A phony website tied to embattled Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton claimed City Attorney John Herin “allegedly has ties with a disgraced politician who was part of the biggest corruption scandal in Tamarac which resulted in the former Mayor being arrested.” The bombshell allegation came in the Tamarac Post story, “Did Elvin Villalobos Perpetuate Tamarac City Manager’s Corruption Scheme?” published on September 11, 2021. The hit piece was written by “Maria Colson.”
Four days after the Villalobos hit piece appeared in the Tamarac Post, REDBROWARD revealed evidence that Marlon Bolton was tied to the publication of Maria Colson’s stories.
A link provided by the Tamarac Post revealed “MBOLTON” authored six stories attacking City of Tamarac politicians. Since August 2021, six Tamarac Post stories were written by “Maria Colson.” An August 26, 2021 story was a puff piece praising Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton for a meaningless political appointment.
The next five stories featured vicious attacks on Bolton’s fellow commissioners. The most recent story contains numerous false claims and anti-semitic attacks directed against Mayor Michelle Gomez.
In March 2021, REDBROWARD exposed Marlon Bolton’s deep ties to “The Tamarac Post,” which is owned and operated by close Bolton ally Anthony Bonamy. The City Of North Lauderdale fired Bonamy from his position as deputy clerk after REDBROWARD revealed his role in the website. Bonamy was quickly hired as an aide to Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.
On August 31, 2021, REDBROWARD revealed how Tamarac Post reporter Maria Colson was not a Tamarac resident.
According to her social media accounts, Maria Colson is a twentysomething woman living in Sidcup, England. According to her LinkedIn page, Colson works for TJ MAXX and a public policy firm. Both jobs are located in England, NOT Tamarac.
Colson’s Tamarac Post bio gives a vanity website, mariacolson.com, which appears to be a dead link. Links to her Facebook and Twitter accounts are also provided.
According to her Twitter account, Maria Colson is deeply interested in British animal rights causes and climate change initiatives. She makes no mention of Tamarac, or Broward, or Florida or even the U.S.A.
REDBROWARD attempted to contact Maria Colson via her Facebook page. She never responded to questions about her reporting.
A tip from an tech-savvy reader helped cement the ties between Bolton and the Tamarac Post.
The Tamarac Post provides a page for all stories written by Maria Colson. This is the same page with her vanity website and social media links. The address of this page is:
The link was disabled shortly after our original story was published.
TAMARAC POST: HERIN TIED TO “DIRTY POLITICIANS”
As the Tamarac Post story points out, Marlon Bolton helped elect Elvin Villalobos to the Tamarac City Commission. But last year, the two men had a falling out. The Tamarac Post laughably paints Bolton as a Tamarac corruption fighter. “Bolton is a champion for a good government who publicly declared war against the Tamarac City Manager…” the Tamarac Post reported.
The Tamarac Post screed discussed Cernech’s arrest for his role in an extortion scheme allegedly perpetrated by disgraced developers Bruce and Shawn Chait. The three men are excused of conspiring to extort 13th Floor Investments over a development deal in the Woodlands neighborhood.
Unsurprisingly, the Tamarac Post story makes no mention of text messages between Cernech and the Chait discussing the use of the “Bolton card” to stop 13th Floors plans to build homes in the Woodlands. ￼
The Tamarac Post story claims Villalobos’ vote to hire John Herin as city attorney in May 2021 delayed justice in Tamarac.
“Villalobos could have acted in securing an attorney who would continue to probe and give a close watch on possible mishandling of City finances,” Tamarac Post wrote. “Instead, he opted to hire John Herin.”
After declaring Herin’s ties to a “disgraced politician” the Tamarac Post wrote, “Back in 2011, the politician was involved in the corruption scandal with her good friend, Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco who was arrested following her involvement in a previous Chait scandal.”
The Tamarac Post claimed Villalobos was not acting “wisely” by associating with “Mr. Herin who has ties to dirty politicians.” The Tamarac Post even accuses Villalobos of Sunshine Law violations.
Just one problem. Villalobos was not the sole vote for John Herin.
Marlon Bolton voted in favor of hiring Herin as well. The only “no” vote was cast by Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin.”
While the Tamarac Post does not name the “disgraced politician,” any student of recent Broward politics could reasonably deduce the identity.
The politician is a female, a former “good friend of Beth Talabisco,” and played a role in an earlier scandal involving the Chaits.
Former Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman Michelson is a longtime resident of the Woodlands community. Last week, her husband Stuart Michelson filed his campaign paperwork to replace Elberg Mike Gelin on the Tamarac Commission. Both Ilene and Stuart Michelson are staunch opponents of 13th Floor Investment’s development plans for the Woodlands.
John Herin is another staunch opponent of 13th Floor’s plans.
Last week, REDBROWARD asked John Herin about his ties to Ilene Lieberman Michelson and Stuart Michelson. We asked if ever represented the Michelsons or any group supported by the Michelsons.
Herin responded with, “The Woodlands development project is currently the subject of on-going litigation, and therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that project at this time.”
Last week, REDBROWARD exposed how Marlon Bolton used taxpayer dollars to hire John Herin as outside counsel in December 2020. Declaring he did not trust the legal advice of then longtime City Attorney Sam Goren, Bolton hired Herin to review a legal settlement between the Chait’s Prestige Homes, the City of Tamarac and Rock Island Storage Partners. Bolton was opposed to plans to build a storage facility across the street from the Woodlands.
Tamarac taxpayers paid $7,070 for Bolton’s “probe” into the deal.
Herin refused to tell REDBROWARD how Bolton came to select him as outside counsel.
Did someone in the Woodlands recommend John Herin to Marlon Bolton?
If Herin was worth a $7,070 payday from Tamarac taxpayers in December 2020, and if Herin was Bolton’s choice for City Attorney in May 2021, why is the Tamarac Post attacking Elvin Villalobos for voting for Herin in a September 2021 story?
In addition to his troubles with former ally Villalobos, did Marlon Bolton have a falling out with John Herin or former “disgraced politicians” living in Tamarac?
Did something change the dynamics between December 2020 and September 2021?
Or, did (another) argument with Villalobos lead to another nasty Tamarac Post story?
Also, if Marlon Bolton knew this information, why didn’t he mention it before Herin was selected?
What else does Marlon Bolton know and when did he know it?
Tamarac taxpayers deserve answers, right?
There isn’t a person alive who shouldn’t trust Sam Goren!
Great work. Shadier by the day with this crew.