Stacy Ritter Calls For State Probes Of Laud Lakes

BY CHAZ STEVENS

 

Finally…

After spending the last year of my life ringing up those in charge — from Broward to Tallahassee seeking an outside review of Lauderdale Lakes, someone finally listened.

And finally … finally someone rallied to my cause and the cause of the taxpayers: County Commissioner Stacy Ritter.

 

Stacy Ritter To The Rescue

In letters to Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee I obtained exclusively, Ritter said financial problems are so bad in the financially beleaguered West Broward city that “I believe the City, its residents and the residents of Broward County may be forced to bail out Lauderdale Lakes.”

Citing concerns about “possible improprieties and/or illegalities” in the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, Ritter asked for an investigation from Bondi

She also requested a formal audit from state Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, and state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, who head the joint committee.

Ritter’s letters to Tallahassee said the CRA/City “appears to have failed to appropriate” $3.2 million in the 2012 and 2013 budgets which would violate state law.  Broward County may be due a refund for money it gave the CRA because of this failure, she wrote.

“The CRA issue alone is troubling and suggests financial irresponsibility and mismanagement by the City and its Administration. In the case of Lauderdale Lakes, the CRA Board is the City Commission.  I believe the City, its residents and the residents of Broward County may be forced to bail out Lauderdale Lakes.  Currently the City is perilously close to its 10-mill cap.  Its families are burdened by perhaps the highest tax rate in the state yet I do not see strong immediate remedial measures being taken.  Some on the City Commission have recently discussed raises for employees and elected officials.  While there is nothing illegal in this action, it raises questions of the Cities (sic) commitment and understanding of its predicament,” she wrote the state legislative committee.

Bully for her.

“Broward County and our residents have invested a great deal to save the city of Lauderdale Lakes,” Ritter said in an email to me.  “It’s imperative that we get answers to our repeated questions about Lauderdale Lakes’ fiscal health and responsibility. We have too much at stake to let these questions remain unanswered.”

This effort by Ritter stems from my yearlong investigation of the Lauderdale Lakes Community Redevelopment Agency.

Community Redevelopment Agencies, or CRAs, such as the one in Lauderdale Lakes, can be found in twelve other Broward municipalities.  Their role is to breath life into depleted neighborhoods by creating economic opportunity and improving housing stock. When properly executed — Orlando’s Church Street and the Ft. Lauderdale beachfront — the results are spectacular.

And now for the bad news.

CRAs are publicly financed through Tax Incremental Funding — 55% from the county taxpayer’s wallet. By law, this money cannot be transferred to a city’s General Fund; unfortunately, a few appear to have illegally dipped into those accounts.

And in Lauderdale Lakes, this leaves their CRA, after accounting for debt load servicing and six-figure staff salaries, just enough coin to maintain a community vegetable garden.

Stories on my MyActsof Sedition.com website here and here indicate millions of dollars of questionable practices, including possible mishandling by the CRA of loans, payments of non-CRA employees with lawfully restricted CRA funds, projects that appeared to benefit only private investors and revenue shortfalls at Educational and Cultural Center of Lauderdale Lakes.

Ritter concludes her letters with, “I would like to request that your office commences a complete investigation into the Lauderdale Lakes CRA and City’s General Fund. Broward County has a substantial financial stake in this matter. As an elected official and a resident of Broward County, I am concerned that the County has potential liability as we approved the establishment of the CRA.”

 



25 Responses to “Stacy Ritter Calls For State Probes Of Laud Lakes”

  1. Woody72 says:

    Golf Cart Stacy calling the kettle black.

  2. NP148 says:

    That is so funny one of the worst crooked County Commissioners has the gall to start a investigation. What about the free cart and the 100,000 of free work on her home and the free grand piano and being out odf state and yet claiming it was part of a fund raiser. I hope and pray that she finally gets indicted like some of her cohorts and her lobbyist husband. What is she using that she is attractive so she can get away with doing crooked things?

