her work has been called into question on more than one occasion. As you will remember, Sardinas was the one who operated outside the scope of the City’s Charter to negotiate a contract with Barreto Investments for Burger Bob’s, which fell through after Gables Insider reported on it and the community’s subsequent uproar. She was also behind the deal for the surface parking lot at 350 Greco Avenue to Vice Mayor Michael Mena’s bosses below market value. That deal also fell through following a Gables Insider article and community uproar.

The City Manager was seeking the Commission’s approval to negotiate a deal with Barreto Investments, while withholding public records from residents, as of publishing of this article on Monday, January 24th, the City had yet to release the public records.

Facts Were Not Convenient

“They say, ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’, and unfortunately, our efforts to breathe life into what are some of the most important locations in the City were met with a coordinated, vitriolic, and persistent campaign of misinformation. Those who perpetrated this campaign succeeded in brewing considerable unrest in the surrounding community and in the City at large. They impugned our integrity, and that of the City Manager, the Mayor, and the Commission. They painted vivid pictures of smoke-filled rooms and ‘back-channel deals’, all of which were a fantastical farse. But alas, the damage was done,” they added in their letter.

English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once wrote, “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Unfortunately, in contradiction with Barreto Investments’ premise, the operation by City staff in this case can be documented by the facts through public records.

A search of the City’s website, which has a list of RFPs (Requests for Proposal), shows no RFP for Burger Bob’s or for the Country Club, while older notices still remain on the site.

A search of the City’s Cone of Silence Notices, dating back to October, for open RFP, RFQ (Request for Qualification) and IFB (Invitation for Bids) list numerous other requests ranging from Medical Director Services to a new Police Vessel. However, not a single mention of an RFP for the Country Club or the Burger Bob’s location.

The records of the RFP and the subsequent proposal have not been made available through the legal requirement of a public record request.

As for the Cone of Silence, it calls another question. In the case of these other listed contracts, staff and members of the Commission are unable to discuss the details with the proposers. Seeing that these two contracts are not on this list would imply there was a full openness to communicate. However, it would be without resident input or the ability for others to submit proposals, if the City’s notices page does not even list the RFP.

Burger Bob’s

The letter explains that Barreto Investments is also withdrawing its bid for the Burger Bob’s location. Gables Insider had provided Barreto Investment’s Chairman and CEO, Rodney Barreto, with an opportunity to explain their vision for the Bob’s location in August at Barreto’s request. The community voiced its concerns with this vision and the initial bid was withdrawn.

According to their letter, Barreto Investments felt the community had the wrong impression of them on Bob’s. “As to Burger Bob’s, it was made to appear as though we were ‘pushing Bob out’, when in fact, the opposite was true. The reality is that Burger Bob’s was coming to an end irrespective of our existence. This was obvious then, and it is a fact now given Bob’s announcement that he is closing his doors even in the face of the recent lease extension the City graciously provided.”

Barreto Investments is correct in that their attempt was not to remove Bob’s. In fact, Gables Insider was able to independently confirm that Barreto himself had met with Bob Maguire and made him an offer to keep his staff onboard, payoff the debt and keep Bob as a greeter at the remodeled location, which would hold Bob’s name as a token of appreciation for Bob’s work.

Malcontents

“The ‘bad will’ created by a few malcontents is costly. This is clear now and will become more so in the coming months and years. It would be imprudent for us to commit to investing over Five Million Dollars {$5,000,000.00) in places where we are not welcome. Unfortunately, any member of the Commission who votes in favor of approving our proposals would suffer politically with the loud minority of malcontents in the nearby neighborhood, and for no good reason. Our Commissioners and Mayor are underserving of such ire. We have, in our view, among the best local government officials and staff anywhere in the world.”

3,239 members of the Coral Gables community signed a petition requesting that the City “Preserve the Coral Gables Country Club as a Place ALL Residents Can Enjoy.” The petition represents the largest response to a petition in the history of Coral Gables. Barreto Investments might be right, the number is a far cry from the 49,248 the 2020 Census counted in the City. However, the number represents 31.1% of the total number of votes cast in the 2021 election (10,406) and 44.5% of the total number who voted in the 2021 runoff (7,280); Explaining Barreto Investments’ statement about the political fallback of a vote in favor of his proposal.

What Comes Next

The City Commission will discuss the Country Club contract at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, January 25th at a time certain of 10:00AM.

