AFFIDAVIT: Broward Mayor Dale Holness Admits Using Elderly Father As Front Man To Circumvent Condominium Association Rules

Broward Mayor Dale Holness
2017 Affidavit Signed By Broward Mayor Dale Holness

A 2017 legal affidavit reveals how Broward Mayor Dale Holness used his elderly father to hide his purchase of a Lauderhill condominium. In March 2017, the Royal Oaks Condominium Association filed a lawsuit against Wilford Holness in Broward County Circuit Court. The Royal Oaks Condominium Association alleged Holness owed nearly $14,000 in unpaid assessments. While Broward Property Appraiser records show Wilford Holness purchased the unit at 5307 N.W. 27th Street in December 1999, he has lived at a Fort Lauderdale home since the same year.

Court records show the initial complaint against Wilford Holness included a copy of a January 13, 2017 demand letter from the Association’s attorney. A copy of the certified mail receipt shows the letter was not sent to Wilford Holness at his Royal Oaks address. Instead, it was sent to Wilford Holness, ERA All Broward Realty 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation.

All Broward Realty is owned by Broward Mayor Dale Holness. Why did the Royal Oaks Condominium Association lawyer send the demand letter to a real estate agency owned by the son of the property owner?

Did someone on the Association board know to send it to that address?

State records show Broward Mayor Dale Holness was the President of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association in 2017. In fact, Holness has been on the Royal Oaks board from 2000 to the present day.

Court records show Wilford Holness settled his legal case with the Royal Oaks Condominium Association in October 2017. There are no details about the settlement in the court record, but an “affidavit of ownership” filed with Broward County may give a hint to the resolution.

On November 8, 2017, an affidavit regarding the ownership of 5307 N.W. 27th Street signed was filed with Broward County. The affidavit was drafted by Fort Lauderdale attorney Joshua D. Clark, witnessed by John McMahon and notarized by Emilia Candelaria.

The affidavit was signed by Broward Mayor Dale Holness.

Holness swore:

On or about March 18, 1992, I paid the purchase price of the Condominium with my own money. When I attended the closing, I asked the closing attorney to title the condominium in the name of my father Wilford Holness because the condominium association had a rule at the time prohibiting a single owner from owning more than four units. Despite making Wilford Holness the record title owner of the Condominium, I intended to remain the true beneficial owner of the Condominium. Since 1992, I have managed, rented, collected rents, paid expenses and otherwise maintained, continuous, uninterrupted possession of the Condominium. Taxes have also been paid by me. I have also made betterment’s, improving the Condominium. Wilford Holness has made no claim on the title until late 2017. It was never my intent for my father to hold anything other than bare naked title in trust for me as the true beneficial owner. I claim title by virtue of a resulting trust and adverse possession.

Despite this affidavit, the Broward County Property Appraiser still lists Wilford Holness as the owner of the Royal Oaks condominium.

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON?

Tax records show the taxes on the Royal Oaks property owned by Wilford Holness have not been paid. Holness owes $1,740.14 in 2019 property taxes. A delinquent tax certificate has been issued on the property in 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019. The property was scheduled to be sold at auction via the Tax Deed Application process in 2005, 2013 and 2017.

On Tuesday, REDBROWARD revealed Broward Mayor Dale Holness owed more than $17,000 in delinquent property taxes.

According to tax records, Mayor Holness has failed to pay 2019 property taxes on six of the seven properties he owns in Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill. Two of his properties, both Lauderhill townhomes, were so delinquent that both homes were subject to public auction proceedings.

And this is not the first time Dale Holness’ failure to pay property taxes made headlines.

In May 2013, this reporter revealed Dale Holness owed more than $13,000 in property taxes.

Tax Certificates for 2019 property taxes were issued for the three Royal Oaks properties owned by Mayor Holness. Tax records show all three properties have been subject to auction via the Tax Deed Application process since purchased by Dale Holness.

After our initial story, several readers asked why Holness did not simply sell these troubled investment properties?

LAUDERHILL GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO IMPROVE CONDO

In May 2013, this reporter covered Dale Holness’ property tax problems for Media Trackers which revealed his’ business partner owed more than $8,000 in unpaid property taxes.

Eulalee McFarlane was vice president of All Broward Realty through February of 2013. Dale Holness is president of All Broward Realty. McFarlane, Holness’ business partner, owed more than $8,000 in property taxes on three units in the Royal Oaks development in Lauderhill.

According to Broward County Property Appraiser records, McFarlane owned eight properties. The mailing address for seven of those properties is 4325 West Sunrise Blvd. in Plantation, which is the address for Holness’’ All Broward Realty. McFarlane had not paid the taxes on the units since 2009.

Dale Holness, Eulalee McFarlane and Wilford Holness owned a total of seven units in the Royal Oaks Condominium development. Why was Royal Oaks such a desirable location?

Was it the 2006 Central Lauderhill Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) master plan where Lauderhill officials targeted the Royal Oaks for a dramatic makeover funded by federal and state grants?

