Tag Archives: Save The Woodlands

“DIRTY POLITICIANS:” Phony Website Tied To Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton Claimed City Attorney “Allegedly Has Ties With A Disgraced Politician Who Was Part Of The Biggest Corruption Scandal In Tamarac”

The Tamarac Post 09/11/21

A phony website tied to embattled Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton claimed City Attorney John Herin “allegedly has ties with a disgraced politician who was part of the biggest corruption scandal in Tamarac which resulted in the former Mayor being arrested.” The bombshell allegation came in the Tamarac Post story, “Did Elvin Villalobos Perpetuate Tamarac City Manager’s Corruption Scheme?” published on September 11, 2021. The hit piece was written by “Maria Colson.”

Four days after the Villalobos hit piece appeared in the Tamarac Post, REDBROWARD revealed evidence that Marlon Bolton was tied to the publication of Maria Colson’s stories.

A link provided by the Tamarac Post revealed “MBOLTON” authored six stories attacking City of Tamarac politicians. Since August 2021, six Tamarac Post stories were written by “Maria Colson.” An August 26, 2021 story was a puff piece praising Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton for a meaningless political appointment.

The next five stories featured vicious attacks on Bolton’s fellow commissioners. The most recent story contains numerous false claims and anti-semitic attacks directed against Mayor Michelle Gomez.

In March 2021, REDBROWARD exposed Marlon Bolton’s deep ties to “The Tamarac Post,” which is owned and operated by close Bolton ally Anthony Bonamy. The City Of North Lauderdale fired Bonamy from his position as deputy clerk after REDBROWARD revealed his role in the website. Bonamy was quickly hired as an aide to Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.

On August 31, 2021, REDBROWARD revealed how Tamarac Post reporter Maria Colson was not a Tamarac resident.

According to her social media accounts, Maria Colson is a twentysomething woman living in Sidcup, England. According to her LinkedIn page, Colson works for TJ MAXX and a public policy firm. Both jobs are located in England, NOT Tamarac.

Colson’s Tamarac Post bio gives a vanity website, mariacolson.com, which appears to be a dead link. Links to her Facebook and Twitter accounts are also provided.

According to her Twitter account, Maria Colson is deeply interested in British animal rights causes and climate change initiatives. She makes no mention of Tamarac, or Broward, or Florida or even the U.S.A.

REDBROWARD attempted to contact Maria Colson via her Facebook page. She never responded to questions about her reporting.

A tip from an tech-savvy reader helped cement the ties between Bolton and the Tamarac Post.

The Tamarac Post provides a page for all stories written by Maria Colson. This is the same page with her vanity website and social media links. The address of this page is:


The link was disabled shortly after our original story was published.


As the Tamarac Post story points out, Marlon Bolton helped elect Elvin Villalobos to the Tamarac City Commission. But last year, the two men had a falling out. The Tamarac Post laughably paints Bolton as a Tamarac corruption fighter. “Bolton is a champion for a good government who publicly declared war against the Tamarac City Manager…” the Tamarac Post reported.

The Tamarac Post screed discussed Cernech’s arrest for his role in an extortion scheme allegedly perpetrated by disgraced developers Bruce and Shawn Chait. The three men are excused of conspiring to extort 13th Floor Investments over a development deal in the Woodlands neighborhood.

Unsurprisingly, the Tamarac Post story makes no mention of text messages between Cernech and the Chait discussing the use of the “Bolton card” to stop 13th Floors plans to build homes in the Woodlands. 

The Tamarac Post story claims Villalobos’ vote to hire John Herin as city attorney in May 2021 delayed justice in Tamarac.

“Villalobos could have acted in securing an attorney who would continue to probe and give a close watch on possible mishandling of City finances,” Tamarac Post wrote. “Instead, he opted to hire John Herin.”

After declaring Herin’s ties to a “disgraced politician” the Tamarac Post wrote, “Back in 2011, the politician was involved in the corruption scandal with her good friend, Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco who was arrested following her involvement in a previous Chait scandal.”

The Tamarac Post claimed Villalobos was not acting “wisely” by associating with “Mr. Herin who has ties to dirty politicians.” The Tamarac Post even accuses Villalobos of Sunshine Law violations.

Just one problem. Villalobos was not the sole vote for John Herin.

Marlon Bolton voted in favor of hiring Herin as well. The only “no” vote was cast by Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin.”


While the Tamarac Post does not name the “disgraced politician,” any student of recent Broward politics could reasonably deduce the identity.

