The legal inquiry into Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony was moved out of Broward County, sources tell REDBROWARD. According to one source, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis authorized the move from Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor’s office in the 17th Judicial Circuit to State Attorney Amira Fox of the 20th Judicial Circuit. Fox’s office covers Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. REDBROWARD was told most special prosecutions are conducted from the Fort Myers office.
For months, sources told REDBROWARD that new Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor appeared disinclined to consider serious charges in the Tony matter.
In March, REDBROWARD was first to report a Federal grand jury in Miami heard evidence on matters related to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony and others in Broward County.
In April, The Florida Bulldog confirmed a Federal investigation into matters surrounding Sheriff Tony. The website reported the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) was investigating bid rigging allegations involving a contract between BSO and North American Rescue.
REDBROWARD revealed concerns of a “turf war” grew strong when news broke of an inquiry into North American Rescue CEO Bob Castellani. In 2019, the South Carolina-based sold “bleed kits” to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Castellani was a key supporter of Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s re-election.
REDBROWARD was told the inquiry sent to the State Attorneys Office of the 20th Judicial Circuit does not include the bleed kit matter.
A simple street naming ceremony may end up costing Broward taxpayers big bucks after County Commissioner Dale Holness and Sheriff Gregory Tony turned it into a political photo opportunity. On Saturday, Holness and Tony hosted the family of the late Congressman Alcee Hastings at the African American Research Library in Fort Lauderdale. Holness and his allies across Broward pushed street renaming proclamations in Hastings honor in what insiders see as a naked ploy to curry favor with voters.
The controversial Holness is running in a crowded Democrat field to replace Hastings.
The Saturday morning event featured nearly zero members of the general public. In addition to the Hastings family, Holness and Tony, the other participants included Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Broward Vice Mayor Michael Udine, Lauderhill Commissioner Ray Martin and Coral Springs Commissioner Nancy Metayer.
The African American Research Library is owned by Broward County. Who paid to rent the small dance studio/ conference room? Broward taxpayers? The Holness campaign?
Four blocks along Sistrunk Boulevard and Northwest 27th Avenue were blocked by Broward Sheriff’s Office personnel so Holness and Tony could march to a street post to erect the new Alcee Hastings signage. Who paid for the BSO presence.
Nearly a dozen BSO deputies were on hand for security along with a federal protection detail for Congresswoman. Wilson. Who paid for the security?
Sheriff Tony announced that those unable to walk the four blocks could ride in a BSO golf cart. A polite gesture, but why is taxpayer funded equipment being used for a political photo op?
At the end of the ceremony, Dale Holness gathered the Hastings family and the politicians for a group photograph. Holness singled out his staffer along with staffers for an absent Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Wilson and the official BSO photographer. He wanted to make sure each photographer had an opportunity to get them looking directly at the camera.
Who paid for a Broward County Commission aide to spend her Saturday taking pics?
Who decided to make an elaborate production out the street renaming? Why was it held midday on a Saturday in the scorching heat instead of the air-conditioned confines of the Broward Government Center?
Perhaps Dale Holness and Gregory Tony don’t care about costs as long as Broward taxpayers are picking up the bill?
Despite the concerns of city lawyers about his business dealings with the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin failed to disclose the financial relationship on his legally required Form 1, records show. On November 27, 2018, Gelin took the oath of office as a Tamarac Commissioner. One week later, Tamarac city attorney Sam Goren asked the Florida Commission On Ethics if a prohibited conflict of interest was created by a company owned by Elberg Mike Gelin having an existing business relationship with BSO. The City of Tamarac has a contract with BSO to provide law enforcement services.
In addition to the BSO matter, Tamarac lawyers asked the Commission On Ethics whether any conflict would arise if Gelin Benefits Group worked with other vendors doing business with government entities. Also, lawyers asked if Gelin Benefits Group was prohibited from signing future contracts with municipalities or government entities.
On February 14, 2018 Gelin Benefits Group entered into a contract with BSO to provide health insurance consulting services. The one year deal paid Gelin Benefits Group $20,000 on a quarterly basis. BSO retained the right to extended the contract for year.
The City of Tamarac provided a copy of the BSO contract with Gelin Benefits Group to the Florida Commission On Ethics. Emails between the Commission On Ethics and Tamarac lawyers show Gelin was a willing participant in the inquiry.
On January 7, 2019 the Florida Commission On Ethics delivered good news for Elberg Mike Gelin. In its opinion, the Commission stated Gelin’s deal with BSO avoided any conflict of interest because it was signed before he was elected. The Commission stated the deal was “grandfathered” and posed no issue.
As to future business agreements, the Florida Commission On Ethics determined it lacked specific facts to render an opinion on the matter. But the Commission was told Gelin was not seeking new deals with anyone doing business with the City of Tamarac.
The Commission wrote:
[Y]ou relate that the Commissioner’s company is not specifically seeking to do business with agencies within the county, or elsewhere, that have relationships with the city, that the city has agreements with a number of government agencies but it is unknown whether these agencies will be in the markets for services provided by the commissioner’s company, and that there is not, nor is there anticipated to be, any lawsuit or friction between the city and any other government agency that the commissioner’s company might work for.
