Former School Board Lobbyist Turns To Fort Lauderdale


It’s the return of lobbyist Neil Sterling.

Sterling was best known for his work at the Broward School Board until he stopped in the wake of corruption scandals involving some of the elected members he backed.

He is back….but not at the School Board.

Sterling is one of two high powered lobbyists in the background of the $71 million, International Hall of Fame project being discussed in Fort Lauderdale City Hall.

His lobbying partner on this deal is Jim Blosser, another fixture in the city often associated with billionaire entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga.

The two represent Recreational Design & Construction, which is seeking to do the project.  RDC is coupled with with long-time Sterling lobbying client Zyscovich, the architecture firm.

The project would include a big pile of taxpayers’ money to finish construction of  new pools, an aquatic theater and artificial surf machines.

This deal has appeared greased from the start at city hall, especially since RDC was the only firm that applied to the proposal.  Activists accuse the city of writing the proposal to favor RDC.

No one in the city did a background check on the firm until activist Art Seitz started making noise. Eventually Mayor Jack Seiler asked they be done.

“The staff told me they didn’t do a background check because we hadn’t (formally) picked the firm yet.  To me that was unacceptable,” Seiler said.

Something in the way city projects are vetted needs to be changed.

Since the city would do a background check on a receptionist they were hiring, you wonder why they didn’t bother on a firm doing a $71 million project?

And why not get more proposals?

None of this makes sense.  Then again at Fort Lauderdale City Hall, making no sense is often the case when the decision means dollars and cents for insiders.

8 Responses to “Former School Board Lobbyist Turns To Fort Lauderdale”

  1. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    any Elected official who takes Sterling seriously at this point should be RECALLED!

    He got Gallagher her job (BRIBERY; SHE WAS BEEEEHOLDENT) and hired Kraft’s husband (BRIBERY: SHE WAS BEHOLDENT: HE COULD HAVE HIRED ANY LAWYER DOWNTOWN, WHY KRAFT?). Gallagher steering deals to Pirtle; jobs shared between Pirtle and Cumming with a wink of ‘da eye and nod of one bald headed powerbroker (who wore the worst ties), can one say COLLUSION!!!!!??


    and that’s the bottom line because yours truly says it is!

  2. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Ok so Art Seitz states that the bidder here put down false information on their resume or work that they have done. Art Seitz states that they are lying in th efact that they documented that they worked on the Disney’s Blue lagoon theme park. Art does what Art does(mind you at taxpayer expense)and demands an investigation. Fine Seiler tells Staff to investigate. However the develper seems very confident that this is an oversight and will give the City whatever they want. So they seem to think this is no more than an nuisance complaint. We will see. If they put down something they should not have, they aren’t really sweaten it, judging by their response at the previous comm. meeting. If you are wrong Art, and they did not falsifie their work than they wil fact Art Seitz is right and they bs’d the Commission then more power to you Art. As far as Sterling having his hand in all this what else is new. Same lobbyist, same law firms, same delevoplers all the time. Back to Mr,Seitz , I hope after all this energy you put into this and all the records request you have made($$) I hope again you where right.

  3. Miss Marple says:

    Neil Stirling was recently at a neighborhood presentation by RDC which I attended. It was pretty obvious to some of us there that they really didn’t want us to know exactly who he was. They introduced him as Neil and when I asked him to repeat his name he still wouldn’t say Sterling – just Neil. There was no value added to his presence so not sure why he was there at this point.

  4. Fort Lauderdale Resident says:

    I’m not shocked. Jack Seiler is used to being led having been in Tallahassee.

  5. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack says OK it’s been less than one week of Rubin being popped by the initials and a quick announcement of a pending plea deal that we hear the following today. First the paper that is all machine all the time reports a non story about Rodstrom. Then the Pulpman announces that Ritter is back on the campaign trail and Buddy Nevins has a story on Sterling, Zyscovich, RDC, Blosser, Huizenga and former three stooge’s front man Seiler. Karnack says Jimi Hendrix put it best with:

    Purple haze all in my brain
    Lately things just don’t seem the same
    Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why
    ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky

    Purple haze all around
    Don’t know if I’m comin’ up or down
    Am I happy or in misery?
    Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me

    Help me help me
    Oh no no… no

    Purple haze all in my eyes
    Don’t know if it’s day or night
    You’ve got me blowin, blowin my mind
    Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

    No, help me aw yeah! oh no no oh help me…

    Karnack says any politician talking to Sterling today is like a person begging another person covered with aids lesions to have unprotected sex. Karnack says see all of the wonderful colors it’s like a rainbow. Karnack says get your chairs ready the fireworks are going to be exceptional.

