The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness violated financial disclosure laws set forth by the Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes. The Commission released its findings on Wednesday even though investigators finished their report in September. News of the investigation comes one month after Holness’ stunning defeat in the U.S. Congressional CD 20 Democrat primary.
According to official documents obtained by REDBROWARD, investigators determined there was probable cause that Dale Holness, “Violated Article II, Section 8 Florida Constitution and Section 112.3144 Florida Statutes by failing to disclose income from two corporations he owns and secondary sources of income related to those corporations.” A complaint filed by Richard Giorgio, a representative of a political consulting firm, in July stated Holness failed to make these disclosures on the Form 6 Financial Disclosure document filed with the State in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
While Holness listed American Holding Group and All Broward Realty Inc. as companies he owned, he claimed to derive no income from these businesses. Additionally, Holness claimed to derive no income from his seven rental properties in Broward.
Investigators interviewed Dale Holness who was represented by attorney Hans Ottinot. Earlier this year, REDBROWARD exposed how allies of Holness desperately tried to get Ottinot appointed as the permanent City of Tamarac attorney.
During the interview, Holness “maintained he did not receive any income from either corporation during the years 2016-2019. His income, he explained, comes from his service on the County Commission and is disclosed on his financial disclosure forms.”
Holness admitted to receiving income from the seven rental properties but claimed he thought it did not have to be disclosed since it was “offset by expenses and depreciation.”
Holness stated he filled out the Form 6 documents without assistance from any accountants. He claimed he filed amended disclosure forms in August after calling Tallahassee for clarification of the rules.
The amendments show Holness derived more than $40,000 from rentals of his seven properties.
Despite knowledge of an investigation into his own financial disclosures, Holness had the chutzpah to use the “lack of financial disclosure” argument in a lawsuit seeking to overturn his defeat by political newcomer Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick.
Holness’ case will be set for a public hearing in Tallahassee before the Commission on Ethics board.