Davie: Luis Gets Help From Special Interests; Stevens and Santini Finances Hidden


Last-minute money from special interests including associates of the Forman family have poured into Town Council member Marlon Luis’ District 4 Davie race.

The money comes  just months after Luis was the swing vote in the controversial town purchase of $12.5 million in land from the Formans.

Meanwhile, Council candidates Freda Sherman Stevens in District 2 and Terry Santini in District 3 do not have final financial reports posted on the town’s website as of early Monday. 

This surely isn’t in keeping with the spirit of the law. It makes me wonder if it is just a slip-up or if Stevens and Santini are hiding something?

It is Luis’ race that is the hottest.

Luis received at least $2,500 in the final days of the campaign from Bill Murphy, Murphy’s wife and companies associated with Murphy. Murphy is a long-time real estate partner of Austin Forman.

Luis was the swing vote in December for the town’s purchase of 25 acres from Forman for a water plant and a park.  Luis’ opponent Ellis Traub charges that the town rushed into the deal and overpaid for the land.

In addition to the Murphy money, Luis’ campaign was flooded with special interest money in the final reporting period. Builders, lobbyists like the law firm of Bill Laystrom,  lobbyist Barbara Miller, the Realtors PAC, engineering company owner and political insider Tom McDonald and his wife and the lobbyist law firm of Ruden McClosky donated.

Luis had a whopping $52,150 given to his campaign, compared with $14,525 for Traub.

Traub’s reports indicate his donations are largely from himself.  But that is an illusion.

Traub loaned the campaign $10,000 of the $14,525.  He spent slightly over $4,300 — all other folks money.

Much of  Traub’s money is connected to The Commons, the proposed shopping and office complex that residents of District 4 are overwhelmingly against.  The contributions include $1,000 from The Commons’ chief Bob Gorlow and his wife and $1,500 from The Commons advisor Chris Wallace, his wife and company.

There are also complaints from the Luis campaign that robo calls and a website attacking Luis do not show up on the Traub’s campaign finance reports.  If true, who paid for them?

In Davie District 2, Caryl Casey-Hattan is the obvious favorite of many special interests.  She got last minute money from Waste Management, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Realtors PAC and lobbyist Ron Book and his wife.

Her opponent Freda Sherman Stevens didn’t have a final report posted on the town’s website.  If she is at fault,  I find her lack of candor extremely sleezy. 

District 3 candidate Terry Santini also has no final report posted.  Again, this appears to be an inexcusable, shady attempt to hide her finances before the election.  

In earlier reports, Santini got $1,250 from affordable housing interests.  I wonder if some affordable housing is planned for District 3?

Santini’s opponent, incumbent Town Council member Susan Starkey, has gotten special interest money in this race Waste Management, Realtors PAC, lobbyists like Bill Laystrom’s law firm, etc.  Remember, however, that Santini has not disclosed all her contributors as of the weekend.

One interesting face:  Democratic Party activist Phil Busey has donated voters lists to the GOP darling Susan Starkey.  Three years ago, Busey lost a bid for town council against Starkey.

Busey also sold walk lists to Marlon Luis for $400.

16 Responses to “Davie: Luis Gets Help From Special Interests; Stevens and Santini Finances Hidden”

  1. Davie Dave says:

    Terry Santini is a horrible choice for anybody. She doesn’t file her campaign report and she is an accountant. No excuse.

  2. JustLooking says:

    That must say something (and it’s not good) about Terry Santini, for a Democratic activist to donate something to Susan Starkey.

  3. marlon says:

    Ellis Traub has proven he is for sale. His campaign is totally paid for by The Commons. If you want The Commons in your backyard, vote for Ellis.

  4. Brad Anderson says:

    Both of these guys are hypocrites. They claim they are not taking money from special interest groups but clearly they are. From both sides no less. I see Luis had donations from Foremans people before they bought the land. Traub claims that the Commons is a dead issue but they are still giving everyone money. Something stinks.If they mean what the say – let then send the money back.

  5. Margaretha Geertruida Zelle says:


    South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
    Davie voters to decide three council races
    Controversial land deal a hot topic in town election
    By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel

    8:15 PM EST, March 8, 2010


    Voters heading to the polls Tuesday will decide the outcome of three races that have been nasty from the get-go.

    Six candidates are battling for three council seats in a year when budget woes, a tough economy and redevelopment challenges are playing key roles in the town’s election.

    In District 2, voters will choose between teacher Caryl Casey Hattan and business consultant Freda Stevens. Councilman Michael Crowley, who defeated Casey Hattan in 2004, is not seeking re-election.

    In District 3, accountant Terry Santini is challenging Councilwoman Susan Starkey for the seat she has held since 2001. Santini served one term on the Town Council in the mid-1990s and lost a race against Starkey in 2007.

    The hottest race is in District 4, where incumbent Marlon Luis and retired pilot Ellis Traub are fiercely opposed on two topics: the proposed Davie Commons shopping village and the town’s controversial $12.5 million purchase of 25 acres from landowner Austin Forman.

    The land deal has become a hot topic in the town’s election, with shadow groups sending out attack ads on virtually every candidate but Santini.

    Luis voted for the land deal and opposes the Davie Commons, saying the traffic would ruin Davie’s western neighborhoods.

