Airport Parking Firm Being Dumped Over Phony Payments To County

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Bill Bodenhamer, Broward’s parking czar

A long-time Broward political insider’s company is being blocked from extending its airport parking contract after being accused of “knowingly submitted false invoices for payments to the county on over 100 occasions,” according to documents obtained by Browardbeat.com.

Broward Aviation Director Kent George alleges in a letter to county commissioners that the USA Parking admits to the doctoring the invoices from 2005-2007.

USA Parking’s lawyer vehemently denied the charges.

“As for the November 8 letter referring to ‘false invoices’, that characterization is misleading and inaccurate,” said Joseph M. Goldstein of Shutts & Bowen law firm in an e-mail to Browardbeat.com.

The fight is over managing the airport’s 11,644-space public garages and outdoor lots, which have $40 million in annual parking revenue.  It will pit powerbroker and USA Parking Chief Executive Officer Bill Bodenhamer against George, who was hired to run the airport in 2007after doing the same thing in Pittsburg, PA.

Bodenhamer is a long-time downtown Fort Lauderdale political player, reliable campaign contributor  and a member of the Downtown Development Authority of Fort Lauderdale.

He founded USA Parking in 1980. It now manages roughly 66,000 parking in five states and Puerto Rico and has $130 million in revenue.

Commission sources say Bodenhamer fears his reputation is being threatened by the Aviation chief’s allegations.

The parking titan is preparing for all out war. He has 10 lobbyists registered for the battle, including some of the most durable in Broward.

Among them are Jim Scott, a former County Commissioner and former Florida Senate President; Billy Rubin, a long-time insider who is close to former Sheriff Ken Jenne, Gov. Rick Scott and several commissioners; Judy Stern, who doubles as a political strategist who worked on several commissioners’ campaigns; Alain Jean, a former operative for Jenne, and Ron Book, who is part of almost every major deal in South Florida for over 25 years.

The existing contract expires on Dec. 14. Kent wants to extend the contract on a month-by-month basis until a new management group is picked from three of the four companies that submitted proposals.

The fourth company is USA Parking and Kent told commissioners in his letter he is excluding it because of the past problems with the invoices.

“Aviation does not intend to present to the Board (of County Commissioners) an extension to the USA Parking Systems Inc. existing contract or include USA Parking Systems Inc. in the negotiations of the temporary month-to-month contract,” Kent wrote.

USA Parking is fighting the exclusion.

“We have filed a bid protest appeal to this determination, which is pending,” USA Parking’s lawyer Goldstein wrote.

This is landing in the laps of the commission less than a month after the new commissioners Martin Kiar and Tim Ryan take office. The swearing in is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Kiar and Ryan are former Florida House members, thus are used to being lobbied on controversial issues worth millions of dollars. In fact, several of Bodenhammer’s  lobbyists like Scott, Rubin and Book work in Tallahassee.

Ryan received campaign contributions this year from both Scott, his law firm and Stern.  She also helped manage his campaign.

Although he was unopposed, Kiar received contributions from Stern, Rubin’s company, Book and Book’s company.

Bodenhamer’s company and/or all his 10 lobbyists are regular contributors in many commission campaigns.

One commissioner best summed up the dispute in today’s succinct language of a text message:

“Staff is pissed at USA. Really pissed and r trying to destroy and discredit the company. USA is worried about its future with Broward.”

 



15 Responses to “Airport Parking Firm Being Dumped Over Phony Payments To County”

  1. Patti Lynn says:

    Has our new ethics czar been
    consulted? If, in fact, there has
    been some type of fraud, I would
    expect those who “discovered” it to
    turn it over to the proper investigative agency.

  2. Check your reports says:

    Buddy,
    Please do your research before making blanket statements. The commissioner in district 4-Lamarca, does not show any support from Bodenhamer or any of the USA companies. Just sayin’…

    FROM BUDDY:

    I checked my research. Why don’t you check your reading? I said “Bodenhamer’s company and all his 10 lobbyists are regular contributors…..” Ed Pozzuoli, one of Bodenhamer’s lobbyists, and his wife gave $1,000 to LaMarca.

