Controverisal Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness owes big bucks to the City of Lauderhill, Broward County and St. Lucie County. A review of county tax and property records show liens, tax deeds and even foreclosure proceedings filed against the Broward politician. Holness, a real estate agent, has a long history of not paying his property taxes.
Since February 5, 2015, the City of Lauderhill filed five liens against properties owned by Holness, a former City of Lauderhill Commissioner. Filed for “delinquent local business taxes, fees and/or penalties,” Holness owes the City $4,398.95 on condominiums he owns in Lauderhill. These Lauderhill properties were at the heart of questions surrounding Holness’ residency issues.
In May 2013, REDBROWARD was first to expose Holness did not live in the run-down townhouse at 2630 NW 52 Avenue in Lauderhill. The City of Lauderhill filed a $761 lien on this townhouse in February. In 2013, Holness was registered to vote within District 9 by claiming to live in the small, older 940-square foot townhouse in the Royal Oaks development.
The 2006 Central Lauderhill Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) master plan shows City officials targeted the Royal Oaks for a dramatic makeover funded by federal and state grants. The plan says Royal Oaks is in disrepair and in need of landscaping upkeep. The entire neighborhood was part of an ambitious plan to build parks and improve roads and sewers. The Royal Oaks neighborhood was identified as properties suitable for acquisition, demolition and redevelopment.
As vice mayor of Lauderhill in 2006, Holness wrote the Central Lauderhill CRA master plan. Florida Department of State records show Holness has been an official of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association since 2000.
At visit to the townhouse by RED BROWARD and LOCAL 10 News, showed the unit was being used as a storage unit for old furniture and appliances.
Holness is currently registered to vote at a east Plantation home.
Broward County tax records show Holness has not paid county tax on the same five Lauderhill properties. He owes $4,457.90 in county taxes for 2014.
A sixth Lauderhill property owned by Holness has no liens and its taxes are current. However, the unit at 2611 NW 56th Avenue still created legal and financial headaches for Holness. In February 2014, the unit was under foreclosure proceedings. It was even set to be sold at auction.
Two years ago, this reporter exposed Holness’ delinquent $13,000 tax bill. According to Broward County tax records, Holness owed a tax payment of $2,586.86 on his Lauderhill home. He owed $2,605.28, $2,393.83, $2,672.09 and $2,502.01 on four of his rental properties.
Broward is not the only Florida county where Holness owes taxes.
St. Lucie County tax records show Holness has not paid property taxes on two vacant lots since 2008. Holness currently owes $7,415.45 to St. Lucie residents.
Holness’ outstanding taxes were paid by the tax deed certificate auction process. Florida counties hold auctions of delinquent tax bills. Investors bid on these certificates. Winning bidders pay the tax bill, but when a homeowner finally pays the taxes they levy 14% interest on the homeowner.
If a homeowner fails to pays the taxes, the holder of a tax certificate can initiate foreclosure proceedings.
In 2012 and 2013, the St Lucie County School Board purchased tax certificates for Holness’ property. The 2010 and 2011 tax deeds are held by the St. Lucie County Commission.
In 2013, Holness dismissed our reports as “conservative” attacks. Holness told the Sun-Sentinel he planned to sell one of his units to pay his taxes.
“I’m paying it as I can,” he said. “I have different responsibilities. I have children, I don’t neglect my children. I’ve been helping them because they have had a tough time and even though some [of them] are grown … I still have the responsibility.”
Holness has filed for re-election in 2016. To date, he has already raised $91,645 for his campaign for the District 9 seat.
District 9 voters should demand answers from Holness.