Fort Lauderdale Blasted For “Misconduct” In $32 Million Contract

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Fort Lauderdale was slammed for “misconduct” and “violations” of state law in awarding a $32 million contract to a client represented by two of the city’s most plugged-in lobbyists.

The withering report by the Office of the Inspector General stated that investigators found widespread “deficiencies” in the award of a $32 million contract for the design and construction of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex on the beach.

The lobbyists on the project for the builder Recreational Design and Construction: Neil Sterling and Jim Blosser.

The OIG launched the investigation in November amid allegations of favoritism because the city considered only the proposal from Sterling and Blosser’s client.

No favoritism was found, according to the OIG report.

Sterling, a former School Board member, made a career of lobbying in school headquarters until he stopped in the wake of corruption scandals involving some of the elected members he backed. He is now a fixture in City Hall.

Blosser is best known for his association with entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga.

The project includes an overhaul of the swimming Hall of Fame, renovation of the Olympic-style swimming pool and construction of a new pool.

The OIG report found:

“The OIG investigation found that the City of Fort Lauderdale engaged in misconduct when it awarded a $32 million contract for the design and construction of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. Specifically, we determined that the City conducted an inadequate procurement and legal review process which resulted in a violation of Florida Statute § 287.055, the award of a non-responsive contract, and other deficiencies. Those deficiencies included the fact that the City Commission was told the contract contained language that was never, in fact, incorporated, and the contract also allocated $60,027 for unidentified costs. Most significantly, the City agreed to a provision in the contract that shielded $1.66 million of reimbursable labor costs from audit, which would have prevented the City from determining if it was being overbilled for the vendor’s supervisory and administrative labor costs….Although the OIG appreciates the City’s cooperation throughout the investigation, we remain concerned that the City persists in ignoring the explicit requirements of the statute. Thus, the OIG will continue to monitor future solicitations involving design-build projects and work with the City to ensure proper application of the statute.”

My question is how the two lawyers on the commission — Mayor Jack Seiler and Commissioner Romney Rogers — missed this one?

Hmmmm.

 



22 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale Blasted For “Misconduct” In $32 Million Contract”

  1. Your Pal Al Lameberti says:

    My question is how the two lawyers on the commission — Mayor Jack Seiler and Commissioner Romney Rogers — missed this one?

    That is a really stupid question.

  2. The real story says:

    City Attorney Harry Stewart issued an opinion stating the City was ok to go forward as it did. This had nothing to do with Mayor Seiler, Commissioner Rogers or anyone else on the Commission.

  3. Tomato Tomatoe says:

    Wow, some one actually threw the city attorney under the bus for this debacle not the elected officials. No pay raise for you, Mr. Stewart, in next year’s budget.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Harry Stewart has retired. He is criticized in the report.

  4. Shocked? says:

    Are we shocked? Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler, Commissioner Romney Rogers and City Attorney Harry Stewart did not catch these improprieties, violations, misconducts? Sadly it is just another day in their term.

  5. lets be perfectly clear says:

    @The Real Story
    “..Stewart issued an opinion stating the City was ok to go forward as it did. This had nothing to do with Mayor Seiler, Commissioner Rogers or anyone else on the Commission.”

    so let me understand – these 2 lawyers w/20+ years post Bar license experience in the ways of developers and their lawyers were snookered/misled by a lawyer w/30+ years experience, all the while Art Seitz pointed out the obvious at CC metgs for almost 3 years? surprised they aren’t blaming george gretsas.

  6. Chaz Stevens, GloatsALot says:

    @5

    You mistake longevity for competency.

  7. John Henry says:

    So the OIG launched the investigation in November amid allegations of favoritism since the city considered only the proposal from Sterling and Blosser’s client and yet no favoritism was found??????

    Has the City been sucked into the twilight zone????

    Was there any point to this “OIG Paper Tiger” investigation besides wasting tax payer money????

  8. Eric Hersh says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Neil Sterling is the one behind the “Wave” pending disaster, and neither the Mayor or Commissioners read or understood what they were voting on with regards to that issue. This commission clearly just votes yes on anything the staff and lobbiest puts before them. When the lawsuits over the Wave are completed, I’m sure the same “misconduct” will be revealed.

  9. Fred Carlson says:

    This report glossed over the pattern of City errors and mistakes, each of was a gift to RDC. The City did NOTHING to correct the basic errors of the deliberately flawed RFP designed to “gift” RDC. A pattern of clumsy mistakes followed. “I’m not shoplifting officer, the goods just fell in my pocket when I reached for the car keys.” The pattern of clumsy errors perhaps was deliberate? OIG glossed over the pattern? Why? Dig, Buddy dig.

