On Wednesday, Sun-Sentinel reporter Brittany Wallman published a shadowy email endorsing several candidates in the upcoming Fort Lauderdale election. The email urged voters to support Dean Trantalis, Donna Guthrie, Steve Glassman and Warren Sturman. The email states voters, “need responsive, accessible leadership with the fortitude to make the tough choices.” Lacking a proper disclaimer, the email simply states it was sent from a marketing company in West Palm Beach. The company, FlyerSmith, has deep ties to Dale Holness.
December campaign records show Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis’ mayoral campaign hired a consultant tied to controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. On December 13th, Trantalis paid $1,357 to SA Nelson And Associates for “marketing.” According to Florida business records, SA Nelson and Associates is owned by Sophia A. Nelson. State records show Nelson owns several other companies including Digital Grass, Early Bird Consulting and Mosaic Marketing.
According to Florida records Mosaic Marketing is located at the same address found on the FlyerSmith email to Fort Lauderdale voters.
In December 2016, the Sun-Sentinel reported Sophia Nelson had been re-elected as Secretary of the Palm Beach Democratic Party.
Florida Division Of Elections records show Sophia A. Nelson is the chairperson of the “A Better Florida For All” political committee. The address for this political committee is the same address found on the FlyerSmith email to Fort Lauderdale voters.
Division of Elections records show Omar Smith is the treasurer of the “A Better Florida For All” political committee. Recent audit letters from State Officials to Nelson and Smith at the Okeechobee Road address have been returned as undeliverable.
TEAM HOLNESSS MARKETING GURU
Florida Business records show FlyerSmith is a fictitious name name tied to A Star For I, Inc. owned and operated by Omar M. Smith at 2930 Okeechobee Road in West Palm Beach. Campaign records show FlyerSmith has done extensive work for Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. For his 2016 re-election campaign, Dale Holness paid Flyer Smith $15,161 for marketing, flyers, IT services and consulting.
Records show FlyerSmith has worked for other municipal candidates backed by Dale Holness. In the 2016 City of Sunrise elections, FlyerSmith worked for Mark Douglas.
In October 2016, REDBROWARD reported Douglas had been endorsed by Dale Holness. Campaign records show Mark Douglas paid $1,012.80 to FlyerSmith. These records show Douglas paid Damara Holness $650 for consulting.
In 2014, REDBROWARD revealed how Dale Holness daughter Damara Holness was dating County Commission District 2 candidate Tyron Francois. In court testimony, Francois admitted he did not live in District 2. Many insiders believed Holness placed Francois in the race to help get his preferred candidate elected. While the State Attorney would later determine Francois committed perjury, no charges were ever filed.
One piece of evidence which tied Francois to Holness was the discovery of photographs posted on Instagram.
Omar Smith’s Instagram account (@omar_the_tzar) documents his deep allegiance to Holness. Photographs show Smith has been a part of Team Holness since at least 2014. A few months ago, Smith was pictured wearing his 2016 orange “Team Holness” t-shirt.
In July 2014, Omar Smith posted a picture of his “working friends.” The photograph shows him with his arm around Sophia A. Nelson.
DALE HOLNESS KING OF FORT LAUDERDALE
Dale Holness is never shy when it comes to interfering in local elections. He has tried to extend his power base across Broward County by endorsing candidates in Miramar, Sunrise, Plantation and now Fort Lauderdale. When Dean Trantalis held his campaign kick off in November, Dale Holness was there to support him.
Now, Trantalis hires a Team Holness member and weeks later the mystery email endorsement appears in voter inboxes.
What role is Team Holness playing in the campaigns of Donna Guthrie, Steve Glassman and Warren Sturman? Did these candidates know about the email? Have they met with Dale Holness? Will they hire members of his team?
What does Dale Holness want in return for his support? Do Fort Lauderdale voters want Dale Holness to have influence over development and construction all across the city?
REDBROWARD reached out to Dean Trantalis for answers. We will update story if he responds.
Voters deserve answers from Dean Trantalis before the January 16th primary.