Michele Lazarow Asked Developer For $50,000 For Two Additional Bus Shelters
Throughout the last election, City Commissioner Michele Lazarow promised to bring “honesty” back to Hallandale Beach government. Following her victory on November 8, Lazarow said, “Tonight, we turned the page to a new chapter….After the ugliest election cycle in our city’s history, I am grateful that the residents of Hallandale Beach continue to have faith in me to fight for their interests.” But as REDBROWARD revealed, Lazarow appears to fight real hard for the interests of developers and gaming interests.
Commissioner Michele Lazarow received campaign contributions from Greenspoon Marder political committees while one of their lawyers, Steve Geller, represented the developers of the massive three building “Oasis” project next to the Gulstream Race Track and Casino. On May 4, 2016, Lazarow voted to approve the $250 million dollar development.
Less than one month earlier, Michele Lazarow received campaign contributions from the Greenspoon Marder Law Firm and the GM Citizens For A Smarter Florida political committee. According to her campaign treasurer reports, the $500 contributions were made on April 7,2016. One day earlier, Lazarow received $1,000 contributions from three different entities associated with Gulfstream Race Track. She received money from The Village At Gulfstream Park, Orchid Concessions and Gulfstream Park.
On May 18, 2016 the “Oasis” project came before the Hallandale Beach Commission for another vote. Once again, lobbyist Steve Geller presented the details to the commission. Commissioner Lazarow impatiently asked several times to speak about the “DA” (Developer Agreement).
Lazarow: We Need A Lot Of Bus Shelters
When it was her chance to discuss the agenda item, Lazarow stated she wanted the developers to pay for two additional bus shelters. Mayor Joy Cooper stated the project already called for one new bus stop, but Lazarow said, “We need a lot!”
Steve Geller said discussions with City Manager Daniel Rosemond determined one bus stop would cost $25,000 to build. He said the developer agreed to contribute $50,000 for two bus shelters. After some discussion regarding where to build the stops, Geller said it was not an issue as long as it was near the project.
Lazarow told her fellow commissioners, “We’re getting $50,000 for bus shelters, period. It doesn’t matter where.”
After Commissioner Anthony Sanders asked about a $25,000 contribution to the “Hallandale Scholarship Fund,” Geller pleaded, “Can we vote now, please. This is getting very expensive.”
The Hallandale Beach City Commission voted 5-0 to approve the Oasis project.
Developer Funds Lazarow Campaign
Just days after she voted to approved the “Oasis” mega-project, Commissioner Michele Lazarow received two large campaign contributions from the companies behind the controversial development. On May 31, 2016, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from Romagnole Investments Properties located at 1130 East Hallandale Beach Boulevard. Lazarow received another $1,000 contribution from Romagnole Productos Electricos at the same Hallandale Beach address.
State records show these companies are owned by Giuseppe Iadisernia of Hallandale Beach. According to published reports, Iadisernia is a successful horse trainer. In 2007, The Washington Post reported Iadisernia gained famed with two surprise wins at Gulfstream Park Race Track. At the May 18th commission meeting, Steve Geller stated Iadisernia has 50 horses at Gulfstream Park.
It’s easy to say this is how politics works in 2016 Broward. Developers fund candidates and their pet projects in the hopes of getting projects approved by local government. Slick lobbyists like Steve Geller know how to play the game. But Michele Lazarow painted herself as the second coming of Trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt. She promised to fight for the little guy against the big bad developers. She told anybody who would listen that the Diplomat Hotel would fail at its $125,000 bid to beat her at the polls. Her lawyers told the media that her political enemies spied on Lazarow, Anabelle Taub and fellow Commissioner Keith London. Lazarow attorney Brian Silber said the GPS tracking device allegedly placed on Lazarow’s car was no “coincidence.”
Does a corruption-fighting politician shakedown developers to fund pet projects?
Does a muckraking pol take campaign contributions from developers and special interests while claiming to be the victim of political opponents funded by different developers and special interests?
Michele Lazarow was right, Hallandale Beach voters do deserve honesty.
They deserve answers too.