Fort Lauderdale City Hall Used Phony Figures To Justify Huge Bahia Mar Project





Before the approval last month to surround the historic Bahia Mar with skyscrapers, Fort Lauderdale City Hall officials hid a study that indicated a dramatic increase in traffic projected on the beach.

Instead of a projected increase of 56,320 vehicles on the beach by 2025 used at a May meeting of City Commission, the actual figure is 168,009 – roughly three times as much.

The use of misleading figures was disclosed during a June commission meeting, but by that time it was too late.  The project was approved in May.



Expect More Of This- Las Olas Blvd and A1A at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, 2016

Expect More of This: Las Olas Blvd. and Seabreeze Blvd. on Sunday, March 26, 2016 at 6 p.m.



City Commissioner Bruce Roberts used the faulty data to justify his vote in favor of converting a portion of the historic yacht marina to towering condominiums. Roberts argued that traffic was actually decreasing on the beach.

Yet as Roberts argued his point to skeptical residents, staff in city hall had traffic studies that indicated the exact opposite.

Whether Roberts had seen those studies when he made his widely criticized comments is not known, but he should have known. The figures were available in City Hall and in the files of traffic engineers.

One problem with the old discredited figures: They left out many projects already approved, some under construction.

The use of faulty figures to justify the project lends credibility to angry residents, who have complained that the Bahia Mar conversion has been steamrolled by City Hall from the start.   They blame

City Manager Lee Feldman, Mayor Jack Seiler and Commissioners Robert McKinzie, Romney Rogers and Roberts.

Seiler and the commissioners have ignored a petition drive that gathered more than 1000 signatures from registered voters.

Commissioners brushed off complaints from residents who complained about the impact of traffic from Bahia Mar and a slew of other approved condominiums. They did this despite the city’s own annual surveys that found an increasing number of residents are fed-up with traffic. Of those answering the most recent survey last year, only 26 percent satisfaction with the flow of traffic.

Plans to build two 29-story condominium towers, a traffic generating grocery store and huge parking garages surrounding the landmark marina were initially approved 4-1 in May. Only Commissioner Dean Trantalis voted against it.

Many residents felt the deal was steered from the start by Feldman, Seiler, commissioners and the City Hall staff to Miami-Dade developer Jimmy Tate’s company. This came after Tate and his associates poured thousands into the commissioners’ campaigns and city-sponsored festivals.

According to a New Times analysis of campaign contributions, Roberts received $6,000, McKinzie and Rogers took $5,750, Trantalis was given $5,000, and Seiler received $6,600.

Roberts is already running for mayor in 2018 and Seiler talked about for Florida Attorney General. The other commissioners are considering races for mayor or other positions.

My take:

Fort Lauderdale residents sick of the impact of more and more construction should organize.

Recruit candidates. Raise money. Mount a grass roots effort to defeat the pro-developer lackeys on the Fort Lauderdale commission.

These tone-deaf commissioners need to be taught a major rule of politics: Votes count more than developers and lobbyist contributions in an election.


25 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale City Hall Used Phony Figures To Justify Huge Bahia Mar Project”

  1. Follow the money says:

    No commission has ever voted against a project after receiving such large contributions.

    Good for Dean. He is a good politician, he can take their money and still vote against them.

  2. RR Job says:

    Mayor Seiler & Lee Feldman are the problem. They lead the rest of the commissioners around by the nose. Seiler and Feldman have a vision that Fort Lauderdale should be NYC and they don’t care how it affects the neighborhoods.

  3. Devil is in the details says:

    Roberts never had a race in 2015. Roberts raised approx. $30,000.00. Of the money he raised, $15,000.00 was transferred from the campaign account to his Commission Office Account (100% legal). These funds can be used pay to attend for events around the City. This would be quite beneficial for someone running for Mayor since they would not have to use their own funds or campaign funds to attend events.

  4. Snott VV Rothstein says:

    Following Agents “Million Dollar Club” can be had for a few grand.

    $hity Manager Lee Feldman, Major Jackoph Seiler and Real-estate Commissioners Robert “Sellout” McKinzie, Romney “Take my picture” Rogers and Bruce “Chardonnay” Roberts.

    My Ponzi Scheme pales compared to these elected hooligans, amazing how they push McKinzie to the front lines on the beach issue, yet his district is so blighted.

    Why am I incarcerated and this bunch is allowed to commit this fraud?

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I dont drive so I dont read traffic studies. The issue of traffic is NOT determinate and is a side issue to the Project.


    Is this a MPO official study? Is this so Private Study?

