Tag Archives: evan ross

Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Paid Big Bucks By Developer-Backed PACs To Push For New Projects In Miami-Dade

Campaign records show the company owned by Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London received thousands of dollars in consulting fees from political action committees funded by Miami-Dade “mega developers.” In 2015, developer Sandor Sher spent $70 million buying a large parcel of land in North Miami Beach. The Miami New Times reported Sher planned “to build high-end retail shops, to renovate and expand an art deco hotel, and to demolish several oceanfront properties…all to make way for a 70-unit luxury condo tower, where properties will go for millions each.

Sher’s plan to demolish historic buildings lead one preservationist to call the plan destruction of North Beach. “This is almost annihilation and total replacement,” Daniel Ciraldo, a preservationist with the Miami Design Preservation League, told The Miami Herald. “It’s like, ‘Bam, it’s done.’ It’s symptomatic of what’s going on in our city right now.

But Sher had an even bigger problem. Laws called for Miami Beach voters to approve his massive project. His solution? Spend more money.

According to the Miami New Times, Sher “sunk $300,000 into the campaign, hiring one ex-mayor and [Mayor Phillip Levine’s] powerful campaign manager, blanketing doors and storefronts with slick ads and handbills, and wrangling the backing of the Beach’s top elected officials.”

The Miami Herald reported that Sher created the “A Better North Beach” political committee to push his massive development project.

In October 2015, campaign records show A Better North Beach paid Keith London, Inc. $10,000 for consulting services. State corporation records show Keith S. London is the president of Keith London Inc. According to State and local property records, this business is located at the home owned by Mayor Keith London.

Two years later, another political committee pushing development in Miami-Dade hired Keith London, Inc.

Campaign records for the “Building A Stronger Beach” paid Keith London, Inc twice in November 2017.

On November 3, 2017, Keith London, Inc. received a $456 payment for “parking, supplies and shipping.” One the same date, Keith London, Inc. received a $7,500 payment for “campaign consulting.”

The “Vote North Beach” Facebook page is filled with pictures of Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London. While wearing a “Vote Yes On #82” shirt and hat, Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London posed with voters and politicians.

The page even features well wishes from Mayor London’s wife as well as Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow wearing campaign shirts.

HALLANDALE BEACH: HAVEN FOR DEVELOPERS?

Keith London became mayor after the January 2018 arrest of then-Mayor Joy Cooper. An FBI sting caught Cooper “to have solicited and accepted $5,000 in political campaign contributions from them that were funneled to her” by a lawyer representing an alleged developer. Cooper was removed from office by Governor Rick Scott. Last week, Cooper pleaded not guilty to the corruption charges.

In 2016, REDBROWARD revealed Hallandale Beach candidates received contributions from shadowy political committees funding by gaming and casino interests.

According to April 2016 campaign treasurer reports, Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow received $3,000 from the Village At Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park and Orchid Concessions. In October 2016 , Michele Lazarow recorded large contributions from out of state gaming interests such as Xpress Bet, Oregon Racing, Amtote of Maryland, and Monarch Content Management.

Just days before the November election, Michele Lazarow received maximum contributions of $1,000 from political committees created by lobbyist Evan Ross.

On October 31, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from each of the following committees: Good Government, Public Service, and Progressive Principles.

Lazarow also received $1,000 each from the Ethics Matter political committee. This committee was funded by gambling interests.

Last week, REDBROWARD exposed one of Evan Ross’ political committees received money from a Hallandale Beach developer earmarked for Mayor Keith London’s re-election campaign.

In a telephone interview with REDBROWARD, Claudia Penas of CBV LLC said her company gave $5,000 to the “Good Government” Committee to help London.

When asked why they gave to Good Government, Penas said, “For Keith London’s campaign.” Penas became apprehensive when asked who requested the contribution. REDBROWARD asked if Keith London made the request.

“My attorney told us to make the contribution,” Penas said.

When asked for the name of her attorney, Penas said she did not feel comfortable discussing on the phone. She requested REDBROWARD come to her office before hanging up the phone.

Records show Evan Ross’ committee paid disgraced former Broward County Commissioner Scott Cowan $3,000 for consulting. Hallandale Beach records indicate Cowan is the registered lobbyist for Gold Coast Companies. One Hallandale Beach insider tells REDBROWARD that Cowan is a regular fixture at City Hall.

