Ellis Traub’s Davie Campaign Flim-Flam Tries To Fool Voters


Davie Town Council candidate Ellis Traub has suddenly become an outspoken voice against the purchase of 25 acres by the town.

That’s strange, since Traub’s last forays into development deals would not instill confidence in the voters.

Traub is one of the chief advocates of The Commons, a proposed sprawling office and commercial complex which critics say would pour light and noise into Davie Council District 4. 

He wasn’t just a community activist who wanted the massive development in his backyard.  He was co-coordinator of the Davie Citizens In Support of The Commons Davie in 2006.

Traub spoke in favor of the project.  He wrote for the Sun-Sentinel backing it.

On The Developer’s Payroll?

Did Traub get paid to sell out his Davie neighborhood to the biggest development in years?

I don’t know and he denies it in e-mail to Browardbeat.com.  But Traube has a history of getting paid by a developer.

When he lived at the Country Club of Miami, Traub was paid $25,000 by the owner of a golf course.  The owner wanted to unload the golf course on the residents and Traub was willing to help him.

According to the Miami Herald on Dec. 13, 1990, Traub was employed to encourage residents to tax themselves to pay for the course purchase.  Some owners told the Herald they didn’t know Traub was being paid and thought he was just a community leader.

Traub’s job was a success.  Residents approved the creation of a special taxing district. The county paid the owner $24 million for the course.

But the proposal ended up a colossal white elephant, with less golfers using the course than predicted and long delays in promised improvements. Golf World, a national magazine, called the project that Traub promoted a “sucker deal” for taxpayers.

Spinning Your Way Out Of Your Past

Flash forward to the 2010 town elections.

The Commons needs four of the five council votes to move ahead.  There are two hard votes against the Commons on the Davie Town Council Mayor Judy Paul and member Marlon Luis.

As long as Luis and Paul remain in office, the Commons can only muster three votes in favor of the project.  It is dead.

So Traub suddenly decides to run against Luis, an opponent of The Commons.

But Traub needs to switch the debate.  He needs to move the campaign away from a discussion about The Commons, which is deeply unpopular in District 4.    

Suddenly, Traub has his issue the town’s $12.5 million purchase of 25 acres from political insider Austin Forman and his partners.

He uses it to play the old campaign shell game give voters something else to worry about and they will forget about his support of The Commons.

And who pipes up to help Traub? 

Mitchell Chester, who is quoted in the Sun-Sentinel and appears on the radio as just another outraged citizen denouncing the land deal.

But Chester isn’t just another civic activist. Mitchell Chester is Traub’s business partner.

Traub and Chester are officers of Quality Housing Corporation. 

Chester was on Traub’s side on another issue.  He was quoted in the Sun-Sentinel as a member of Davie Citizens In Support Of The Commons, which Traub co-chaired.

The Truth About The Davie Land Purchase

But is the land purchase really a valid campaign issue?  

Every civic issue should be subject to public discussion, but you need the facts first.  Here are the facts:

*Davie hired two independent appraisers to value the land. Land is valued at what you can build on it.  This property is industrial land, which has become relatively rare in Broward. 

One appraiser said the Forman’s land was worth $13,965,000.  The other valued it at $14,725,000.

 Davie paid $12,500,000.

*The land is appraised by Property Appraiser Lori Parrish’s office at $14,792,000. Davie paid $12,500,000.

*The land will now be used as a park and a water plant. That’s a good thing.

Forman group could have built 10-story buildings on the land, something Traub might not object to. But I’ll bet east Davie residents wouldn’t be happy with them.

The Forman group could have built warehouses on the land.

Isn’t a park better than another stretch of warehouse auto repair shops? In fact, there is only a limited amount of vacant land for auto repair shops left in Broward and one appraisal specially  mentions “vehicle repair as a use that makes this land valuable.  

*In real estate, it is all about location, location, location.  There are few vacant pieces of industrial land available in southwest Broward that are so close to major highways Interstate 595 and Florida’s Turnpike. That raises the value of the property.

*The Sun-Sentinel on Feb. 2 quoted some real estate expert as saying “today’s going rate is closer to $4 per square foot for vacant land in Broward County with that zoning.  Where?  The appraisers hired and paid by the city couldn’t find it.

They looked at nine recent vacant industrial land sales.  Such land comes on the market so seldom, the appraisers had to look in north Dade to find some comparisons.

Eight of the nine sales were for more than the $12 per square foot that Davie paid Forman.

One was pennies less — $11.94 per square foot. Eight others were between $12.26 and $17.45 per square foot.

And none of the other land the appraisers looked at had the easy access to highways like the Forman land.  Nor was it near a growing downtown.

As one owner of a lot of industrial land in Broward told me: “I wouldn’t sell any of my land for $4 a square foot.

I don’t live in Davie.  If I did, the issue wouldn’t be some land that the town bought miles from my home. It would be the potential construction of a mammoth development in my neighborhood.

The choice is as simple as this—Traub supports construction of The Commons.  Luis is against the project.

The land purchase is a straw man that won’t affect one resident in Davie.

Talking about it is a brilliant campaign strategy by Traub.  But it’s also dishonest with the voters.

