Miami-Dade Allies Of Dale Holness Want To Bring “Better Leadership” To Broward County

Dale Holness with Keon Hardemon (right)
Billy and Barbara Hardemon (courtesy Florida Bulldog)

Family members of Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon want to influence Broward elections with the formation of a new political committee. Earlier this year, REDBROWARD exposed the growing “unholy alliance” between Keon Hardemon and controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. Records show Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon formed the “Better Leadership” political committee last month. The timing appears to coincide with a campaign for a seat on the Broward County Commission by a favorite of Dale Holness.

Miramar Commissioner Alexandra Davis filed her campaign paperwork for the District 8 seat on the Broward County Commission on May 3, 2021. Barbara Sharief is expected to resign from this County Commission in order to run for U.S. Congress CD 20. In April, Alexandra Davis endorsed Dale Holness in the same CD 20 race.

On May 7, 2021, Barbara Hardemon filed the “Better Leadership” paperwork with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office. Hardemon stated the committee would “support local issues” in Miami-Dade and Broward. Last week, REDBROWARD revealed Barbara and her husband Billy were already supporting Alexandra Davis’ campaign.

In her first campaign treasurer’s report, Alexandra Davis lists a $1,000 contribution from B&B Professional Consultants Inc. State business records show B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. is owned by Barbara Hardemon. Davis reports another $1,000 contribution from Barbara Hardemon.

The Hardemon family appears to be prolific supporters of Team Dale Holness.

In January, REDBROWARD reported B&B Professional Consulting Inc. made a large contribution to the Margate-based “People of Principle PAC.” In 2020 REDBROWARD revealed Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ campaign team appeared to be behind the mysterious federal political committee which backed mostly black Caribbean-American candidates. On October 3, 2020, B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. made a $2,500 contribution to the federal “People of Principle PAC.”

THE HARDEMON WAY?

According to published reports, Barbara Hardemon and her husband Billy Hardemon are closely tied to projects coming before the Miami City Commission where Keon Hardemon served before winning a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

In March 2019, the Miami Herald featured Barbara Hardemon in “How Miami commissioner’s aunt became a high-priced lobbyist.“

After failing the previous year to convince the city to hold a voter referendum on the project at Jungle Island, real estate investment firm ESJ Capital Partners hired Barbara Hardemon to hurriedly set up meetings during the first week in June with Commissioner Keon Hardemon’s staff. Over a 48-hour stretch, they say she assisted in negotiating a deal that will steer millions into housing and economic development funds during the life of the park’s extended lease on Watson Island and helped nail down her nephew’s support for a voter referendum.

One month later, Barbara Hardemon was hired again, this time by David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise as it neared a make-or-break vote on a $1 billion stadium and retail proposal. She registered three days before a scheduled vote and arranged a lunch at a waterfront restaurant between her nephew and the Mas brothers, the Miami businessmen who are part owners of the MLS franchise. Days later, Commissioner Hardemon voted in a close decision to put the proposal on the November ballot.

In August 2020, the Florida Bulldog exposed how one activist claimed Keon Hardemon funded a non-profit operated by Barbara and Billy Hardemon.

The same day, [Grady] Muhammad filed a letter with the city clerk addressed to Mayor Francis Suarez…attacking Hardemon for sponsoring and voting for resolutions that awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in city and federal grants to the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. and the Foundation Of Community Assistance and Leadership, aka FOCAL, since he was first elected in 2013. Billy Hardemon is the economic development corporation’s volunteer chairman and his wife, Barbara, is FOCAL’s $25,094-a-year executive director. Their two daughters are also employed by the foundation, earning annual salaries of $70,494 and $50,989, respectively.

Now, one of the Hardemon daughters is playing a major role in the “Better Leadership” political committee.

WONT YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

In paperwork filed with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, Barbara Hardemon stated the “Better Leadership” committee was located at 3900 S.W. 26th Street in West Park. Barbara and Bill Hardemon live next door at 3840 S.W. 26th Street. Broward property records show the home at 3900 S.W. 26th Street is owned by their daughter, Zakiya Hardemon Kelley.

According to the City of Miramar website, Zakiya Kelley is the assistant director of their cultural affairs division. REDBROWARD asked Zakiya Hardemon Kelley for comment. She has yet to respond.

This is not the first case of a City of Miami to City of Miramar political pipeline.

