Tag Archives: plantation

Dale Holness’ Daughter Needed $20,000 PPP Loan Just Months After $350,000 Payday From Democrat Executive Committee Of Florida?

Richelle Holness’ big payday

Richelle Holness, daughter of U.S. Congressional candidate Dale Holness, received nearly $20,000 in COVID-19 relief funds just months after her company scored a $350,000 payday courtesy of the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida. Last summer, REDBROWARD reported Richelle Holness applied for and received a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan as a self-employed individual. Public records show Richelle Holness received a $19,920 loan as an independent contractor.

The May 17, 2021 loan was paid by Prestamos CDFI, LLC, a division of an Arizona entity tied to the progressive political group La Raza. Despite owning several companies, records show Richelle Holness’ PPP loan was intended to save one job.

With just a single employee, one might assume a company with very healthy revenues did not need a government loan, right?

ALL CONSULTING BROWARD

State corporation records show Richelle Holness formed All Consulting Broward on September 16, 2020. The business was located at an apartment in Plantation. In just one month after its creation, the money began filling All Consulting Broward’s coffers.

Federal records show All Consulting Broward received a $175,000 payment from the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida on October 27, 2020. One day later, Holness’ new company picked up another $175,000 from the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida. Both payments were made for GOTV [Get Out The Vote] consulting.

Later that month, All Consulting Broward picked up an additional $16,450 from the Florida Freedom PAC.

Curiously, the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida payments to All Consulting Broward did not use its Plantation address. Instead, campaign reports list All Consulting Broward’s address as 5523 Barnstead Circle in Lake Worth.

OMAR SMITH & THE SHADY PAC GAME

In September 2020, REDBROWARD exposed Richelle Holness’s ties to the mysterious Stronger Together Florida political committee. On July 20, 2020, Kayla Butler filed paperwork forming the political committee with the Division of Elections in Tallahassee. According to the documents, the political committee is located at 5523 Barnstead Circle in Lake Worth, Florida. The telephone number for the committee is (754) 444-6117.

Campaign reports from the 2016 Broward election show Kayla Butler was a paid intern on the Dale Holness campaign even though she was living in Palm Beach. According to her social media posts, Butler is a yoga instructor living in Palm Beach county.

The telephone number for Stronger Together Florida is also found in State records regarding third party groups conducting voter registrations. The number is listed for “All Consulting And Marketing, Inc.” which conducted voter registration drives at 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation since May, 2019.

This is the same address for All Broward Realty, Inc, a real estate company owned by Broward Mayor Dale Holness.

According to the State third party voter registration records and State corporate records, All Consulting And Marketing Inc. is owned by Richelle Holness. State corporate records indicate the corporation was dissolved in September 2019 after failing to file its required corporate report. The company was reinstated in April 2021.

“I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU’RE CALLING ME”

REDBROWARD called Richelle Holness to ask about her involvement in voter registration drives and the Stronger Together Florida political committee.

After confirming she was Richelle Holness, she said, “You know you’re calling Richelle. I don’t know why you’re calling me.” After advising Holness that her telephone number was listed in the documents filed with the Florida Division of Elections, we asked what was the purpose of the PAC. Holness said, “You can look it up on FEC [Federal Elections Committee] or whatever.”

When asked if she knew Kayla Butler, Holness said, “Thank you for your time, goodbye” and hung up.

In a later report, REDBROWARD revealed the Barnstead Circle address is the home of Dale Holness’ ex-wife.

State records show Richelle Holness started Tax Unlimited Corp in 2016 with the former Mrs. Holness. That corporation was located at 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation.

Following the publication of that story, Omar Smith reached out to REDBROWARD by telephone. Smith asked REDBROWARD to remove the name of the Holness’ ex-wife since she had no involvement in politics.

While that may be the case, members of Team Holness have repeatedly used her address for political payments and political committees. More on that in part two.

Last week, Omar Smith was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in order to illegally obtain a $215,500 PPP loan.

Richelle Holness’ sister, Damara Holness, just started a twenty month prison sentence for fraudulently obtaining a $300,000 PPP loan.

With all the hefty campaign revenues flowing into their companies, why did Team Holness feel the need to secure PPP loans? This money was meant to keep employees paid during the COVID-19 lockdown. Instead, the well-connected used the money to pad their bank accounts.

Shame on them.

Non-Profit Owner Admits Tamarac Gift Cards Used To Promote Private Food Drive: “Are We Supposed To Waste Them?”

Nataneisha Jahmel Richards wanted to know why her non-profit organization, The Great Commission Center And Outreach, was mentioned in a recent REDBROWARD story. On Thursday, REDBROWARD reported how the Broward County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) wanted to review documents related to a November 2021 turkey drive hosted by Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton. As REDBROWARD revealed last December, Tamarac city officials pressured a non-profit to issue checks for expenses related to the turkey drive.

