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Thursday, April 12, 2012

An IG investigation! Finally! Plus, more curious CRA matters to ponder - William Gjebre in BrowardBulldog: Broward Inspector General's office zeroing-in on Hallandale Beach after numerous reports re city's curious CRA loans and land purchases with no written plan in place for the latter

Above, Hallandale Beach City Hall Complex at night, photo of August 7, 2011 by South Beach Hoosier. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Breaking News! Finally! 
An IG investigation! Finally! Plus, more curious CRA matters to ponder - William Gjebre in BrowardBulldog: Broward Inspector General's office zeroing-in on Hallandale Beach after numerous reports re city's curious CRA loans and land purchases with no written plan in place for the latter

BrowardBulldog
Investigators focus on Hallandale after reports of questionable city loans and land purchases
By William Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org
April 12, 2012 AT 11:29 AM
Investigators with the Broward Inspector General’s office descended on Hallandale Beach City Hall this week following numerous reports of mismanagement of tax dollars.
Read the rest of the post at:
http://www.browardbulldog.org/2012/04/investigators-focus-on-hallandale-beach-after-reports-of-questionable-city-loans-and-land-purchases/

Since it's just one of the many pink elephants in the room, here are a few related matters that I've wondered about for a while now but not yet posted that you might want to start thnking about yourself:

1.) re $45,000-plus to Palms Community Action Coalition, Inc.
What exactly are Jessica Sanders' qualifications?

http://www.cohb.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2074

It's a reflection of the mentality of this city and how things get done -or don't- that four-fifths of the Hallandale Beach City Commission would think that a new six-month old non-profit that includes Comm. Sanders's wife, Jessica, ought to be the one group in town that is now able to get the free use of an office & city personnel at the city's Hepburn Center, despite the fact that it has no track record, and despite the fact that actual room over there is at a premium and could be used much better for purposes that serve actual HB citizen taxpayers, like that university-related counseling perhaps? 

Given all the unscrupulous things that I've witnessed the past few years and the very curious way things seem to just happen, out of the blue, like after midnight, which is when last year Comm. Alexander Lewy made a motion to give over $200,000 to one of the Sanders-affiliated groups, without ever saying the name of the group -something he has never adequately publicly explained!- it's hard to shake the feeling that Jessica Sanders & Co. think they ought to get a free office at the new city building on Foster Road once it's open, too. Why?

2.) What do you know about Eagle's Eye Property Management, Inc., 615 N.W. 4th Court, Hallandale, FL 33009?

Eagle's Eye Property Management, Inc., 615 NW 4th Ct Hallandale, FL 33009

One of the directors, besides Comm. Anthony A. Sanders, and Von Thomas,

According to http://www.corporationwiki.com/Florida/Hallandale-Beach/bruce-wiggins-P7405507.aspx the address given for Wiggins is 501 N.W. 1st Avenue, Hallandale, FL 33009. 
You might remember that particular address.

3.) Yes, coincidentally, that's the current home of the Palms Center for the Arts, the group run by Dr. Deborah Brown that was awarded $50,000 for this year

The woman whose company was given around $25,000 by former HB City Manager Mike Good without City Commission approval for, supposedly, 4 weeks of children's summer school.
Information that only became public a week after-the-fact?

Yes, the same Dr. Brown who is one of the persons behind Palms Community Action Coalition, Inc.
Wow, it's funny how everyone is either related or connected somehow.

The Palms Center for the Arts, despite having received plenty of money, only has a Facebook page but no actual website http://www.palmscenter4arts.com/ showing how they spend the money or on what the community gets from that money, which, in case you forgot, is, theoretically, supposed to be used towards ending blight and creating jobs so that when the CRA goes out of operation in less than 8 years, the area will be improved and have a higher property value
And there's no real information about their activities on that Facebook page, is there?
Nope.

What a coincidence, that's the same lack of transparency scenario we've seen for YEARS for Sanders' Eagle's Wings Development Center and Higher Visions -no website for taxpayers or visitors to look at to see what's really going on or to see their success stories, if any.

