At the December 9, 2020 Tamarac City Commission meeting, then City Attorney Sam Goren informed Commissioners the decade long battle with disgraced developers Bruce and Shawn Chait was nearing an end. A settlement reached in 2018 called for a parcel of land on Rock Island Road and Commercial Boulevard to be sold to a developer. As a courtesy to Commissioners, Goren informed them the closing on the deal for the sale would come within ten days.
Commissioner Marlon Bolton was not pleased.
From the outset, it was clear Marlon Bolton wanted to stop Rock Island Public Storage Partners from closing on the deal with the Chaits’ Prestige Homes and the City of Tamarac. City Attorney Sam Goren repeatedly warned Bolton the settlement had been “legally concluded” and any attempt to stop the closing would constitute a “violation of the settlement and a court order.” Bolton was undeterred.
Bolton said residents were against Rock Island Storage Partners’ plan to build a public storage facility on the property. He asked why the City could not simply buy the property and make it a “pocket park.”
Then, Bolton began his attack on Sam Goren. Bolton said he did not “trust the advice given by the City Attorney.” He said Goren’s advice was “somewhat skewed.”
Bolton made a motion that he would hire an outside attorney, paid by Tamarac taxpayers, to review the settlement documents and the closing would be halted until this review was complete.
Bolton said he wanted an “outside counsel of my choice because it’s my district and it’s important to me.”
Bolton’s initial motion failed 3 to 2. But Commissioner Elvin Villalobos asked for reconsideration of the motion. Mayor Michelle Gomez asked if there was precedence for a single commissioner to hire outside counsel, at City expense, to review a matter.
Calling it “odd and irregular,” Sam Goren said the hiring would be “inconsistent with the Tamarac charter.” Goren warned Bolton’s motion would be a “blank check” to an outside attorney.
Commissioner Debra Placko finally chimed in. She said, “Knowing Vice Mayor Bolton, he has an attorney in mind. So if he has an attorney and it will move this along…” she would support Bolton’s motion.
Placko, Villalobos, Elberg Mike Gelin and Bolton voted to allow Bolton to hire outside counsel. Mayor Michelle Gomez was the lone dissenting vote.
Four days later, Sam Goren resigned as Tamarac City Attorney.
Bolton never revealed his choice at the meeting. But he ended up picking John Herin, Esquire as his outside counsel.
On December 29, 2020 John Herin presented his findings to Mayor Gomez and the City Commission. More on this meeting later….
Two months later, Herin spoke out against the 13th Floor Homes development on property once owned by the Chaits at a Broward County Planning Council meeting. As REDBROWARD reported yesterday, John Herin once represented the “Defend The Woodlands” group which supports Marlon Bolton and Elberg Mike Gelin while viciously attacking Mayor Michelle Gomez.
Then, on May 12, 2021, John Herin was hired as the new Tamarac City Attorney.
WHY DID BOLTON PICK HERIN?
REDBROWARD asked John Herin how Marlon Bolton handpicked him to conduct the “probe” of the Prestige Homes settlement. We asked if he had a previously relationship with Marlon Bolton, Elberg Mike Gelin or anyone in the Woodlands groups supporting Bolton and Gelin.
Or, did Marlon Bolton just pick him out of thin air?
Herin refused to answer those simple questions.
Now, some residents wonder if his hiring by Bolton is the reason Herin will not allow residents to criticize Marlon Bolton or Elberg Mike Gelin at Commission meetings.
Would John Herin allow loyalty to Marlon Bolton to trump the First Amendment rights of Tamarac residents?
Don’t Tamarac residents deserve real answers from John Herin and Marlon Bolton?
COMING SOON: What was the point of John Herin’s paid for presentation to the Tamarac Commission on December 29, 2020?