The plan says Royal Oaks is in “disrepair and in need of landscaping upkeep.” The entire neighborhood was part of an ambitious plan to build parks and improve roads and sewers.

Lauderhill officials noted many of the properties are poorly managed and in disrepair. According to the CRA, “several properties have been identified…that are poorly managed or physically deteriorating or both. In some cases, the [CRA] may acquire the property directly for rehabilitation.”

The Royal Oaks neighborhood was “identified as properties suitable for acquisition, demolition and redevelopment….”

As vice mayor of Lauderhill in 2006, Dale Holness wrote the Central Lauderhill CRA master plan. Florida Department of State records show Holness has been an official of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association since 2000.

Broward County property records indicate Holness and McFarlane purchased the Royal Oaks properties in 1991, 1997, 1998 and 2003.

NON-DISCLOSURE

Even though Dale Holness admitted to owning a fourth Royal Oaks property, he never disclosed the ownership on his required ethics form. Known as a “Form 6,” State law requires elected officials, certain public servants and other government officials to disclose their financial assets and liabilities every year.

Holness claimed to have used his own money to purchase the unit. He said he pays taxes on the unit. He said he has collected rent from tenants living in the unit.

But Dale Holness does not list 5307 N.W. 27 Street on his 2019 Form 6 filed this year with the State of Florida.

Holness did not list the property in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, or 2013.

Does Dale Holness own other property not listed on his Form 6?

Did Dale Holness hide behind other family members to purchase properties?

As President of the Royal Oaks Condominium Association, did Dale Holness reveal his ownership of 5307 N.W. 27th Street to the board before paying a lawyer to sue his elderly father?

Mayor Dale Holness did not return our request for comment.

Condo Lawyer Sent Demand Letter To Dale Holness’ Real Estate Office
Lauderhill CRA Targeted Royal Oaks For Fix Up

“SHADY DEAL”: Pompano Beach Commissioner Blasts $265K Payout To Broward “Political Pimp”

Calling it “insanity” run amok, Pompano Beach Commissioner Michael Sobel blasted a deal to pay $265,000 to a city activist some call a “Political Pimp.” At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Sobel was the lone voice questioning the plan to pay the legal fees Vicente Thrower racked up following his April 2010 arrest on bribery and unlawful compensation charges.

In 2014, a Broward jury found Vincente Thrower not guilty on three of the charges. During the trial, attorney Michael Hursey argued Thrower was not a public official under Florida law. The jury bought his defense that he was a mere volunteer not a public servant capable of accepting unlawful compensation.

In March 2015, REDBROWARD reported Thrower wanted the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Association (CRA) to pay his $478,000 legal bill. In a letter to the Pompano Beach commission, his attorney Hursey painted Thrower as a victim of false criminal charges. He wrote, “Thrower just completed a very difficult 4 1/2 year journey, living under the shadow of charges which were ultimately proved false.” He said Pompano Beach paying for the legal fees would “put Mr. Thrower on the road to restoring the enormous loss he suffered when fighting these unfounded charges.”

THROWER’S VOLUNTARY STATEMENT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT

Even though a Broward jury failed to convict him, Vicente Thrower admitted many of the details in a February 2010 sworn statement to the Broward State Attorney.

Thrower admitted working for developers with business before Pompano Beach. These developers,which included Cornerstone, Habitat For Humanity, Pompano Beach Living LLC, and Lavish Homes, paid thousands of dollars to Thrower. He never disclosed his contractual relationships.

Thrower also admitted speaking with the FBI regarding his dealings with notorious developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.

SHADY DEAL

One the final items at Tuesday’s Pompano Beach City Commission meeting was the deal to pay $265,000 to Thrower for legal fees. City Manager Greg Harrison said he negotiated the deal with Thrower and his attorney in a effort to avoid more legal costs and to protect future Pompano Beach volunteers. Mayor Lamar Fisher and most Commissioners bought into Harrison’s laughable rationale.

Michael Sobel wasn’t buying it.

In a stunning ten minute presentation, Sobel said, “Off all the shenanigans that I’ve seen and heard since getting elected, this one ranks toward the top.” Echoing a sermon he heard in church, he said the deal was “one giant muddy fountain.” Sobel said by accepting the deal the Commission was “being asked to reward a local resident…for his bad and likely unethical behavior.”

Sobel said, “[Thrower] needs to be responsible for his own actions.”

Commissioner Sobel said the deal was first mentioned a week earlier as a “surprise add-on” to the CRA meeting agenda. He said the deal was not properly vetted. Sobel warned it was unclear how much of the money would actually go to Thrower himself.

Are the residents paying attention,” Sobel asked. “This is a shady deal!”

Sobel said he did not care about warnings his opposition to this deal would hurt his campaign for mayor. He said the deal shows, “Some people get special deals while the residents as a whole suffer. The leaders of the Northwest should think hard about that.”

