Tag Archives: Lauderhill

Feds Charge Dale Holness’ Campaign Guru With Conspiracy To Commit Bank Fraud & Wire Fraud To Fraudulently Obtain PPP Loan

Omar Smith

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.”

Tamarac Taxpayers Paid $7,000 To Marlon Bolton’s Handpicked Attorney To Conduct “Probe” Of Chait Property Deal

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?