The Parks And Recreation Foundation Of Tamarac (PAROT) initially refused to participate in Bolton’s event. But the non-profit succumbed to pressure from Commission staffers and Parks and Recreation Department employees.

On October 28, 2021, Eliane Benjamin, administrator for the Tamarac City Commission, asked Parks and Rec Department head Greg Warner if he could “kind assist” with getting a $500 check issued to The Great Commission Center And Outreach organization. Benjamin said owner Peter Richards would pick up the check.

On November 2, 2021 PAROT wrote a $500 check to The Great Commission Center And Outreach. A note on the check reads, “Commissioner Bolton’s Turkeys.”

Later, REDBROWARD exposed how supermarket gift cards purchased from Marlon Bolton’s Tamarac event were used at a private food drive in Plantation.

These gift cards, emblazoned with the name of Commissioner Marlon Bolton, appeared in photographs promoting a private “turkey and pie giveaway” at Car Accident Referral Services (C.A.R.S.) in Plantation. The Tapatia Supermarket gift cards were used in social media posts by Nataneisha “Jahmel” Richards, the president of The Great Commission Center And Outreach non-profit organization of Tamarac.

Ms. Richards posted numerous photos and videos before and after the event. One photograph and one video clearly shows the Tapatia Supermarket gift cards with a sticker which reads, “Courtesy of Commissioner Marlon Bolton District 1.”

Other photographs and videos show Jahmel and Peter Richards volunteering at the Plantation event.

On Friday morning, Nataneisha Jahmel Richards called REDBROWARD.

LET THEM GO TO WASTE?

Ms. Richards wanted to know why REDBROWARD thought it newsworthy to mention The Great Commission Outreach and Center and the gift cards. Richards admitted to using the gift cards to promote the private food drive in Plantation but stated it was not her event.

When asked why she used the Bolton gift cards to promote the private food drive, Richards said,” Are we supposed to let them go to waste?

Richards could not comprehend why using Tamarac funds for a Plantation food drive was an issue.

When asked if Marlon Bolton authorized the use of the gift cards at the private food drive in Plantation, Richards hung up the telephone.

Perhaps she will answer that question for the Broward OIG?

Plantation Councilman Nick Sortal Wants Residents To Gamble On His City Manager Scheme

“So think about what’s best for our city in the long haul, not whether you like or dislike the existing leaders.” — Nick Sortal

Even though Plantation voters overwhelmingly rejected a “city manager” form of government in 2014, City Councilman Nick Sortal continues to push for another vote in November 2022. Even thought he lacks public support, Sortal began his push to replace the City’s strong mayor form of government in February 2021. In April 2021 Sortal, a former reporter, wrote an opinion piece in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“My thinking is that city managers are professionals who are trained to run the city’s operations and manage employees who the city’s services,” Sortal wrote. “They also can focus on professional management of the city rather than having political concerns interfering with being the city’s chief executive.”

Hoping to deflect complaints he was unfairly targeting Plantation’s popular strong mayor Lynn Stoner, Sortal warned residents not to “merely attach current names to existing positions.”

“So think about what’s best for our city in the long haul, not whether you like or dislike the existing leaders,” Sortal wrote.

Nick Sortal covered the gambling/casino beat for the Sun-Sentinel so his knowledge of local forms of government, especially the city manager form of government, may be limited.

In April 2021, Sortal brought an expert to discuss the greatness of city managers with Plantation residents. His expert witness was Dan Kleman of something called “Florida City/County Managers Association.”

Sortal touted Kleman’s lengthy resume as a very well paid government bureaucrat. Twenty years as Tallahassee city manager. Nine years as Hillsborough County manager. Chief Operating Officer of Jacksonville. Three years as special assistant to the Port Saint Lucie city manager. But Dan Kleman is hardly an impartial advisor for Plantation residents on this very important matter.

Dan Kleman

Sortal failed to mention that Kleman, as a senior advisor for the Florida City And County Management Association(FCCMA), conducts searches for municipalities seeking to hire city managers. Will Kleman conduct the search if Plantation voters pick a new form of government?

While Sortal claims that city managers are “professionals” who act above politics, very recent history shows South Florida has major issues with these “professional” city managers.

PLANTATION’S LEAST MOST WANTED

Nick Sortal thinks a “professional” city manager would do a better job running the City of Plantation than strong mayors like Frank Veltri, Rae Carole Armstrong, Diane Veltri Bendekovic or current Mayor Lynn Stoner. Here are a few “professional” city managers that Sortal could hire if voters approve his ballot measure.

Michael Cernech

In August 2021, longtime Tamarac City Manager Michael Cernech was arrested on racketeering charges following an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Cernech is accused of working with two shady developers in a scheme to defraud a local landowner. Cernech plead not guilty and was fired by the Tamarac city commission. Perhaps a speedy trial will allow Cernech to apply to Nick Sortal?