In November 2000, Scott Cowan plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds. The plea came just before Cowan’s trial was set to begin. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Cowan admitted to making phony campaign expenditures.

[Cowan] pleaded guilty to three counts that he wrote $5,000 in campaign checks to Seymour Tobin, Bertram Nesky, John Hendrikson and Martin Harvatt — nonexistent campaign workers.”

For years, Keith London told supporters he wanted to clean up the corruption at Hallandale Beach City Hall. He criticized Mayor Joy Cooper for her cozy relationship with developers and their lobbyists like Judy Stern.

Now, even some longtime supporters of London have begun to question his behavior and motives.

Last week, David Smith of the Hallandale Beach Blog wrote, “[M]any longtime Hallandale Beach civic activists, friends of mine and past supporters of new Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London and Comm. Michele Lazarow are DISMAYED and EMBARRASSED about what has been taking place at HB City Hall these days with them in the majority, where personal and political expediency seem to keep trumping common sense and rational public idiscourse regarding many different issues, large and small, including eliminating one of the city’s few common sense procedures.”

Why did Miami-Dade developers hire Keith London to push a pro-developer ballot measure? Does Keith London work for any other Miami-Dade developers? Was Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow compensated for her support of the North Beach ballot measure? Do these same developers have projects in Hallandale Beach?

Hallandale Beach voters deserve answers.

Developer Says Contribution To Shadowy PAC Operated By Lobbyist Meant For Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Campaign

The company building a apartment complex using City owned land and funds contributed $5,000 to a shadowy political committee operated by a lobbyist with ties to controversial Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London. According to Florida Division Of Elections records, CBV LLC of Hallandale Beach made a $5,000 contribution to the Good Government political committee on November 24, 2017. During the 2016 election, REDBROWARD exposed the political committee was operated by Evan Ross, a staunch ally of Mayor London and Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow.

Three years ago, CBV LLC submitted an “unsolicited proposal” to the Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to build a seven unit apartment complex on Foster Road. In order to build the “Foster Square Park” project, CBV LLC asked for 4 parcels of City owned land in addition to a $600,000 construction loan.

On November 16, 2015 Keith London and Michele Lazarow voted to approve the project.

In June 2017, London and Lazarow attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Foster Square project.

According to City Of Hallandale Beach records, the lobbyist for CBV LLC (and its owners Ernesto Benedetti and Claudia Penas) is Hope Calhoun of Dunay, Miskel, Backman and Blattner LLP.

So why did CBV LLC make the $5,000 contribution to political committee run by Evan Ross?

Hallandale Beach records show Evan Ross is a registered lobbyist for AHC Holdings and Severn Trent Services. Was Ross lobbying on behalf of Benedetti or CBV LLC?

Evan Ross was not the only lobbyist to benefit from the Good Government political committee.

On January 23, 2018, Good Government paid Scott Cowan $3,000 for consulting. Hallandale Beach records indicate Cowan is the registered lobbyist for Gold Coast Companies.

SCOTT COWAN SERVED PRISON TIME FOR CAMPAIGN FUNDS MISUSE

In the 1990s, Scott Cowan was a powerful Broward County Commissioner. Then, in November 2000, Scott Cowan plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds. The plea came just before Cowan’s trial was set to begin. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Cowan admitted to making phony campaign expenditures.

[Cowan] pleaded guilty to three counts that he wrote $5,000 in campaign checks to Seymour Tobin, Bertram Nesky, John Hendrikson and Martin Harvatt — nonexistent campaign workers.”

Buddy Nevins reported Cowan paid nearly $8,000 to his daughters for campaign work, spent over $7,000 on furniture and accepted a $25,000 contribution after he had been re-elected. “Cowan explained he didn’t know he was violating election laws,” Nevins wrote.

Cowan was sentenced to six months in prison. While on work-release, a Broward Judge refused to allow Cowan to work as a lobbyist. Instead, Cowan worked at a local pizza restaurant.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Cowan was an $80,000-a-year law firm business development director, or rainmaker, before his arrest for election law violations.”Scott Cowan

DEVELOPER ADMITS PAC MONEY MEANT FOR KEITH LONDON

In a telephone interview with REDBROWARD, Claudia Penas denied knowing Evan Ross or Scott Cowan. Penas stated CBV LLC no longer uses Hope Calhoun as their lobbyist/lawyer.

