Miami Living Magazine

Mark-Paul Gosselaar

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Page 28 of 147

MIAMI LIVING 27 If you're in Miami Beach right now reading Miami Living magazine, take a look around you. Much of what you see is a direct result of the efforts of Alex Daoud, one of Miami's most beloved mayors—who just happened to spend 18 months in the slammer for taking bribes! Mr. Daoud talks to us about his amazing life and his book, Sins of South Beach: The True Story of Corruption, Violence, Murder and the making of Miami Beach. Miami Living: How did you get into boxing and did you really know Mohammed Ali? Alex Daoud: When I was a kid, I contracted polio and almost died … my whole body really deteriorated. I got picked on a lot so my mom got me boxing lessons at the 5th St. gym, and that's where I learned to take a punch and hit back if I needed to. I trained and sparred with Mohammed Ali and did roadwork with him in South Beach. ML: You were a Miami Beach City Commissioner for three terms from 1979 to 1985 and then became the first Roman Catholic Mayor of Miami Beach, and the first person ever to be elected to three consecutive terms in Miami. What was this town really like in the 80s? AD: In 1980, Miami/Miami Beach was the murder capitol of the world. It was the Mariel Boatlift when Castro released 125,000 mostly criminals and monsters onto our streets and the "cocaine cowboys" were killing each other. Drugs and burglaries were out of control … rapes. They would punch old people so hard that their eyes swelled shut so they couldn't identify their attackers. I went out on patrol with the police to see for myself. It was a cesspool of crime and they definitely had the upper hand. We had to use the methods that they understood to try to take our city back. Somebody had to clean it up. ML: You started out an idealistic young lawyer who came to the mayor's office really wanting to do good. So what happened? AD: I just got caught up in it. I was dealing with millionaires and billionaires and I wanted what they had. I had 41 counts brought against me. Al Capone only had five. You know you're in trouble when the front page of something says, "The United States vs. You." ML: So you did the crime and the time and now you've written this great book where you go into some serious detail and name names. Ever afraid someone will try to take you out? AD: No, not at all. I'm not afraid to walk down the streets of Miami … this is my home. I was born and raised here. No one is trying to sue me or kill me. Yet! ML: Where do you think the city of Miami Beach is headed? AD: I think it's becoming a more- caring city, where we all watch out for each other a little more. Miami has really suffered and I think the recent interest in its history, the good and the bad, will help history from repeating itself. We can all enjoy how far we've come and be nicer to each other by looking at some things that weren't very nice, things that were horrendous. Hopefully that's what my book can help us do because in the end it's about the love that we all have for each other. ML: There's rumors that this is going to be made into a movie. Who do you want to play you? AD: Whoever it is … they better be very, very handsome! Intrigued? Visit Mr. Daoud online at: ML ON THE SCENE Son of Miami Three Time Mayor and Author of Sins of South Beach, Alex Daoud Interview by Liz Schulze Alex Daoud talks to Liz Schulze.

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