Aftermath of the Great Miami Tree Massacre

Fined $1,000 per tree or $4,000 on the Stirrup property.

“Some people say” Gino Falsetto has finally gone too far. The recent destruction of the old growth trees on the E.W.F. Stirrup property is bringing awareness of the deplorable condition Aries Development has allowed the historic 120-year old house to devolve into.

Demolition by Neglect is a thing that can be looked up on the Googalizer. Demolition by Neglect is what Gino Falsetto has done with the E.W.F. Stirrup House for the past 8 years, ever since it entered into his possession.

IRONY ALERT: Sources tell Not Now Silly that had Aries Development applied for tree removal permits, in all likelihood they would have been granted. By ignoring the law, he just brought unwanted attention to his terrible stewardship of an important Coconut Grove cultural resource. E.W.F. Stirrup was among Florida’s first Black millionaires, a man who once owned most of 33133, a Zip Code now considered one of the most exclusive in the country.

However, those accomplishments pale to this one: With his own hands, on property he owned, Ebeneezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup built more than 100 houses in the area. These were sold, rented, and bartered to the growing Black families that served as the service industry for the tourist trade. That action, during Jim Crow Days, created something unique in this country. At one time Coconut Grove had the highest percentage of Black home ownership than anywhere else.

The Great Coconut Grove Tree Massacre of ’14™ was supposed to have been worse than it was. There is a 5th tree on the lot that has the same florescent orange paint marker that spelled doomed the other four. It was to have come down with the rest of them but, according to my source on the scene last Thursday when it occurred, the neighbours were starting to complain loudly and the work crew stopped before the last immediately behind the Stirrup House was felled. One of those neighbours is said to have called By-Law Enforcement because they arrived early the next morning and left a citation.

It took a stump grinder all day to remove the remnants of the two trees flanking the E.W.F. Stirrup driveway.

The fine of $4,000 ($1,000 per tree) levied by the City of Miami (see citation above) will not be the only punishment. Coconut Grove Village Council Chair Javier Gonzalez tells Not Now Silly Miami has also ordered remediation on the Stirrup property. Aries Development will be forced to plant 2 trees for every tree removed. And, in 120 years, they will also be old trees just like the ones ripped down.

February 25, 2014

However, Gino Falsetto continues to prove that he’s an irresponsible corporate citizen. The picture to the right is the interior of the Bicycle Shop, that Aries Development took possession of on January 15th. More about that in The Coconut Grove Playhouse Deal Begins to Unfold, post and what that means for the community. However, this construction site has been left open and unprotected as of yesterday.

Beyond those doors is an alley that a lot of the students use as a short cut to Thomas Avenue or the A&M school. Kids being kids could start exploring the property and get hurt. This reporter had no trouble walking inside.

Gino Falsetto knows the laws about cutting down trees, just like he knows the laws about protecting the public from unsafe construction sites. He’s a long-time developer, for eff’s sake!!! All this proves is that no matter how often the City of Miami cites his company, Gino Falsetto will do exactly what he wants in Coconut Grove.

Imagine a child wandering in here:


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.