The politician is a female, a former “good friend of Beth Talabisco,” and played a role in an earlier scandal involving the Chaits.

Ilene Lieberman.

Former Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman Michelson is a longtime resident of the Woodlands community. Last week, her husband Stuart Michelson filed his campaign paperwork to replace Elberg Mike Gelin on the Tamarac Commission. Both Ilene and Stuart Michelson are staunch opponents of 13th Floor Investment’s development plans for the Woodlands.

John Herin is another staunch opponent of 13th Floor’s plans.

Last week, REDBROWARD asked John Herin about his ties to Ilene Lieberman Michelson and Stuart Michelson. We asked if ever represented the Michelsons or any group supported by the Michelsons.

Herin responded with, “The Woodlands development project is currently the subject of on-going litigation, and therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that project at this time.”

Last week, REDBROWARD exposed how Marlon Bolton used taxpayer dollars to hire John Herin as outside counsel in December 2020. Declaring he did not trust the legal advice of then longtime City Attorney Sam Goren, Bolton hired Herin to review a legal settlement between the Chait’s Prestige Homes, the City of Tamarac and Rock Island Storage Partners. Bolton was opposed to plans to build a storage facility across the street from the Woodlands.

Tamarac taxpayers paid $7,070 for Bolton’s “probe” into the deal.

Herin refused to tell REDBROWARD how Bolton came to select him as outside counsel.

Did someone in the Woodlands recommend John Herin to Marlon Bolton?

If Herin was worth a $7,070 payday from Tamarac taxpayers in December 2020, and if Herin was Bolton’s choice for City Attorney in May 2021, why is the Tamarac Post attacking Elvin Villalobos for voting for Herin in a September 2021 story?

In addition to his troubles with former ally Villalobos, did Marlon Bolton have a falling out with John Herin or former “disgraced politicians” living in Tamarac?

Did something change the dynamics between December 2020 and September 2021?

Or, did (another) argument with Villalobos lead to another nasty Tamarac Post story?

Also, if Marlon Bolton knew this information, why didn’t he mention it before Herin was selected?

What else does Marlon Bolton know and when did he know it?

Tamarac taxpayers deserve answers, right?

What did Marlon Bolton know and when did he know it?

Tamarac City Attorney Publicly Attacked City Staff At Broward County Meeting, Said They Were “Shirking Their Responsibility” By Allowing Vote On Woodlands Project

Less than three months before becoming the Tamarac City Attorney, John Herin publicly attacked City staff for allowing a Broward County board to discuss a development project near the Woodlands neighborhood. According official records, on February 25, 2021, Herin spoke at the Broward County Planning Council meeting in opposition to a 13th Floor Homes development proposal. Herin said City staff was “shirking their responsibility” by allowing the Planning Council to discuss the matter. “[City staff is] kicking the can down the road,” Herin said.

John Herin Speaks Against Woodlands Project February 2021.

Herin publicly opposed the 13th Floor Homes project more than once. In December 2020, Herin spoke at the Planning Council meeting about the development. According to the meeting minutes, Herin represented a group known as “Defend The Woodlands.” Among the Woodlands residents speaking at the same meeting was former Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman Michelson.

Ilene Lieberman Michelson Opposes 13th Floor Homes Project In 2020

On May 12, 2021, John Herin was hired as the new Tamarac City Attorney.

On August 27, 2021, Tamarac City Manager Michael Cernech was arrested for his role in a plot to extort $3.4 million from a local developer. Authorities say Cernech conspired with disgraced developers Bruce and Shawn Chait in a plot against 13th Floor Homes. Cernech is accused of helping the Chaits derail the same 13th Floor Homes development project near the Woodlands.

An affidavit filed by a Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent detailed numerous communications and meetings between Cernech and the Chaits regarding the Tamarac property once owned by the Chaits. Hoping to recoup gains they felt they deserved, the Chaits attempted to get 13th Floor Homes, the current owner of the Woodlands parcel, to pay $3.4 million in compensation. If 13th Floor Homes refused pay, the Chaits and Cernech were prepared to scuttle any future development plans with bogus claims of contamination at the site.

The affidavit by FDLE Special Agent Monica Baldo included text messages obtained from the telephones of Bruce and Shaw Chait. Both men were arrested in March 2021. The text messages were from February and March 2021.

In February, 13th Floor Homes, after realizing Cernech was involved in the matter, requested a meeting with the Chaits. On March 1, 2021, the victim met the Chaits at a Coconut Creek restaurant. The FDLE monitored the entire meeting.

