MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is used to taking his fair share of criticism. But he was facing a man in court Tuesday who allegedly went past criticism and began to threaten Sarnoff.
“It will be a slow and painful death,” Reid Welch allegedly said in a voicemail left for Sarnoff.
That was the last message Sarnoff allegedly received from Welch before he filed a restraining order against him.
Welch’s own attorney admitted in a span of a year-and-a-half, Welch sent more than 700 e-mails, made hundreds of phones calls, and video-taped himself, as Sarnoff described in court, harassing and threatening both the commissioner and his wife.
“You have a man who is on propane twice a day, you have a man who does coke,” Sarnoff said, “he’s standing outside your house on a continuous basis. Yeah, I had a lot of concerns.”
According to Sarnoff, the trouble started in early 2010 when Welch asked Sarnoff to represent him against the Miami Police department. Commissioner Sarnoff declined Welch’s request saying it would be a conflict of interest.
Sarnoff said that since then Welch has not left him alone.
“I’m trying to ruin his reputation,” Welch told CBS4 last year, “because he ruined mine.”
Everything came to a head last October when Sarnoff tackled Welch for allegedly removing campaign signs.
“Tonight I was the victim of an assault by a man who is considered unstable and at times dangerous,” Sarnoff said in a statement in October. “Unfortunately we have all seen the ugliness and danger when public servants are attacked.”
Reid’s attorney told CBS4 off camera, “Sarnoff’s actions shows who the true aggressor is.”
No decision was made on whether Sarnoff will be granted a permanent injunction against Welch.