Between the lines or not in the lines, note some facts. Candido Giardino was Mayor of Opa Locka (one term). He was suspected of dealing in bribery including the handling of public works contracts. He was conveniently and fortunately (for him) indicted with what was found by the Courts to be an insufficient and defectively stated charge. The charging of corrupt people in high positions with a defectively worded charge was a method in the toolbox of the influenced and manipulated system. Our overall wide net of investigation revealed the practice and how it worked, such as in the cases of Manson Hill and David Helman and others. Nevertheless, utilization of that tool has been recognized and identified, and each instance is now known by the volunteer team as a permanently established piece of the puzzle.
The only Miami civilian employee ever murdered for doing his job; double
murder of father and son linked to organized crime and corruption
Clarence “Bud” Gehrke is the only civilian employee of the City of Miami ever murdered for doing his job. An armed intruder came into his home at about 10:30 PM. Shots were heard by neighbors, but no one called the police. The following morning, the bodies of Bud and his 24 year old son, Brian, were found. Both had been shot with a semi-automatic pistol.
It was October 10, 1975. No one was ever arrested or prosecuted. The victims' family had waited and hoped for answers for four decades, to no avail. Then, after putting up a Facebook post about the crime, a friend responded and suggested that they contact Attorney Paul Novack. Attorney Novack leads our team of volunteer civilian cold case investigators, and an exhaustive review of the case began as a starting point. The team then proceeded to conduct in-depth investigations of surrounding people, conditions, and circumstances. Startling, substantial information about the background and direct cause of these murders was developed.
Mr. Gehrke, a Public Works Department Inspector, had refused to accept, approve, or cover up fraudulent work being done on corrupt public contracts. He would not sign off on work that was defective in some cases and altogether missing or undone in other cases. He was probably unaware of the extent of the criminality and corruption he was dealing with, and regardless, he had no intention of participating in it.
We found records showing that others did participate. After discovering
and analyzing volumes of previously unknown records and documents, and
after finding and conversing with people still alive today who were
there back then, we pieced the scenario together. We have reached
conclusions that answered some of the family's questions that had
remained elusive for five decades.
Clarence Gehrke became a threat to a corrupt system of public contracts that included work for local governments, including the City of Miami and the City of Opa Locka. He would not sign off as a job site inspector on one of the projects. He was physically attacked on that job site by a paving company foreman.
Ramifications expanded. Another inspector was assigned to that project, and he began taking bribes in exchange for approving work not done properly and work not done at all. However, the spotlight was on, and the paving company soon went out of business, unable to get more City contracts. As the contentious process developed, it had the increasing potential of exposing the involvement of organized crime with its hand in the taxpayers' wallet.
It appears that connected people in high places became concerned about
exposure and termination of certain money pipelines. The assault, a
civil suit that resulted from it, and Mr. Gehrke talking to law
enforcement produced a potential for major public corruption and
criminality to be exposed.
Among Bud's personal papers, Attorney Novack found a card with his handwritten notation of the name and home phone number of a public corruption investigator. Unknown to Bud, that investigator reported to higher-ups with knowledge and/or involvement in the crooked contracting. Within a year of the confrontation and assault on a job site, Clarence and Brian Gehrke were dead.
In fact, the civil case deposition of the owner of the paving company was scheduled for October 20, 1975. Ten days before that, Clarence and Brian Gehrke were shot to death. As Attorney Novack confirmed through interviews of living persons including an attorney directly involved in the civil suit, the case got stalled and later dismissed because all involved – the victim's family and the attorneys – were afraid that there could be more murders. The opening for further exposure was sealed, and some of the records were destroyed (not as completely as they thought, fortunately).
are people alive today with personal knowledge that is highly relevant.
Attorney Novack has interviewed the victims' across-the-street
neighbor, who provided an important new piece of information he got
directly from Bud Gehrke shortly before the murders. Steve Holland (son
of the paving company owner), the foreman who attacked Bud Gehrke on a
job site, is alive. A friend of his, Cliff Kunde, who obtained
confidential information from an official following the murders,
recently passed away after being interviewed. He had a family member
with numerous ties to both public officials and underworld figures.
Others remain alive, and additional information is being obtained.
Enough has been discovered now to pave the way towards the rest of the
Steve Holland, who was the owner's son and foreman of Holland Paving Company and assaulted Bud Gehrke, is alive and may want to cooperate with further investigation. Sergeant Robert Potter, City of Miami Police Department public corruption investigator, has passed away, but was interviewed. The volunteer team has discovered family ties, professional ties, and connections to underworld figures. Even after 48 years, others on all sides of the case are alive, including several of Bud's co-workers. A long time city official who was on the City Council in 1975 was interviewed; he has now passed. We have been in contact with numerous people and remain available to everyone who wants to be helpful.
Many more new investigation findings have been assembled that cannot yet be released. We have identified a possible shooter, a man who is still alive. This case, like others on our radar, involves an intersection of private tragedy, public corruption, cold case murder, and organized crime. Working to provide detectives and the victims' close relatives with ever more information, we have confirmed surprising links and connections, and our active investigation continues.
Bonnie (Gehrke) Mayer – daughter of Clarence Gehrke and sister of Brian
Gehrke – and her husband, legendary broadcast journalist Bob Mayer, have
been amazingly patient and persistent in their search for the answers
they deserve and, to the greatest extent possible, the justice that is
so long overdue. Discovery of the facts - and exposure of the truth - is
what we seek. Join us in the process of finding the remaining details; visit the Contact page on this website.