  3. I agree with woody says:

    Ritter on ethics-hahahaha
    Wait let me drive my chait golf cart and drive to my Steinger renovated house to play my Steinger piano….hahahaha

  4. sidelines says:

    I will overlook any prior unfounded accusations of Commissioner Ritter if she steps up and sees this through. Lauderdale Lakes is a boiling kettle and will get worse. Lets deal with this asap. Scrap the unfounded crap neither the Ethics people or local yokels did not pursue. Shes a lawyer. She won’t be breaking any laws. Skirting them, maybe, but WTFC as ALL attorneys do that.
    Thank you Comm. Ritter.

  5. TmetoFumigate says:

    Thanks to the persistent efforts of Chaz, a full colonoscopy is on the way for the filthy, corrupt and racist city manager in Lakes, jon allen, and his dysfunctional, nitwit of a finance director, marie elianor. They’ve been looting special funds (CRA, Stormwater, Solid Waste) to replenish the General Fund and keep their lifeless cadaver of a city going. It’s against the law and the audit will hopefully reveal all their dirty dealings…that’s if the State can find all the records they’ll be looking for. Since allen fired his City Clerk, he has been busy working the paper shredder!

  6. Sara Youst says:

    I can’t believe Ritter is ridiculed for what she is doing. A few malcontents don’t like that she just got reelected so they smear her here. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Ritter hasn’t even been charged with anything except on the Internet. Leave her alone and praise her for trying to protect us from Lauderdale Lakes’ mistakes.

  7. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Sara

    One must be thoughtful of the mindset of those who comment upon the blogs.

    1. It takes very little effort to spout out one’s opinion.
    2. Folks often equate opinion for action.
    3. Opinion doesn’t necessarily equate to reality.
    4. They’ve got nothing else to add besides their vocal banality.

    For instance, I spent a year of my life figuring out how the City of Lauderdale Lakes is fucking their local residents and the County. I understand the city’s crooked book keeping, the criminal procurement actions of the city manager, the willful destruction of public records. I’ve studied no bid contracts, outright lies on their financial documents, and the illegal use of taxpayer money.

    All done to protect the ALL OF OUR mutual interests.

    The only elected official that showed a drop of concern was Stacy Ritter. Not Chris Smith. Not Hazelle Rogers (though she’s under criminal investigation related to the LL CRA). Not the Florida Auditor General. Not Rick Scott.

    And at the County, only Ritter bothered to listen. Jacobs, Gunzburger, LaMarca, Marty, and the rest didn’t even bother to return my calls. Holeness, well he circled the “black wagon”, protecting his fellow crooks.

    Over in Lauderdale Lakes, the Commission (outside of Gloria Lewis) looks the other way, while at the same time, giving themselves a pay raise.

    The LL City Attorney, Jim Brady, tells everyone he “works in a fishbowl.”

    ***

    Sara, it boils down to this. There are millions of dollars at stake here. Millions of dollars of County money. That’s your money, my money, our money.

    So for those who want to worry over a fucking golf cart, go right ahead. You’re entitled to that, but don’t for one fucking second think that you’re making a goddamn bit of difference in life.

    I’m much more interested in the $8 million outstanding loan than a busted down 25 year old rusted golf cart.

    But that’s just me…

    ***

    Those that take cheap shots are about as effective as a fart in a wind tunnel.

    ***

    If there’s a political perp walk in Lauderdale Lakes, it will be helped in great part by my investigative effort.

    My passion is to fight political corruption. I’m pretty good at it. For the longest time, it was just Fane Lozman and myself. We’re now joined by Stacy Ritter and we’re happy to have her on our team.

  8. Tamarac Talk says:

    Chaz, People like Woody and #3 can only comprehend the concept of a piece of crap golf cart…

    Grasping the notion of the public getting sucked into paying $8 million for this Lauderdale Lakes debacle? Way out of their realm of comprehension for these pea-brains.