  6. Really? says:

    Somebody might want to look at past work RDC has done for Fort Lauderdale. It’s not that hard. Just Google “RDC, Fort Lauderdale, Jacuzzi”

  7. Fort Lauderdale Employee says:

    Anybody with a computer could have found RDC’s work. The staff didn’t do it because they were subtly told that this project was being fast tracked. I believe the orders came from the mayor’s office.

  8. Buddy Nevins Fan says:

    Interesting Broward Politics April 25, 2011 comments. Swimming Hall of Fame is uninteresting as measured by the fact that few people go there. Fort Lauderdale is too happening a place to be so preoccupied with so uninteresting a venue. Let some small city with nothing take it. Cooperstown has a thriving Hall of Fame, so does Canton, so do other cities that would be next to nothing without them. Let’s focus on exciting stuff in Fort Lauderdale that people actually want to get excited to visit. Stop wasting money on stuff that doesn’t have mass appeal. Swimming Hall of Fame is boring. Face facts.

    Posted by: Here’s Why Nobody Cares | April 24, 2011 1:16 AM
    It is an absolute disgrace that this City Commission has been kicking this can down the road for years now. The most blame falls on the one that is there the longest, represents that area, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Swimming Hall of Fame – Charlotte Rodstrom. She has waffled on this proposal since day one and while she used to be a cheerleader for this developer (even trying with her husband to screw the neighborhoods near the port to stop an access road and grab the money for this project) now she is asking questions and expressing concerns. Is this latest “concern” for real or just a front to pander to the citizens while the real work continues behind the scenes with the developer and its well-connected lobbyist?

    Posted by: City Commission is incompetent | April 24, 2011 9:36 AM
    RDC has been around a long time and they are by far the most expensive boys in the bunch. It should be prudent for cities to do their homework prior to committing to this group. “Theft of Services” was thrown out more than once, back door deals to commissioners and “cost over-runs” seem to be a common adjective. These guys are made up of “past public Park Employees who KNOW EVERYONE” due to their time working for various cities. 
They have a couple of off shoot LLC’s but its basically the same people under different names. This entire operation on the beach has players who could have their own sitcoms..follow the money, follow the players..none of it is pretty.

    Posted by: Pragmatist | April 24, 2011 11:00 AM
    I am I the only person in the city that thinks a city built, owned and operated water park on a hurricane storm surge barrier island is a bad idea? Sell the land and let the private sector take the enormous risks and insurance premiums. This city’s most pressing need is a decent charter middle and high school free from the corrupt Broward School Board that anyone above the extreme lower middle class wouldn’t balk at sending their kids to. If we design this city solely to the tastes of 70 year olds at the beach and hotel interests, where will we be in 10 or 20 years from now. It’s scary to contemplate isn’t it? We seem to aimed at at the Atlantic City model (Casinos and hotels on the beach with no middle class and nothing but ghetto neighborhood in the rest of the city). Get ready for a fishing pier so the senors don’t have to use the newly rebuilt one a mile north up the coast at Commercial Blvd. This city is more than just that Hurricane Storm Surge Barrier Island called the beach. If the private sector wants to put hotels and condos in harms way over there fine, but as far as the city putting all its eggs in one basket and “investing” all our tax dollars over there I’m saying thats stupid and short sighted. Maybe people need to start telling our commisioners that if you build this folly over there in that spot and there are cost overruns and the the projections turn out to be overly rosy and the city owned and operated water park turns out the lose money every year like it is currently doing and if a hurricane hits 10 years from now and destroys it all or causes insurance rates to spike or if 20 years from now sea levels rise a foot or so, it is not going to be the lobbyist’s who are paid the convince them of things that will be held responsible, it will be the commissioners that bankrupted their home town with a water park. And to add insult to injury Slitterbahn, the premier water park company in the world wants to build a park by Lockhart stadium, in a safe location from the beach and pay us property tax. We will probaly tell them no, because we are affraid it will compete with our public built owned and opperated folly at the beach. Tell the commissioners what you think, sometimes they forget who they are really working for.