Ex-School Board Member: Developer Tried To Bribe Me


The home developer in the bull’s-eye of a growing investigation into government corruption offered a School Board member what she called “a bribe — $5,000 in campaign contributions just prior to the vote on a highly controversial Tamarac project.

Former School Board member Darla Carter revealed the offer in a 2006 e-mail to a lobbyist for Prestige Homes, which was seeking to replace two Tamarac golf courses with homes. 

Carter complained to the lobbyist that the promise of campaign contributions was “a bribe and I wasn’t going to fall for it.

The e-mail was obtained by Browardbeat.com.

Campaign contributions are legal, of course.  But contributions given to influence a vote could violate laws. 

At the time, Prestige Homes was seeking to replace the 160-plus acres Monterey and Sabal Palm golf courses with more than 700 homes.

The developer faced overwhelming community opposition.

Prestige is under investigation for allegedly paying $8,000 for County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion’s membership at a Parkland country club, stated a story by The South Florida Times’ Elgin Jones in August.

The South Florida Times’ story goes on to say that a Federal Grand Jury is hearing evidence about Prestige Homes. 

The Broward Palm Beach New Times has had similar stories. One is here.

Eggelletion voted in favor of the Prestige Homes project, which was largely in his district.

The investigation into Prestige Homes is part of a wider probe of alleged corruption in Broward County government, according to published reports.

Most School Board members don’t vote to approve developments. But Carter was a Board representative on the Broward County Planning Council.  

Before the Tamarac project got to the county commission and Eggelletion, it had to pass the Planning Council.  It reached there on May 25, 2006 after being approved by the Tamarac City Commission. 

Carter was approached by Prestige Homes officials prior to the council vote.

In her e-mail, Carter recounted her contacts with Prestige Homes officials:

“Prestige Homes are willing to pay $5,000 dollars to me in campaign donations. To me that was a bribe and I wasn’t going to fall for it.

“Even more disturbing were the threats I received. Bruce (Bruce Chait, president of Prestige Homes of South Florida, Inc.), called several times, on both my cell phones that evening while I was in a graduation ceremony. He asked that I return his call no matter what the time so I did exactly that as soon as I got home from the graduation.  He answered on the 2nd ring, so he obviously expected the call.

“When I returned that call he threatened me on the phone and told me ‘do you know what happened to Karen Roberts and Mae Schreiber on their election.'” 

Roberts and Schreiber were defeated in the March 2006 Tamarac city election after a smear campaign was run against them by a political committee.

Carter also alleged in the e-mail “someone is passing rumors that I called Mr. Chaut (Chait) in the middle of the night and was drunk.  Who would make up such lies? I called him because he asked me to and, although it was late, I had just left a graduation.

Carter didn’t attend the Planning Council meeting. Her vote wouldn’t have made a difference.  The Tamarac project passed 13-1.

It later passed the county commission 5-2, with Commissioners Ken Keechl and Sue Gunzburger voting against it.

The e-mail obtained by Browardbeat.com was sent while Carter was fighting for her political life at the time against Jennifer Gottlieb, who eventually beat her.

Darla Carter was often criticized for being outspoken.  Many times she was proven right.

In this case, she was savvy enough to smell that something was wrong and  to complain about the questionable tactics of the Tamarac developers.

21 Responses to “Ex-School Board Member: Developer Tried To Bribe Me”

  1. The Truth says:

    The doors are closing on a whole group of politicians. Eggelletion is an embarrassment. So are Stacy Ritter, Ilene Lieberman and Diana Wasserman Rubin. I hope they realize they can’t lie to the FBI.

  2. Friend of Tamarac says:

    I believe Ed Portner was one of the most outspoken in favor of this. Voters should remember because he is running for mayor.

  3. Dear Friend of Tamarac says:

    Everybody remember. Beth Talabisco also voted for this give away. She is no white knight.

  4. It Has Been A Long Time Coming says:

    I know that certain commissioners are beholden to certain developers, who grease the wheels of government with a little backshees. I have heard for years that Eggelletion is the worse. Like The Truth’s comment above, he is not the only one. As a county employee, I’ve been waiting a long time for some agency to take a hard look at the county commission.

  5. Nosebleed Seats says:

    Didn’t Ed Portner get a swank new Jaguar sedan before he voted for the Prestige project?

  6. A Little Late Darla says:

    Buddy, don’t you think it’s a little late for Darla Carter to get this tidbit of news off her chest? Shouldn’t she have reported a supposed bribe to the authorities at the time when it occurred? Wasn’t she under that obligation as an elected official?

    Perhaps Darla has a little agenda of her own. Perhaps she’s feeling a little ignored and would like a little more public attention in her life.

    All I can say is if Darla Carter failed report a bribe attempt when she could have, then my my book she is every bit as corrupt as the one that offered her the supposed bribe.

    Second, we know what elected officials take bribes. The ones that take are the ones getting the offers. If Darla was offered a bribe it’s because the grapevine knew she’s take it. Otherwise nobody would have tried anything that risky. Most elected officials go through an entire lifetime without being offered a bribe on anything, and that’s because folks know better.

    FROM BUDDY: How do you know she didn’t report it?

  7. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Leave it to Darla Carter to do the right thing. She was there for the children and to help with our schools….you go Darla you should run again.

  8. Bill Bzdek says:

    Hey Buddy , time to check up on your boy Pat Roberts , you remember 17 articles by you on PAL and Rico. Mr Ethics Himself , seems he might have an issue .

    Your readers might like an article about strip clubs , selling your soul ! They might , they just might !

  9. A Little Late Darla II says:

    Either Darla Carter was offered a bribe and didn’t report it, which makes one wonder why … or she did report it in which case what became of her report … or she made the whole thing up to draw attention to herself again. Odds are she’s full of shit.

