Commissioner Marlon Bolton’s “probe” to derail the sale of property owned by disgraced developers Bruce and Shawn Chait cost Tamarac taxpayers $7,070 in legal fees. REDBROWARD obtained the invoice submitted by John Herin, Bolton’s handpicked attorney, to conduct a review the settlement of a lawsuit between the Chaits’ Prestige Homes, the City of Tamarac and Rock Island Storage Partners. Bolton wanted this “probe” to deal the closing on the sale of the property located on Rock Island Road and Commercial Boulevard across from The Woodlands community.
During the December 9, 2020 City Commission meeting, Marlon Bolton stated he did not trust the legal advice of then City Attorney Sam Goren. Even though it was “odd and irregular” for a single commissioner to hire a personal attorney at city expense, Bolton’s fellow commissioners gave him permission. Only Mayor Michelle Gomez opposed the move.
According to the invoice, Herin spoke to Bolton about the “probe” on December 14, 2020.
On December 16th and 17th, Herin spent 3.7 hours discussing the matter with City Attorney Sam Goren.
On December 18th, Herin spent 2.7 hours researching what would happen if the City took Marlon Bolton’s advice and violated the court-approved settlement deal.
On December 22nd, Herin began drafting his report.
Herin spent December 23rd and 24th discussing the matter with City Manager Michael Cernech.
Herin submitted his written report on December 28, 2020.
On December 29, 2020 John Herin presented his report to a special City Commission meeting via Zoom.
Herin stated he spent 20.2 hours working on the Bolton “probe.”
As REDBROWARD reported yesterday, John Herin included a lengthy discussion of arsenic contamination in his report. Marlon Bolton and Elberg Mike Gelin seized on the arsenic contamination issue during the special meeting. Yet, there is no mention of soil contamination on Herin’s invoice. In fact, soil contamination was not a major factor in the lawsuit or settlement.
Soil contamination came up during the closing process. Rock Island Storage Partners’ plan to clean up the contaminated soil received the necessary approval from Broward County.
Yet, Herin, Bolton and Gelin made arsenic contamination in the soil of the former golf courses surrounding the Woodlands into a major issue.
Bolton even urged homeowners to sue the City of Tamarac over the contamination issue.
Herin billed the City of Tamarac $7,070 for his Bolton “probe.” Tamarac residents paid the bill.
A five months later, John Herin was named the new City Attorney. Herin’s new position comes with a generous six-figure salary.
Between December 2020 and May 2021, Tamarac taxpayers paid the salary of three different city attorneys: Sam Goren, Hans Ottinot and Sam Goren.
Now, residents have to pay an outside attorney to represent the City in matters related to development in The Woodlands. Herin has a conflict of interest. Even though he lives in Lauderhill, John Herin repeatedly spoke against 13th Floor Homes development plans. Herin lives in a gated Lauderhill neighborhood bordering the west side of The Woodlands.
Earlier this week, REDBROWARD revealed how John Herin publicly attacked City of Tamarac staffers for “shirking their responsibility” by allowing the County planning council to review the development plans.
Does anyone care about the amount of money Tamarac residents have spent over the last decade over the mess in The Woodlands?
It seems like a simple and straightforward question deserving of a simple and straightforward answer. Who told the City of Tamarac Parks and Recreation Department to hire a business associate of Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton to perform at the 2021 Christmas Tree Lighting Event? Yet, for some reason, City officials and Commissioner Marlon Bolton refuse to say how Dwight M.Moment, Sr. picked up a $3,000 singing gig paid for by City of Tamarac residents.
Since 2015, Dwight M. Moment Sr., a Lauderdale Lakes pastor, has produced a “Singing Pastors” musical revue featuring local church leaders. One of the regular performers on the “Singing Pastors” bill is Praise Experience Worldwide Outreach Church pastor Marlon Bolton. On his church related YouTube channel, Bolton posted a video of his performance at the 2020 Singing Pastors event. Bolton has been featured prominently in Singing Pastors promotional materials since at least 2016.
REDBROWARD obtained the documents surrounding Moment’s deal with the City. On November 30, 2021, Dwight D. Moment Sr, submitted an invoice for the City of Tamarac. The invoice was for $3,000 to perform at the City sponsored 2021 Light The Night Tree Lighting event on December 2nd at Caporella Park.
On December 1, 2021, the City of Tamarac Parks and Recreation Department issued purchase order #250401 for $3,000 payable to Dwight Moment of Lauderdale Lakes. According to the purchase order, Moment would provide “entertainment for tree lighting event.”
REDBROWARD contacted Tamarac Parks and Recreation Department Director Greg Warner with questions about the deal. In an email, we asked Warner:
1. Who recommended the hiring of Dwight Moment?
2. Did anyone negotiate with Dwight Moment?
3. Has Dwight Moment performed at any City Of Tamarac events in the past?
Instead of replying to these simple questions, Greg Warner had the City Public Information Office respond to REDBROWARD.
Since the initial email was sent on Monday, February 21st, Presidents Day, Senior Strategic Communications Officer Eunicia Baker wrote that a complete response would be made the following day.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, February 22nd, REDBROWARD contacted Baker on the status of her follow up. She stated they were working on it and it would be ready on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, February 23rd at 6:00PM, Baker responded to our initial inquiry. Well, sort of.
Baker stated “The City of Tamarac contracted with Dwight Moment And Symphony for the December 2021 Tree Lighting Event at the Performer’s set price of $3,000. This group has not performed at previous City events.”
Yeah, we knew that. Which is why we asked whose brilliant idea was it to hire a this specific singer?
And we told Baker the purchase order was with an individual, Dwight Moment, not the Dwight Moment And Symphony corporation.