MIAMI ETHICS PROBE PUT SPOTLIGHT ON MIRAMAR GOVERNMENT

An August 2013 investigation by the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission exposed the role Billy and Barbara Hardemon played in City of Miramar politics. The 2013 complaint alleged Billy Hardemon, then an employee with the Miami-Dade County Department of Public Works and Waste Management (PWWM), spent “substantial amounts of county time, taken without authorized leave, in the City of Miramar, in Broward County…during hours when Hardemon was understood to be working at his Miami-Dade County job.”

What was Billy Hardemon doing in Miramar? According to the complaint, Hardemon attended numerous City of Miramar government meetings as the “de facto chief of staff” for Miramar City Commissioner Yvette Colburne. (Other employees claimed Hardemon served a similar role with Miramar City Commissioner Alexandra Davis).

In an interview with investigators, Colburne admitted Billy Hardemon was her “advisor.” She said his role was to advise her and “attend meetings for and with her.” While he assisted with her campaign, Colburne stated Hardemon was not paid or compensated in anyway.

However, investigators determined Colburne’s campaign paid $2,000 to B and B Professional Consultants, Inc., a company owned by Barbara Hardemon.

Colburne told investigators that Billy Hardemon and Barbara Hardemon were members of “Team Colburne.” As to his employment in Miami-Dade County, Colburne told investigators, “I felt that was being handled with his superiors.”

The whistleblower claimed Hardemon’s superior, PWWM director Kathleen Woods-Richardson, was fully aware of his violations.

When asked if she was aware of Hardemon working for Yvette Colburne in Miramar, Woods-Richardson told investigators, “absolutely not!”

Investigators were shocked by Woods-Richardson’s denial. In addition to calling Hardemon a “friend,” Woods-Richardson’s assistant was Yvette Colburne.

Additionally, the interview with Kathleen Woods-Richardson was held at the Miramar government center. After Colburne was elected to office, Woods-Richardson was named Miramar City Manager.

While the investigator was not persuaded by the testimony of Colburne and Woods-Richardson, he could find no evidence that Woods-Richardson “directed” Hardemon to work for Colburne in order to increase her chances of becoming city manager.

Like Alexandra Davis, Yvette Colburne is a staunch ally of Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.

Miami-Dade. Miramar. Is Broward County Government next to fall under the influence of the Hardemon family?

Alexandra Davis on right, with Yvette Colburne and Dale Holness

Defund The Police Organizers Want Fort Lauderdale To “Divest” $10 Million From Police Department

What will Mayor Dean Trantalis do?

Organizers behind the “Defund The Police” movement want Broward County Commissioners and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners to “divest” more than ten million dollars from local police budgets. On Monday, Broward Dream Defenders, one of the organizers of a recent Fort Lauderdale protest inspired by the murder of George Floyd, urged its supporters to “#Defund The Police Broward County!” In a Facebook post, the group told supporters to contact Broward County Commissioners ahead of Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Broward Dream Defenders wrote, “We are in a moment where cities across the states are taking action and demanding the defunding of police and to reinvest into our communities. We have the chance here in Broward to do the same. Starting today call and tweet your commissioners and signup for public comments….To make the message clear DEFUND FROM POLICE AND FUND THE NEEDS OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

Supporters were provided with access to a document containing the names and contact info for local elected officials as well as a script with talking points.

The document states the item of interest at Tuesday’s Broward County Commission meeting is a $500,000 grant to the Broward Sheriff’s Office for “racial equity” programs. The programs were announced two weeks ago by Mayor Dale Holness and his ally, the embattled Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. The document tells supporters to say, “We demand they redirect those funds to people that may be under the threat of eviction when the current moratorium expires.” The group wants Commissioners to give a separate $500,000 to BSO racial equity programs.

Regarding Tuesday’s Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting, Broward Dream Defenders wants Mayor Dean Trantalis, Commissioner Steven Glassman, Commissioner Ben Sorensen, Commissioner Robert McKinzie and Commissioner Heather Moraitis to “divest 10 million dollars from the police.”

On Wednesday, supporters demand City of Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper and Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana “permanently disband” the City SWAT team and “reinvest their funds to Black-led community initiatives.” They are also demanding the City of Hallandale reopen the case involving Howard Bowe.