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55 thoughts on “Barreto Group Defends Staff In Letter Withdrawing Bids For Country Club And Burger Bob’s

  1. As one of the activists behind the petition to save Burger Bob’s, I can say that, wholeheartedly, I am glad to be one of the vectors of discontentment behind Barreto’s decision to withdraw. Truthfully, just as he articulated, he and his restaurant are not welcomed in Coral Gables. A quick scroll-through of comments on this article, comments on previous Gables Insider articles on the issue, comments/signatures on the petition to save Burger Bob’s, and a chat with community members reveals as much (also, rest assured that all of these comments/signatures were submitted along with Rita’s RFP bid).

    It is never the ‘good guy’ that blames passionate community members for ruining his shady (or, as Barreto may prefer for it to be called, publicly obscured) dealings with politicians seeking to act in opposition to their community’s desires. I will see no money as a result of my support for Burger Bob’s, neither will any community member who supported them (nor would we seek it out). Can we honestly say the same for politicians (including the City Manager), if not through under-the-table dealings then through campaign contributions?

    This is all to say that I personally am very happy to hear of Barreto’s withdrawal, and urge the commission to hold public discussion of Rita’s proposal.

  2. The commissioners have announced their doors are open to residents.

    After they open their doors, they close their ears.

  3. When will Rita Tennyson’s proposal for Burger Bob’s be discussed in a public forum by Coral Gables public office holders?

    What is the purpose of the couple of comments defending Barretto’s proposal at this point when it is withdrawn?

    Why did the City Manager persist in advocating for Barretto’s proposal at the City Commission on January 25th when again it is withdrawn?

    Where will Rita Tennyson’s proposal be made available for residents of this city to read and understand that the people that gave us Burger Bob’s to begin with are eager to continue providing us with personable service well made comfort food and welcoming atmosphere within our golf course and neighborhood?

  4. Gabe Alicious, the author of this article has provided evidence of “back room deals” thru actual City records, provided. Or, more precisely, the lack of City records as claimed by Baretto and his offensive letter.

  5. To those who are incompetent or corrupt in City government , get on board or get out of the way.

  6. The five commissioners and the city manager, Peter Iglasias, diminished democracy
    in the City government. They did what they wanted on very important matters. They did not do what the majority of residents wanted. Remember the Mobility Hub? How about the upzoning on Biltmore Way. Look at the Wawa.

    Then Burger Bob’s came along. The majority of residents got want they wanted.

    The majority of residents can restore good, clean government.

  7. Looks like “City Hall at Coral Gables” will be the number one comedy show for this season, starring Peter Iglesias and in a supporting role, Ramon Trias.

    Don’t miss Peter Iglesias’ episode as the host for “buildings over 30 stories” in Coral Gables. Another must see is Ramon Trias’ episode, trying to explain his huge deception in “upzoning on Biltmore Way” was only a simple mistake.

    (Sorry, not available yet on Netflix.)

  8. The following clarifies comments that are misleading with regard to the Burger Bob’s situation.

    First, the renderings that were circulated from the restaurant developer’s proposal for Burger Bob’s resemble in no shape or form the character or scale of the classic establishment.

    The renderings depict a contemporary nondescript setting with flat surfaces and sharp angles in neutral brown and bland beige and stainless steel without windows toward the putting range. Nothing whatsover like Burger Bob’s warmth and wide open windows but a boxed-in impersonal generic space that could be the Lennar Medical Center lunch room by the University of Miami on Ponce de Leon or that of any random scientific research laboratory.

    Second, the renderings had the outdoor area where the golf carts rest built out with dark brown structures overhead similar to pool cabanas at a generic chain beach hotel and nondescript furniture and hard edged space dividers resembling in no manner the small town neighborhood character of iconic Burger Bob’s with beautiful wide views of the blue sky through the windows and from the two or three quiet outdoor tables. Needless to say the overhead structures would block the beautiful sky and the enormous seating area would be anything but quiet.

    The developer’s unsolicited proposal and renderings were made available by Gables Insider in July 2021 and can be found easily. Those familiar with the real Burger Bob’s will find them unacceptable.

    Third, the proposal submitted by Rita Tennyson in response to the RFP is bound to include careful improvements to the space. The 28 year veteran of Burger Bob’s successfully built their impressive following through personal attention to Coral Gables residents and is attuned to what resonates in this neighborhood. There is no reason to assume that a large restaurant developer is needed when Rita Tennyson is on stand by waiting to be approved with shirt sleeves rolled up. Rita Tennyson will continue the Burger Bob’s legacy.