Five months after the Florida Commission On Ethics found no issues with his dealings with BSO, Elberg Mike Gelin filed his legally required financial interests disclosure forms. Dubbed a Form 1, the required disclosure allows voters to know the financial interests of their elected officials.
On his 2018 Form 1 financial disclosure, Elberg Mike Gelin did not list Gelin Benefits Group’s contract with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
GELIN’S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE TO VOTERS
Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin appears to have a problem disclosing his business dealings to Tamarac voters. Last week, REDBROWARD reported Gelin failed to disclose all of his government contracts on his required financial forms. Form 1 consists of three parts. Elected officials are required to disclose primary sources of income, secondary sources of income and real property.
Under secondary sources of income, officials are told to include “Major customers, clients and other sources of income to businesses owned by the reporting person.”
Under secondary sources of income on his 2018 Form 1, Commissioner Gelin wrote “N/A” which is shorthand for “not applicable.”
REDBROWARD asked Gelin to clarify why his contract with BSO between February 2018 and February 2019 was “not applicable.” Gelin did not respond.
On his Form 1 for 2019, Gelin listed contracts with the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes and Broward Health (North Broward Health District). Still no mention of a contract with BSO.
Even though he listed just three government agencies on his 2019 Form 1, documents show Gelin Benefits Group previously touted contracts with multiple government agencies.
On January 10, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a proposal to the City of Lauderdale Lakes. In the proposal, Gelin Benefits Group states it provides services to the City of Miramar and the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).
On August 22, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a controversial proposal to the City of North Miami. Gelin Benefits Group stated its clients included the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes, Broward Health, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and Broward County Government.
Under “notable client experience,” Gelin listed the City of Miramar, the City of Coconut Creek and the Broward Clerk of Courts.
Under “references,” Gelin Benefits Group listed Miramar, BSO, and Broward County Government.
Why did Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin fail to list BSO, Coconut Creek, Broward Clerk of Courts or Broward County Government on his 2018 or 2019 Form 1 disclosure of his financial interests?
Surely, any business owner would consider BSO, Broward County Government and the Clerk of Courts as “major” customers or clients.
Does Gelin want to keep the public from knowing about his business dealings? Again, Gelin refused to respond to questions.
When it comes to disclosures, Gelin appears to treat his fellow commissioners the same way he treats voters.
GELIN FAILS TO DISCLOSE TO COMMISSION
Earlier this month, REDBROWARD revealed Gelin failed to mention his business relationship with the City of Miramar even though the Miramar city attorney was seeking the same position with the City of Tamarac. According to public records, Gelin Benefits Group, a company owned by Commissioner Gelin, has a lucrative contract with the City of Miramar.
In 2018, the City of Miramar signed a contract for health benefits consulting with Gelin Benefits Group, Inc. The three year deal was set to expire in January 2021.
On January 27, 2021, City of Miramar officials recommended a new deal with Gelin Benefits Group. The first contract awarded $105,000 per year to Gelin Benefits Group. The new deal saw a huge 60% increase for Gelin Benefits Group.
Under the new deal, Miramar taxpayers would pay $165,000 per year to Gelin’s company as well as “$240 hourly for work on an as needed basis.”
The resolution for the new contract and the contract itself were drafted by attorneys from the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell law firm.
During the May 12, 2021 city commissioner meeting, Gelin blasted Tamarac Talk and REDBROWARD for examining the candidates for the city attorney position. Similar to his recent attacks on The Sun-Sentinel, Gelin smeared stories as “propaganda” in a futile attempt to rehabilitate three of the five candidates for the position.
In April, REDBROWARD revealed one applicant, Michael Garcia, was listed as an attorney with the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell law firm, another applicant for the Tamarac position. That firm was founded by former Broward Supervisor Of Elections attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks, a longtime ally of County Commissioner Dale Holness. While Holness is not listed as a professional reference, Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell does list Brenda Snipes.
Another of Burnadette Norris Weeks’ professional references is Miramar City Commissioner Alexandra Davis. In April, Davis joined Maxwell Chambers and Elberg Mike Gelin at Dale Holness’ campaign kickoff. In March, Alexandra Davis joined Dale Holness and Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton at a party hosted by Jamaican General Consul Oliver Mair.
During his presentation at the May 12, 2021 Tamarac commission meeting, Elberg Mike Gelin stated Michael Garcia served as a subcontractor with the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell law firm. Gelin said a “simple phone call” would have revealed that Garcia handled legal work for the City of Miramar on behalf of the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell firm. How did Gelin know about this business arrangement? It was not included in the proposals from either firm. Gelin stated, “There’s no controversy here.”
Perhaps there was no controversy, but Gelin did not tell his fellow commissioners about his dealings with these candidates in Miramar.
On May 12th, Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin was the lone vote against the hiring of the Fox Rothschild law firm as the new Tamarac city attorney.