BY BUDDY NEVINS
The Broward County Commission, which has been unable to get a new Elections Headquarters built after 11 years, has bungled the project again.
Broward Circuit Court Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips on Tuesday blocked construction of the new Elections HQ in an old BJ’s store in Sunrise.
The court order from Judge Phillips came just a week after the Broward County Commission was warned that litigation could delay the project if they picked the BJ’s property. Commissioners voted 5-4 to begin negotiations to buy the property despite those threats.
Could one reason be that lobbyist Judy Stern was hired by BJ’s owners? She campaigned for at least two of the “yes” votes — Commissioners Lois Wexler and Tim Ryan?
Dale Holness, Marty Kiar, Kristin Jacobs and Stacy Ritter were the “No” votes.
Browardbeat.com also wrote about the possibility that the litigation meant that the project would face delays.
Sunrise Properties, the owners of warehouse property in Plantation that lost the bid for the Elections HQ, sued the country to block the BJ’s purchase. The suit alleges the lack of proper procedures in picking BJ’s and its lack of proper zoning.
Judge Phillips today granted Sunrise Properties– controlled by longtime Broward business partners, real estate investors Bill Murphy and Austin Forman – a stay pending further court hearing. The date for the hearing has not been set.
Every day the project is delayed threatens its opening by the 2016 presidential election.
The key portion of Judge Phillips four-page order is here (click to enlarge):