BY BUDDY NEVINS
I look at pictures of Haiti and see collapsed buildings, crushed cars and toppled trees.
Broward County entrepreneurs J. R. Bergeron and Randy Perkins look at Haiti and see dollars in the debris.
J.R. Bergeron (left) and his father, Ron Bergeron
The two men’s firms have fought all over Florida for hurricane debris contracts, which are worth millions if a storm hits.
They have battled in every Broward city hall.
The Brawl in Broward has morphed into the Clash in the Caribbean.
Bergeron and Perkins companies AshBritt of Pompano Beach and Bergeron Emergency Services of Pembroke Pines are wrestling for pieces of the Haitian earthquake recovery, according to the Institute of Southern Studies.
J. R. Bergeron is the son of Ron Bergeron – the road, real estate and rock pit tycoon. Although both are officers of Bergeron Emergency Services, it is J. R. who is handling the move into Haiti.
Both Perkins and the elder Bergeron have houses in Parkland. Both have done extensive work for government in Broward AshBritt removing debris and Bergeron building roads and parks and cleaning up after emergencies.
And both dislike one another.
They publicly clashed in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, when Perkins baited Bergeron at a Davie Town Hall meeting. Perkins made fun of Bergeron by appearing in Bergeron’s signature cowboy clothes, complete with fancy boots.
The institute’s online magazine quoted The Miami Herald as saying Perkins has already met with Haitian President RenÃƒ© PrÃƒ©val to lobby for a cleanup contract.
WPEC-Channel 12 in West Palm Beach quoted J. R. Bergeron as saying he is already trying to hire workers for Haiti.
“I think we’ve taken in 3000 applications since we put the ad in,” said J. R. Bergeron, who operates the debris business and is Ron’s son.
J. R.’ sister has done missionary work in Haiti and has extensive contacts on the island.
AshBritt is in the middle of a scandal at the Broward School Board for allegedly overbilling by $765,000 for Hurricane Wilma cleanup work. The firm is also accused of mishandling the debris removal on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.