Was Democrat Consultant “Pushing” For County-Backed Bonds For Broward Health?

According to emails obtained by REDBROWARD, Democrat consultant Dan Lewis was highly involved in Broward Health’s plans to obtain bonds backed by the Broward County Health Facilities Authority. Created by the Florida Legislature, the Authority assists “health facilities in the acquisition, construction, financing, and refinancing of projects” in Broward County. As of September 2014, the Health Facilities Authority is “authorized to issue bonds…not to exceed $329,100,000” dollars. As of September 2014, the Authority has issued $288,620,000.00 in bonds.

On April 24, 2014 , Dan Lewis, a board member of the Broward County Health Facilities Authority sent an email to Noel Pfeffer, an attorney for Broward County and Art Wallace, Vice President of Broward Health. According to the Broward County website, Pfeffer is the assistant County Attorney overseeing the authority. Lewis’ email was copied to former Broward Health CEO Frank Nask.

Lewis wrote, “Please consider this an electronic introduction and handshake. Art Wallace has been tasked by Mr. Martin, Broward Health CFO to initiate and inquire into the Broward County Health Facilities Authority bonding program.”

Lewis urged the men to meet. He wrote, “Please contact and visit with each other. I understand that Broward Health may be interested in as much as at $110 million in bonds and may be prepared to dedicate a part of its taxing authority as payment guarantee. I am under the impression that the authority has over $300 million in available bonding authority at present. Please keep me informed as appropriate.”

Lewis does not disclose how he became aware of Broward Health’s interest in $110 million in bonds.

On May 7,2014, Frank Nask forwards an email to Dan Lewis. The original email was sent by Art Wallace. He is informing Nask and Robert Martin about his conversation with Noel Pfeffer. Wallace said they would need to go to Authority to ask for permission and then get the Broward County Commission to approve the bond. According to Wallace, Pfeffer claimed the “Authority has been used very infrequently.” Pfeffer did not think Broward Health needed the Authority.

Wallace wrote, “When we told him that we issue our own debt and that we have $256M outstanding he was kind of aghast and said we don’t even need them.”

Wallace ends his email with this cryptic note. He wrote, “[Pfeffer] said there is one member of the Authority Board that is pushing to have the Authority utilized more. All I could get out of him is that the Board Member’s name is Dan. At least he said that he wouldn’t argue that his name wasn’t Dan.”

No mention is made of Lewis’ ongoing attempts to win a lucrative contract from Broward Health. As REDBROWARD previously reported, during this very time period, Lewis was trying to win a million dollar contract operating Broward Health’s intensivist program. Lewis had been pushing for the creation of such a program since 2012. 

Broward Elections Lawyer’s PAC Used Opa-Locka City Hall Address

Burnadette Norris-Weeks committee used Opa-Locka City Hall address
Burnadette Norris-Weeks committee used Opa-Locka City Hall address

Documents sent to the Florida Division of Elections show the political committee operated by Broward Supervisor of Elections attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks was operated out of Opa-Locka City Hall. Last month, REDBROWARD reported “The Right Group” political committee was formed by Norris-Weeks in 2003.  The Right Group spent $34,000 over ten years. Norris-Weeks’ committee made contributions to the political campaigns of Perry Thurston, Joe Eggelletion, Joe Gibbons, Alain Jean, Eric Jones, Chris Smith, Carlton Moore, and even Broward Supervisor Of Elections Dr.Brenda Snipes. The committee was disbanded in June 2013.

Throughout its ten year existence, The Right Group received numerous “fail to file” letters and fines from the Florida Division of Elections. In March 2010, Norris-Weeks responded to one of the State’s letters. She stated no money had been collected due to a death in her family. REDBROWARD reported The Right Group’s money came from membership dues. One contribution came from Doris Harrell, the committee’s treasurer. Ms. Harrell is the wife of former South Florida Sun-Sentinel senior editorial writer Douglas C. Lyons.

Norris-Weeks’ March 2, 2010 letter was faxed from a telephone number associated with her Fort Lauderdale law firm. However, the fax cover sheet tells a different story.

The header of the printed fax cover sheet contains the words, “The Right Group.” The footer section of the sheet lists the following address:

“780 Fisherman Street, Suite 335, Opa-Locka, FL, 33054”

This address is the Opa-Locka City Government center. It is clearly listed as the official City of Opa-Locka address in this 2010 City of Opa-Locka Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The United States Federal Register lists this address as the official contact information for the City of Opa-Locka.

So, why did Burnadette Norris-Weeks use the City of Opa-Locka as the address for “The Right Group” political committee?

Did Norris-Weeks operate her political committee while serving as the Opa-Locka city attorney?

Is Dr. Brenda Snipes asking her private contract attorney about her partisan political activities?

Broward voters deserve answers before the 2016 general election.