  6. Miss Marple says:

    If perception is reality our Commission (except for Dean), Mayor and City Manager ought to be more than a little alarmed. People are starting to wake up to the fact that these people have an agenda not in sync with their constituents. Every day another sneaky, sleazy little move comes to light. Why isn’t Robert Lochrie in trouble for suppressing the traffic study? What exactly is going on between the Bahia Mar developers, Seiler, Roberts and Feldman? They have been trying to ramrod this thing through since day one. Surely it isn’t for those measly campaign contributions. Smells like low tide around here.

  7. Stormwatch says:

    Those developers don’t care about anything but getting paid. Those commissioners in bed with them are useless. Based on how much more sand we’re going to lose in the next few decades, why are we even building anything along A1A? Parts of which sre already under water too frequently. I guess its gonna be the class of 2036s problem.

  8. Talks like a politician says:

    Apply due diligence procedures in deciding about the candidate who is already running for the District 4 Fort Lauderdale Commission seat that will be vacated by Romney Rogers in 2018. His middle name is DEVELOPMENT.

  9. just saying says:

    The most qualified and pro-citizen candidates could file and run for the five seats. They would not get elected. The agenda of the electeds in that city trump everything else. Like shutting the barn door after the horses are gone.

  10. Col. Broward says:

    If these condo buyers only knew before moving here that they would be prisoners in their apts every weekend and terrorized by thugs roaming A1A at nite. Thanks Commissioners.

  11. Temptations says:

    The temptations for an elected commissioner is powerful. Look at Cindy Hutchinson. She started out a a neighborhood candidate but could not resist all of the temptations that were placed in front of her. Not many can.

    And now we have the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale going up next to the Stranahan house because of her vote.

  12. Albert Dente says:

    FtL has the WORST city comm. in the country for a med sized city i bet. What a waste.

  13. Snott VV Rothstein says:

    Spoken like a lobbyist.

    Beach Place is a cesspool of criminals, narcotic sales on the property, Fort Lauderdale Beach is not a safe place.

  14. Wake Up says:

    If you look close enough you should be able to see that Judy Stern is involved with Bahia Mar….then look at Bruce and you will the strings attached to his back controlled by Stern.

    Why does Bruce care about the future of the City, especially traffic, he his is 70 and lives in Imperial Point. Most likely he probably wont be around to see the disaster this development will make on area traffic. His priority is getting that second pension as Commissioner and Mayor to go along with the one he gets from the police.

  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    In the 96 years my family has visited lived had businesses in Ft Lauderdale neither I nor any relative has never lobbied OR USED A FAKE NAME IN MAKING COMNENTS.

  16. Charles King says:

    Given how badly former police chief, city pensioner and mayoral wannabee Bruce Roberts has twisted himself up on the record in regards to his incredulous and insulting traffic statements on this big money beach project, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fort Lauderdale Lobbyist Establishment picks a different member of “The Seiler Machine” to be their fair haired boy in 2018, maybe one actually with hair like Romney Rogers. If they stick with their current boy, I see a first female mayor for Fort Lauderdale in the near future. As far as I am concerned I’ve got room on my bumper for “Ready for Rodstrom” and “Anybody But Bruce” bumper stickers. PS Given the new information of the new radically different new traffic report it sure would be nice if Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler possessed the integrity to re-open public comment when he re-opens this discussion at most likely the next city meeting, wouldn’t it?

  17. you get what you voted for says:

    @11 Temptations
    Yes Cindi voted for it along with Gloria Katz who still gets on plenty of city boards, committees, etc as an ex-comm. And Carleton Moore. Tim Smith in on this? Naugle? Probably.
    The voters rarely vote and they don’t care what is inflicted on them because few actually live here in the city for 5, 10 or 20 years.
    One thing is for sure – the mayor will not have any higher elected office if they don’t kill this.

  18. Adrian K. Dabkowski, P.E., PTOE says:

    The blog post and testimony provided by the public at the June 7th hearing stated that the traffic analyses performed by Kimley-Horn included material differences between the September 2015 and May 5, 2016 traffic studies related to calculating background traffic growth rates. This statement is false and misinformed as the projections used by the public are based on default outputs and do not have a bearing in determining future traffic conditions as presented. The methodologies and assumptions used to determine the growth rates in the Kimley-Horn analyses are consistent with generally accepted standards within the transportation engineering industry. Furthermore, both City staff and the City’s traffic engineering consultant concur with the methodology, analysis, and findings of the growth rate analysis provided.

    Additionally, several committed developments (approved and/or under construction) located on the barrier island were included in future year traffic conditions. These committed trips were added to existing traffic volumes along with a 0.50 percent (0.50%) annually compounded growth rate to provide for a conservative analysis of future traffic conditions.