Two days later, Bruce Chait asked Cernech if it was “time to let the genie out of the bottle.” Cernech said, “He’s stalling…wait until they get a call from Bolton…he’s their 3rd vote, they need him or it’s over for them.”

Chait was still worried about his plan succeeding. “We still have the Bolton card to play,” Cernech said.

Later that day, Bruce Chait texted Cernech again. “Any thoughts how we can get to douche bags attention without dropping the [atom] bomb.”

Cernech replied, “Bolton.”

Chait responded, “Should I have [alleged co-conspirator John] Colonel send Bolton another letter.”


More than ten years ago, the Chaits’ project on the very same land lead to the arrest of numerous Broward elected officials including former Broward County School Board Member Stephanie Kraft, former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion and former Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco.

Talabisco was accused of accepting financial help from the Chaits in exchange for her support of their project on the Woodlands parcel.

In September 2011, the Sun-Sentinel reported how the attorney for Beth Talabisco questioned Ilene Lieberman’s role in the initial Chait mess in Tamarac.

The prosecution also agreed to let Davis again question an investigator for the State Attorney’s Office about whether Lieberman is or was under criminal investigation herself when she gave damning sworn testimony against Flansbaum-Talabisco. When Davis first questioned the investigator under oath in August, prosecutors refused to let him answer questions about whether the State Attorney’s Office was investigating Lieberman.

Talabisco’s attorney wanted Ilene Lieberman’s telephone phone records “because she has testified she wasn’t involved in the fundraising group in question in Flansbaum-Talabisco’s case, but another witness has testified Lieberman phoned him and asked him to set it up.“

“I don’t think the Chaits ever gave Ilene Lieberman anything. I don’t think Ilene is under any kind of investigation … I think a lot of people like to throw around names and allegations,”her attorney Bruce Zimet said.

But another Sun-Sentinel report covers Lieberman’s alleged role in a shady political action committee.

“[Lobbyist Alex] Hecker testified he got a phone call from Lieberman to set up the 527, an Electioneering Communications Organization, independent of a candidate’s campaign, and was told he would receive a call from Shawn Chait.

The name of the ECO: ‘Tamarac Residents for Good Government.’

Ilene Lieberman was never charged with any crime.

But Ilene Lieberman and her husband Stuart Michaelson are still fighting against 13th Floor Homes plans for the Woodlands. Today, Michelson filed paperwork for the Tamarac District Two seat currently held by Elberg Mike Gelin.

Michelson told Tamarac Talk he has “devoted much of my time over the last five years to opposing 13th Floor’s development plan, which would destroy the unique and serene character of this neighborhood and diminish the value of the existing homes.”

Stuart Michelson at the City of Tamarac’s clerk’s office Tuesday morning filing to run as a city commissioner. Courtesy Tamarac Talk.

Gelin is giving up his seat in a quixotic bid to unseat popular Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez.

The first donor to Gelin’s mayoral campaign is Woodlands resident Christopher Hodgkins. He is a founding member of Stuart Michelson’s Save The Woodlands group.

Their Woodlands group are staunch supporters of Gelin and his fellow Commissioner Marlon Bolton.

Defend The Woodlands, once represented by John Herin, also strongly supports Gelin and Bolton. On its website, Defend The Woodlands wrote Gelin and Bolton were TWO CITY COMMISSIONERS WHO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE FUTURE OF LOCAL POLITICS!”

Defend The Woodlands said, Gelin and Bolton “questioned the applicant for the lack of viable answers to the residents’ concerns, and both voted against the rezoning and land use amendment application. The residents of The Woodlands, in an outrageous majority, are grateful for counting with two awesome public servants that ran for office for the right reasons, that expressed their conviction to stand and vote with the community and that are earning the public’s trust with their good judgement when they translate the community values into policy directives.”

Um, what?

REDBROWARD asked John Herin about his role in these Woodlands groups, his ties to Stuart Michelson and Ilene Lieberman and whether he discussed his view of City staff with Commissioner or staff themselves.

Herin responded with, “The Woodlands development project is currently the subject of on-going litigation, and therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that project at this time.”

Herin has recused himself from any dealings with 13th Floors Homes and the Woodlands. He recommended the City hire Max Lohman as outside counsel.

So Tamarac taxpayers are paying two attorneys.

Now, some Tamarac residents wonder if Herin’s opposition to the Woodlands project is behind his refusal to allow residents to criticize Gelin and Bolton at Commission meetings while allowing the two men to continually attack Mayor Gomez and Commissioner Elvin Villalobos.

Tamarac residents deserve straight answers, right?