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Cava's salary at charity becomes attack-ad fodder


A committee backing Miami-Dade Commissioner Lynda Bell's reelection effort wants voters to be wary of challenger Daniella Levine Cava's salary from her recent job as director of Catalyst Miami, a non-profit she founded 

"Her partially tax-funded foundation paid her over $500,000 in salary,''  warned the ad by Good Government Now, which has raised about $130,000 of Bell's $585,000 fundraising total. "Money that was supposed to go to her charity went into her pocket."


Fine print on the screen shows the $500,000 figure came from 10 years of federal tax returns. The reference is to Catalyst Miami, a social-services organization that Cava left before running for Bell's District 8 seat.  The two most recent tax returns for  Catalyst (officially called the Human Services Coalition of Dade County) record Cava earning $38,900 in 2012 and $55,593 in 2011. This year, Catalyst is slated to receive a $110,000 grant from Miami-Dade. 

In a statement issued Friday, Cava's campaign accused Bell  of "distorting" Cava's record with an ad funded by "deep-pocketed special interest groups." Bell "has resorted to attacking Daniella Levine Cava’s nearly two decades of service at Catalyst Miami to thousands of Miami-Dade families,'' the statement read. 

 If Catalyst paid Cava $500,000 over 10 years (the ad says "over $500,000") that would be an average of $50,000 a year. As commissioner, Miami-Dade paid Bell $50,549.92 in 2013, according to county payroll records. 

Bell, her campaign manager and representatives of Good Government Now were not available for comment Friday afternoon. 

The full statemtent from Cava's campaign:

 “Lynda Bell is clearly afraid to showcase her extreme record and pay-to-play politics as a county commissioner. So she has resorted to attacking Daniella Levine Cava’s nearly two decades of service at Catalyst Miami to thousands of Miami-Dade families. These ads are financed by deep-pocketed special interest groups that want to protect their number one ally on the county commission by distorting the facts about Daniella’s exemplary record. Miami-Dade residents are ready to shake up the status quo at county hall and the voters of District 8 will choose a proven leader like Daniella Levine Cava, who has been a true champion for South Dade.”


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ed jenkins

The citizens are greatly upset at this woman trying to make money from charities that they donated money to for the purpose of helping the unfortunate.

Attorney Cava

Isn't Daniella Cava an Ivy League graduate? Didn't she attend law school? $50,000 per year is a bargain for any organization. Cava appears to believe in performing public service.

Luz Gomez

What a sick accusation. Working at a nonprofit does not mean working for free. Someone of that caliber is worth 3x that amount.

Michael S.

Haha, foolish. 50k for someone running an organization? Lucky she didn't charge triple the price, if she was like our Mayor, Mrs. Bell or others in Miami-Dade County

Florida Mom

Ed, you must have contributed a lot of money to Catalyst Miami in order to be so greatly upset! How much did you contribute to this charity?

WTF Ed Jenkins?

Wow. I have seen the facts get twisted before, but saying 500K when it is really 10 years of a modest salary? This woman has done so much for Miami-Dade and Catalyst the fact they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel like this just shows how little 'dirt' she has if this is all they could come up with. They should be ashamed of themselves.


If one were to break down Daniella's hourly rate over those ten years I am sure they would find she was making well below $10 an hour. She easily exceeded 50-60 hour work weeks. What a disgrace.

Daleta Thurness

And somehow making $50,000 a year running an organization is a disgrace? Try it for a day and you would clearly give up saying they don't pay me enough....


Lynda Bell is notorious for having a poor understanding of the facts on any issue and for distorting the facts she does understand to suit her own ends, ends which seldom are in the best interest of the Miami-Dade County citizenry. What gall to attack Daniella Levine Cava for earning a relative pittance while leading an organization that has done tremendous good for this community. Bell is the poster child for everything that is wrong about politics and politicians in Dade County. We can do a lot better, and will when we elect Daniella to represent District 8 in August.


Disgraceful- I wouldn't want to talk to the press either if my campaign was responsible for these commercials. Isn't there some sort of requirement to at least TRY to tell the truth in these commercials? Sounds like desperation to me- why isn't she talking about her own record? Maybe Bell doesn't have a good record to run on?

How about the work Catalyst Miami did to get more people in Miami claiming their Earned Income Tax Credits? Would love to see how those millions of dollars compare to the bargain rate salary of $50k a year.