  10. Steve Glassman says:

    The original RFP was flawed; the criteria and conditions were unattainable and that is why only one bid was received. If done properly, this process could have resulted in a first-class project for the city residents and tourists and it would have had a developer with some skin in the game. From day one, only the Central Beach Alliance and other beach residents like Art Seitz raised a stink and complained to the then-district Commissioner and her colleagues. It all fell on deaf ears and we are now left with this OIG report and a mediocre, at best, project. A final irony: the project as it stands today resembles very little what was required in the original RFP.

  11. Freedom says:

    My question is now what happens? If nothing happens then what is the point of all this. Jut letting us know that there was a lack of fiduciary duty on the part of the commission is not enough. Nothing happens, no heads rolls, no fines levied. I just don’t get it. For every action there is supposed to be an equal and opposite reaction.

  12. Hersh for Mayor says:

    There goes Judy Stern’s pal Eric Hersh chiming in getting ready for his run against Mayor Seiler.

    Welcome to the table Jack

    Signed

    Lori Mosley
    Kristin Jacobs
    John and Charlotte Rodstrom
    Evan Jenne
    Scott Israel
    and many many more…

  13. City Activist Robert walsh says:

    Here goes. This is actually a slap in the face to our Procurement dir. Kurt Bovington. And in his defense he can not force other companies to bid on projects. The fact that RDC was the only bid @ the time is how it went down. As far as Att.Harry Stewart not doing his job and basiccly looking the other way is questionable. Mr.Stewart would not risk losing his law license etc. for this commission(who he wasn’t very fond of-and he could not stand City manager Lee Feldman(sneaky Pete was your nick name around the office Lee-@ least he didn’t call you some of my nick names.) So we move on and we cover all bases in the future….

  14. just one vote says:

    Launched in Nov 2012 and released late July while comm is on hiatus.

    How convenient.
    Just a coincidence? Hardly.

  15. Hersh for Mayor says:

    I’d vote for that guy.

  16. Alice McGill says:

    OMG! Now I understand why the mayor of Dania Beach, Walter Duke, and his wife spend so many hours of their time in Fort Lauderdale. They hang out on Riverfront, publicize buildings on the New River, hire contractors from Lauderdale Isles, send a minion to Lauderdale Isles to videotape persons, bank in Fort Lauderdale, etc.,etc. They are picking up hints on how to work procedures in Dania Beach for the benefit of themselves and those beloved lobbyists. The couple already is cunning enough to manipulate many citizens of Dania Beach, but it is always beneficial to pick up new knowledge. Look out, Dania Beach. When the Duke machine plants a “yes” man on the commission, they can ruin the budget and cost you money. They are learning new tricks.

  17. Christine says:

    City activist,

    Stop the logorrhea.

    Please .

  18. tell the truth says:

    Blosser & Sayfie Counselors at Law employed Alain Jean as of March 2009 (coincidentally FLL City elections of the 4 newbies Rogers, DuBose, Roberts and Seiler) as Governmental Relations Consultant whose wife Stephanie Jean (Congressional aide to Alcee Hastings) was to be and still is Bobby DuBose’ appointee to Planning & Zoning. Blosser & Sayfie steered, no rammed, the project through all reviews and approvals in spite of the single source contract award.
    Now Sayfie has a new firm, Alain Jean is no longer employed or consulting for him, and where’s Blosser?
    Art Seitz brought up the RDC errors and misleading statements in the qualifications and past projects again and again and now we know why it fell on deaf ears. Will Alain Jean be hired by RDC as a community outreach while the project is under construction?

  19. Integrity says:

    There is no integrity left in local government! There needs to be some responsibility owned by the sitting commission (except Dean as he should not have to pay for the sins of his predecessor) on this. Passing off blame to the retired city attorney and the city manager is cowardice. The two attorneys who were sitting on that dais need to own this too.
    This calls for more than a slap on the hands. Art Seitz deserves an apologize for the Seiler and clowns always trying to portrait him as crazy.

  20. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Poltical whores huh some of you huh. The true whores are the ones that go before this comm. lie to them, be deceiptful, etc. Yes you are the true whores. Again the Comm. cannot direct staff, call them, etc. have to go through the Cit manager.Poltical whores huh. Really….

  21. Alice in Wonderland says:

    More blather from the sexual frustrated C A R W, nice pompoms and cheerleader outfit you have on. Gimme a C Gimme a O Gimme a R Gimme a R Gimme a u Gimme a P Gimme a T, what’s that spell CORRUPT, Yeah lets hear it for the CORRUPT,City of Fort Lauderdale Government.

    (My question is how the two lawyers on the commission — Mayor Jack Seiler and Commissioner Romney Rogers — missed this one?)

    How about filing a Florida Bar Complaint, after all they are using their “Law License” ex post facto.

  22. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Alice in Wonderland take a hit of acid, will you….

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