    In the meantime Coral Gables residents and Burger Bob’s supporters can visit the Burger Bob’s tent at Coral Gables Farmer’s Market in front of City Hall every Saturday morning.

    Rita Tennyson and team are there serving up favorites from the Burger Bob’s menu with their characteristic TLC and genuine smiles.

  9. Our 5 commissioners spend their time “working for us,”

    1. Cutting up cardboard boxes.

    2. Taking photos of them cutting up cardboard boxes.

    3. Making videos of them cutting up cardboard boxes.

    4. STRICTLY enforcing violations of trash pits.

    5. Approving the “Mobility Hub”. HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of residents were against the “Mobility Hub”. Only FIVE residents were for it. Those FIVE were our Commissioners. Those FIVE got what they wanted against HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS who did not want it. It is how democracy really works in this City.

    Also “working for us” is Peter Iglesias, our over-paid city manager. He can’t seem to figure out what is best for the residents regarding

    1. Burger Bob’s

    2. The country club

    3. The upzoing scandal on Biltmore Way.

    Maybe these problems are too hard for him to solve. His salary is only around $250,000.00.

    Also “working for us” is Miriam Ramos. Her salary is more than the Attorney General of the USA. She made a “blatantly illegal” contract with Wawa to build its store. Wawa continues to build its store. Our city attorney apparently hasn’t stopped Wawa from proceeding with her illegal contract. The lesson is the City attorney has turned her back on her clients. Her clients are not only the kids and parents at Carver Elementary but also anyone who believes in a government for the people.

    Looking at all the above, I had to say to myself: “Self, you were stupid to allow these people to run the City!”

    After that moment of coming to terms with myself, I decided to put on paper my simple thoughts here, to try to make the City a little better. Maybe someone else will also come to terms with
    themselves.

  10. To Gabe Alicious:

    You support Rodney Baretto’s bad business judgment. He wanted a fancy restaurant. The majority of people in the neighborhood wanted another Burger Bob’s. Bad business judgment is putting a business into a neighborhood that does not want it.

    You also support “special deals for special people”. Rodney Baretto cut a lot of corners to get his fancy restaurant in front of the City Commission, with the big push from Peter Iglesias, the city manager. I prefer a level playing field for any competitor, business or otherwise.

    Lastly, I am sorry you didn’t learn from your parents “money isn’t everything”.

  11. It’s very interesting to read derogatory comments by people who would never consider putting their own money at risk in a venture like the one proposed by Mr. Barreto. The author of this article does a great job of triggering some residents with his insinuations of “back room deals” without a single source or a shrewd of evidence. Rodney was willing to invest $800,000 in improvements to Burger Bob’s and now the restaurant is closed and the tax payers of CG are going to foot the bill. How’s that working out for ya? Rodney was also going to invest $5 million to upgrade the infrastructure at CGCC. Again, those upgrades are still needed, but because of the paranoia of people like the author, the tax payers of CG can pick up that tab too. Rodney Barreto is a very successful and respected businessman and resident. He knows what Burger Bob’s means to the community, and I’m sure he would have taken that into consideration in his vision for it’s future. I believe that these two city assets, and the residents of CG, would have benefited tremendously from his investment and involvement in managing these entities. People would do well to do their own research and not rely on biased opinions or presumptuous speculation by “bloggers”, trying to create a boogeyman, while looking for clicks.

  12. Adios (good bye) Rodney ( maybe??)…… Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
    Best regards to Pete. Lots of love for the defenders of the faith. Looking forwards to a possible rebirth of Bob’s . Home food at accessible prices even if they have to raise prices a bit ( but not 22.00 for a burger).

  13. Thank you Ariel for stating the facts.
    There will be lost rent, maintaining the building, insurance, landscaping. What will this cost the taxpayers? What about employees working at the Country Club, brides, members. I thought our City was to take care of their people.
    We pay the jobs of the Commissioner’s and City staff. The City is telling us what we want to hear. What happens in a few months? Once Parks cant handle it and there is no budget; Barreto will ride in on his $5 million white horse for the malcontent residents. Offering less money and better terms. We the taxpayers are owners of this gem. Keep what is working. The City tries to fix more things that don’t need fixing and need to repair City Hall and Granada Pro shop, just to mention a few. We residents need to be listened to and not silenced. WE HAVE A CHOICE & A VOICE.