Once again, we asked Baker:
1. Who recommended Dwight Moment?
2. Since there was no Request For Proposals (RFP), how was Moment chosen for the job?
On Thursday February 24th at 6:27PM, Baker confirmed the City made a deal with Dwight Moment and not his corporation. Baker said, “City staff did not undergo an RFP process, as the City’s purchasing policy lists several ‘Exemptions to Formal Competition.’ Among those exemptions are ‘entertainment and entertainment-related services for City-sponsored events,’ which applies to the December 2021 tree lighting.”
Once again, Baker failed to answer who recommended Dwight Moment.
REDBROWARD immediately asked Baker for answers:
1. How did the City choose Dwight Moment?
2. Did someone recommend Moment?
3. Did any Commissioner direct staff to hire Dwight Moment?
On Friday February 25th, Baker sent this terse response:
“The City of Tamarac has no further details to provide pertaining to this matter.”
The City of Tamarac claims it can use taxpayer dollars to hire anyone for City-sponsored entertainment events and they don’t have to tell residents why they hired them?
We just have to take their word that the fact Dwight Moment performs regularly at paid events with Commissioner Marlon Bolton played no role in Moment landing the $3,000 gig?
REDBROWARD tried to ask Marlon Bolton about Dwight Moment during a break at last week’s Commission meeting. Bolton refused to answer.
On Monday February 28th, REDBROWARD contacted Dwight Moment. Even though Moment was busy with a family emergency, he did answer one question.
REDBROWARD asked if Marlon Bolton recommended him for the 2021 Light The Night Tree Lighting Event.
Dwight Moment said, “yes.”
Why can Dwight Moment answer the simple question?
Marlon Bolton refused to answer this question.
City officials spent an entire week avoiding this question. Officials who get paid more than $3,000 in taxpayer funds.
How many other deals were made on the recommendation of Marlon Bolton?
Don’t Tamarac residents deserve honest answers from its leaders and employees?
On Monday, Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness did not want to discuss the details of the money he raised for his U.S. Congressional campaign.
“We’re doing well. God is good. In spite of all this stuff that they might throw at me, I’m doing all right. Thank you,” Holness told the Sun-Sentinel.
No worries Dale. REDBROWARD is more than happy to share the details with the public.
Team Dale Holness™️ assembled from across Miami-Dade, Miramar and Tamarac to fill Dale Holness’ congressional campaign with big bucks, records show. The controversial Broward County Commissioner is seeking to replace the late Alcee Hastings in the United States Congress (CD 20). Last week, the Holness For Congress committee reported more than $300,000 in contributions.
In June, the Holness campaign picked up nearly $6,000 in contributions from relatives of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardemon. On June 11, 2021, Holness received a $1,000 contribution from Aunt Barbara Hardemon. On June 29th, Barbara chipped in another $1,900 while Uncle Billy Hardemon made a $2,900 contribution.
In January, REDBROWARD revealed the growing alliance between Dale Holness and Keon Hardemon. In October 2020, B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. made a $2,500 contribution to the federal “People of Principle PAC.” REDBROWARD exposed the deep ties between Holness aides and the shady Federal political committee. State business records show B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. is owned by Keon Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon.
Last month, REDBROWARD exposed the Hardemon’s ploy to further influence Broward elections.
Records show Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon formed the “Better Leadership” political committee in May 2020. The timing appears to coincide with a campaign for a seat on the Broward County Commission by a close ally 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. REDBROWARD previously reported Aunt Barbara and Uncle 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. which is owned by Aunt Barbara. Davis reports another $1,000 contribution from Barbara Hardemon.
Broward Supervisor of Elections records show Barbara Hardemon listed 3900 S.W. 26th Street in West Park as the the address for the “Better Leadership” committee. 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 did not respond.
This is not the first case of a Hardemon/Miami to City of Miramar political pipeline.
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.”
Campaign records show “Team Colburne” definitely backs Team Dale Holness. On June 29, 2021, Yvette Colburne made a $1,000 contribution to Holness for Congress.
In April, Miramar City Attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks and her law partner Michelle Pamies each made $1,000 contributions to Holness for Congress. REDBROWARD has written numerous reports detailing the alliance between Dale Holness and Burnadette Norris Weeks who was the attorney for former Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.
In March, REDBROWARD revealed several candidates for the Tamarac city attorney position were linked to the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell law firm owned by Miramar city attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks. Attorneys with Ottinot Law and Michael Garcia P.A. were listed as attorneys on the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks and Powell website. Hans Ottinot was serving as the interim Tamarac city attorney.
Despite the convoluted and undisclosed ties with Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell, Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin defended the Ottinot and Garcia bids.
In June, REDBROWARD revealed Elberg Mike Gelin failed to disclose his business dealings with the City Of Miramar and its city attorneys with the Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell law firm.
During his full-throated defense of the Michael Garcia and Austin Pamies Norris Weeks Powell firms, Tamarac Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin stated both firms worked for the City of Miramar. But Gelin never mentioned his business relationship with the City of Miramar. According to public records, a company owned by Commissioner Gelin has a lucrative contract with the City of Miramar.
State records show Elberg Mike Gelin formed the company in January 2015. Three years later, 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.”
In April 2021, Elberg Mike Gelin made a $1,000 contribution to Dale Holness’ congressional campaign. Gelin’s wife Shaheewa Jarret Gelin also gave Holness For Congress a $1,000 contribution. Hans Ottinot, the then-interim Tamarac city attorney gave $1,500 to Holness For Congress.
In June, Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin chipped in another $1,000 to to the Holness campaign. And even though he did not land the lucrative Tamarac city attorney job, Hans Ottinot still gave $1,000 to Dale Holness.