Mt. Trashmore Landfill Deal Rejected In Rare Defeat for Leading Lobbyist






A deal involving the fetid Mount Trashmore collapsed Tuesday when county commissioners dealt a rare defeat to one of Broward’s über lobbyists.

Sometimes the good guys win.


mark bogenCommissioner Mark Bogen: Tuesday’s hero



Broward Commissioners rejected the waste deal after hearing from critics, who argued that it would result in environmental problems and could conceivably result in higher disposal costs for residents.

The deal’s defeat was a thrashing for Mike Moskowitz, a leading Broward Government Center lobbyist.  In addition to the landfill, Moskowitz currently represents the Florida Panthers, airport leasees and a firm doing paratransit, among others.

It was Moskowitz who proposed the deal to county officials.

Moskowitz’s client was Mount Trashmore owners Waste Management, which paid beaucoup bucks in fines due to the landfill’s environmental problems. Neighboring communities complained about the smell for years.

The deal would have shut down one of two Broward incinerators.  And it would have also allowed construction of a trash transfer station at the landfill.

Commissioners objected to both closing the incinerator, which some critics say could eventually add waste to the landfill.

A Waste Management competitor’s take on the now-dead deal:

Disposing of waste in a landfill cost less than burning it in an incinerator.  Closing the incinerator would add to Waste Management’s bottom line.

Opponents to the deal included:

* Coconut Creek, whose residents are plagued with the landfill’s smell. They objected loudly to commissioners and vehemently oppose any expansion of the landfill.

“The city has been frozen out of the negotiations,” complained an attorney for Coconut Creek. The deal “doesn’t pass the smell test,” quipped Jack Shifrel, a long-time Democratic activist in the city.

* Various garbage collection competitors to Waste Management, such as Sun-Bergeron.

Competitors feared the new agreement would allow Waste Management to use a new pricing scheme wedged into the agreement to push them out of business.

A Sun-Bergeron representative said the new pricing scheme could have made it unprofitable for Waste Management competitors to dispose of waste. Once competitors left the county, Waste Management would have Broward waste to itself and could charge anything it wanted.

Sun-Bergeron hired its own lobbyist Bernard “Bernie” Friedman and former County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who along with the firm’s General Counsel Aleida “Ali” Waldman urged commissioners to stop the deal.

* Other cities in Broward. City officials also questioned whether shutting down the incinerator and expanding the landfill would affect future disposal costs.

The hero at Tuesday’s meeting was newly seated Commissioner Mark Bogen.

Tackling his first highly controversial issue since taking office in January, Bogen, a lawyer, prepared for the debate like he was entering a courtroom.

Bogen’s research turned up two audio tapes. They were the Smoking Guns.

On the tapes, the disembodied voice of a Waste Management lawyer made promises to two different government bodies a few years ago – Coconut Creek and a county regulatory agency. The lawyer appeared to pledge that the landfill would not increase the amount of waste it accepted.

Contrary to that promise, Waste Management has been increasing the amount of trash being funneled to Mount Trashmore.

Bogen drilled Moskowitz relentlessly, focusing on the promises made on the tapes.

Moskowitz defended himself.  He insisted that the promises were worthless because they were not contained in a legal document.

To emphasize the point, Moskowitz made what I consider a major political faux pas.

He said something like, “They (Waste Management) are bound by the document they signed, not the statements they said.”

He seemed to be telling commissioners:

Don’t believe what I say. Just believe what I put in writing.


Based on that statement, can commissioners rely on any promise Moskowitz made during Tuesday’s meeting?

Maybe that’s what commissioners were thinking when they rejected the Moskowitz deal and sent negotiators back to the table to decide the future of waste disposal in Broward County.




15 Responses to “Mt. Trashmore Landfill Deal Rejected In Rare Defeat for Leading Lobbyist”

  1. Voter says:

    The County Commission did the right thing yesterday at the garbage workshop.

    Thank you Commissioners for listening to the voters rather than a company trying to get out of its obligations.

  2. Alice McGill says:

    Congratulations to the Broward County Commission for doing the right thing about the trash issue.
    Now, there are many countries including El Salvador, the Netherlands, Sweden, and some on the continent of Africa that provide electricity to entire cities by converting garbage to power.
    Maybe some visionary folks in this county could look beyond the usual creations of landfills and adopt the energy policies of the countries mentioned.
    Of course, lobbyists and waste management companies would have to feel some pain to do that unless they became part of the solution.

  3. Seemerun says:

    The Panthers deal
    just another deal that stinks to high heaven’s
    Seems Moskowitz is involved in another highly questionable deal at the county
    It would be interesting to see what other bad deals he’s been involved with
    What commissioners pushed that deal through? Just curious

  4. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    When a cracked to lois wexler at the fort lauderdale city commission meeting if the edgewater civic assn had hired moscowitz they would not have lost their beloved church n got a county adduction center she sneered oh yeah i guess for once she was right they should have hired bernie friedman n defeatedjudicial candidate ilean liebeeman!