  14. The misinformation broadcast in certain comments is formidable and must be addressed.

    For example this chef Paulette below friend of the restaurant developer that authored the letter calling Coral Gables residents malcontents.

    Burger Bob’s closed Friday, January 22 as Bob Maguire chose to retire in advance of the closure scheduled to take place in March 2022 for renovations of the building and both commercial spaces by the City of Coral Gables including new windows and expansion of the dining room through reduction of the golf pro shop, as explained by members of Bob’s team at the well attended reception hosted in his honor Saturday, January 23.

    Rita Tennyson has presented a proposal in response to the RFP and being the 28 year veteran of Burger Bob’s responsible for building their impressive following in this community over three decades, it stands to reason that Tennyson and her seasoned team are the natural successors.

    Therefore there is something in that space. There is a City renovation about to begin and there is an excellent proposal by Rita Tennyson that will please the residents of Coral Gables.

    It also stands to reason that the commenting chef Paulette and friend of the malcontent letter’s author should not appreciate the menu or service or proposal submitted by Rita Tennyson in representation of a classic establishment such as Burger Bob’s that prides itself on traditional fare and uncomplicated charm. The “fashionable” chef is a person that promotes and teaches catch word food trends not classic bowls of chili or tuna melts or being a regular at a warm neighborhood gathering place where everybody knows your name.

    That is all right. There are countless loud impersonal exorbitantly priced establishments where the chef will find the latest on the “fashionable” menu after the hospitality developer friend opens the doors to her at those that his investment group have installed on Miracle Mile or Matheson Hammock. If not those then another developer will do the same at similar sorts installed in Coconut Grove (look at what happened to the former Peackock Cafe).

    Burger Bob’s is something else altogether and serves a different purpose. Rita Tennyson will continue Bob’s legacy and the neighborhood will continue going there for breakfast and lunch to be quietly pleased.

  15. Rodney Barreto can display his “splendid character” but not in redoing Burger Bob’s.

  16. To Paulette Bilsky-Phillips :
    How some City officials allowed Rodney Barreto to deal with Burger Bob’s and how
    Rodney Barreto planed to drastically change Burger Bob’s is what is wrong with your thinking and the thinking of some others in the community.

  17. Paulette Bilsky-Phillips is just another puppet for what is wrong with Coral Gables. A puppet for insider influence, for Rodney Barreto’s bad business judgment (we want Burger Bob’s to remain like Burger Bob’s) ,and for a few corrupt city officials who want to do what benefits them and
    not what the large number of concerned residents, who have no monetary gain, want for our City.

  18. After reading the recent articles regarding the Barreto Hospitality Group pulling withdrawing their proposals for the Coral Gables Country Club and Burger Bob’s, I felt it was necessary to share my thoughts.

    I think the comments towards Rodney Barreto and his colleagues are very disrespectful and motivated by misinformation and jealousy. I have known Rodney, his family, and business colleagues for over 30 years and I must tell you that I have not met many people who are as forthright, kind, considerate, but most of all honorable as a friend.

    Time will certainly show what a stable and fabulous opportunity we have lost by not having a hospitality company like his be a part of these “iconic” Coral Gables locations. Most people who have caused so much noise and rhetoric have no idea what it takes to run a food/hospitality location. I love Burger Bob’s but as time has gone on I felt the location, menu, and passion to offer the best quality food was diminishing. Yes it was “OK” – but if you spoke to Bob, you knew he was growing tired and was suggesting he was going to be done soon. Let’s truly be honest, the pandemic closures and lack of continued investment in the business was evident. I strongly believe an upgrade by the city, Bob, or someone else was seriously needed in the coming lease agreement! If you don’t know BURER BOB’S IS CLOSED!!!! Now we have nothing…. Where are the all the residents that were offering money to “keep it open”. Where are these would-be heroes now? And these folks claim to want the city to “follow the rules” but they are happy to ignore the fact that plenty of rules were broken at Bob’s, like having an unlicensed catering business and not paying the rent! Come on people!