When asked why they gave to Good Government, Penas said, “For Keith London’s campaign.” Penas became apprehensive when asked who requested the contribution. REDBROWARD asked if Keith London made the request.

“My attorney told us to make the contribution,” Penas said.

When asked for the name of her attorney, Penas said she did not feel comfortable discussing on the phone. She requested REDBROWARD come to her office before hanging up the phone.

According to Hallandale Beach records, on October 24, 2017 Ernesto Benedetti gave Keith London a $1,000 campaign contribution. On that same day, Force Improvement LLC, a company owned by Ernesto Benedetti and Claudia Penas, gave another $1,000 contribution to London.

Who asked Benedetti’s lawyer for more money? Why is a political committee allegedly supporting Mayor London paying lobbyist Scott Cowan?

Hallandale Beach voters deserve answers.

REPORT: BSO PUBLIC CORRUPTION UNIT INVESTIGATING HALLANDALE BEACH MESS

In a bombshell report earlier this week, WSVN (FOX MIAMI) reported Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking into possible corruption in Hallandale Beach government. Reporter Brian Entin said, “BSO tells 7News its corruption unit ‘is conducting an investigation involving the Hallandale Beach City Commission,’ but they will not confirm any other details. WSVN asked Hallandale Beach Commissioners about the BSO probe.

Mayor Joy Cooper seemed surprised by the news when Entin asked if she was aware of the probe. “Not until you mentioned it to me, no,” Cooper said. Commissioner Anthony Sanders, a Cooper ally, said, “I don’t know anything in detail.” But Cooper and Sanders’ opponents on the Hallandale Beach dais seemed better prepared to answer questions about the BSO investigation.

According to the WSVN report, Commissioner Michele Lazarow said. “You would have to talk to my attorney.” Commissioner Anabelle Taub told WSVN,  “You’d have to call my attorney.” WSVN said their lawyers did not respond to phone calls.

Who are the lawyers for Lazarow, Taub and Vice Mayor Keith London?

DAVID DI PIETRO & HIS LEGAL DREAM TEAM

Last December, REDBROWARD revealed controversial political consultant Evan Ross orchestrated the October 2016 “illegal surveillance” press conference featuring Hallandale Beach Commissioners and their lawyers, Brian Silber, Jay Spechler and David Di Pietro.

On a Sunday afternoon, Evan Ross of Public Communicators Group issued a press release announcing the October 24, 2016 press conference. Ross wrote, “Hallandale Beach Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow as well as commission candidate Anabelle Taub will discuss illegal activity involving tracking devices placed on their vehicles. All three have been subjected to unlawful surveillance.” Ross claimed the matter was tied to Vice Mayor Bill Julian’s “admissions…he solicited and agreed to accept possibly illegal benefits from the developer of The Diplomat Golf and Tennis Club.”

Ross announced documents and video evidence would be provided at the press conference. At no time did Evan Ross mention he operated political committees funded by Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino, a inter-city rival of The Diplomat Golf and Tennis Club.

In late October, just two weeks before the Hallandale Beach election, Commissioners Keith London, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub claimed they found GPS tracking devices underneath their personal cars.

As REDBROWARD previously reported, Michele Lazarow’s attorney Brian Silber did not mince words. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” said attorney Brian Sibler. “To tell me it isn’t the political opponent of these people, you’re going to have to tell me that it’s a coincidence that Commissioner Lazarow, Commissioner London, and Anabelle Taub all got GPS trackers on their cars ‘by accident.’ What a coincidence that is.”

Brian Silber and Jay Spechler were members of David Di Pietro’s “legal dream team” when he sued Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Governor removed Di Pietro as the chairman of Broward Health for interfering with a State investigation into corruption at the North Broward Hospital District.

Last year, David Di Pietro was made chairman of the Young At Art (YAA) Children’s Museum in Davie. The controversial museum was founded by CEO Mindy Shrago, the wife of Jay Spechler. Brian Silber appears to have been a YAA board member as well. His name was removed from the museum website after REDBROWARD starting asking questions about Silber’s views on a child sexual abuse case.

Spechler, Shrago and Young At Art have filed two lawsuits against Broward County government.

Now, Jay Spechler is a partner with David Di Pietro and Associates.

Why is David Di Pietro mentioned in so many controversial matters?

Luckily, it appears the right people are seeking answers.