West Miami Mayor Has Major Overages

He racked up a $5,400 bill and about $30,000 in international calls on a city cell phone

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Can you hear me now? Apparently people in the Dominican Republic didn't stop hearing from West Miami Mayor who racked up $30,000 in cell phone charges.

    People knew West Miami Mayor Cesar Carasa loved to talk. What do you expect? He's a politician.

    But no one knew he did it this much.

    Using a city-issued Sprint cell phone, Carasa racked up more than $30,000 in international calls to the Dominican Republic - and that's in just 12 months according to phone records obtained by The Miami Herald. The thing is, West Miami has no official business with the D.R.

    Can you say international plan? How about getting some rollover minutes?

    Carasa's current cell phone bill - a $5,400 tab - is about five months past due, city officials said. The city attorney claims the calls couldn't possibly be for city business and has advised the city not to pay.

    No one knows who is going to pick up the tab, but if you're a taxpayer you should be reaching in your pocket to get Carasa a pre-paid phone now.

    Carasa said he thought the city was on an unlimited plan, you know, the one that allows you to call anywhere including the space shuttle when it's in orbit. And apparently he thought you could talk as long as you want, too.

    Records show he would call the Dominican Republic all hours of the day, including when he should have been working.

    City cell phones have 1,500 daytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes per month.

    Carasa told the Herald the cell phone was an "open line" with "no guidelines." Except for that pesky bill of course.

    The Miami Ethics Commission is looking into the lengthy bills to see if there was any official misconduct.

    Let's hope it's a while before Carasa has to reach out and touch someone again.