    As to the Country Club – the lawyer for DiDonato says in the article ‘special deal for special people done behind closed doors” – this is ridiculous! It wasn’t a “special deal for special people,” they (the city) asked for bids and the only person/company putting in a bid was a long time, highly recognized community leader living in Coral Gables; Rodney Barreto. This is exactly the kind of person our community needs to manage our local country club: local, accomplished, knowledgeable, respectful, dedicated to his community. These people stand up there and lie, and we eat it up.

    Nick DiDonato would by most accounts fall into the same ”special people” category as Rodney if “special” means: successful, hard working, community icon, etcetera. The only real difference in their “specialness” is Rodney is from Coral Gables and Nick is from Canada! Oh and did I fail to mention, DiDonato has been managing the GCCC and the city feels he should be replaced, not Rodney.

    Special deals, lol. Why is Rodney making special deals: there was a bid request by the city, he applied – does that make it special? Do we forget how Liberty Entertainment got their lease???? I have been to country clubs all over the country and have never seen a country club with less attractive facilities and food service then CGCC. With or without Rodney improvements need to be made.

    A $5,000,000.00 upgrade to these locations would have brought back the services our community needs: world class venues with stability, cleanliness, affordable food service (the city good enforce standards in lease), but most of all an influx of commitment to Coral Gables residents to manage these facilities with the respect they deserve.

    Way to go 3,200 people of a total 50,226 residents in Coral Gables you managed to get this deal wrong….if you think everything is so corrupt in Coral Gables get out and vote for better political leaders, don’t point fingers at successful business leaders who care about the community and do the work necessary to make it better! The real winner is Rodney and his next venture.

  19. Today, the City of Coral Gables E-News reported the City Manager, Peter Iglesias, hosted a builders meeting that focused “on regulations for buildings over 30 stories.”

    Maybe the City Manager should host a meeting that takes him out of his office and goes around Coral Gables.

    THERE ARE NO BUILDING OVER 30 STORIES in the City he manages.

    Peter Iglesias’s salary is over $250,000.00. Your taxes pay him.

    It would be decent for him to return the part of his salary he wasted “hosting” and “attending” a builders meeting that focused on buildings over 30 stories, none of which exist in our City.

    Yet, wait a moment! His puppets will respond and defend him saying,
    “Of course, he did the right thing. This is just the beginning of his master plan: more over-development, buildings that go over 30 stories in Coral Gables. Also change the name of the City to “Iglesiasville”.

  20. This special corner has been serving the community for more than 50 years. Bob Maguire started his tenure 30 years ago. Rita Tennyson joined 28 years ago.

    By that time this venerable corner of Coral Gables was already and integral part of life here. For those unusual individuals that never enjoyed Burger Bob’s in these 30 years or had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the legendary Bob himself please accept sincere condolences.

    For those in the majority who understand the role of this special place in our neighborhood it is time to write to the Mayor and Commissioners and Gables Insider and Miami Herald and start a petition to support the solid proposal presented in response to the RFP by Burger Bob’s veteran Rita Tennyson.

    Rita Tennyson will continue Burger Bob’s with ease and Bob’s blessing. Thankfully there are plenty of people around Coral Gables that understand.

  21. applicant

    I am applying for a job at City Hall.

    I understand the City Manager gets over $225,000.00, much more than a United States Senator.
    Yet, the City Manager has made a lot of bad mistakes: the Upzoning scandal, the Wawa
    scandal, and the Bob’s Burger scandal.

    I understand the City Attorney get over $230,000.00, more than the Attorney General for the United States of America. Yet, the City Attorney has made a very big mistake: “blatantly illegal”
    the Wawa scandal.

    I will work for only $200,000.00 and make few if any mistakes. I can start work immediately.

  22. Burger Bob’s is a concession at a public nine-hole golf course. Do we need a restaurant there? o don’t think so. A coke machine and some candy bars seem like the way to go if you ask me.

    Why choose one vendor to handle cafe, events, and gym at the Country Club? A single leaseholder who is adept at managing all three sounds like a Unicorn to me. Why not break it up and seek RFP’s for each use individually?

  23. The most important point at the present moment from the perspective of all Coral Gables residents that value the peaceful residential area around the golf course is made in the post below titled “Contentment”.

    “Mr. Robert (Bob) Maguire retiring does not require that Burger Bob’s be replaced. Ms. Rita Tennyson, manager and Mr. Maguire’s business partner at Burger Bob’s for 26 years, has a proposal submitted to the city that will carry forth the name and legacy seamlessly. Burger Bob’s is emblematic of all that is good in Coral Gables and hopes are for a reopening under the direction of Ms. Tennyson and her well seasoned team.”