Oakland Park Commission Candidate Scott Herman’s Odd Electoral Past

Scott Herman, right, and spouse all hugs with Charlie Crist
Scott Herman, right, and spouse all hugs with Charlie Crist

Perennial Republican-turned-Democrat candidate Scott Herman wants a seat on the City of Oakland Park Commission. A few years ago, Republican Scott Herman challenged Perry Thurston in a Florida House race. Then, Herman became a Democrat challenger to State Rep. George Moraitis of Fort Lauderdale. No matter the race, Herman’s campaigns are filled with oddities.

In August 2013, this reporter detailed Herman’s purchase of a bulletproof vest with campaign funds.

Campaign records filed with the Florida Division of Elections show the Herman campaign paid $538.06 for a “protective vest” from Federal Eastern International on May 7, 2013. The Herman campaign provided contradictory reasons for the questionable use of campaign funds.

The Herman campaign attacked the initial report of the purchase as a “cowardly approach to journalism.” Herman claimed the purchase was tied to an anonymous threat made on his campaign website in July of 2012. At the time, Herman was a Republican candidate challenging House Minority Leader Perry E. Thurston, Jr. for the District 93 seat.

In a press release the campaign said, “It is because of this threat, and the current hostility towards the LGBT Community that our campaign [has] taken a proactive approach by purchasing a bullet proof vest. This vest was imperative for the safety and welfare of a candidate. The purchase was additionally made with funds Scott Herman loaned to his own campaign, not at all using any donated funds.”

Before the statement was released, however, the Herman campaign gave a different rationale for the bulletproof vest purchase.

In an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Herman campaign manager Tony Diaz said Herman bought the vest with personal funds because “he goes hunting and he bought it for personal safety.”

When advised that state records documented the purchase was made with campaign funds, “Diaz called Herman and called me back, this time explaining that the past threat prompted the purchase,” the Sun-Sentinel reported. “Diaz called back later to add that Herman said ‘because of the current climate that’s building more hostility toward gays, he wanted to be proactive.’”

The Herman campaign bristled at the news a former campaign aide also purchased a bulletproof vest with campaign funds. Just days after leaving the Herman campaign, Christopher Warnig announced his bid for a Broward County Commission seat. Even though he raised less than $500, Warnig listeda $255.44 expenditure for “protective apparel” purchased from NATMIL (National Military Armament, LLC). The Arkansas company specializes in small weapons and bulletproof vests.

The Herman campaign claims it fired Warnig after it learned Warnig had been arrested twice for impersonating a police officer. Warnig shot back with a lengthy press release attacking Herman’s Republican roots and support of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Warnig claims he quit after he was “never rewarded for the long, exhausting hours he put into the Scott Herman Campaign.”

Warnig would later run for a spot on the Oakland Park commission.

During his campaign against Moraitis, Herman retained a Hooters waitress as an image consultant. On Herman’s official website, Natalee Toledo is listed as the campaign “image consultant.” Most candidates for state and local office do not list campaign staff, let alone “image consultants.”

However, the most damaging issue uncovered by this reporter dealt with Scott Herman’s political resume.

Scott Herman appears to be fudging his resume regarding his past political history in North Carolina.

Until moving to Broward County in 2009, Herman was a resident of Cabarrus county, North Carolina. According to his official campaign website, Herman held the elected office of  “Cabarrus County Board, Vice Chairman of the Board, At-Large.”

Just to the east of Charlotte, North Carolina, Cabarrus County is governed by a “five-member Board of Commissioners elected at large in countywide elections to serve staggered four-year terms.”

When asked if Herman had served on the Board of Commissioners, a Cabarrus County spokeperson told Media Trackers Florida, “No, [Herman] was never a commissioner.” The spokesperson said Herman had only served on the Cabarrus County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The spokesperson said the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District is never referred to as the “County Board.”

The official minutes from the June 2003 meeting of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners state Scott Herman is “vice chairman of the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors.”

But in this August 2012 video interview with Broward County Republican Chairman Richard DeNapoli, Herman recounts his Cabarrus political resume. Herman said, “[I] ran for and became elected to the countywide seat there in Cabarrus county, which I ended up serving as vice chairman of that board.”

Last week, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel detailed the campaign funds Herman spent to explain his switch from the Republican party. The story, in which Herman is heavily quoted, mentions his previous career in North Carolina.

“Previously an elected member of the countywide Board of Supervisors in Cabarrus County, N.C., for four years, he moved to Broward in December 2009,” the Sun-Sentinel asserted.

In October 2012, a Sun-Sentinel story on Herman’s race against House Minority Leader Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D-Fort Lauderdale) said “Herman has no Florida political experience, but he served a four-year term as an elected commissioner for Cabarrus County in North Carolina. He moved to Florida in 2009.”

Last week, Media Trackers Florida reported on the questions surrounding Herman’s purchase of a bulletproof with campaign funds. Campaign records filed with the Florida Division of Elections show the Herman campaign paid $538.06 for a “protective vest” from Federal Eastern International on May 7, 2013. The Herman campaign provided contradictory reasons for the questionable use of campaign funds.

The Herman campaign did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Herman is running against Commissioner Michael Carn and Layne Walls.