Here’s the phone script:

Hello I am calling because I support Defunding the Police. Police violence is a local and national public health crisis and epidemic. Our demands are:
For this commission to vote at your next meeting to never increase the police budget again.
For this commission to vote at your next meeting to divest money from the police budget and instead invest it in community-led initiatives
For the commission to educate themselves on community-led initiatives like CAHOOTS in Eugene, Oregon.
We want you to meet these demands at your next commission meeting. Thank you!

Here are talking points to be shared at meetings:

Talking Points for Public Comment:
San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, said in the coming month’s police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls. Instead, unarmed professionals will be dispatched citing recent protests for the shifts. We want that here in our local communities as well.


We are in the midst of a pandemic and our communities still need COVID-19 relief. This defunding needs to be reallocated to address emergency needs for our communities.


There is a program called CAHOOTS – Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets in Eugene, Oregon that we want to be implemented locally. Such programs take police out of the equation when someone is going through a mental health crisis, struggling with substance abuse or homelessness. CAHOOTS is a free, 24/7 community service — funded by the city at a cost of around $2 million. Although locally we would need around $10 million dollars to run similar programs in each city in Broward County to account for our populations and the impacts of COVID-19. Under a CAHOOTS model, instead of police, a medic and a mental health worker are dispatched for calls such as welfare checks or potential overdoses. In 2017, such teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume, saving the city on average 8.5 million each year from 2014-2017.


Minneapolis City Council obtained a “veto-proof majority” to dismantle it’s city’s police department and rebuild a new system of public safety. And New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to cut the budget of the largest police department in the US, the NYPDM, and reallocate the funds to social services. We know we can do the same thing here in Broward.


Policing in the South emerged from slave patrols in the 1700s and 1800s that caught and returned runaway slaves. In the North, the first municipal police departments in the mid-1800s helped squash riots against the rich.


When we say Defund the Police we are not abandoning our communities to violence we want to redirect and reallocate those funds to mental health support, health care, housing, making public transportation free, and jobs that pay a livable wage. This is what truly keeps a community safe.


What about robberies and murder?
A significant portion of what we call crime is poverty-related. We need to decriminalize poverty. We want safe communities, of course, however, police have not brought us that safety. There are so many solutions on how to intervene in violence (i.e. through curriculum and community education) however these solutions are usually underfunded and unable to get off the ground.

Will progressive officials like Mayor Dean Trantalis say no to demands to divest $10 million dollars from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department? Stay tuned.

Will Andrew Gillum Breakfast Fundraiser Cost Broward Taxpayers $24 Million?

Tickets for Friday’s Andrew Gillum breakfast fundraiser still start at $1,000 per person, but the event may end up costing Broward taxpayers $24 million dollars. Tickets for the event benefiting the Forward Florida political committee start at $10,000 for the “Chair” while “hosts” pay $5,000 for the event. According to emails, seven of the nine Members of the Broward County Commission sit on the host committee.

The Gillum breakfast will be held at 2050 Spectrum Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. For those unfamiliar with the area, 2050 Spectrum Boulevard may seem to be a nondescript office building near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. According to Broward property records, the former home of Spherion Staffing sold for $11.525 million in July 2018 to Spectrum Investors LLC. According to State of Florida records, Spectrum Investors LLC is managed by Sheldon Gross of Palm Beach.

In August 2018, The Sun-Sentinel reported Broward County Commissioners may have found a new home for the Broward County Property Appraisers Office and the Broward Supervisor Of Elections Office. Located near highways and public transportation lines, the new building has a cafeteria, a hurricane-proof data storage bunker and room for a warehouse. Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness said the building has a “real nice gym.”

According to the Sun-Sentinel, County Commissioner Steve Geller joked about moving commission meetings to the new building.

The price tag for the sprawling new government campus is only (!) $24 million taxpayer dollars.

Where is this pricey new palace located? Yep, 2050 Spectrum Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Even though he bought the building for less than half that amount just three months ago, Sheldon Gross claims the $24 million dollar price is competitive for the area.

Just this week, Gross and his lobbyist, John Milledge, have been visiting County Commissioners like Nan Rich to discuss the deal. Both Commissioner Rich and lobbyist John Milledge are members of the Gillum breakfast host committee.

Who came up with the idea to host the breakfast at this building? It’s hardly a well-known breakfast venue.

How much is Gross charging? Who is providing the food?

Broward voters deserve answers.