  10. I Remember When says:

    I remember the many times Darla Carter let her “ideas” get in the way of public policy, like her not wanting any immigrants attending Broward schools because they bring diseases to the other children.

    Remarks like that help explain why she’s no longer in office.

  11. The Chaits Are A Cancer says:

    The Chaits have neen nothing but a corrupting influence on Tamarac since they came upon the scene. They bullied and bought local polititians to get their Prestige project approved. Their timing was as bad as their ethics and now they are stuck with real estate they can’t afford to develop. What do they do? Once again they simply revert to their true colors and try to bully or buy local polititians so they can get out of the original development deal. They are a cancer and Tamarac and all of South Florida will be better off when they are gone.

  12. kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Perhaps “Little late Darla” should find a copy of a 1957 Sci-fi move called “The 27th Day” and watch it.

    Bear with me, the synopsis will have a point that applies to Darla…

    5 people are abducted by an alien in a space ship and given the means to eliminate human life on earth.

    One American, one Russian, one Chinese, One English, and one scientist fron an undisclosed slavic country.

    The plot is about how the individuals deal with the destructive force handed to them. The American hides, the Russian turns it over to the government, the chinese commits suicide, the scientist wants to experiment, and the english throws the device into the sea.

    Toward the end, the American and the scientist come to the conclusion that the english had it right and that a mature people would just throw the device in the nearest trash can (or the nearest sea.)

    Darla apparently did just that with the “bribery attempt.” Consider where we’d be if other electeds did the same.

    Here, here, Darla! Set an example for the rest of them!

  13. Too Far Fetched says:

    Kwitcherbelyaken needs to put down that bong he’s smoking and focus on the facts that apply on this planet.

    A public official offered a bribe has a duty to report that promptly to law enforcement as somebody above suggested.

    It is fair to ask why she did not report the incident promptly, and if it did, what became of that complaint? These are serious allegations and demand the truth.

    It goes directly to the credibility of the source to get the basic question answered. Otherwise heresay and bullshit get confused with facts about criminal activity. That’s inappropriate.

  14. kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Too Far Fetched misses the point. Bribery is so prevalent because officials are stupid enough to succumb to the temptation and hence the crime.

    Were we more mature, the temptation would be nil and the crime would cease to exist.

  15. Conflict of Interest? says:

    Did this developer give money to the state’s attorney? I have heard on many occassions that he does not prosecute public officials, so it would only follow that he would not prosecute those who corrupt public officials. Does anyone know if this developer is a campaign contributor for the state’s attorney?

  16. Elected Officials Need a Life and Need Therapy says:

    i am sure some of this will lead back to sunrise with all of their unnecessarry land development

  17. Still Too Far Fetched says:

    Kwitcherbellyachin’s point, while a lovely thought, is inconsistent with human nature. Public officials being offered bribes goes back to before Julius Ceasar. It will never stop and it goes on in every single country on earth. Officials have a duty to report when others try to bribe them.

    Now, the point here is simple. We have one of those officials who allegedly was offered a bribe. What does she do?

    Does she report it to the cops?
    It does not look that way.

    Instead she chooses to fess up to a reporter years later.

    Talk about far fetched.

    Sorry but there is bullshit in there somewhere, that story just does not add up, there is more to it than that and given that people’s reputations are on the line we are entitled to know more facts if a thing like this is going to be raised.

    Journalism has gotten SLOPPY in our democratic society. They have lost their sense of bearings and limits, there is no discipline, they are little more than gossips today, and that’s why we have no trust in government or the press anymore.

    Buddy is a talented man, but this story is two wheels shy of a bicycle and what gets me is how unimportant it has become that people’s reputations are on the line and not being protected in favor of sensationalism, half baked stuff in disguise for what the news is supposed to be.

  18. kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Far Fetched, we have absolutely no disagreement about human nature and certainly my point was and remains whimsical.

    But I highly suspect that such problems are rooted in the concept of “professional” politicians. And yes, this is highly whimsical as well, but I’d rather go back to the days of Jefferson and Adams and their call for citizen legislators.

  19. Kwitcher Remains Confused says:

    With the exception of constitutional officers, what you have is citizen legislators in Broward County and Florida.

    What are you talking about?

    It is absolutely not the full time, if that’s what you call the professional politicians that are responsible for public corruption.

    It is the evil in people, both full and part time that bring that out. You cannot root out that aspect of life. Those fleas come with the dog.

    What you can do is curb it.

    Believe it or not, it is absolutely possible to go through life as an elected official in Broward or Florida and never even be offered a bribe or anything corrupt.

    Those that offer that kind of thing get a vibe from the official that suggests they are receptive. Most are not receptive. Only a few are, and what they do ruins the reputation of an entire profession in which people like Adams and Jefferson once participated.

  20. kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Citizen legislators do not spend careers going from one election cycle to the next.

    12, 16, 20 or more years constitute a career. Too much exposure to the radical left or radical right forgetting about the needs of the average citizen.

    Too much exposure to the influence of the needs of lobbyists rather than the needs of the electorate are not consistent with a citizen legislator.

    When the goal of the elected becomes re-election rather than the good of the people they serve is not consistent with the concept of citizen legislators.

    When the goal of an elected is to spend enough time in the system to vest in the retirement plan this is not a citizen legislator.

    Jefferson and Adams are turning over in their tombs.

  21. Git R Done says:

    She did the right thing and reported it another way, things other people don’t understand.
    Besides, why would someone bribe an elected official unless they really want something really bad like a certain lobbyist to work for them or a vote for some project that the lobbyist wants really bad.
    Think about it, it happens often