Coral Gables Healthcare mogul Mike Fernandez has resumed his efforts to fly a massive American flag some 40 stories above downtown Miami –- a city he recently ripped for its “petty” and “dirty” politics.
Last week, to her surprise, Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez received an email from a lawyer representing Fernandez in his quest to build a 425-foot flag pole in Museum Park as a tribute to U.S. veterans. On March 5, Fernandez’s attorney, John Shubin, forwarded an email chain from October in which he submitted a written proposal for what Fernandez calls the Flag of Gratitude.
“Based on much interest and support from the community, Mike Fernandez wishes to continue to see what steps are necessary for the City to accept his donation of an iconic American flag,” Shubin wrote, noting that “there had not been any follow up to the email thread from late October.”
The last email in that chain was dated Oct. 29. The next day, Fernandez told the Miami Herald that he was likely giving up his quest to erect the flag in Miami after some city officials tried to shake him down.
“To me, it is greatly disappointing that some people can be as petty as they are. It is unbelievable,” he said at the time, without naming names.
To build the flag in Museum Park, Fernandez needs the city’s permission, as it would be on public, bayfront land.
Fernandez, who recently published a book about his rags to riches life story, says the country’s tallest flag pole and the enormous flags hoisted to its peak will be constructed with private money. He created a foundation to fund the operation and maintenance of the structure.
Mendez, after confirming that Fernandez was indeed still interested in working with the city – “We thought the project had been abandoned in the city of Miami,” she wrote to Shubin -- said she’d follow up.