    Traub backs the Commons and is an outspoken critic of the land deal, saying the town paid too much for the land and pushed it through quickly before residents could object.

    On Dec. 16, the Town Council voted 3-2 to buy land from Forman for a park and possible water plant. The town paid $12.5 million, or $500,000 an acre.

    Starkey voted against the purchase, calling it “a $9 million mistake” because the town took that amount out of reserves to fund the purchase.

    Her opponent, Santini, agreed the town paid too much for the land.

    “The comps for the appraisals are based on sales from three years ago,” Santini said during a recent candidates’ forum at the Davie Women’s Club. “We probably paid twice as much as we should have.”

    Susannah Bryan can be reached at sebryan@SunSentinel.com or 954-572-2077.

    Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

  6. Broward Voter says:

    The predictions are in and the winners are Susan Starkey, Ellis Traub and Caryl Casey-Hattan.

  7. Davie Voter says:

    @ Broward Voter

    No you are wrong, the predictions are:

    Freda Stevens-district 2
    Terry Santinit-district 3
    Marlon Luis-district 4

  8. marie o'connor says:

    Freda Steven’s Campaign Treasurer’s report filed late shows contributions of $500 each from 1.KENNETH BERNSTEIN (is/was general counsel for TURNBERRY ASSOCIATES

  9. marie o'connor says:

    Hit the button too soon

    Freda Stevens Campaign Treasurer’s report $500 from 5 individuals who are/were affiliated with TURNBERRY ASSOCIATES:
    Kenneth Bernstein
    Bette Bernstein
    Lou Bernstein
    Raymond Parello
    Eleanor Parello

    Is TURNBERRY ASSOCIATES behind the “Protect Davie Taxpayers”????

    I seem to remember Freda bashing her opponents in the past for taking developers’ money.

  10. Davie Voter says:

    @ Marie O Connor:

    If you had half a brain you would know that law requires campaign reports to be postmarked by 12:00 am. Dumbass if you look at the report it clearly shows the report was postmarked on 3/5/2010-which means it was filed timely.

    Stupid is as stupid does…

    Yes, the law only requires the finance forms to be postmarked by the Friday before the election.

    But the spirit of the law is to have transparency in campaign finances so that voters can have the maximum information when they cast ballots.
    Santini and Stevens deliberately mailed their forms so that they would not be online until the last possible moment, rather than file them electronically or deliver them to Town Hall. Legal but sleazy and inexcusable.
    Before the Internet, I remember candidates who would file their papers Friday in Tallahassee or Key West. They would be properly postmarked, but not arrive in Broward until after the election.
    I also heard a story once — although I never checked it out — of a candidate having someone fly to the Bahamas to have the mail postmarked Friday. It didn’t arrive until mid-week days after the voting.

  11. Davie Voter says:

    The Town of Davie does not offer electronic filing. It would great if TOD offered electronic filing but the town council is too backwards to do it.

  12. long time davie voter says:

    Dear Davie Voter, you just do not get it. The gist of the last few replies were about Freda Stevens accepting last minute money from individuals associated with Turnberry — and her attempt to keep it secret for as long as she could get away with!!!! Not that the post mark was on time or that the Town of Davie is too backwards to do it.

    “Santini and Stevens deliberately mailed their forms so that they would not be online until the last possible moment, rather than file them electronically or deliver them to Town Hall. Legal but sleazy and inexcusable.”

    Freda could have driven to the town hall and hand delivered the report. Her house (maybe not “her” house but where she claims is her legal residence) is .94 miles away from town hall. A 2 minute drive.

  13. Davie Voter says:

    @long time Davie voter/Marie O’Connor

    Freda Stevens could not drive, walk, swim, crawl, canoe, or fly to the Town of Davie to hand deliver her campaign report because she was out knocking on doors until 8:30pm that night!! Got it dumbass.

  14. long time davie voter says:

    Dear Davie Voter/Freda Stevens

    You do not have to resort to these tactics — calling someone “dumbass” — or “if you had half a brain” is not productive and if you (Freda) claim to be a teacher and helping those with special needs, shame on you — and if you are a supporter of Freda, shame on you.

    This “dumbass” and person with half a brain has certainly hit a sore subject! TURNBERRY!!!!

    The bottom line, Freda went out of her way to make sure her campaign report got there at the last minute so the registered voters in District 2 might not have the time to research the info in the report.

  15. long time davie voter says:

    Davie Voter says:

    “March 9th, 2010 at 10:50 am
    The Town of Davie does not offer electronic filing. It would great if TOD offered electronic filing but the town council is too backwards to do it.”

    And thank God you did not get elected Freda Stevens — to call the town council “backwards” Yeah, yeah — you lost!

    what we do not need is a financially desperate council member who might be tempted to vote where the money is rather than where the best interest of the town is!

    Aren’t you the one who wanted to bring the Old Davie School up to the 21st century?

    Bonehead!dumbass! If you had half a brain! Look who is calling the kettle black!

  16. davie dukes says:

    @longtime davie voter-

    Financially desperate? Aren’t you the one who owes a bank money? Didn’t you have a foreclosure-Marie/Ellen? Whatever your names is…Didn’t they take you off the force for being a nutjob?
    That’s why your father and mother abused you as a child! LMAO

    Go to therapy. dumbass