Hollywood Orders Investigation Of City Manager, Waste Contract


Prompted by two very detailed anonymous letters, Hollywood City Commissioners have ordered an investigation of City Manager Cameron Benson and two other employees for criminal wrongdoing.

Mayor Peter Bober asked the The State Attorney’s Office and FBI to investigate whether Benson had the city buy a generator for his father and whether the city’s waste contract was greased with free gifts and meals.

“We don’t want to do the investigation ourselves,” Bober said.

However, a second investigation will be done under the direction of the Hollywood Police Chief Chadwick Wagner with the help of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“We want to be totally transparent, said Vice Mayor Patti Asseff.


Cameron Benson

Benson is accused of ordering the city to purchase a generator during the recovery from Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and directing police officers take it to the Lauderhill home of his father, Lauderhill Commissioner Haywood Benson.

According to the anonymous letter writer, the generator has never been returned.

“This act constitutes grand theft by Cameron Benson,” the letter writer alleges without offering any proof.

The letter writer also urges commissioners to “audit” any reimbursements from the federal government for disaster relief to see if the generator was eventually paid out of federal funds.

In a story published late Thursday, the Sun Sentinel said one of their staff was shown a check by Haywood Benson made out to a police office.  The officer was quoted as saying he “not really sure” if he bought the generator for Benson.

Benson and his staff are also accused of taking meals and gifts from the city’s waste hauler, WastePro.

The allegation is that WastePro provided gift cards and money orders which were then used to purchase “several item  for Benson’s second home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Benson’s staff were also allegedly treated by WastePro to “several free meals at several locations throughout Broward County, including two Las Olas Boulevard restaurants at the time the firm was seeking a franchise agreement with the city.

The letter writer also urges commissioners to “audit” any reimbursements from the federal government for disaster relief to see if the generator was eventually paid out of federal funds.

Sun-Sentinel writer Megan O’Matz quoted Waste Pro Regional Vice President Russell Mackie as saying the allegations “did not happen.”

“We have never acted inappropriately,” he told the Sun-Sentinel. “We work through a competitive bid process, and we were the low bidder.”

Although they are anonymous, the letters are being taken serious because they were written by somebody who is obviously very familiar with the management and makeup of the city.  Numerous city employees are mentioned by name.

“We got two letters on the same day with a pretty high level of detail,” Bober said. “It sounds like the person who wrote it observed some things personally.”

The letter writer appears to be a disgruntled employee.

Benson is accused of creating a “locker room environment in city hall, ruling “through intimidation and fear and possessing “a paranoid personality. He goes months “without talking to department heads he was angry with, one letter alleges.

Until the letters were received, Benson appeared to have the support of a majority of the commissioners.

There is no time table on when the investigation will be completed.

(Note: Browardbeat.com has copies of the two anonymous letters which were sent to me.  I made an editorial decision not to print them because they contain the names of many Hollywood employees other than Benson.)

7 Responses to “Hollywood Orders Investigation Of City Manager, Waste Contract”

  1. Harold Ditmore says:

    All of Hollywood needs an investigation.

  2. Hollywood Resident says:

    I notice you took a shot at Peter Bober at the end of your story and that is understandable since Bober has tried to hide everything from the public since he took office. He is too lily livered to take a stand on anything.

  3. West Hollywood Dissident says:

    He learned everything from Mara.

  4. Hollywood Activist says:

    You say you decided not to publish the anonymous letters sent to the Hollywood City Commission because they mention many other names beside Benson’s. That’s true, but many of those names are described as good people who left city employment because of Benson. I hope this matter will not just fade away without further media attention to the allegations this whistleblower has made. I have heard a number of these allegations from a variety of city employees and believe them to be true. Others, like perks for the house in Canada, I am in no position to evaluate. Thank you for what you do to help bring important issues to public awareness.

  5. I'm Just Beachy says:

    Corruption all around us.
    And yes, much is the way it has been done in SE Fl ,,like, forever .. so, learning from those who’ hold power’ then being the one who winds up holding the proverbial bag, can be a hard lesson, especially when that one does not really think he or she is doing something wrong — and, when it is what all others have taught for so long!
    Not that it was the right thing to do but more like the most acceptable – in accordance with all around him or her.
    AND, they just keep right on doing it, yet never get caught with their pants down because…. they are shielded so well.
    Let the truth come out before casting judgements.
    If it is a case of ‘What goes around, comes around’.. it will take its’ own pathways..and who knows, maybe it might actually help real ETHICS rise and take hold. doubt it… but—imjustbeachy

  6. Benson is better than the rest says:

    Benson is the LEAST corrupt person in Hollywood city gov’t.

    I want to know why Clay Milan had a 200k yacht docked at Miami Yacht club when he was earning 56k and his wife worked in JFS kitchen.

    I want to know how City Attorney Jeff Sheffel was walked right into his job with no interviews by Mara Giulianti whose husband was Sheffel’s partner.

    I want to know why Mara never did time like Wasserstrom.

    I want to know about the special favors that Rebuilding Together Broward Executive Director Sandra Einhorn did for Dick Blattner (mentioned in an email to Blattner) and why she testified during a hearing that she was paid for them.

    I want to know about all of the Building Dept employees who received cash and prizes from the developers who bragged about it.

  7. Benson is better than the rest says:

    correction, Giulianti’s husband was Sheffel’s FATHER’S partner in the medical practice