UPDATE: DALE HOLNESS’ CAMPAIGN GURU RECEIVED $212,000 PPP LOAN TO SAVE THIRTY JOBS

New records show a company owned by Dale Holness’ “campaign guru” received a $212,000 Pandemic Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to save thirty jobs. Last September, REDBROWARD exposed how Omar Smith’s A Star For I, Inc. company received a PPP loan despite collecting payments from Dale Holness and his allies during the COVID-19 lockdown. At the time, it appeared Smith applied for a PPP loan as a sole proprietor. Political insiders doubt Omar Smith’s company ever had a payroll with thirty employees.

Last week, Dale Holness’ daughter Damara Holness was arrested on a conspiracy to commit wire fraud to fraudulently obtain a PPP loan. Last August, REDBROWARD exposed Damara Holness’ laughable claim she owned a company with eighteen employees and a $1.4 million dollar payroll. Damara Holness used Dale Holness’ business address to obtain a $300,000 PPP loan.

Days later, REDBROWARD exposed how Richelle Holness, another daughter of Dale Holness, also received a PPP loan. Like Damara, Richelle Holness appears to be heavily involved in Dale Holness’ political operations. When REDBROWARD revealed Richelle Holness’ ties to a shadowy political committee, Omar Smith reached out to REDBROWARD to ask for a favor. With a female screaming in the background, Smith asked REDBROWARD TO redacte the name of Dale Holness’ ex-wife from the story.

How many members of the TEAM HOLNESS political operation received federal loans?

Original story is below:

A company owned by Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ controversial campaign consultant received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for up to $350,000, records show. According to news organizations tracking the COVID-19 relief program, A Star For I, Inc. received approval for a loan between $150,000 and $350,000 on June 1, 2020. As REDBROWARD previously reported, A Star For I, Inc. is owned and operated by Omar M. Smith, Dale Holness’ campaign “guru.”

Even though PPP loans were intended to be used on employee payroll, these organizations state A Star For I, Inc. reported zero employees on its loan applications. Self-employed business owners were eligible for PPP loans.

According to Marketwatch.com:

After much confusion, it’s now clear that self-employed individuals who have no employees, and therefore no actual payroll expenses, can qualify for PPP loan forgiveness by simply paying themselves so-called owner compensation replacement. The amount that can be forgiven is based on your 2019 net self-employment income and can be up to 100% of the loan amount. However, the maximum loan amount for a self-employed person with no employees is $20,833.

How did A Star For I, Inc. receive nearly ten times more for “owner compensation replacement” than average self-employed business owners?

But why was A Star For I, Inc. seeking “compensation replacement” at all?

HOLNESS CONSULTANT PAID THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS DURING LOCKDOWN

According to the Florida Division of Elections, Omar Smith’s company received 14,188 from political campaign after receiving a six-figure PPP loan. This includes a July 9, 2020 payment of $1,500 by George Odom’s judicial campaign and and a July 30, 2020 payment for $10,200 by former Broward Judge Ian Richards.

Broward election records show Omar Smith made even more money from his work as Dale Holness’ campaign consultant. Holness is seeking re-election for his District 9 seat this November. Holness has no Republican opposition, just an unknown write-in candidate.

According to Holness campaign reports, Omar Smith/A Star for I, Inc was paid $46,750 as a consultant. More than $31,000 was paid after the COVID-19 lockdown.

TEAM HOLNESS

In July, REDBROWARD exposed how Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ campaign team appeared to be behind a mysterious federal political committee backing mostly black candidates. Records show Holness’ longtime campaign marketing guru Omar Smith is tied to the “People Over Principle PAC.” These same records show the committee has failed report any money contributions or expenditures as required by law.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show People of Principle PAC was created by Charmalin Brown in January 2019. Brown used the address of a Margate UPS store as the headquarters for the political committee. In April 2019, Charmalin Brown purchased the domain name currently used by People Of Principle PAC.

State corporation records show Charmalin Brown, a tax preparer, started a business in 2006 using Omar Smith as her registered agent. Brown used a home on the 300 block of Berenger Walk in Royal Palm Beach as her business address. Numerous records show Omar Smith uses the same Berenger Walk address.

Federal records show People of Principle PAC has never reported its financial information. The FEC sent “failure to file” notices on August 15, 2019, February 19, 2020 and May 1, 2020 to the committee.

In addition to costs used to purchase domain and rent a mailbox at the Margate UPS Store, People Of Principle PAC is spending money on advertisements promoting Broward candidates. These candidates included Dale Holness, George Odom and Ian Richards.

In January 2018, REDBROWARD exposed the roles Omar Smith and County Commissioner Dale Holness played in Dean Trantalis’ Fort Lauderdale Mayoral campaign.

