Plantation Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu Connected Residents With Activist Who “Championed” Changing Name of City

Emails obtained by REDBROWARD show Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu connected residents interested in changing the name of the City of Plantation with the activist behind a 2020 petition drive. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests during the summer of 2020, Dharyl Auguste started a petition to rename the City. Auguste claimed the name Plantation had negative racial connotations which made people of color uncomfortable. Auguste’s activism gained unwanted national attention for the City. But that negative attention did not stop Andreu, first elected in November, from connecting new activists with Auguste.

On January 19, 2021, Plantation resident Risha Stern sent an email to the Plantation City Council and Mayor about a local teenager interested in changing the name of the city. Stern wrote, “Can you please suggest how he could go about this and if any of you are interested in helping make history.”

Jennifer Andreu was definitely interested.

Just eight hours later, Andreu responded to Stern. She said the teen should connect with “Dharyl Auguste who championed this cause last year. Please friend him on Facebook and I’ll follow up with a message.

Stern replied immediately to Andreu. She told Andreu the teen and his family don’t “believe in Facebook.” Stern asked, “Any other way?”

Three days later, Andreu responded with Dharyl Auguste’s telephone number.

REDBROWARD asked Andreu why she would encourage residents to contact an activist seeking to change the name of the City she represents and how she had his personal telephone on hand to share with residents.

Andreu told REDBROWARD, “I have addressed the name change issue at length during the campaign and understand both sides of the issue. If residents want a referendum, they should acquire the necessary signatures. A resident asked me for his information and he said it was okay to give them his phone number. I do my best to keep in touch with everyone who communicates with me.

But neither Ms. Stern nor the teen asked for the telephone number of Dharyl Auguste. Stern said the teen was interested in the name change but never asked about Auguste. It was Andreu who suggested she contact Auguste.

Also, if she “understands both sides of the issue,” why didn’t Andreu volunteer to discuss the issues with the teen? Instead, she directs him to an activist who is clearly not interested in explaining both sides of the issue.

Why would Ms. Andreu encourage a costly referendum being foisted upon Plantation residents? To say such a referendum would be very divisive is an understatement.

Despite being on the job for mere months, it appears Ms. Andreu has no qualms bringing divisive issues to the doorsteps of residents.

In January, Andreu advocated punishing Plantation restaurants who offer plastic straws to customers.

Andreu also met with a Lauderhill commissioner to discuss the “annexation of Plantation” neighborhoods on the east side of the City.

Why is Andreu more interested in political issues than Plantation residents? Is someone giving really bad advice to this political newcomer?

Lauderhill Agenda: “ANNEXATION OF PLANTATION”

The clandestine plans of the City of Lauderhill to annex parts of the City of Plantation are much further along than originally thought, according to documents obtained by REDBROWARD. Last month, REDBROWARD exposed a meeting between two political newcomers–Lauderhill Commissioner Lawrence “Jabbow” Martin and Plantation Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu. Martin contacted Andreu to discuss plans to have Plantation “de-annex” a historic commercial district in order to allow Lauderhill to annex the property. According to emails, the land coveted by Martin was located along 441 from Broward Boulevard north to Sunrise Boulevard and then west along Sunrise to the Florida Turnpike.

When contacted by REDBROWARD about the meeting, Jennifer Andreu dismissed it as a simple introductory meeting. She wrote, “I had a Zoom meeting with Commissioner Martin to introduce myself and for us to get to know each other. There was not a deal proposal or deal.” Andreu told us she discussed several topics with Martin.

When pressed, Andreu stated she would not support de-annexation of the Plantation Park East neighborhood.

When asked if she discussed this plan with any other Plantation council members or other politicians Andreu said, “[T]his was an introductory meeting and there was no need to discuss it with anyone.”

Yet, new documents obtained by REDBROWARD show the City of Lauderhill has engaged in elaborate planning for the “annexation of Plantation” since at least the beginning of January 2021.

“ANNEXATION OF PLANTATION”

In addition to emails to Jennifer Andreu, Lauderhill emails and documents obtained by REDBROWARD show Commissioner Lawrence “Jabbow” Martin discussed the plan with City administration as well as the City Attorney.