Chandler Williamson

Last August, the City of Pahokee finally fired City Manager Chandler Williamson, a Fort Lauderdale native. Williamson served six years as Pahokee’s “professional” executive. During those six years, the Palm Beach Inspector General investigated Williamson three times for misuse of city funds. In 2020, The Palm Beach Post reported Williamson “improperly used his city credit card for about $5,800 worth of personal flights, car rentals and hotel stays over four years….also identified another $16,000 that Williamson spent on his city credit card without proper documentation. The report recommends he repay the $5,800 and refers the case to the State Attorney’s Office to consider criminal charges.” Williamson was previously investigated for closing city hall without approval, paying city workers for holidays without approval and approving a $150,000 payment for marina work which was never performed.

Even though Williamson was fired, he still received tens of thousands of dollars in a severance package. Is this “professional” behavior Nick Sortal wants for Plantation?

Burgess Hanson

In April 2019, Burgess Hanson “resigned under scrutiny” after spending ten years as Deerfield Beach city manager. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Mayor Bill Ganz wanted Hanson out for providing information that was “incomplete, misleading or downright not accurate.” In addition to questions about payments to coaches and athletic groups, Hanson allegedly was overpaid nearly $16,000 on top of his salary of close to $185,000 per year. Is this a problem for Nick Sortal?

Chris Kovanes

The New Times summed up the scandal surrounding Davie Town Administrator Chris Kovanes. After landing the job, Konvanes “sets up a sham corporation and begins to issue town contracts to his bogus company. He collects nearly $500,000. The town finance director discovers the scheme and asks a few questions. The town’s assistant city attorney tips off [Kovanes].” When the FDLE started investigating the matter Kovanes went on the lam. “Crooked bureaucrat” Kovanes was eventually arrested in October 2006. Three years later, Kovanes plead guilty to fraud and money laundering charges. He received a twelve year prison sentence. Kovanes was released in December 2019 which means Kovanes is available to be hired!

David Chiverton

In September 2016, Opa Locka City Manager David Chiverton plead guilty to federal bribery charges. “In open court today, a former Opa Locka City Manager admitted under oath that he sold away his commitment to fairly administer the city’s services – for a personal profit,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “It is imperative that public officials abide by the rules, policies and legal practices that are in place to prohibit any abuse of the public’s trust. Otherwise, corrupt officials will continue to find themselves the target of law enforcement prosecutions that seek federal penalties for their misconduct.” Chiverton, a “professional,” received a three year prison sentence.

Robert “Bob” Levy

Robert “Bob” Levy is no stranger at Plantation City Hall. As an alleged city resident, Levy served several terms as a Plantation City Councilman. While serving as an elected official in Plantation, Robert “Bob” Levy also served as the Pembroke Park manager. In 2017, the Broward Inspector General (OIG) determined Levy and two other City Of Pembroke Park employees, “engaged in gross mismanagement, misconduct, or both in the procurement of professional engineering services from Craig A. Smith and Associates, Inc. (CAS), the town’s interim town engineer, consultant engineering firm, and (for twelve years of that time) its lobbyist or grant specialist.” Until his retirement last month, Robert Levy was the longtime Pembroke Park town manager. The OIG found the City Of Pembroke Park violated Federal, State, County and City rules regarding the awarding of contracts. A review of contracts showed 66 of 67 engineering projects were never put up for bid. According to the OIG report, “The town paid CAS approximately $3,323,245 in public funds for those 22 projects between 1999 and 2015.”

Since some of the money used for the projects came from a Federal source, the Broward OIG referred the matter to US Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General for further action.

In his interview with Broward OIG investigators, Robert Levy claimed he had no idea that rules were not being followed. He claimed to be powerless in his position as town manager. He stated he did not have final say in any matter.

Robert Levy lost his seat Plantation City Council in November 2016.

Levy claimed to be “powerless” as chief executive of a city. I thought Nick Sortal said this a powerful position worthy of our best professionals?

Will Robert “Bob” Levy get an interview with Nick Sortal?

Duke Sorey

In May 2021, the City of North Miami Beach hired Arthur “Duke” Sorey as its city manager. City leaders ignored the warnings of journalist Stephanie Kienzle of VotersOpinion.com who raised red flags about Sorey since his days as interim city manager of North Miami. Flags like his arrest on grand theft auto charges, exorbitant spending of city funds on a lavish Super Bowl party and his dislike of conducting business in the sunshine because people have said mean things about him. Would Nick Sortal hire Duke Sorey?

Nick Sortal wants to gamble on a city manager with residents’ tax dollars.

Can Plantation residents gamble on Nick Sortal’s ability to hire a competent executive?

Why is Nick Sortal so gung-ho over a city manager?

Plantation residents should ask Nick Sortal about these issues tomorrow night when his city manager idea is discussed at the council meeting at city hall.