Federal prosecutors charged Omar Miguel Smith with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud to fraudulently obtain a PPP Covid-19 relief loan on Monday. Smith is former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness’ campaign guru. In 2020, REDBROWARD was first to expose Smith’s controversial $300,000 PPP loan for his marketing company A Star For I.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, on his application for a $212,500 forgivable, federally-guaranteed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on behalf of A Star For I, Inc., “Smith claimed in the on-line loan application, and through supporting fraudulent payroll tax forms, that his company employed 30 people and spent an average of $85,000 each month on payroll. In fact, A Star For I, Inc had zero employees and no payroll expenses.” A Utah bank approved A Star For I, Inc.’s PPP loan application “based on the lies and wired $212,500 to the company’s bank account in Florida.”
Prosecutors alleged that after the money was deposited in July 2020, Omar Smith “spent the next few months creating a paper trail to make it appear as if A Star For I, Inc. in fact had employees and was spending the PPP money on legitimate, approved expenses.” According to the information, Smith issued checks from the company bank account made out to others who did little or no work for his company.
The U.S. Attorney charged Omar Smith with conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, Smith faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Last month, Damara Holness, daughter of Dale Holness, started a lengthy prison sentence in Mariana, Florida for PPP loan fraud. Like Smith, Damara Holness was accused of making up employees and writing checks to accomplices to hide her fraud. According to authorities, Holness never returned more than $180,000 in cash.
REDBROWARD has documented Omar Smith’s extensive role in Dale Holness’ political campaigns and the campaign of Holness’ political allies. REDBROWARD was first to expose Omar Smith’s role in creating shady political action committees supporting Holness and his allies. The committees include the Federal political committee known as “People of Principle.”
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?