Florida Division Of Elections records show Sophia A. Nelson is the chairperson of the “A Better Florida For All” political committee. The address for this political committee is the same address found on a December pro-Trantalis email sent to Fort Lauderdale voters by “FlyerSmith.”

Division of Elections records show Omar Smith is the treasurer of the “A Better Florida For All” political committee.

On December 7, 2017 A Better Florida For All hosted a fundraiser for Dean Trantalis. According to an announcement posted on the group’s Facebook page, the A Better Florida For All event was being held at 4325 West Sunrise Boulevard in Plantation. This is the address for All Broward Realty, a company owned by Dale Holness.

In October 2018, Buddy Nevins of Broward Beat reported on four local judicial candidates appearing the endorsement card produced by A Better Florida For All. The card promoted Democrat candidates most notably Andrew Gillum. Nevins wrote, “Four Broward lawyers running for judge could end up in trouble for appearing to violate state Code of Ethics for judicial candidates. Partisan appeals judicial candidates’ ads are forbidden by the Florida Supreme Court Code of Judicial Conduct. Joint advertising by judicial candidates is also prohibited.”

Omar Smith talked to the Sun-Sentinel about the palm card controversy. Smith “insisted this week that none of the candidates were picked because of financial ties to the political action committee or to any of Smith’s businesses, which perform campaign services.”

Shortly thereafter, the State of Florida revoked the registration of A Better Florida For All. Smith failed to properly submit paper to the Florida Division Of Elections. Attempts to contact Smith failed.

In November 2018, Omar Smith made national headlines when Project Veritas showed undercover video of him calling Florida a “cracker state.” Smith was working for the Andrew Gillum campaign.

While some Gillum supporters claimed Omar Smith did not work for the campaign, financial records show otherwise. According to Florida Division of Elections records, the Andrew Gillum campaign paid Smith’s company, FlyerSmith, $50,000 in August 2018.

Also, the Project Veritas video appears to have been recorded inside Dale Holness’ real estate office in Plantation.

ANOTHER HOLNESS CONSULTANT AND PPP

Last month, REDBROWARD revealed a Florida corporation based inside Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ real estate office received a loan up to $350,000 via the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) intended to help companies affected by the COVID-19 lockdown pay employees. Numerous records and published reports show Holness Consulting Inc. received a PPP loan between $150,000 and $350,000 on June 27, 2020. According to State records, Holness Consulting Inc. is located at 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation. Damara Holness, daughter of Dale Holness, is listed as its president.

Two businesses owned by Broward Mayor Dale Holness, All Broward Realty and American Holding Group, are located at 4325 W. Sunrise Blvd in Plantation.

State corporation records show Damara Holness formed Holness Consulting Inc in November 2018. Ms. Holness, president of the Broward Black Democratic Party Caucus, is active in local and State political campaigns. In December 2018, Holness Consulting Inc received a $350 payment from Coral Springs Commissioner Joshua Simmons. In June 2019, Coral Commission candidate Khurrum Wahid paid $4,500 to Holness Consulting Inc.

It appears Holness Consulting Inc failed to file its 2019 annual report in 2019. Holness Consulting Inc. filed for reinstatement on June 22, 2020. Five days later, Holness Consulting Inc received its PPP loan.

According to available records, Holness Consulting Inc. claims to have eighteen employees. It is rare for any local political consultant to employ anyone other than themselves.

When REDBROWARD reached her by telephone, Damara Holness said, “I’m in a meeting right now” and hung up.

Dale Holness and Damara Holness have worked closely on political campaigns in the past. In 2018, the Holness offices housed the Andrew Gillum for Governor campaign offices. Earlier this year, Damara Holness hosted a party registration event at Dale Holness’ office in Plantation.

Did Broward Mayor Dale Holness encourage his daughter and his campaign guru to seek a PPP loans?

Another Daughter Of Dale Holness Received PPP Loan

Dale Holness & Richelle Holness

Another daughter of Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness received a COVID-19 pandemic relief loan, records show. Richelle Dahlia Holness of Wellington received a nearly $20,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in May 2021. Earlier this week, Holness’ other daughter, Damara Holness was arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud to fraudulently obtain a $300,000 PPP loan.

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. Records show the PPP loan paid to Richelle Holness was intended to save one job.

Following her arrest, Dale Holness attempted to distance himself from Damara Holness. He claimed he had been estranged from his daughter for years. Damara Holness used his real estate office address for her consulting business. Dale Holness claimed she never received permission to do so.

A published report naming Dale Holness the 2019 Person of the Year states Richelle Holness runs his real estate business. State real estate license records confirms Richelle Holness’ ties to All Broward Realty. Damara Holness’ real estate license also uses the All Broward Realty office address.

Did Richelle Holness permit Damara Holness to operate Holness Consulting Inc out of the All Broward Realty offices?