  19. just saying says:

    condos dead in the water now.

    watch the boat show bow out when lease expires in 2020.

  20. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Goodbye & good riddance to Bahia Mar!! Now if only the four stooges who voted for it would also go away!

  21. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #14,your dig about comm.Roberts and being the big 70,ok so he’s seventy. Tell you this he is in better shape than that entire dais put together(yes). “Devil in the details” huh. Thats for sure. Received several phone calls, emails etc(i know to some of you few(one) that Robert here is used as a pawn(this was stated to me(wait) my late mother when she was well enough stated the same thing-a pawn huh). Well, guess what people call i listen. At 5;33 on Friday as you all know Mr.tate withdrew his plans for his dev. I received a call at 5;48(not bad) communicating this to me(they trust me, they know if th ball is trown to me I can and will go the distance).That being said even though the majority of the beach residents are happy that the project is squashed I am being reminded of the traffic study. tate’s that he cited was th enumbers faactual not accurate. allegation here is that he knew the figures that you recite ib your commnentary Buddy(58 thou impacted by traffic .more like almost 170 thou-bug difference. What i’m hearing the Mayor. Mr.feldman, Mr.Lockerie(shocking), wait also the others on the comm. knew th eactually #’s and delibrately dupe dthe residents. Oh investigation is warranted(I don’t give a rats ass how some of you view this as nonsense(it better be). i want to know who knew what, and when they knew it concerning this stunt. So the deil is in the details- you bet. So if these residnets are correct and if they where duped, then proper will taken, including criminal complaint(be careful once complaint(for now) is filed you are under the status of “being under investigation”. maybe like some of you stated to me its all nonsense Robert, there were 2different traffic studies it was up to the resident to decide which one to use(really). So will see. Hold on, sit tight, relax, we the residents will not be dupes, made fun of, etc. We have the power, know how, and resources to put you in jail if warranted. Will see……

  22. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz@28 says:

    @18 a PROFESSIONAL explained Mr Paul’s critique was plain WRONG.
    As @19 please use the link to READ the letter
    For those of who read the financial press it is obvious Ft Lauderdale’s bungling of the great opportunity of tge Rahn Bahia Mar Re-Development over 11 years thru two different owners by listening to non-financial literate NIMBY types who dump social services into middle and working class neighborhoods will mean announcements in three or more competitive resort cities in Florida to leave us with the least affluent tourists n parttime residents.
    The day after the owners of the Bahia Mar Lease withdrew another city announced a major Condo & Marina Project whose financing every knowledgeable person knows fell into that Project’s lap because of political cowardice n game playing here in Ft Lauderdale.
    What shows the shallowness of the opponents is they support the terrible Bahia Cabanas Project whose sponsors unlike the partners of Rshn Bahia Mar have a Questionable Legal history outside Florida and a destroying of neigjbothoods n greating TRAFFIC PROBLEMS here in South Florida. Wrongheaded doesnt even come close to describing NOT A THOUSAND but the few hundred opponents of Bahia Mar.
    The City has LOST yet again and our comoeitors have gained.
    As for the 2018 Mayoral Election: 65% for Bruce Roberts 35% for Charlotte Rodstrom or less.

  23. Miss Marple says:

    So, Mr. Tate in his application withdrawal tries to blame the locals for fomenting ugliness and hatred against his fabulous plan. But then he mentions how he couldn’t strike a fair and equitable agreement with the Boat Show people – as if that had little to do with his decision. He continues to promote the unanimous approval by Harbor Beach but neglects to mention that one person, the president, wrote the glowing report without polling any of the residents. I can only hope and pray that this particular deal is dead in the water; pun intended.

  24. Talks like a politician says:

    It seems the baby (Boat Show) and the bathwater (20 story condo project) are both being thrown out.
    Hope the politicians and lobbyists can move those pieces in the shell game around so the Boat Show remains.

  25. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @23 is making the same uninformed error that has driven anyone familiar with finance and real estate evaluations up the halls after reading comments like his or hers or leaving meetings screaming in flustration after HEARING SUCH NONSENSE FROM THE FORT LAUDERDALE DAIS FROM REAL ESTATE LAWYERS WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER.
    The reason Rahn Bahia Mar could NOT make a contract with the Boat Show is the SAME REASON ANY APPRAISAL WITHOUT A CHANGE OF ZONING or in a case in Germany I have an interest in has NOT BEEN SETTLED BY MY PARTNERS’ LAWYERS is the SAME LEGAL/FINANCIAL ONE:


    No rational person can determine the value of either Bahia Mar or the 47 year current or a revised lease UNTIL AFTER ZONING N USE HAS BEEN DTERMINED.