Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Collect Campaign Contributions During Coronavirus Shutdown

COVID 19 press conference 3/13/2020

On March 13th, Mayor Dean Trantalis issued the first of several emergency orders to bring the City of Fort Lauderdale into compliance with the CDC’s “social distancing” rules to combat COVID-19. This order cancelled all city events, recreational programs and sports leagues across the city. Trantalis’ initial order also cancelled “upcoming meetings of the City Commission, all boards and committees, all special magistrate hearings and all Code Enforcement Board hearings.”

Two days later, after meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis, Trantalis ordered the closure of public beaches and recreational facilities. The next day, Broward Schools were closed. On March 17th, Trantalis held a press conference in front of City Hall. He was joined by Commissioners Heather Moraitis, Steven Glassman and Ben Sorensen.

Even though the official “shelter in place” orders were still ten days away, all commerce and schooling in the City Of Fort Lauderdale was effectively shut down.

Except for raising money for re-election campaign coffers. Apparently, a global pandemic is not enough to stop Fort Lauderdale Commissioners from cashing checks from folks doing business in the “Venice of America.”

According to March campaign reports, Commissioner Robert McKinzie received no campaign contributions. Reports for Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Heather Moraitis accepted no contributions after the City shutdown.

But Commissioner Steven Glassman (D-Backbencher) continued to collect campaign contributions after the COVID-19 lockdown. Glassman received $2,500 from checks collected on March 17 and March 30, 2020. Glassman, a former Buffalo hair salon owner, is no fan on the lockdown. Last week, Glassman sent an email blasting the closure of condominium swimming pools and amenities.

Glassman’s COVID-19 campaign haul is chump change compared to Commissioner Ben Sorensen’s take.

Official campaign treasurer reports show Commissioner Sorensen accepted 19 checks after the Coronavirus lockdown. His campaign received two checks on March 16, 2020 totaling just $150 dollars.

But on March 27, 2020, the date of the Broward County order to shelter at home, Ben Sorensen’s campaign accepted 17 checks for his re-election bid. Sorensen raised $6,975 on the first day of the Coronavirus shelter in place lockdown.

Sorensen didn’t just raise money during the crisis. His campaign spent $6,865.53 during the lockdown.

One expenditure was $500 to Jennifer Lovell for “event reimbursement.” It is unclear if Lovell hosted a fundraiser for Sorensen, but a Rose Ann Lovell is listed as a contributor. Ms. Lovell was appointed to the City Of Fort Lauderdale Education Advisory Board by Sorensen.

Lovell is one of several Sorensen’s contributors with ties to environmental services firms. State records show in December 2019, Jennifer Lovell formed “Lovell Environmental Services.” On her LinkedIn page, Lovell states she is the “President and Chief Activator” at Lovell Environmental Services. Lovell wrote her new company provides “disinfecting and sanitation solutions.”

And with all the poop and Coronavirus around Fort Lauderdale, business should be booming for disinfectant services, right?

Once again, politicians will chase residents from the beaches, dog parks and waterways in the name of public safety while ignoring those very rules meant to keep us all safe.

More to come…

Trantalis COVID-19 press conference outside City Hall

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