Tag Archives: political committee

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.”

Official Business? Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton Opened A Tallahassee-Based Political Committee While “Lobbying” For Residents

Official Business? Marlon Bolton Started Political Committee During Trip To Tallahassee

On January 20, 2022, Tamarac Commissioner Bolton told his Facebook followers he was “Fighting for our residents today in Tallahassee…lobbying for State Dollars to come to our city.” But according to State elections records, the only dollars Bolton brought to Tamarac that day was a $500 personal loan to Tallahassee-based political committee he formed the previous day. Despite a plethora of political committees started by his business associates and allies, Bolton (D-Clown) opened the “Friends Of Marlon Bolton PAC” political committee on January 19, 2022. This committee is located at a UPS Store on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee. Marlon Bolton is listed as the Chairman and Treasurer of the new committee.

As previously reported by REDBROWARD, Marlon Bolton is tied to several existing political committee in Broward and Tallahassee.

Last month, REDBROWARD reported how Marlon Bolton answered the telephone number listed for a Tallahassee-based political committee tied to a mysterious 2020 voters guide and website. REDBROWARD called the Conservative Governance PAC, a political committee based at a PAK Mail store at 1563 Capital Circle S.E. in Tallahassee. The State records list Malucci Joseph as the chairperson, treasurer and registered agent of Conservative Governance PAC.

REDBROWARD revealed Malucci Joseph, a singer and active participant at services held at Marlon Bolton’s Praise Experience Worldwide Outreach church in North Lauderdale, is tied to multiple political committees which support Bolton. These include Go Tamarac Go PAC and Residents United PAC.

In December, Elijah Manley, a Democrat running for the Florida State House District 94 seat, made two payments to Happy Feet Advertising of Margate. REDBROWARD repeatedly documented the deep ties between Marlon Bolton and Happy Feet Advertising owner Trace Robinson. Instead of using Happy Feet’s Margate address, the Manley campaign listed the 1563 Capital Circle S.E. address used by Malucci Joseph and Conservative Governance PAC. State business records show this Tallahassee address is also used by 100 Volunteers Of Florida, a fictitious corporation owned by Happy Feet Advertising of Margate.

During the November 2020 election, some Broward residents received the “Our Florida Democracy” voters guide. The guide is still available on the Our Blue Broward website. The guide states it was produced by the Our Blue Democracy political committee located at 1563 Capital Circle S.E. address in Tallahassee.

The guide endorsed most of the Democrat candidates on the 2020 ballot. But a few candidates received special notice including pictures alongside Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In addition to being pictured with the Presidential nominee, these special candidates received their own sections on the guide.

These candidates were Marlon Bolton, former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, the late Congressman Alcee Hastings, North Lauderdale Commissioner Regina Martin and Tamarac Commissioner Elvin Villalobos.

Federal records show Our Blue Democracy was formed in September 2020 by its treasurer Malucci Joseph. Our Blue Democracy used the same address and telephone number as the Conservative Converance PAC operated by Malucci Joseph.

Federal campaign reports show a September 18, 2020 contribution of $5,000 by Malucci Joseph. Four days later, Our Blue Democracy paid $3,309.34 to Minuteman Press of Coral Springs for mailing services and $900 to Xpress Color of Lauderdale Lakes for printing services. These are the same companies used by Residents United PAC, Conservative Governance PAC and Go Tamarac Go PAC.

REDBROWARD wanted to ask Broward resident Malucci Joseph why she opened so many Tallahassee based political committees.

This reporter called the Tallahassee telephone number listed for both committees: (850) 220-7853.

But Malucci Joseph did not answer the phone. Instead, Marlon Bolton answered our phone call.

“Hello?” Marlon Bolton said.

“Marlon?”

“Who’s this?” Bolton said.

This reporter identified himself and the publication and asked Bolton why he was answering a telephone number listed for two Tallahassee based political committees.

“Tom Lauder, I don’t consider you a real reporter?”

We stated that’s his opinion and asked what his role is with the Conservative Governance PAC, the Our Blue Democracy guide and the Our Blue Broward website.

Bolton said, “Tom Lauder, do you have any other questions, not related to these PACs?”

We asked Bolton if he had recently hired an attorney.

“Tom Lauder, do you have any other questions?”

We asked if he had been interviewed by any Federal, State or local law enforcement agents.

“Goodbye, Tom Lauder,” Bolton said.

FRIENDS?

While the Friends Of Marlon Bolton has a different Tallahassee address than Malucci Joseph’s Conservative Governance PAC, both committees share the same bank. Official documents for both committees list a Bank United branch on N. University Drive in Tamarac as the location of their bank accounts.