One document, titled Commissioner Martin’s “to-do list,” includes an entire section on Plantation. Under the heading “Annexation of Plantation,” Martin’s list lays out the plan to get key pieces of land from the City of Plantation.

Martin’s plan includes meetings with the Lauderhill city manager and the Lauderhill city attorney. Martin is advised to, “Discuss meeting with City and State Reps.” Also, Martin needs to “get with the Broward delegations and the City of Plantation about this matter.” Then, the list instructs Martin to contact the “City of Plantation Commission (sic).”

Martin’s list includes instructions to, “Contact the big 4 State Reps (DuBois, Thurston, Debbie Wasserman, +,+).” It appears Martin’s list is referring to State Rep. Bobby DuBose, State Senator Perry Thurston and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Plantation Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu is a lifelong friend of State Representative DuBose.

This list defines the “annexation” area as “Broward to Sunrise/441, 441/Sunrise to Turnpike.”

REDBROWARD obtained a map of the area in question. It appears to have been created by City of Lauderhill staffers. Another document lists the contact information for the owners of the properties along the east side of 441 in Plantation.

In a January 26, 2021 email, Lauderhill city attorney W. Earl Hall tells Lauderhill city manager Desorae Giles-Smith he has discussed the annexation plan with Commissioner Martin. “Please place the Plantation de-annexation discussion on the next COVID workshop agenda,” Hall wrote.

REDBROWARD asked other members of the Plantation City Council if there was any contact from persons promoting this annexation plan. Councilman Tim Fadgen and Councilman Nick Sortal said no one had discussed the matter with them.

Did Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu Meet With Commissioner To Discuss Giving Historic Part Of Plantation To Lauderhill?

Even though they were just elected in November, Lauderhill Commissioner Lawrence “Jabbow” Martin and Plantation Councilwoman Jennifer Andreu were discussing a proposal which could radically change each city. REDBROWARD obtained emails from Martin to Andreu seeking a meeting to discuss the “de-annexation” of a large portion of land that includes iconic Plantation businesses and historic neighborhoods. After the “de-annexation,” the land would presumably be annexed by the City of Lauderhill.

On January 11, 2021 an aide to Lauderhill Commissioner Martin sent an email to Ms. Andreu.

“Commissioner Lawrence ‘Jabbow’ Martin is requesting a meeting with you to discuss the possibility of de-annexation of the property located on the corridor of 441 and Broward Boulevard and Sunrise West to 56th Avenue. He is suggesting either next Tuesday, January 19 any time between 9 am to 2 pm, or Thursday, January 21 any time between 9 am and 12 noon at your convenience.”

On January 14th, Andreu responded with alternate dates. Andreu said she was unable to meet on weekdays before 5:30pm.

Martin agreed to a January 22nd meeting via Zoom conference call.

While Martin’s initial email is unclear, the roads he provided encompasses a large portion of historic Plantation.

The Gateway area along 441 between Broward Boulevard and Sunrise Boulevard was Plantation’s first major business district. It is still home to iconic businesses such as Plantation General Hospital and Plantation Ford.

Another affected local business would be All Broward Realty owned by Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. While currently a Plantation resident, Holness once served on the Lauderhill City Commissioner.

Further west, between 441 and the Florida Turnpike, is the Plantation Park East neighborhood. And between the Turnpike and NW 56th Avenue sits the historic original Plantation homes along East Acre Drive.

First she wants to fine local businesses for using plastic straws, now this?

Why would Jennifer Andreu even considered a proposal to give this neighborhoods to Lauderhill?

REDBROWARD asked Andreu to respond. While she has time to grant interviews for puff pieces, she did not respond to our request for comment.

***UPDATED*** Ms. Andreu emailed the following response:

“I had a Zoom meeting with Commissioner Martin to introduce myself and for us to get to know each other. There was not a proposal or a deal. We discussed several topics and there was no need to discuss them with anyone else because it was an informal conversation. 

Thank you, 

Jennifer Andreu”