Like Damara Holness, Richelle Holness appears to be involved in local politics.

STRONGER TOGETHER?

In September 2020, REDBROWARD exposed Richelle Holness’s ties to a mysterious political committee. On July 20, 2020, Kayla Butler filed paperwork forming the Stronger Together Florida political with the Division of Elections in Tallahassee. According to the documents, the political committee is located at home on 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 recent social media posts, Butler is a yoga instructor still 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.

Broward election records list Richelle Holness as the treasurer for Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ 2020 campaign.

“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.

If she operates Dale Holness’ successful real estate business, why did Richelle Holness apply for a PPP loan?

Perhaps she was inspired by her father’s relentless promotion of the PPP program.

Did any other Holness family members or allies receive PPP loans?

Broward voters deserve answers.

Relatives Of Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon Gave Big Bucks To Shady “People Of Principle PAC” Linked To Broward Commissioner Dale Holness

Two of the most controversial County Commissioners from Miami-Dade and Broward appeared to form an alliance in order to influence the 2020 Election, federal records show. In October, a company owned by relatives of Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon made a large contribution to the “People of Principle PAC” based in Margate. In September, REDBROWARD revealed Broward Mayor Dale Holness’ campaign team appeared to be behind the mysterious federal political committee backing mostly black candidates.

In numerous mailers sent to Broward Democrats, the People of Principle PAC urged voters to use “your voice” by supporting Dale Holness, Congressman Alcee Hastings and other black candidates. Even though the mailer stated “#BlackVotesMatter” and “#BlackExcellence,” the piece included several white candidates such as Judge Frank Ledee, Judge Patti Englander Henning and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Records show Holness’ longtime campaign marketing guru Omar Smith is tied to the “People Over Principle PAC.”

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show People of Principle PAC was created by Charmalin Brown in January 2019. Brown used the address of a Margate UPS store as the headquarters for the political committee. In April 2019, Charmalin Brown purchased the domain name currently used by People Of Principle PAC.

State corporation records show Charmalin Brown, a tax preparer, started a business in 2006 using Omar Smith as her registered agent. Brown used a home on the 300 block of Berenger Walk in Royal Palm Beach as her business address. Numerous records show Omar Smith uses the same Berenger Walk address.

At the time of our first report, Federal records showed People of Principle PAC failed to report its financial information. The FEC sent “failure to file” notices on August 15, 2019, February 19, 2020 and May 1, 2020 to the committee.

Now, the Federal Elections Commission website lists numerous contributions to People Of Principle PAC.

HARDEMON FAMILY FUNDS SHADY BROWARD PAC

On October 3, 2020, B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. made a $2,500 contribution to the federal “People of Principle PAC.” State business records show B and B Professional Consultants, Inc. is owned by Keon Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon.

According to published reports, Barbara Hardemon and her husband Billy Hardemon are closely tied to projects coming before the Miami City Commission where Keon Hardemon served before winning a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

In March 2019, the Miami Herald featured Barbara Hardemon in “How Miami commissioner’s aunt became a high-priced lobbyist.

After failing the previous year to convince the city to hold a voter referendum on the project at Jungle Island, real estate investment firm ESJ Capital Partners hired Barbara Hardemon to hurriedly set up meetings during the first week in June with Commissioner Keon Hardemon’s staff. Over a 48-hour stretch, they say she assisted in negotiating a deal that will steer millions into housing and economic development funds during the life of the park’s extended lease on Watson Island and helped nail down her nephew’s support for a voter referendum.

One month later, Barbara Hardemon was hired again, this time by David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise as it neared a make-or-break vote on a $1 billion stadium and retail proposal. She registered three days before a scheduled vote and arranged a lunch at a waterfront restaurant between her nephew and the Mas brothers, the Miami businessmen who are part owners of the MLS franchise. Days later, Commissioner Hardemon voted in a close decision to put the proposal on the November ballot.

In August 2020, the Florida Bulldog exposed how one activist claimed Keon Hardemon funded a non-profit operated by Barbara and Billy Hardemon.

The same day, [Grady] Muhammad filed a letter with the city clerk addressed to Mayor Francis Suarez…attacking Hardemon for sponsoring and voting for resolutions that awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in city and federal grants to the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. and the Foundation Of Community Assistance and Leadership, aka FOCAL, since he was first elected in 2013. Billy Hardemon is the economic development corporation’s volunteer chairman and his wife, Barbara, is FOCAL’s $25,094-a-year executive director. Their two daughters are also employed by the foundation, earning annual salaries of $70,494 and $50,989, respectively.

“Over the last seven years, Keon Hardemon has given…over seven million dollars via waving of competitive bids to both not-for-profit organizations headed by his uncle Billy and his auntie Barbara Hardemon,” Muhammad wrote.

According to the Bulldog, the actual amount given to the Hardemon’s non-profit was closer to $12 million dollars.

