Tag Archives: florida senate

TV Commercial Hits Broward Commissioner Dale Holness On Phony Residency Claims

A clever new commercial from State Senator Chris Smith hits controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness on his phony residency claims. Both men are seeking the District 9 seat on the Broward County Commission. Three years ago, this reporter exposed Holness’ false claims to reside in the district he represents. The evidence showed Holness lived outside the district he represents, though Article II, Section 2.01 A(3) of the Broward County Charter clearly states each commissioner “must be a resident of the particular district upon election.”

Holness claimed he lived in a run-down Lauderhill townhouse near the Florida Turnpike.

In May 2013, records from the Broward County Supervisor of Elections (SOE), stated Holness was registered to vote within District 9 by claiming to live in a small, older 940-square foot townhome in the Royal Oaks townhome development at 2630 N.W. 52nd Avenue in Lauderhill. Property records from the Broward County Property Appraiser (BCPA) show Holmes owns the small home but does not list it as his primary residence for his homestead tax exemption.

Property records listed the mailing address for Holness’ home as 4325 West Sunrise Blvd in Lauderhill. This is the business address for All Broward Realty, Inc., a company owned by Holness.

As Media Trackers Florida reported, the 2006 Central Lauderhill Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) master plan shows 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. The Royal Oaks neighborhood was “identified as properties suitable for acquisition, demolition and redevelopment[.]”

As vice mayor of Lauderhill in 2006, 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.

One month after our story, Bob Norman of Local 10 News visited Holness’ townhouse. Norman described the unit as, “A small run-down housing unit in Lauderhill stacked to the ceiling with furniture and boxes. A realtor’s locked box hangs from the door knob. The refrigerator isn’t plugged in and its door is wide open.”

“Nobody lives there,” said Herbert Fray, a handyman who tends the yards there.

Seeking answers, Bob Norman visited Holness at the Broward Government Center.

“Well, sir, we went to that home and there’s no way you live there. Do you live in your district?” asked Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman.

“I do,” Holness replied before leaving without answering any more questions.

Since those reports, Holness and his wife have moved to a home in the upscale Plantation neighborhood surrounding the Fort Lauderdale Country Club.

SMITH COMMERCIAL TAKES ON RESIDENCY

Chris Smith’s new ad takes on Holness’ residency issue by giving viewers a tour of all the places Smith has lived. Smith visits the homes he grew up in, the schools he attended and the home he currently lives in with his family. Smith points out that all of these homes are located in District 9.

The “Fake” Chris Smith Re-Enters Broward Commission Race


More games in the Broward County Commission, District 9 election as “Fake” Chris Smith has rejoined the race. According to paperwork filed in late May with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, Robert “Chris” Smith in back in the race. This Smith abandoned his campaign several months ago after the REAL Chris Smith, the former Florida State Senator, entered the race. The District 9 seat is currently occupied by the controversial County Commissioner Dale Holness.

In May 2015, REDBROWARD exposed the peculiar ties between Robert “Chris” Smith and another District 9 candidate.

McKinley Williams II was one of the first challengers to controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness for the Democrat nomination to the District 9 seat. To help promote his campaign, Williams opened the “McKinleyForBroward.Org” website.

Williams launched his County Commission campaign in July 2014. Records show the website domain names, “McKinleyForBroward.org” and “McKinleyForBroward.com” were purchased on September 9, 2014 by Robert Smith. A week earlier, Williams paid Robert Smith $120.00 for “campaign work.”

No big deal you say?

Well, on March 16, 2015, Robert D. “Chris” Smith entered the District 9 County Commission Race as a No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidate. On his campaign paperwork, Smith lists his email as “runrobertrun@gmail.com.” This is the same email used to register the McKinley Williams websites. Smith appears to be a man of mystery.

Smith uses a Fort Lauderdale apartment complex as his address, but he does not list an apartment number. According to social media sites, Smith a technology expert, regularly hosts technology and commerce networking meetings in the south Miami/Dadeland area. Even more mysterious is Smith’s nickname.

