Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steven M. Glassman (D-Selfie) cancelled a meeting with concerned Rio Vista residents after receiving large campaign contributions from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) employees and a political committee tied to a former AHF lobbyist. Last summer, Rio Vista asked Glassman to take a “walking tour” of the proposed site of the AHF apartment building dubbed “Trantalis Tower.” The residents were concerned over the lack of transparency over who would live in the fifteen story building made up of tiny “micro unit” apartments as well as the type of social services AHF would provide to residents.
According to Kevin Cochrane, the tour organizer, Glassman received an e-mail invitation on August 12, 2019 to join the residents’ walking tour. Glassman was told District 4 Commissioner Ben Sorensen was joining residents for an August 13, 2019 tour of the site. On August 14th, Glassman responded to Cochrane. “I am sorry we missed the first tour,” Glassman wrote. “I will get back to you on Friday with some potential dates. How long was the tour?”
On August 16th, Cochrane told Glassman that Mayor Dean Trantalis scheduled a September 5th tour and asked him to find dates before the Mayor’s tour. On August 20th, Cochrane sent a fourth follow up email to Glassman advising him that Commissioner Heather Moraitis scheduled a September 19th tour with his group.
On August 29th, Cochrane sent his seventh email to Glassman. He told Glassman that Commissioner Robert McKinzie scheduled a September 25th walking tour.
The next day, Glassman finally responded. He said he could meet Cochrane’s group on October 10, 2019. Cochrane immediately accepted.
Nearly one month later, Cochrane contacted Glassman about the tour. On September 20, 2019, He told Glassman the AHF project was due to be heard before a City board before his tour. Cochrane mentioned nearly 300 residents had joined Trantalis, Sorensen and Moraitis on their tours and asked if he could scheduled a date before the AHF was to be heard.
Glassman took two weeks to respond. He told Cochrane the Fort Lauderdale City Attorney issued an adverse opinion regarding the AHF project. Glassman cancelled his tour with no further explanation.
So, what changed?
GLASSMAN MEETS WITH AHF OFFICIALS
Official City records show Commissioner Steven M. Glassman met with AHF lobbyists, lawyers and employees four times since 2018. On September 5, 2019 Glassman met with AHF attorney Debbie Orshefsky, AHF employee Ebonni Chrispin and “Trantalis Tower” architect Margi Nothard at City Hall.
One week later, the AHF checks started coming in.
On November 12th Glassman received a $1,000 contribution from David Poole of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Poole is the legislative affairs director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
That same day, Glassman received a maximum $1,000 contribution from Florida AIDS HIV PAC, a Tallahassee based political committee. State records show Towson Fraser as the chairperson of Florida AIDS HIV PAC. State lobbyist records show Fraser was a lobbyist for AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Seven days later, Glassman received another $1,000 check from an AHF employee. Michael Kahane, AHF Southern Bureau Chief, made his contribution on the day of Glassman’s re-election campaign kickoff on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Other guests at Glassman’s fundraiser included Mayor Dean Trantalis and Glassman political adviser Blake MacDiarmid of Miami Beach.
What was Steve Glassman doing on October 10th instead of meeting with residents? On Facebook, he was posting about the great success of his September fundraiser.
If the City Attorney made the AHF project a moot point, why didn’t Glassman return the contributions to Poole, Kahane and the Florida AIDS HIV PAC?
As REDBROWARD reported, Glassman loves to attend cultural events with lobbyists or talk about his BFF David Beckham. Instead of talking to residents of Rio Vista about “Trantalis Tower” or the sewer break disaster, Glassman poses with the Scooby Doo Gang, chows down on cupcakes after Zumba class or attends Oscar parties.
Doesn’t Fort Lauderdale deserve real leadership?