  5. f says:

    Great post Buddy! Thanks.

  6. Closingitanyway says:

    Buddy, You missed it. WM can do what they want and close the incinerator without county approval. The commissioners know this, so they voted no, knowing full well it was gonna happen anyway. It was thus an easy vote and it was all for show! Welcome to political theater. WM gets what they want and Moskowitz wins at the end of the day.

  7. Bailout says:

    Wonder why Bergeron would hire all those lobbyists? Bet he is losing money on his garbage contract since he hauls the waste 200 miles away and needs WM to bail him out.

  8. Sam The Sham says:

    Why am I the only one seeing this as a horrible government intrusion into private business?

    You all consider yourself “Good Government” people. Guess what? You are all espousing Fascism.

    You all remind me of a bunch of spoiled and naive children, crying and stamping your feet to get your way.

  9. Newhamp says:

    #6 If WM can do what they want why would Moskowitz be asking the county for anything ? That doesn’t make sense.

  10. foolish says:

    In his comments about private business, Sam The Sham overlooks that garbage collection is regulated everyplace in the country because it is a health issue. Garbage must be collected and the government steps in to ensure that the prices and service are at acceptable levels. It is the same thing they do with electricity.

  11. just sayin says:

    To #9 Newhamp. The way I understand it is that they would like to close it early and are asking for the county’s blessing. They will close it anyway, at the end of some contract. Now, if the county let’s them close early, the county can ask for money. Hey, it’s gonna close anyway, why not make some money for the taxpayers on it?

  12. says:

    1: ask wm why it more to process waste from one city at 80.00 a tomb and other cuts 42,00

    2. How do they not pay their host cities more than there no host cities? Ie. Pompano and parkland

    3. How do pompano and p pines pay 78.oo a ton and the rest of Broward pay 43.00 for say product.

    4. How did Ron Greenstien cover the wool over your eyes for 30 years than disappear to Tallahassee

    5. Did republic services and Wm divert garbage for 25 years?

    6. How did Greenstien run the RRC board and still be a Lobbyist in C Creek and screw them

    7. Why do Ilene Lieberman “Michelson” change her tune now.

    8. was she the heart transplant recipient that WM was main sponsor??? And Tamarac mayor to same events.

    Answer these questions I have 20 more.

    have a great weekend!!!!!!!

    Inquiring mines would like to know!!!

  13. tell the truth says:

    One of your best columns Buddy. Thank you.

    Kudos Commissioner Mark Bogen. Don’t live in your district but would have voted for you if I did.

    If the incinerator is the one at StRd 7/441 and 595 well we taxpayers paid to building that 25++ years ago. hazen Sawyer got a sweet deal for design if I recallcorrectly. Lots and lots of tax dollars in the pockets of a few.
    Then we taxpayers got billed to haul our garbage to our facility.

    Want to hit them in the wallet?

    RECYCLE. Everything.
    The carts should be so full the lids can’t close.
    Put the MINIMUM in the trash cart. Ditto the landscapingdebris. Let it compost in a pile in the back yard corner.
    We hold the power to put these thugs out of business but they based their future profits in their bids on our past indulgent practices of tons and tons of trash.
    This one workshop item is just the start. It will come back to BCC for a public hearing is I remember tim ryans protestations at last Tuesday’s morning BCC mtg.
    what a fine job he’s doing not wanting citizens to have the floor when the stench in north Broward from the landfill will make you gag just driving by, let alone living in proximity to the odors carried by the breeze.

  14. Newhamp says:

    just saying – good point. I see, the County gets a little money and the cities get zilch.

    Thats the trend lately!

  15. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Boy all this talk about the public being able to speak @ these workshops etc. ,well when I turned on the TV Friday night to watch this past Tuesday’ comm.meeting all I got was workshop in session(no shit). i mean why wasn’t that workshop televisioned in Ft>lau on comcast chan.12???. I mean the workshop was in th e comm.chambers so why wasn’t it televised??. Total BS. Comm.Bogen my God calm down w/ your jabs to Comm.ritter. W/ this ‘code of silence” issue. Boy did you hit a nerve w/ him Stacey. I agreed w/ her. Caputo sure sounded like a lobbyist. Obviously I watch these meetings. Then Bogen states I talked to Att.Drew Myers. Then he recites 10;45 pm ,then the very next day @ 7;45etc. I hope Joni Coffey was aware of all this(county att). In regards to this trash contracts. I know alot of you are thinking what are you talking about?. No kidding if the workshop was televised you would understand all this. Those that see this make sure in th e future the workshops are televised.And to #4 the “Jewish Vampire” Oh I know Count whatever. You are a jerk… Pertaining to your comment concerning Comm.Wexler(she didn’t say shit to you-by the way folks- he comes from Miami Bch-they had a party when he moved to Ft.Lau-they hated him according to my sources-now we got him in Ft>lau(great)-…