A 2017 legal affidavit reveals how Broward Mayor Dale Holness used his elderly father to hide his purchase of a Lauderhill condominium. In March 2017, the Royal Oaks Condominium Association filed a lawsuit against Wilford Holness in Broward County Circuit Court. The Royal Oaks Condominium Association alleged Holness owed nearly $14,000 in unpaid assessments. While Broward Property Appraiser records show Wilford Holness purchased the unit at 5307 N.W. 27th Street in December 1999, he has lived at a Fort Lauderdale home since the same year.
Court records show the initial complaint against Wilford Holness included a copy of a January 13, 2017 demand letter from the Association’s attorney. A copy of the certified mail receipt shows the letter was not sent to Wilford Holness at his Royal Oaks address. Instead, it was sent to Wilford Holness, ERA All Broward Realty 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation.
All Broward Realty is owned by Broward Mayor Dale Holness. Why did the Royal Oaks Condominium Association lawyer send the demand letter to a real estate agency owned by the son of the property owner?
Did someone on the Association board know to send it to that address?
State records show Broward Mayor Dale Holness was the President of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association in 2017. In fact, Holness has been on the Royal Oaks board from 2000 to the present day.
Court records show Wilford Holness settled his legal case with the Royal Oaks Condominium Association in October 2017. There are no details about the settlement in the court record, but an “affidavit of ownership” filed with Broward County may give a hint to the resolution.
On November 8, 2017, an affidavit regarding the ownership of 5307 N.W. 27th Street signed was filed with Broward County. The affidavit was drafted by Fort Lauderdale attorney Joshua D. Clark, witnessed by John McMahon and notarized by Emilia Candelaria.
The affidavit was signed by Broward Mayor Dale Holness.
On or about March 18, 1992, I paid the purchase price of the Condominium with my own money. When I attended the closing, I asked the closing attorney to title the condominium in the name of my father Wilford Holness because the condominium association had a rule at the time prohibiting a single owner from owning more than four units. Despite making Wilford Holness the record title owner of the Condominium, I intended to remain the true beneficial owner of the Condominium. Since 1992, I have managed, rented, collected rents, paid expenses and otherwise maintained, continuous, uninterrupted possession of the Condominium. Taxes have also been paid by me. I have also made betterment’s, improving the Condominium. Wilford Holness has made no claim on the title until late 2017. It was never my intent for my father to hold anything other than bare naked title in trust for me as the true beneficial owner. I claim title by virtue of a resulting trust and adverse possession.
Despite this affidavit, the Broward County Property Appraiser still lists Wilford Holness as the owner of the Royal Oaks condominium.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON?
Tax records show the taxes on the Royal Oaks property owned by Wilford Holness have not been paid. Holness owes $1,740.14 in 2019 property taxes. A delinquent tax certificate has been issued on the property in 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019. The property was scheduled to be sold at auction via the Tax Deed Application process in 2005, 2013 and 2017.
On Tuesday, REDBROWARD revealed Broward Mayor Dale Holness owed more than $17,000 in delinquent property taxes.
According to tax records, Mayor Holness has failed to pay 2019 property taxes on six of the seven properties he owns in Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill. Two of his properties, both Lauderhill townhomes, were so delinquent that both homes were subject to public auction proceedings.
And this is not the first time Dale Holness’ failure to pay property taxes made headlines.
In May 2013, this reporter revealed Dale Holness owed more than $13,000 in property taxes.
Tax Certificates for 2019 property taxes were issued for the three Royal Oaks properties owned by Mayor Holness. Tax records show all three properties have been subject to auction via the Tax Deed Application process since purchased by Dale Holness.
After our initial story, several readers asked why Holness did not simply sell these troubled investment properties?
LAUDERHILL GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO IMPROVE CONDO
In May 2013, this reporter covered Dale Holness’ property tax problems for Media Trackers which revealed his business partner owed more than $8,000 in unpaid property taxes.
Eulalee McFarlane was vice president of All Broward Realty through February of 2013. Dale Holness is president of All Broward Realty. McFarlane, Holness’ business partner, owed more than $8,000 in property taxes on three units in the Royal Oaks development in Lauderhill.
According to Broward County Property Appraiser records, McFarlane owned eight properties. The mailing address for seven of those properties is 4325 West Sunrise Blvd. in Plantation, which is the address for Holness’ All Broward Realty. McFarlane had not paid the taxes on the units since 2009.
Dale Holness, Eulalee McFarlane and Wilford Holness owned a total of seven units in the Royal Oaks Condominium development. Why was Royal Oaks such a desirable location?
Was it the 2006 Central Lauderhill Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) master plan where Lauderhill 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.
Lauderhill officials noted many of the properties are poorly managed and in disrepair. According to the CRA, “several properties have been identified…that are poorly managed or physically deteriorating or both. In some cases, the [CRA] may acquire the property directly for rehabilitation.”
The Royal Oaks neighborhood was “identified as properties suitable for acquisition, demolition and redevelopment….”
As vice mayor of Lauderhill in 2006, Dale 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.
Broward County property records indicate Holness and McFarlane purchased the Royal Oaks properties in 1991, 1997, 1998 and 2003.
Even though Dale Holness admitted to owning a fourth Royal Oaks property, he never disclosed the ownership on his required ethics form. Known as a “Form 6,” State law requires elected officials, certain public servants and other government officials to disclose their financial assets and liabilities every year.
Holness claimed to have used his own money to purchase the unit. He said he pays taxes on the unit. He said he has collected rent from tenants living in the unit.
But Dale Holness does not list 5307 N.W. 27 Street on his 2019 Form 6 filed this year with the State of Florida.
Holness did not list the property in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, or 2013.
Does Dale Holness own other property not listed on his Form 6?
Did Dale Holness hide behind other family members to purchase properties?
As President of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association, did Dale Holness reveal his ownership of 5307 N.W. 27th Street to the board before paying a lawyer to sue his elderly father?
Mayor Dale Holness did not return our request for comment.