    There is a correction to this quote. It is actually 28 years that Rita Tennyson has been manager of Burger Bob’s and business partner to Robert Maguire. In these 28 years the team that she leads has built a following like no other in the near century of Coral Gables history.

    This is the proposal that earns the call for support from all residents and approval by all Coral Gables elected officials allowing Burger Bob’s to reopen and continue doing everything the community appreciates about this historic neighborhood meeting spot for another 28 years and more!

  24. I’ve watched the city go from a vibrant small town, to a Beverly Hills wanna-be. We are not Beverly Hills, we are still a working class town that doesn’t need everything Barretto. I will not support these restaurants as they are at best mediocre compared to many other places with better prices in Miami.

  25. I, for one who lives in the neighborhood, would just say, it’s so simple, we need a CGCC that serves the citizens, and a Burger Bob’s type that serves the many neighbors who jog, play, bike, and walk around the beautiful surroundings of the golf course and the CC, just like what the Biltmore accomplished. The area does not offer that now! Additionally, the landscaping, road surfacing and light poles maintenance around break my heart every time I pass by!

  26. Barreto Investments has only notified the City that they have withdrawn their proposals for the management and operation of the Country Club and Burger Bob’s facilities, they haven’t said any more than that. Barreto Investments did not announce that they are giving up entirely on the possibility of still signing the contracts with the City for the management and operation of those facilities. Is this a smart negotiating move by Barreto Investments to put pressure on the City and extract further concessions and more favorable contractual terms from the City during future negotiations? Is the other shoe going to drop soon? Before you cry “conspiracy theory” and walk away believing that Barreto Investments and the City have called it quits on these projects, hear me out and try to come up with logical answers and explanations for yourself to the following –
    Barreto investments has worked very hard during the past few months, year(s) on the Burger Bob’s and Country Club contractual prospects. The City Administration has been very much in favor of the plans and proposals submitted by Barreto Investments for the two facilities. The City Manager was going to request approval from the Commission to start negotiations for the contracts with Barreto Investments. Don’t have to be a genius to know that the City Manager had the votes to get the approval otherwise he would not submit the request and fail. So, why has Barreto Investments withdrawn its proposals when success is almost certain, it’s just around the corner?
    Barreto Investments essentially explains that they withdraw the proposals because of the “malcontents” in Coral Gables. Really? Is the success of their investment in these facilities at risk because 3,239 residents do not agree with their plans for the operation of the Club and Burger Bobs’?
    Barreto Investments, the Mayor, Commissioners and City Administration have assured and reassured everyone that the plans for the Club and Burger Bob’s are in agreement with the desires and requests from the majority of the residents and consistent with the original intended use of those facilities established many many years ago. If they are going to give the residents what they want and everyone is going to be happy, why walk away at the last minute when success is almost certain and just around the corner?
    Barreto Investments, also says, essentially, that they are withdrawing the proposals to avoid the continued vilification of the professionals in charge of the management of the City and the backlash that the elected officials will encounter at the ballot box in future elections. Really? Why should they worry about vilification and backlash if their plans and proposals are consistent with what the majority of the residents have requested? Is someone not telling the truth? Smoke and mirrors?
    If Barreto Investments does not want any part of the management and operation of the Club and Burger Bob’s anymore because of a few malcontent members of the community and is willing to fall on the sword for the City’s management and elected officials to spare them from continued vilification and backlash at the ballot box, what is the City going to do about the operation of these facilities? It seems as if Barreto Investments has been the only viable solution for the City. Is the City going to have to shut down the facilities because Barreto Investments’ feelings have been hurt by a few malcontents? Is the City going to start looking for other options? I don’t think so.

  27. The epithet in question actually suits the author of the letter presented to the city, as evidenced by bitterness at being thwarted in pursuit of profit and disregard for order in our community as well as for the purpose of democratic government.

    Let us examine the defintion of the epithet and in so doing understand how it is, indeed, appropriate to the author of said letter.

    Malcontent

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malcontent

    1 a: one who bears a grudge from a sense of grievance or thwarted ambition
    b: one who is in active opposition to an established order or government : REBEL

    The residents of Coral Gables have a civic duty and responsibility to participate in protecting quiet residential areas such as that around Granada Golf Course from encroachment by developers with disproportionate projects.

