At 5 a.m. on the morning of March 10, a small crowd of FIU students, faculty, and local residents joined a handful of politicians and media outlets in West Miami to watch slow moving support vehicles lift a 950-ton pedestrian bridge into place above SW 8th Street.
Among the crowd was Leonor Flores, her husband Henry Flores, and their two daughters Michelle and Gabriela.
Flores is an engineer and project executive for Munilla Construction Management (MCM), one of the 2 construction companies that designed and built the pedestrian bridge.
A writer for FIU News website explained that Flores wanted to "share her work" with her daughters, especially Michelle, 12, who had an interest in engineering, math and science.
Said Leonor: “It’s very important for me as a woman and an engineer to be able to promote that to my daughter, because I think women have a different perspective. We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too."
The article was a great human interest story about a wife and mother who also happens to be an engineer who, readers assumed, had a hand in making the fancy bridge a reality.
But it was all a lie -- PR fluff to promote FIU and MCM as progressive and inclusive workplaces.
Within hours after the bridge was reduced to rubble on Thursday afternoon, FIU's website updated the article to clarify that "Flores did not work on the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge project in any capacity."
Skeptical commenters noted that the FIU News writer gave every indication that Flores worked on the bridge project.
The writer stated right there in paragraph 2:
"[Flores] was excited to share her work with her family, especially Michelle, who is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in school."
And again in paragraph 3:
"Michelle said she might want to follow in her parents’ footsteps and go to FIU when the time comes, and that it was fascinating to see her mom’s work in action."
Karen Cochrane, who is connected with the university -- hopped in the comments to clarify that Flores was "one of the spectators" in the community who was interviewed because of "her work in general as an engineer."
But not everyone was convinced that Flores was "just a spectator".
Commenter "Jezel" writes:
"Thanks for the reply Karen! I’m a bit confused though. How was she sharing her “general work as an engineer” at a project that she did not contribute to?"
"The writer was trying to communicate that Leonor, as an engineer, works on projects similar in scope. Leonor did not work on this project."
Another reader, "Johnny Journalist", called Cochrane out on her hypocrisy.
"More like you wanted to work in some feminist angle into the article and had to be misleading in order to make it look like it wasn’t completely irrelevant to the story. There would be no other reason to misrepresent her as being involved in the project (which you clearly did)."
Before the bridge disintegrated, the school and MCM shamelessly flaunted Flores and other female engineers to promote their diversity and inclusion agenda.
Hours after @WeAreMCM deleted a tweet showing a picture of Flores and her family watching the bridge swing into place, the company deleted its entire Twitter account -- along with all the other false flag tweets suggesting women engineers played a role in building a bridge that once again divides a community.