9 Responses to “Ellis Traub’s Davie Campaign Flim-Flam Tries To Fool Voters”

  1. Davie Dave says:

    You are right. The Commons is the only issue that counts!
    Traub is a lion in sheep’s clothing. A lying lion.

  2. voter says:

    it is absurd that you think that the commons is the only issue out there. YOU even said the Commons is a dead issue. While you were living in the past and worried about what might happen – Marlon Luis championed back room deals with Austin FOrman and spent money that he was not even sure where it was coming from
    Go look at the Town Council meeting Dated February 17 2010 and make your own decisions about what a desperate man Marlon is –

  3. Davie Dave says:

    Voter is wrong.

    Maybe Marlon Luis voted for this land purchase. Ellis Traub would allow any project to be built in our backyard.

    If the Commons isn’t built, maybe Traub wants some 25 story buildings or a cement plant. This is a pro-development candidate who wants to represent a rural neighborhood.

  4. raub is a mercenary says:

    So Traub, I see you have acussed Buddy Nevins, without any facts, of getting his story from your opponent and you posted a longwinded, feeble attempt at a defense. BUT YOU HAVEN’T ANSWERED NEVIN’S BASIC CHARGE. DID YOU, IN FACT, TAKE $25,000 FROM THAT GOLF COURSE OWNER TO TRY CONVINCE YOUR NEIGHBORS TO BUY HIS GOLF COURSE?
    (your taking $25,000 BACK IN 1990 IS LIKE GETTING $100,000 TODAY.) Is that how much you’ve already taken or is it a hush, hush backroom deal?
    You obviously tricked your former neighbors because Nevin’s found that the project you promoted was later called a “sucker deal” for taxpayers.
    Is that why you had to move out of the Country Club of Miami and moved to Davie?
    Fool your neighbors once, shame on them. Fool them twice, SAME ON YOU!

  5. Just Curious says:

    Ellis Traub never registered the group he supposedly chaired with the state nor are 3 of the other companies he supposedly owns.

    All of us suspected he and Norm Blanco were being paid by the Commons. His past behavior in Dade proves it.

    Ellis Traub will sell his soul to every developer who comes to Davie.

    He and Mitch Chesser tried to get Davie to eliminate mobile homes and put their manufactured housing product on the land.

    Good job Buddy! Thanks for researching this.

  6. Ellis Traub Supporter says:

    Ellis Traub is a man of great honor and integrity. His support of the Commons makes great sense, as Davie needs this tax base to survive! The Foreman land deal, was pushed thru without the public’s knowledge or consent. It was not a budgeted item, nor contained in the CIP Plan. Remember, Foreman threw out over 1,000 Davie familes, many of whom are now homeless. He paid for the RAC plan which resulted in his land being illegally rezoned, to his financial benefit. Ellis Traub has a right to be outraged — every Davie resident should feel the same. Ask questions, and make the 3 men who voted for the Palma Nova land deal, accountable for their actions. In these dire financial times, when the Town layed off 41 employees and cut every department budget to the bone – do you really think they should spend $12.5M on land with no stated use or purpose? It is a sick joke, and very poor judgement.

  7. Just Curious says:

    To Traub Supporter:

    If you believe Davie cut their budget to the bone…you need to read the budget. They increased their tax rate by 13.4% for 2009-10.

  8. Ellis Traub says:

    Hmph! You guys are gonna run out of names pretty soon! No guts, no glory guys!

  9. Davie voter says:

    I’m heading out to vote today, I’m on the fence. Does that make me a flip-flopper?
    Considering The Commons – and I wouldn’t consider that not an issue really…it’s just going to depend on who will invest in it when the dust settles from the recession – but considering it an issue, then I would jump to say initially, no, we don’t need another shopping plaza, mall, whatever you want to call it in all of Florida really. Besides, I hate going to the mall. It’s just that it’s something I ponder when I do need to run out and get something, like clothes or shoes, that I have to drive out to other cities and drop my tax dollars there and drive home on the rickety street outside my home bumping along wondering why doesn’t Davie fix this bumpy road already? I’ve been bouncing up and down this road now since 1992 and my high residential taxes can’t afford Davie to fix it?
    So I won’t jump to say no to the Commons. I have thought about it and my thought is this:
    District 4 Davie residents, wake up and stop being so freaked out about The Commons…I haven’t done the research, but isn’t that parcel of land zoned for commercial anyway? Wouldn’t it be nicer to have a welcoming environment for Davie residents to hang out at, shop at, eat at, oh, and from the pictures I even see horses will be allowed …pretty cool.
    Davie can do it right. It doesn’t have to be a concrete wasteland…
    It’s either that or some other business parcel that we won’t get any enjoyment from…no offense to all you boring warehouse-district-looking places.
    I love to walk in parks, so power to the parks, I’m a big fan of anyone pushing for open space and parks, and keeping Davie more rural, it is a gem in that way, but this place will not remain rural or be replaced with a park ever so let’s use our brain, sit on the fence a bit and think about it some more.
    It sure would be neat to have a nearby place to go shopping and hang out, walk around, have a coffee, buy a pair of flip-flops even, and let Davie generate some much needed revenue.