    This participation is neither fueled by thwarted ambition nor rebellion against the order of the neighborhood or the fundamental rights of democracy, quite the contrary.

    Therefore the residents of Coral Gables are committed to continue forth in this matter, regardless of letters or epithets.

    The public relations firm secured by the author of said letter would serve the client well by advising in favor of listening to the residents of this city. In so doing perhaps the author would find contentment in actually belonging to the community.

    The residents are unequivocal. The quiet residential area around Granada Golf Course is appropriate only for small quiet establishments and Burger Bob’s is quintessential.

    Mr. Robert (Bob) Maguire retiring does not require that Burger Bob’s be replaced. Ms.
    Rita Tennyson, manager and Mr. Maguire’s business partner at Burger Bob’s for 26 years, has a proposal submitted to the city that will carry forth the name and legacy seamlessly. Burger Bob’s is emblematic of all that is good in Coral Gables and hopes are for a reopening under the direction of Ms. Tennyson and her well seasoned team.

    That will be true contentment.

  28. To Rodney Barreto: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt. Good riddance!

  29. Next time I need to pay attention to damnable spellcheck… Barreto is now firmly in my app’s vocabulary.
    I must confess. I don’t understand all the initials, trick names, first names only…. Are you ashamed of your opinion? Afraid of blowback? If so, I am sorry. I, fortunately, answer to whom I choose and therefor own my opinion…

  30. Sadly, Donald Causey believes he sees the destruction of Coral Gables.
    He is blind to the corruption in Coral Gables.

  31. Only malcontent?? You forgot deplorable too!!! Who says I want you to spend 5 million on an eating establishment? All I want is a quick, cheap burger with fries. Take your “Chef Come-mie..a” stuff elsewhere.
    The fact that Rodney (one of the most connected lobbyists) is praising our city management says it all….slumber party for all the insiders!!!!

  32. Does anyone else detect a note of faux equity in these comments? Coral Gables wants restaurants everyone can enjoy? Humbug! The anti-development crowd has got it made personally and wants to build a wall around it. This is not going to end well, folks. Before moving to Coral Gables, I lived in a leafy look-alike, Coconut Grove, that sank like a stone for almost the entire time I lived there. The theater closed. The most beautiful shopping center I have ever seen collapsed. Young people took their night life elsewhere. It appeared at one time that Greenstreet was going to be only restaurant left. What killed Coconut Grove was a bunch of malcontents who had it made and did not want anything to change. They won for a very long time, and so you will you if you aren’t careful.

  33. Nice reporting Ariel. Thank you for these updates. Things seem a bit shaky these days in the leadership of Coral Gables

  34. JS says “Change is happening regardless”.

    I don’t want the “change” to be more incompetence and corruption, with some city officials continually closing their ears and turning their backs on many concerned residents.

  35. You guys realize that the net result of this development is that all of the spaces are going to be empty for longer than they would have been otherwise right? Change is happening regardless and now we just have to wait and see who lines the right PR firm’s pockets to avoid all the anger and hatred that can been stirred up.

  36. I am one of those malcontents who is grateful that we keep what we have. I am very happy with the functioning of the gym, Liberty cafe and of course Birgers Bob.

  37. This malcontent will not be patronizing any Barreto/Adrienne overpriced establishments. The operation at historic MathesonHammock begs scrutiny.
    Thank you, Ariel! Thank you David Winker! Thank you, Ladra!

  38. Excellent news!! Another effort to continue undermining and sabotaging our residential quality of life has been stopped, for now. Pitiful to read such whining and veiled threat and insult from someone who claims to be an ally of Gables residents. Please take your “flash and dash” elsewhere and stop catering to those in our city government and commission who tried, but fell short, of ramming this through. Your goodbye should be followed by in-house cleaning of city administrators who continue making too many “mistakes” at the expense of those who fund their salaries; we, the residents. Coral Gables is about quality, not quantity. As the “oasis within the desert”, we are unique and do not need to emulate others. Let us stay the course that has made us the city everyone wants to live in. Thank you for your decision, Mr. Barreto. Our “malcontent” residents gladly accept it and please, stay away from the City Beautiful. Your unwelcomed attacks will be remembered by all, including the malcontents.