In response to the story, Keon Hardemon told the Bulldog, “Such an accusation just before election day is clearly an attempt by him and my opponents who know him well to organize and send an unpaid, illegal, and negative political advertisement with your assistance.”

“Billy Hardemon echoed his nephew’s comments. ‘Grady is obviously trying to slime Keon,’ Billy said. ‘I consider him a hater.'”

UNCLE BILLY

In 1996, the Miami-Dade government was rocked by the FBI investigation dubbed “Operation Green Palm.”

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Bahamian offshore bank accounts, shadowy meetings with informants on borrowed pleasure yachts, multimillion-dollar extortions, slush funds–this one might have it all. The once powerful are being brought low, including a lion of the Cuban-exile community, Cesar Odio, now facing charges that he allegedly shook down city vendors so he could buy a new Rolex.”

Elected officials were charged after Howard Gary recorded conversations documenting shakedown of companies seeking to do business in Miami. One of the officials charged was Miami-Dade County Commissioner James Burke.

In addition to Burke, a Federal grand jury indicted Burke’s aide, Billy Hardemon. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Hardemon claimed the charges were racist.

“The charges contained in this indictment are damnable lies,” Hardemon said. “This case is not Operation Greenpalm. Operation Greenpalm has turned into operation high-tech lynching.”

Hardemon, Burke and a third individual were “charged with 12 counts of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and wire fraud. The government alleges they were involved in a bond kickback scheme involving the $180 million refinancing of a garbage recycling plant and a proposed $210 million bond issue to build a new Miami Heat arena.”

While Burke was convicted of the charges, Billy Hardemon was acquitted in 1999.

One year, Billy Hardemon entered into a plea agreement with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office over charges stemming from misuse of campaign funds:

Don Ungurait, spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, said Hardemon accepted guilt but was not technically convicted.

That means Hardemon can say he has never been convicted, even though he will serve a year of probation.

Ungurait said Hardemon was accused of taking campaign contributions over the $500 limit and of having inaccurate campaign finance reports, then testifying that they were accurate.

Hardemon had also been charged with felony counts that accused him of using his campaign money to pay people who were not doing anything for the campaign, but those charges were dropped when a witness died and another recanted.

Even though Keon Hardemon serves in Miami-Dade, the Hardemon family has been involved in Broward politics for several years.

MIAMI ETHICS PROBE PUT SPOTLIGHT ON MIRAMAR GOVERNMENT

An August 2013 investigation by the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission exposed the role Billy and Barbara Hardemon played in City of Miramar politics. The 2013 complaint alleged Billy Hardemon, then an employee with the Miami-Dade County Department of Public Works and Waste Management (PWWM), spent “substantial amounts of county time, taken without authorized leave, in the City of Miramar, in Broward County…during hours when Hardemon was understood to be working at his Miami-Dade County job.”

What was Billy Hardemon doing in Miramar? According to the complaint, Hardemon attended numerous City of Miramar government meetings as the “de facto chief of staff” for Miramar City Commissioner Yvette Colburne. (Other employees claimed Hardemon served a similar role with Miramar City Commissioner Alexandra Davis).

In an interview with investigators, Colburne admitted Billy Hardemon was her “advisor.” She said his role was to advise her and “attend meetings for and with her.” While he assisted with her campaign, Colburne stated Hardemon was not paid or compensated in anyway.

However, investigators determined Colburne’s campaign paid $2,000 to B and B Professional Consultants, Inc., a company owned by Barbara Hardemon.

Colburne told investigators that Billy Hardemon and Barbara Hardemon were members of “Team Colburne.” As to his employment in Miami-Dade County, Colburne told investigators, “I felt that was being handled with his superiors.”

The whistleblower claimed Hardemon’s superior, PWWM director Kathleen Woods-Richardson, was fully aware of his violations.

When asked if she was aware of Hardemon working for Yvette Colburne in Miramar, Woods-Richardson told investigators, “absolutely not!”

Investigators were shocked by Woods-Richardson’s denial. In addition to calling Hardemon a “friend,” Woods-Richardson’s assistant was Yvette Colburne.

Additionally, the interview with Kathleen Woods-Richardson was held at the Miramar government center. After Colburne was elected to office, Woods-Richardson was named Miramar City Manager.

While the investigator was not persuaded by the testimony of Colburne and Woods-Richardson, he could find no evidence that Woods-Richardson “directed” Hardemon to work for Colburne in order to increase her chances of becoming city manager.

Both Yvette Colburne and Alexandra Davis are allies of Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.

Miami. Miramar. And now, elections all over Broward. Will Hardemon’s influence extend further across Broward County? Does Dale Holness need allies in Miami-Dade County?

Do Broward residents really want Miami-Dade lobbyists and officials influencing their governments?