Other than his campaign documents, no records show Smith using the nickname “Chris.” Social media, corporation and online resumes show Robert Smith or Robert D. Smith.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported how Smith’s nickname may be a political ploy against former State Senator Chris Smith. State Sen. Smith laughed off the ploy. “I’m just proud I made ‘Chris Smith’ such a popular name in Central Broward County,” he said.

Last May, REDBROWARD spoke with Robert “Chris” Smith.

Smith admitted to creating the Williams website. When asked if there is a reason why he’s now running against Williams, Smith said, “Why, yes there is. But I need to get back to you.” Smith said he has lived in Fort Lauderdale since 2010.

We never heard back from Mr. Smith.

 

 

Perry Thurston Campaign Audited (Again) By Florida Dept Of State

perryuSomebody over at Perry Thurston’s campaign headquarters needs a refresher course on Florida elections laws. Once again, the Florida Department of State has mailed an audit letter to Perry Thurston regarding improper campaign financial reports. Thurston, the former Minority Leader in the Florida House, is running for the Florida Senate District 31 seat.

Thurston opened his Senate campaign in January 2013. Since then, he ran for re-election for his House seat and statewide for Florida Attorney General. One would reasonably assume Team Perry could figure out how to file a campaign financial report. Right?

Well, you would be wrong.

Since 2013, the State of Florida has sent Thurston ten audit letters. Most of the letters required Thurston to provide name and addresses of campaign donors. Thurston has been fined by the State for improper reporting.  On November 30, the State sent Thurston a second notice regarding a $1,500 contribution.

Thurston is no stranger when it comes to ignoring elections laws.

RESIDENCY GAMES EXPOSED

In 2013, an investigation by this reporter exposed Thurston’s flouting of the State Constitution’s residency requirements. Thurston admitted he lives outside his House district “when I want to.” Thurston’s admission added weight to evidence he livef outside the House district he represents, in violation of the Florida Constitution. Article III of the Florida Constitution requires state legislators to live in the districts they represent. WPLG LOCAL 10 reporter Bob Norman caught Thurston at the Plantation home he owns with his wife outside the House district he represents. Thurston represents House District 94 while living in House District 99 in Plantation.

Thurston claimed to be living with a convicted felon in a small home in Lauderhill, rather than with his wife and children in their two-story Plantation home.  The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office determined Thurston “violated the law” by using the homestead tax exemption for his Plantation home while he claimed to be living in Lauderhill. The Property Appraiser removed Perry Thurston’s exemption.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

In September, REDBROWARD showed the Thurston campaign was spending its money paying members of the Thurston family.

According to the Florida Department of Elections, since January 2013, Thurston has raised nearly $55,000 for his State Senate campaign. Not surprisingly, as the minority leader of the Florida House, most of Thurston’s campaign contributions came from special interest groups and political action committees. As of August 2015, the Thurston campaign has spent $26,156.37 of his contributions.

The records show the overwhelming majority of the money was paid to Thurston and his wife Dawn. Since 2013, the campaign has paid $6,923.04 to Dawn Thurston. The campaign stated the expenditures were made for “canvassing,” “meals,” “campaign supplies,” “campaign expences [sic],” and “campaign expendatures [sic].” Since March 2015, Mrs. Thurston has received $5,071.61 from her husband’s campaign.

Campaign records show multiple payments to Perry Thurston, Floyd Thurston and Frances Merricks. In April 2013, this reporter exposed Frances Merricks’ role in Thurston’s residency games. Thurston claimed to be living with a convicted felon in Merricks’ small home, rather than with his wife and children in the two-story home he owns in Plantation, in order to meet elected officials’ residency requirements in the Florida Constitution.

CLARKE-REED ISN’T MUCH BETTER

State records show Thurston’s Democrat opponent isn’t much better at following the rules. State Rep. Gywndolen Clarke-Reed has received five audit letters since opening her campaign in June 2015. At least Clarke-Reed lives in the district she represents.