  39. If I’m a malcontent for expecting our government to follow their own rules and be transparent in processes that impact our entire community, then label me a proud “malcontent”. We malcontents were not “well-informed” for lack of trying. The citizens of Coral Gables have been asking for the details of the RFP and the Barreto Group’s proposal, with little to no response. If this is such a great deal for the majority in the community, then please do share details. I for one, would be more than happy to support something that will improve upon what we have. However, if it is something that will either hurt or exclude many in our community (which other Barreto Group businesses have been shown to do), then I can’t support that. But without information, I remain uninformed, not misinformed.

  40. Ariel.
    Great work.
    Maybe we need a moral guy like you in office to keep those corrupted officials in line, or maybe even get them to resign.
    Keep up the open reporting. Obviously somebody is trying to conceal public information from us resident citizens.
    Our good guys know who the bad guys are. Let’s keep pushing for open government and forums. WE THE PEOPLE are in support of your work.
    Peace.
    James Logue

  41. It’s also worth mentioning that the Barreto Group developed Forte and Red Fish with celebrity chef, Chef Adrianne. It’s Forte by Chef Adrianne and Ref Fish by Chef Adrianne. I must confess I have not tried any of those two because of the prices and the bad reviews online. Thus, I am not going to malign the two restaurants since I have not personally tried them. However, the reason I am bringing this up is that I believe the City and its governance should put care into continuing culinary diversity and not have so many restaurants/establishments by one single celebrity chef. Ultimately, I don’t know if the new “club” and the restaurant were going to be in partner with Chef Adrianne. As someone who loves to dine in out in the City, this, for me, just added another layer of “issues” I had with the way business was being conducted between the Barreto Group and the City.

  42. We get what we deserve.

    The malcontent super minority just blew a great deal for the City.

    You guys really don’t get it. Especially you, Mr. Bathroom. Citizen participation is one thing when well informed and well-intentioned people are involved. What we have in our city is not that. The malcontents are not well informed and some (like you, Mr. Bathroom) are not well-intentioned.

    The city has put this out for rfp twice and no one else has bid. No one else has bid, folks. So now we are faced with the current operators (which has been ripping off our community), or the city (which does not want to or have the funds necessary to put a quality product in place) in position to take over.

    Congrats to you all. Well done! Now we get a crappier product. And the first one that will be complaining about the new place will be the malcontents. The others, just move on.

    For shame!

    Love,
    Pete Money

  43. Ariel,

    Thank you for your effort to bring up these issues. Deals should not happen behind closed doors. Transparency and residents’ input is extremely important.

  44. Thank you for sharing their other establishments, Forte and RedFish. Wow, are they expensive. $32 for a chicken dish. Someone is making a lot of money. These restaurants cater to the rich and famous, those that think they are or want to feel like they are. I have the money to pay, I just don’t want this for our community. I would prefer not JUST the rich and famous to enjoy our community.

  45. Thank you for sharing their other establishments, Forte and RedFish. Wow, are they expensive. $32 for a chicken dish. Someone is making a lot of money. These restaurants cater to the rich and famous, those that think they are or want to feel like they are. I have the money to pay, I just don’t want this for our community. I would prefer not JUST the rich and famous to enjoy our community.

  46. MALCONTENTS???????
    Most comments were well thought out and addressed serious concerns…
    The comments coming off as malcontents were those approving Barrett’s position.
    I, for one, am offended that ANY of my concerns make me a “malcontent’.
    The next time Barrett writes a letter, he should acknowledge he is looking in his mirror as he addresses “malcontents”.
    SMDH

  47. Best news of 2022! From all of us “malcontents” it is very sad that Burger Bob’s celebrated the “end of an era” just yesterday. If the City of Coral Gables truly cares about residents, they will immediately reach out to Bob McGuire and partners and work out another lease extension.

  48. I appreciate the moniker, but the point here is that residents get to have input in public matters. Critical input, even if negative, is not only common in any City Government decision, but in our democracy is encouraged as a public duty of every citizen. We can’t be upset if an applicant does not have his way, it is all part of the regular process of citizen participation.

    It should be a lesson on process and transparency. Do another RFP, if the other applicants are not good enough, and may the best person that benefits our city in the best and most publicly accepted way win.

  49. List me as one of the malcontents that does not and will not patronize Forte nor Red Fish. I did go to Red Fish once, it was overpriced and terrible service, never again.

  50. I thought Barreto cared about the community and wanted to serve us. Now they say we are just “malcontents”?

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