Clarence Gehrke
Brian Gehrke

WHY WERE THEY SHOT? WHO ARE PERSONS OF INTEREST, AND WHO WILL NOW STEP FORWARD?

Gehrke ID

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 was begun as a starting point. Then the team 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 what amounted to 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 that he was messing with, and regardless, he had no intention of participating in it.

We found records showing that others did participate. And 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, and putting the scenario together piece by piece, we’ve reached conclusions that answer some of the family’s questions. Questions that had remained elusive during 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 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. It could have continued to roll out, potentially 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, and a civil suit that resulted from it, and also Mr. Gehrke talking to law enforcement, produced a potential that major public corruption and criminality could be exposed.

Amongst Bud’s personal papers, we found a card with his hand written 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, the murders occurred, and the civil case was stalled and later dismissed because all involved – the victim’s family and the attorneys – were afraid that there could be more hits. The opening for further exposure was sealed, and some of the records were destroyed. (Not as completely as they thought, fortunately).

There are people alive today with personal knowledge that is highly relevant. We recently interviewed the victims’ across the street neighbor, found in late 2020, who provided an important new piece of information he got directly from Bud Gehrke shortly before the murders. While spending a weekend together renovating an old house in north Florida, Clarence Gehrke told his neighbor that his life had been threatened by the foreman on a jobsite he had inspected. The neighbor has always remembered that comment, made just weeks before the murders, and he related it to us in a recorded interview.

Steve Holland, who was the owner’s son and foreman of Holland Paving Company, who assaulted Bud Gehrke, is alive and may want to cooperate with further investigation. His high school friend Chris Kunde, who obtained confidential information from authorities and others following the murders, is also alive and may be helpful. Sergeant Robert Potter, City of Miami Police Department public corruption investigator, is retired and still with us also. There are family ties, professional ties, and connections to underworld figures. Even after 45 years, others on all sides of the case are alive including several of Bud’s co-workers and a former city official. We have been in contact with these people and we remain available to everyone who wants to be helpful and cooperative.

Many more new investigation findings have been assembled that cannot yet be released. This case, like others on our radar, involves an intersection of private tragedy, public corruption, cold case murder, and organized crime. Working with Detectives and the victims’ close relatives, we have confirmed surprising links and connections and the investigation continues, re-invigorated.

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 they seek. Join us in the process of finding the remaining details; visit the Contact page on this web site.

WSVN REPORT
TV VIDEO FILM FROM THE CEHRKE HOME - OCTOBER 10, 1975

Tragedy Launches Mayer

Tragedy Launches Mayer
DOCUMENTS

Report of Injury Form, following Steve Holland assaulting Bud Gehrke.

Mayor Robert King High letter to Clarence ("Bud") Gehrke upon getting hired by the City of Miami.

Mayor Robert King High letter to Clarence (“Bud”) Gehrke upon getting hired by the City of Miami.

LINKS OF INTEREST
BACKGROUND ON THE VICTIMS

SHARED AT THEIR FUNERAL

SHARED AT THEIR FUNERAL

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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.
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