Oddly enough, Broward Vision PAC, a political committee operated by Happy Feet Advertising owner Trace Robinson, also does its banking at the Bank United branch at 5819 North University Drive in Tamarac.

Why does Marlon Bolton need a Tallahassee-based political committee?

Why does Bolton need any political committee? Local politicians rarely operate political committees.

Why are so many business associates of Marlon Bolton running political consulting businesses and political committees?

Did Tamarac taxpayers pay for Marlon Bolton’s trip to Tallahassee?

Don’t Tamarac residents deserve answers?

Or at least a refund?

Friends of Marlon Bolto
Friends Of Marlon Bolton PAC

Broward PAC Operated By Relatives Of Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon Received More Than $111K In Days Before Controversial Calusa Golf Course Vote

A Broward political committee operated by relatives of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardemon received more than $111,000 from Miami based special interests just days before a vote rezoning the Calusa Golf Course, records show. In June, REDBROWARD exposed the growing “unholy alliance” between Keon Hardemon and controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness. Records showed Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon formed the “Better Leadership” political committee in May. In its first five months, the Hardemon political committee pulled in just $12,000 in contributions.

But in October, Better Leadership reported a whopping $111,500 from twenty-one contributors. Nineteen of the twenty-one contributions came from Miami-Dade County. One contribution came from Palm Beach while another was made by a construction company based in New York City. Not a single contribution to the Broward-based Better Leadership political committee came from Broward County.

Zero, zip, nada.

Why were so many Miami developers, architects, construction companies and lawyers giving money to a Broward PAC?

In June, REDBROWARD reported the creation of the Better Leadership PAC appeared to coincide with Alexandra Davis’ campaign for a seat on the Broward County Commission. Miramar Commissioner Alexandra Davis filed her campaign paperwork for the District 8 seat on the Broward County Commission on May 3, 2021. She is a close ally of Dale Holness.

On May 7, 2021, Barbara Hardemon filed the “Better Leadership” paperwork with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office. Hardemon stated the committee would “support local issues” in Miami-Dade and Broward. REDBROWARD revealed Barbara and her husband Billy were already supporting Alexandra Davis’ campaign.

In her first campaign treasurer’s report, Alexandra Davis lists a $1,000 contribution from B&B Professional Consultants Inc. State business records show B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. is owned by Barbara Hardemon. Davis reports another $1,000 contribution from Barbara Hardemon.

But with the County Commission nearly a year away, would these Miami special interests flood a pro-Davis PAC with so much cash?

The timing of these large contributions suggests they may be related to issues before the Miami-Dade County Commission not the Broward County Commission.

BETTER LEADERSHIP IN BROWARD OR MIAMI-DADE?

Broward Supervisor of Elections records show twenty of the twenty-one contributions were made on October 28, 2021. On November 17, 2021 Keon Hardemon and the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to allow construction of 550 homes on the Calusa Golf Course in Kendall. Residents objected to turning the golf course, a nature preserve in a existing community, into a giant development.

The developers were represented by the Bilzin Sumberg law firm. On its website, Bilzin Sumberg brags how it worked to get a restrictive covenant removed which paved the way for the 550 homes.

Election records show Bilzin Sumberg and eight of its lawyers made $9,000 in contributions to Better Leadership on October 28, 2021.

REDBROWARD reached out the the lawyers at Bilzin Sumberg to ask about the contributions to the Better Leadership political committee. Anthony De Yurre, a partner at Bilzin Sumberg said he could not recall why he gave the Broward PAC a $1,000 contribution. When asked if he spoke with Barbara Hardemon about the contribution, De Yurre said, “no.”

When asked if the Bilzin Sumberg contributions were tied to their work on the Calusa Golf Course matter, De Yurre said, “no comment” and ended the call.

Who asked for the Better Leadership contributions? Why did Miami lawyers give their hard earned cash to a Broward PAC? Giving money to a Better Leadership is perfectly legal, so why is it so hard to recall the specifics from one month ago?

Attorney David Winker, who represents residents opposed to the Calusa redevelopment plans, did not seem shocked by the contributions. “Listen, Commissioners [Joe] Martinez and [Sally] Heyman openly spoke about knowing that the fix was in,” Winker said. “Democracy is not working when Commissioners are openly speaking about the fact that the hearing is a waste of time because approval was a foregone conclusion.”

Winker said Commissioner should disclose any money received before they vote. “At the end of the day, everyone in favor of this was paid,” Winker said.

Calls to the Better Leadership political committee went unanswered.

Do Broward voters want this Miami style of government coming here?

Is the Hardemon family really offering Better Leadership to Broward residents?