Tag Archives: Harris Shapiro

“THE BOLTON CARD:” Arrest Docs in RICO Case Show City Manager & Developers Discussed Role of Controversial Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton

The Bolton Card

Tamarac City Manager Michael Cernech and shady developers Bruce And Shawn Chait repeatedly discussed Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton in a series of text messages, official criminal case documents show. On Friday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the arrest of Cernech on felony conspiracy to commit racketeering (RICO) for his role in an extortion plot hatched by the Chaits. The father and son developers have a long history of landing Tamarac and Broward politicians in legal hot water.

An affidavit filed by a Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent details numerous communications and meetings between Cernech and the Chaits regarding a Tamarac property once owned by the Chaits. Hoping to recoup gains they felt they deserved, the Chaits attempted to get the current owner of the Woodlands parcel to pay $3.4 million in compensation. If the victim refused pay, the Chaits and Cernech were prepared to scuttle any future development plans with bogus claims of contamination at the site.

The affidavit by FDLE Special Agent Monica Baldo includes text messages obtained from the telephones of Bruce and Shaw Chait. Both men were arrested in March 2021. The text messages were from February and March 2021.

In February, the victim, after realizing Cernech was involved in the matter, requested a meeting with the Chaits. On March 1, 2021, the victim met the Chaits at a Coconut Creek restaurant. The FDLE monitored the entire meeting.

Two days later, Bruce Chait asked Cernech if it was “time to let the genie out of the bottle.” Cernech said, “He’s stalling…wait until they get a call from Bolton…he’s their 3rd vote, they need him or it’s over for them.”

Chait was still worried about his plan succeeding. “We still have the Bolton card to play,” Cernech said.

Later that day, Bruce Chait texted Cernech again. “Any thoughts how we can get to douche bags attention without dropping the [atom] bomb.”

Cernech replied, “Bolton.”

Chait responded, “Should I have [alleged co-conspirator John] Colonel send Bolton another letter.”

Cernech replied, “Just wait until Friday. He said he’d call you Thursday, yes?”

The affidavit does not go into further detail about Marlon Bolton role (if any) in this matter. Bolton did not respond to questions by REDBROWARD regarding the matter.

The Chaits along with Harris Shapiro and John Colonel were arrested a week later on racketeering and extortion charges.

Less than one month later, the Sun-Sentinel published its first story detailing changes to the travel budget of Tamarac Commissioners.

Marlon Bolton and fellow Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin became extremely critical of Cernech after the Sun-Sentinel story. The two pushed for a leak investigation inside City Hall to find out the source(s) of the Sun-Sentinel story.

Now, Marlon Bolton is demanding an emergency meeting with his fellow commissioners regarding Cernech. Bolton said he read the arrest affidavit. He says he’s worried that Cernech is not barred from resuming his duties at City Hall.

Bolton said, “If no meeting is announced, then, in my opinion, my colleagues would have sent a clear message that your interest has taken a back seat on their priority list.”

But Bolton never addresses the fact he is mentioned by name in this very affidavit.

Shouldn’t Bolton reveal any communications with Cernech about the issue?

Did Bolton ever speak with Bruce Chait, Shawn Chait, Harris Shapiro or John Colonel about this matter? What was in the first letter sent by Colonel?

Did Marlon Bolton call Bruce and Shawn Chait as promised?

Don’t Tamarac residents deserve answers about Bolton’s role (if any) in the Woodlands mess?

Developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, Two Others Charged In RICO Case Involving Tamarac Property At Heart Of Previous Bribery Case

Father & Son developers Bruce Chait and Shaw Chait were arrested on racketeering charges involving property they once owned in the City of Tamarac. This same property was at the heart of a 2009 bribery case involving the Chaits and numerous Broward elected officials. In the current case, arrest paperwork shows the Chaits and two other men attempted to get a “pound of flesh” from the current property owner.

According to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent, in 2010 the victim attempted to negotiate with Bruce and Shawn Chait about building homes on two Tamarac golf courses owned by the Chaits. While a deal was never reached, the Chaits’ attempts to build homes on the golf courses lead to the arrests of both Chaits, as well as former Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco and former Broward School Board Member Stephanie Kraft.

When the Chaits defaulted on the loans for the golf courses, the lender offered the victim the land at a reduced price. Feeling cheated, the Chaits engaged in eleven years of threats and phony lawsuits against the victim. They promised to ruin the victim’s reputation unless monies were paid to Bruce Chait.

The Chaits orchestrated lawsuits by associates which claimed the properties owned by the victim were a “toxic landfill.”

In January 2021, the victim met with Shawn Chait. The meeting was witnessed by private investigators hired by the victim. Chait stated the lawsuits would go away if the victim paid $3 million dollars to Bruce Chait. He said Bruce Chait “felt he was owed” the money. Shawn Chait mentioned the victim would not want any “bad publicity while trying to get a new project approved” by City of Tamarac officials.

On February 4, 2021, the victim met with Bruce Chait. The meeting was recorded by the FDLE. Chait said the way the victim acquired the property, “left the worst in my mouth in my whole 72 years.” Chait told him that a $3.4 million dollar payment would “make it right.”

On February 15, 2021, Shawn Chait requested a follow up meeting with the victim. Again, the meeting was recorded by the FDLE. Shawn Chait told the victim he knew of his attempts to get approval from Tamarac officials for a new development on the property. Chait stated his father would help obtain the necessary votes from the Tamarac City Commission if the victim agreed to pay Bruce Chait $2,000 for every home built on the property.

At a FDLE recorded meeting on March 1, 2021, the victim was told the Chaits would orchestrate a class action lawsuit against his new development. Victim was told the lawsuit would destroy his chances of getting the $25 million dollar project approved by the City of Tamarac.

During a March 3, 2021 meeting, the victim was told Bruce Chait contacted the Mayor of Tamarac as well as the City Manager. Chait informed them the “contaminated” land in question would likely be the subject of a lengthy legal battle.

Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez contacted the lawyers for the victim. She admitted that even if the Chaits’ information was false, it would harm the victim’s chances to get any project approved by the City.

Bruce and Shawn Chait are currently being held at the Broward Main Jail. Their bail is set at $10.5 million dollars, each.