David R

Really? She is attacking someone for creating and running a well respected social service organization to help the less fortunate in our community? By the way Cava resigned her position before filing to run just to forgo any appearance of impropriety as a county commissioner.

Not like she secretly created a law to legalize chain-link fences for her kids chain-link fence company. Now that would be a violation of the public trust.

Rolando Castellanos

Oh please.

Hardly anyone has heard of Catalyst but that's not important.

What's troubling is the fact that a non-profit organization which no one has heard about employs over 30 employees. Yes, over 30 employees collecting public money for salaries and benefits? That's a big chunk of dough. I wonder how much money these "Ivy leaguers" have paid lobbyists and consultants at our expense.

Where's the oversight?!

Oh, that's right, they're not a government organization, there is no oversight. Troubling, very troubling.

Rolando Castellanos

Oh, I almost forgot. Here we have Mrs. Levine-Cava, a multi-millionaire, collecting over $50,000 per year posting as herself defending her bloated salary as a bargain.

I would have more respect for her if she volunteered her services instead of charging for them. There are so many civic minded people who selflessly serve on organizations, boards and commissions without ANY personal compensation.

After all, its not like she needs the money, she's a lawyer and married to a doctor.

I wonder how many more needy people her organization would have helped if she simply donated her bargain salary.

And why the need for lobbyists and consultants? Isn't she an "Ivy League" lawyer? The best of the best? She could be a lobbyist herself. That's additional savings to help more needy people.

I guess when you're on the public "tit", you get to help "all kinds" of other people, not just the truly needy.


Public Service

Public Service.
Daniela Cava shows she supports public service. She could have made $200,000 per year at a for-profit law firm.


Forgive me, but she's Daniella Levine.

She only became Levine Cava when it became politically convenient to do so.

Nice try, though

David R

Oh look who's back posting. Rolando Castellanos. Two weeks ago he didn't know who Xavier Suarez was on another blog and thought all the commissioners except Lynda should be fired...now he's an expert on CBO's.

Rolando Castellanos

You must have me confused with someone else.

I've always known who former Miami Mayor and constant absent County Commissioner, Xavier Suarez, is.

I do not pretend to be an expert on CBOs but I, like most people, know that without government $$$, these organizations would not exist. I also know, along with many other people, that many CBOs are fronts for nothing more than leftist-leaning community organizing for "social change" perpetuating the culture of dependency.

I hope that Catalyst is not like these types of bogus organizations. Who knows what one may discover...

Rolando Castellanos

Remember, always Remember - "A Government that can Guarantee Everything You Want, Can and Will Take Everything You Have."


Lynda Bell is exactly what is wrong in Miami-Dade politics. She is in it for her own self interests and that of the wheeler dealer special interest groups.

Bill Thompson

The citizens call for full disclosure on these secretive campaign committees that are attempting to manipulate local elections. Groups like this "Good Government" group should be required to disclose who is in this group and who is funding it. Shame on Lynda Bell and her supporters for running garbage like this and hiding from the public. Disgraceful!

Rolando castellanos

So many comments defending the "glorified social worker". Now I know where all those $millions went. And catalyst is slated to get another $150,000 from the County! Nice.

Roberto Gonzalez


With so many comments of your own, we all wonder who are you working for and how much are you getting paid....You probably don't even live in that district.

Rolando castellanos

I'm retired and I do live in the district. I don't want my taxes raised and I want my government not ask anymore of me. I've paid my dues. I'm done! An

But more to the point, after reading about all the groups that have endorsed Daniella, I can only conclude that the minute she get's elected, BAM! We'll have endure more tax increases.

Unacceptable! We gave enough tax and spenders up there already the last thing we need one more. No Freakin' way!

Steve Cody

Want to understand the lies in Lynda Bell's PAC's video? Watch this. It explains it all in 60 seconds.


Rolando Castellanos

Only a "hired gun" or more accurately - a discredited lawyer without any scruples or integrity would produce a video slamming someone he was defending just a short time ago.

Welcome to the nasty world of politics folks! Hope you enjoy the ride...

Lois J. Levine

Daniela Levine Cava is my daughter. Believe me.I
assure you she is and has always been a model of
personal integrity. It distresses me that this
Rolamndo Castellanos is posting such garbage to
defame her good name. As I know what he says is a
pack of lies,I am outraged. He should be ashamed of

Rolando Castellanos

Oops, I think I hit a nerve. Then, it must be true!

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