Nearly 88% of campaign contributions to City Commission candidate Lauren Linville came from outside the city limits, Coconut Creek elections records show. On February 9th, Linville sent an email to supporters touting her support from Coconut Creek residents. “Finally, I am proud to say that to date, nearly $3,000 from Coconut Creek [r]esidents have (sic) been donated to our campaign,” Linville wrote. However, a review of the January camapign treasurer’s report tells a different story.

According to her campaign treasurer’s report, Lauren Linville raised $13,635 in January. Linville also made a $10,000 loan to her campaign.
The report shows a total of 65 contributions to her campaign, but only 14 contributors live in Coconut Creek.

The total amount of $1,585 was raised from these 14 contributors. An amount that is not “nearly $3,000” as Linville claimed. If you include the $1,000 contribution from Linville’s company, Consult Optimum LLC, the total amount raised from a Coconut Creek address jumps to $2,585.

One of Lauren Linville’s largest contributions came from the senior vice president of The GEO Group, one of the largest private prison companies in the world. The GEO Group operates the ICE immigrant detention center near Coconut Creek. In 2019, protesters were arrested at the company’s headquarters in Boca Raton. The Sun-Sentinel reported, “[P]rotesters did not align with one particular organization but were known affiliates of groups such as Food Not Bombs Fort Lauderdale, Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward, Florida Immigrant Coalition and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.”

In January, Lauren Linville, a Democrat, denied hiding her former employment at The GEO group from Coconut Creek voters.

According to online databases, from 2011 to 2015 Lauren Linville held numerous positions at The GEO Group. These positions included executive assistant, contracts administrator, research analyst for the business development department and a promotion to project management in the business development department. Linville even authored articles for the company’s GEO World magazine.

No GEO Group work history appears on Linville’s LinkedIn profile. She lists her work at Optimum Consulting, service in the U.S. Coast Guard reserve and a one year position at Youngstown State University in the veterans affairs department.

And when she applied for a seat on a Coconut Creek board, Linville submitted a paper copy of her resume. It lists Optimum Consulting and the U.S. Coast Guard. Nothing about The GEO Group.

When contacted by REDBROWARD about her work at The GEO Group, Linville wrote, “Yes, it was my first job out of college, but I was recalled to active service for the majority of my time (three years to be exact) with Geo Group. I subsequently left shortly after returning home from Active Duty.”

When asked why GEO Group does not appear on her resume, Linville wrote, “I don’t put it on my resume any longer because it was such a long time ago and is generally not relevant to work I’m seeking currently. As recently as 2-3 years ago I still had it on my resume.”

REDBROWARD asked why an older job is listed on her LinkedIn page, Linville replied, “[Youngstown State University] is where I went to school and worked as a VA rep, and I believe there is a recommendation from my supervisor I wanted to keep.”

Finally, REDBROWARD asked Linville if she wanted to keep her work at The GEO Group a secret from Coconut Creek voters.

Lauren Linville said, “No.”

While Linville downplayed her employment at The GEO Group, she was able to secure a $1,000 contribution from GEO Group Senior Vice President David Venturella.

According to The GEO Group website, “Mr. Venturella joined The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), in 2012 as an Executive Vice President. In 2014, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Client Relations. Mr. Venturella is responsible for leading GEO’s client relations efforts.”

Venturella is no stranger to Democrat activists who oppose private prisons and immigration detention centers.

In 2013, USA TODAY exposed a deportation quota system which targeted immigrants accused of minor crimes.

“Among those new tactics — detailed in interviews and internal e-mails — were trolling state driver’s license records for information about foreign-born applicants, dispatching U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to traffic safety checkpoints conducted by police departments, and processing more illegal immigrants who had been booked into jails for low-level offenses. Records show ICE officials in Washington approved some of those steps.”

Several emails cited were written by David Venturella, then an ICE official.

“The only performance measure that will count this fiscal year is the criminal alien removal target,” David Venturella, who then supervised ICE’s field offices, said in…an e-mail to agents in Atlanta.

Thanks to her ties to The GEO Group and her controversial comments equating the Black Lives Matter (BLM) with ISIS, Lauren Linville lost the support of key progressive leaders in Broward County.

Coconut Creek voters will decide in March if they want leaders with so little support from local residents.

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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