4.) In case you didn't know, 501 N.W. 1st Avenue ALSO happens to be the very same property that the City of Hallandale Beach purchased from then-Pastor Sanders and his wife Jessica for more than it was really worth, without any written plan for what the city proposed to do with it after it was purchased.
So why the urgency and why the over-payment if the city NEVER had a written plan in place?
Exactly, that's a good question.

The city still can't answer that question years later and yet 2012 candidates for office like Mayor Cooper and former Comm. Bill Julian and Comm. Sanders won't touch it, despite fervently pushing it.

Don't you think that after all this time you as a taxpayer are owed an explanation by those two for why so much taxpayer money has been spent on this one property with so very little to show for it for ALL HB taxpayers?

Why was it so necessary for the city to purchase this property if there was no plan?

The Internet, so very unreliable at times, also shows that address was once used for, well, see for yourself: http://www.southflorida.org/brown-josh-campaign-84857.html
Hmm-m... now how could that be?
A political campaign using a non-profit as their campaign mailing address?

And then there was that troubling news in 2009 that Rev. Josh Brown seems to have engaged in public deception as made public here

Plus, there are these these two embarrassing videos about Josh Brown's attempted coup of an established Democratic Party group, which is not very, well, democratic:

South Florida Times video: Alan Brown Seeks Review of the Broward Democratic Black Caucus Election. April 23, 2009

South Florida Times video: Broward Democratic Black Caucus President Alan Brown Affirmed As President. July 26, 2009

And the next year, what do you know, there were yet more lies and public deception associated with Josh Brown in his attempts to make his role with Barbara Sharief's 2010 County Commission campaign into something that it wasn't, at least from the candidate's point of view: 
http://www.sfltimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2607&Itemid=9

5.) So, 4 months later, what exactly has Lampkin's Creative Art 4 All done towards deserving that $50,000 they were awarded, and why can't I find their 501(c)(3) info or IRS Form 990?

Yes, LCA4All -whom Mayor Cooper personally spoke to and encouraged to get involved with the city's CRA programwhich means Minister Lowell Lampkin, who's also the chief organist for the Hallandale Church of God at 821 NW 2nd Avenue
http://hallandalecog.com/  All info on their website is at least five months old.

Anyone know who John P. Diamond is and why his name would be on the city's contract for Lampkin's Creative Art 4 AllOh, you mean Bishop John P. Diamond, who was the pastor of the Hallandale Church of God for a few years?
The one who is now President of Hallandale Church of God, Inc.?
Yes, that John P. Diamond.

Hmm-m... so why is it that when you do an Internet search for the name of their company, Dizzy Fingers School of Excellence, Inc.401 N.W 2nd Avenue, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009-3325, you find lots of the same info over-and-over, mostly, just their address, and when you do come across websites with more info or parameters, like this, http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/orgs/profile/300576850?popup=1 it states that Dizzy Fingers has not filed an IRS Form 990, even though they have existed since 2009.
How did they manage that?

I know you won't be surprised to hear me tell you that they (Lampkin or Dizzy Fingers) don't have a website, either, so HB taxpayers can see what that CRA money is doing, right?
As I've said before, websites are very cheap and even elementary school-age kids have them, but somehow, despite the fact that they are routinely used throughout the country by non-profits to trumpet their activities, all these recipients of Hallandale Beach CRA loans and city grants lack one.
Very curious

Here's the 1st Quarter progress report Lampkin & Co. were required to file 
So, what happned exactly?

Not much context to say the least, and there's no reason to think their second quarter report, due shortly according to the city, http://www.cohb.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2135
will be much more revealing for taxpayers.

A reasonable person looking at all the available evidence and the curious fact patterns that have emerged over the years would be hard-pressed not to get the impression that under this particular mayor -and prior to Dr. Jackson's arrival as head of the CRA- the city's CRA fund, run by the City Commission, rather than being used almost exclusively for the official purposes for which it was legally created, i.e. removing slums and alleviating blight, has been little more than a slush fund for the HB City Commission to dole out financial goodies to friends and cronies in the community whose favor they wish to keep.

Especially, unfortunately, those who have a connection to either area churches or other groups in the community who could prove helpful come election time, with little to no accountability or transparency either required or given.

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