  9. please says:

    Sharon why don’t you use your name like a normal person, still using Tamarac Talk is a joke. It must be hard to keep up your identities on FB and other sites always going back and forth.

    I love how you are such a good “journalist” that when you want to curry favor with someone all of their known sins get tossed under the rug and forgotten. Yes Comm Ritter is right on the ball with LLakes, but to your dismay, people still have a right to question her ethical lapses in the past. I know respecting other peoples First Amendment rights is not important to you, but it is important.

  10. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    I am always amazed how very few people truly understand the first amendment.

    It’s about prohibiting the creation of laws that abridge one’s right to free speech (and religion).

    Is Sharon creating laws? Think not. So please, kindly shut the fuck up.

  11. Tamarac Talk says:

    Please,

    LOL, everyone knows who Tamarac Talk is, I put my website out there and a link to my site. What about you….please? What is your name?

    Too scared to come out and say who you really are? You are a joke.

    My identities online are to promote my 3 sites. There is no BS about them. I’m not “Posing” as anyone else. Oh and I know you’re reading Tamarac Talk…you can’t help it, can you.

  12. TmetoFumigate says:

    Stacy Ritter definitely has had her ethical issues…but does that mean her call for a full investigation of Lakes has no merit? Hell no…it’s long overdue! The taxpayers have been getting ripped off, big time, while dirtbag jon allen continues on with his “shell game!” Ritter is the only County Commissioner actually doing something about it and for that she should be commended and supported!

  13. Broward Lawyer says:

    Where’s that great public corruption crime fighter State Attorney Mike Satz???

  14. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @13

    In the case of Lauderdale Lakes, Satz has taken a mulligan.

    With good reason.

    You see, City Manager Jon Allen, dinged by the OIG for possible felony bid splitting, is son of the prominent local lawyer George Allen.

    Daddy Allen and Satz go way back… So Satz, concerned about the look of impropriety, conflicted the BC SAO off the case.

    Now for the good news.

    1. About a year ago, Daddy Allen sent me a cease/desist. Told me I was prying into his son’ privacy, threatening his boy with extortion, and the works. My response to the letter, as is with all cease/desist letters I received is to “eat me.”

    2. My complaint against Allen, forwarded to Miami Dade, is said to be in the “final review stages.” I was recently told (yesterday in fact) that a decision to prosecute will be due out in the next couple of weeks.

    3. Since Satz/Tim Donnelly have sent three pols of mine to jail, I have nothing but admiration.

  15. voter says:

    You show ‘em Chaz! Can’t be intimidated because when he knows he’s right he won’t back down!

  16. Broward Dem says:

    Why does a city as small as LL have 7 board members?
    Makes you think…

  17. TmetoFumigate says:

    Satz did the right thing referring the case to the Miami SAO. I’m sure that he’s surprised and hopefully repulsed by what he’s examined regarding the dirty dealings of Georgie Boy’s criminally unethical son.

    I know that politics makes strange bedfellows…but seriously, Mike…you might want to choose your friends more carefully in the future!

  18. Bueller?? says:

    Of course no one bothered to return your calls. When you do stupid crap like install a “Festivus” pole made of beer cans next to the nativity people label you a crackpot with nothing better to do, and ignore you.

  19. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @18…

    If that was only the case…

    Let me say this to you… Hang on it for about a week.

    “Suck it”.

  20. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Ps That festivus pole idea got me national attention.

    Job well played, if I say so myself.

  21. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    PSS You’re commenting about me on my guest column…

    Ain’t that funny. In the end, at least one person is listening — that would be Buddy Nevins.

    And in my world, he matters and you don’t.

  22. christine says:

    @18
    Many have arrived at the same conclusion.

  23. Bueller?? says:

    Come on Chaz. You can do better than that. You got national attention…. for being a crackpot. Just own it. It’s ok. This is Broward county. You fit right in.

  24. christine says:

    @Bueller??

    You say crackpot like it’s a bad thing…for Chaz, it’s what he wallows in….

  25. Me says:

    I agree

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