    However, due to your comment I changed the language to “and/or all of his 10 lobbyists….” Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Buddy,

    Thanks for shedding some light on this…this is a really good opportunity for the new Commission to break from the past.

    Interesting text, Staff is pissed at a company who is perpetrating fraud on the County.The Commission should be pissed. It would be nice to know who texted you and whether their was context or if that was it.

    As to the IG, if a man like George Kent is on top of it then I’m satisfied. What the IG should be watching is how the County Commission will handle this. If they award it to USA we’ll all get a chance to see if Scott has a set and will investigate his funders or will he just continue to hire more “Special Agents” and waste the taxpayers’ $$$$.

  4. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    Patty.

    I would have thought… Given the fact you got drunked, got behind the wheel of your car, and plowed into … what was that again, eight different cars?

    Eight cars…

    No wait, what’s that number between eight and ten?

    Oh, that’s right. You clobbered nine different cars.

    While driving drunk.

    With that track record, I’d imagine you’d want to stay away from anything parking lot related.

    http://www.myactsofsedition.com/instamaos/was-local-nutjob-patti-lynn-back-hammered-behind-the-wheel/

  5. Lamberti is garbage says:

    These crooks have been scamming the crooks at Broward County for years. Why is this news? Didn’t County Commissioners have oversight. I remember Ritter acting all important at the airport. Thank you Kent George.

  6. Lamberti is garbage says:

    That guy in the picture looks like he ate all the cars. Maybe that is where the discrepancy is. $40 million bucks…you can bet they are covering something. What is a million here or there? The taxpayers will never miss it.

  7. who? says:

    Judy Stern, lol, guess that guy is back in 2006 when Judy was a player. When is the last time she won a race? People in this town go to the same old retreads who have little or no juice. Wonder if Eggelletion is getting his piece, go check his golf bag.

  8. Only 6 or 7 says:

    @ Chaz – In the police report, the moving car was #1 and the cars hit by #1 were #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7. Car #7 then impacted #8. So #1 only hit six other cars, one of which then had a secondary collision with #8.

    Fortunately, nobody got hurt! Just a bit of low-speed vehicle damage in a parking lot.

  9. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    >> Only 6 or 7 says:

    You say six, I say nine. You’d be amazed how many times I’ve heard that thru the years.

  10. Floridan says:

    What is the advantage of contracting out parking management? Seems like it could be handled in-house at least as cheaply as farming it out, with the added benefit of avoiding situations such as this.

  11. Herman Pecker says:

    @Chaz- thank you for bringing back the Patti Lynn story, I never get tired of that one. What I find most interesting is not the number of cars involved, 6, 9 whatever. What’s most fascinating to me is the same person who screams for accountability in others was attempting to flee the scene. That’s the real story, and that’s my two cents.

  12. Ghost of McLovin says:

    yeah, USA has the Governmental Center garages and courthouse too

  13. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    @Herman Pecker

    >> What’s most fascinating to me is the same person who screams for accountability in others was attempting to flee the scene.

    Can I get an amen? Praise gawd and pass the altar boy…

    Look…

    It’s easy to be demand accountability via blog comments. Those folks also probably believe they’re making a difference with their opinions.

    As I tell ‘em, don’t confuse noise with making a difference.

    As to Patti Lynn’s drunken bumpkin’ bumper car escapade, I am reminded of what my lawyer Tommy Wright taught me years ago…

    The first time you are caught stealing, ain’t the first time you stole…

    You really think that’s the first time Patty was hammered behind the wheel?

    Finally … as to whether it was 5, 6, or 9 vehicles, let’s resolve that this way.

    Hello audience! Show of hands please.

    Raise your hand if you ever got behind the wheel of your car, all fucked up like, and then plowed into more than ONE park car.

    Anybody but Patti Lynn that is.

  14. Jeff says:

    The number of lobbyists hired by this firm is all the proof of misconduct one needs.

  15. Alberta Gillett says:

    Very interesting case this would turn out to be since both parties are angry for accusing one over the other. Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

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