Csaba Kulin continues connecting-the-dots on Marcum LLP's devastating audit of Hallandale Beach, revealing how city's own rules were routinely broken and leaving taxpayers on the hookBelow is Part 2 of my friend and fellow Hallandale Beach and Broward County civic activist Csaba Kulin's take on the just released audit by Marcum LLP on the longstanding not-so-humorous 'funny business' at Hallandale Beach City Hall while Joy Cooper has been mayor.
Since he was actually there, like me, unlike the South Florida news media that has shown no interest in covering what was taking place here, and was one of the persons fighting hardest to get the audit, even while some of the commissioners clearly resented it, Csaba's understanding and take on it is far superior to what is being written about the audit, including this article that largely misses the larger picture:
Hallandale CRA audit shows incomplete files, mishandled paperwork
By Tonya Alanez, Sun Sentinel
6:28 p.m. EST, March 6, 2012
Ask yourself a simple question after you read what Csaba has written:
Why have none of the city employees responsible for the YEARS of incompetency and unprofessional conduct not been punished or fired?
And why is nobody from the South Florida press corps even asking that obvious question?
Why is nobody from the press corps sticking a microphone or tape recorder in front of Joy Cooper and asking her why for so many years as mayor, she failed to provide prudent oversight over the CRA, given that the elected City Commission was the CRA's Board of Directors, so she could've called for toughening up reporting rules or made sensible changes for more accountability and transparency any time she wanted?
She never did, and all we get now from the news media is silence.
And as a result of their knowing full well that the press corps is asleep, all Hallandale Beach taxpayers get on this issue from Mayor Cooper and City Manager Mark A. Antonio and his highly-paid staff is a whitewash.
A whitewash may fly with Cooper's pals and cronies since as I've shown on this blog over the years, Cooper's pals and cronies have shown that they are largely oblivious to what goes on in this city outside of their own well-maintained neighborhoods, but it most certainly will NOT fly with the majority of HB taxpayers who will be voting in November.
Yes, consider that a Teaser Alert!
2. Vendor Contracts
3. Real Estate Acquisition and Disposition Policies
4. CRA Commercial Loan Programs
5. CRA Expenditures.
The original agreement called for The Cornerstone/Harbour Cove developer to donate $40,000 for improvements to the Hepburn Center and $10,000 to the Hallandale Sports Complex Foundation.
This was NOT considered an exception.
As of today, we simply do NOT know.
Based on the terms of the agreed-upon procedures engagement letter, Marcum’s procedures were simply limited to reviewing the vendor contracts that were included on the original listing provided by COHB.
The additional 30 files were subsequently provided, but Marcum did not review the additional 30 purchase files based on the same reason given above.
Unfortunately, the City was “unable to locate supporting documentation”, so Marcum was unable to review the “unavailable files”.
In other words, perform common sense “due diligence” just as you would have to do if you were purchasing property, except here, COHB is supposedly doing the buying on behalf of Hallandale Beach taxpayers.
Of the 40 acquired properties, Marcum LLC discovered that 39 of them had missing information (See page 10).
NONE of the 8 had proof of review.
Only 2 out of the 40 purchased properties contained summary reports.
Well, believe it, because that's what Marcum said in their report.
(b) HUD1 closing statement, and
(c) warranty deed.
Approximately 10 of the 54 files did NOT include a copy of the HUD1 closing statement.
The maximum loan value is up to $100,000 per business.
There is an exception made to one unnamed establishment and the loan amount was increased to $150,000 by the authority of City Manager Mike Good (See page 16).
It seems clear from all the available evidence that this was changed for the benefit of The Flashback Diner on U.S.-1.
Another 9 had miscellaneous other deficiencies.
If someone is 3 months behind in making payments, the loan is in default.
COHB, if a loan is 6-to-9 months delinquent, will write a letter or call the borrower to remind them of the oversight. Marcum noted that one file (The Mess A Round) indicated that the borrower was in default. In that instance “forbearance” was granted by the appropriate “levels of authority” and therefore this has NOT been noted as an exception.
The maximum loan amount is $200,000, the borrower must be able to repay and 15% of the loan will be waived.
Again, problems with the records!
Missing proof of lien searches, paid property tax payments, 5 year budgets, proof of mortgage payments and copy of bank statements.
Again, 3 of the loans were of the result of the owner meeting with the City Manager, Mike Good (See page 23).
Again, according to COHB policy, if a loan is 6-to-9 months delinquent, COHB will write a letter or make a call to the listed borrower(s).
One of the loans that was delinquent belonged to Digital Outhernet, Inc.
You remember them, don't you?
There is NO mention of how long they've been delinquent and what the current status of it is.
Three such loans were provided to Marcum. (See pages 26-28 describe the details.).
The business must be in compliance with city codes, but NONE of them are.
Only one of the applicants owned the property on which the business was located, and two did not own the property and hadNO collateral.
COHB guidelines state that real property must be owned by the borrower, but despite this policy, the City Manager granted one waiver and the City Commission granted the other exception.
Bi-Annual Performance Reviews were NOT performed or documented.
Default is similar to the other loans, with a call or a letter to the borrower after 6-to-9 months.