Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Don't say it with flowers, say it with subpoenas! Subpoenas finally drop on the heads of Hallandale Beach officials, including Mayor Joy Cooper, and now the Joint Legislative Auditing Comm. is showing genuine interest in getting the WHOLE TRUTH from the HB CRA about what happened to all that money. Yes, the scandal in Broward County involving MILLION$ that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and their Dana Banker & Rosemary Goudreau have been ignoring for months. Future owners of the Sun-Sentinel, please take note!

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Local10 video: Hallandale Beach CRA accused of misspending $2.1 Million
Broward County Commission takes no action on audit request.
Reported by investigative reporter Bob Norman
Published On: Jun 04 2013 07:11:25 PM EDT, Updated On: Jun 05 2013 11:01:19 AM EDT

My comments after the article. 
Broward Bulldog
Legislature asks Hallandale for answers about CRA spending; Subpoenas land at city hall
By William Gjebre, BrowardBulldog.org  
June 10, 2013 AT 6:15 AM
The Florida Legislature’s joint auditing committee is wading into Hallandale Beach’s questionable spending of local redevelopment funds, demanding that city officials explain the use and handling of those funds.
Legislators who head the committee also are urging the city commission to ask Florida’s Attorney General for a new opinion to clarify how Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds can be spent. City leaders have challenged a previous opinion.
Read the rest of the article at:

While all you regular readers of the blog know by now that I've written FL state Senator Jeremy Ring about the HB CRA scandal before, perhaps some of those fact-filled emails I also sent to the fair-minded state legislators on the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee and certain members of the FL House and Senate leadership who still genuinely care about public accountability and the public good, emails that I've never mentioned before, have finally worn away their natural skepticism that things here in Hallandale Beach at the CRA could really be as bad as we all knew they were in fact.
Nothing like having the facts on your side in an argument, and we've all collectively had facts by the mountain-lode from the very beginning.

HB City Hall, on the other hand, had it much easier.
There, highly-paid city employees only had their never-ending desire to keep Mayor Cooper and her Rubber Stamp Crew happy, and spending money where she wanted it spent, without having those pesky problems of caring what actually happened to the money or even whether it was spent the way it was supposed to, albeit, for impermissible purposes.
Finally, a few rays of sunshine...

This afternoon, former Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London, a friend, sent the following comments out over the transom, and I thought they were worth your attention.



Last week Commissioner Michele Lazarow and I spoke to the Broward County Commission regarding the “Gross Mismanagement” by Hallandale Beach of its CRA.

On Friday I received a copy of the letter from the Florida Legislature Joint Legislative Committee demanding specific action(s) by the city of Hallandale as outlined in the Broward Office of the Inspector General official report title “Gross Mismanagement”.

As a “concerned citizen” I also spoke with the Florida Auditor General’s office and requested they perform a complete audit of Hallandale CRA under Florida Statue Chapter 163. I was pleased to see their office was copied by the Florida Legislature Joint Legislative Committee letter on Friday.

In addition, the State Attorney’s office has issued subpoenas to the city of and at least one elected Hallandale Commission member seeking documentation into the “criminal investigation” of Deborah Brown.

The above information is vastly different than the story Cooper portrays in her writings in the Sun Times last Thursday (the newspaper which receives $50,000 annually from the City and a CRA grant of $25,000) – click here.

The State Attorney’s Office, Florida Legislature Joint Legislative Committee, Florida Auditor General, Broward Office of the Inspector General, and The Broward County Commission will surely enjoy reading the rants of denial in her article while the investigation continues. 
* I'll have a video posted here very soon of the comments that Keith and HB City Commissioner Michele Lazarow made last Tuesday before the Broward County Commission so that you can hear them for yourself.

Officially, those photos that I sent some of you by email last Tuesday afternoon of Keith London and Mayor Joy Cooper at the Broward County Comm. meeting ran at the Broward Politics blog, so if you were to go to the Sun-Sentinel's website, they don't appear in search results.

Here's the link to the reader comments to the strange S-S photo gallery of Tuesday, the one that incorrectly implied that Mayor Cooper would speak, which if the Sun-Sentinel's Tonya Alanez had simply read the agenda docs, she'd know that was NOT going to happen.
Not that they went back to correct that, after-the-fact, as would happen at most newspapers!

And where's any mention of what was actually said about the HB CRA at that meeting, either in the morning or later in the afternoon on Tuesday?
There is NONE.

If you want more proof of the Sun-Sentinel's obliviousness to this story, consider this.
If you do a search on the S-S website itself, there's nothing on their website about the HB CRA scandal or what Keith London or Comm. Michele Lazarow have said about it, whether last Tuesday or in the past few months, even though it's clearly news.
0 results for ‘"Hallandale Beach CRA"’. Showing 0 results for"Hallandale Beach CRA".
Sort by: Relevance | Date
No Results Found
So, obviously, there's also no high-minded editorials from them about the HB CRA scandals and HB City Hall's longstanding lack of ethics.

In fact, what Michele actually says or does or thinks about any issue of any kind at HB City Hall has never caught the attention of the S-S since her election in November.
Nothing about a single issue in 7 months according to their own records!

Yes, despite everything that has happened here over those same seven months.

Your first reaction upon hearing this likely to shake your head and say 
"How in the year 2013 can that be true?"
There's your local news coverage, Sun-Sentinel style.

Some well-informed people around Broward have been suggesting something to me for many months and now I'm officially going to share this bit of groupthink with you, though that was before I started hearing last week that subpoenas were on the way:

They believe that Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo has thrown in the towel on HB and is no longer going to get exorcised by what  happens here, since he believes that the Broward State Attorney's Office doesn't want to do their job and neither does FL Attorney General Pam Bondi's office, either.

They further believe that Mayo sees writing a column about HB, like he once did fairly frequently for a few years, as a losing proposition, and that he no longer thinks it's worth the time or effort because nobody cares what happens here.
In that respect, he'd just be like News4, NBC6 and 7News, who have been invisible on this story.

* Attention future owners of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Here's your snapshot of newsroom editor Dana Banker's commitment to fair-minded local news coverage as viewed thru the prism of someone who lives in my city and who is well-informed -nothing.
And let's not forget Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor under whose leadership nothing about the HB CRA scandal has ever appeared in print.
You know, in case facts matter.

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