Margate Website Proves Again: Cities Need Ethics Lesson


Today’s has another reason why cities need an ethics lesson:  Vice Mayor David McLean.

McLean was using his credit card for questionable expenses, including one whooping $1,200 restaurant charge.

When is the last time you spent $1,200 at a restaurant?  Many of you wouldn’t do that because you’d be paying the bill yourself.

The article unfortunately doesn’t state whether McLean paid the money back.

It doesn’t matter.  He shouldn’t have spent it.

This is proof once again that Broward’s electeds need the handcuffs of tough ethics rules to stop them from abusing their office.

And this is a lesson to other governments – electeds have no business with a government-issued credit card.

If the electeds can’t lay out the money, they shouldn’t spend it.

I doubt whether Margate voters elected McLean so he could charge $1,200 at a restaurant to the city. What about the other questionable expenses such as a pet lodge, repeated meals and expensive flowers?

This goes for all elected.  Where does it say in the job description for elected officials that they can eat, drink, house their pets and send flowers on taxpayers’ dime?

And some city officials question why an ethics law is needed?

If they take money from the city, what are they taking from lobbyists?

 McLean Busted 

The piece also has another juicy nugget of community journalism.  McLean has allegedly been driving without a license or a valid license plate.

Mitchell Pellecchia (who I don’t know) writing on the Margatenews website nails McLean good.

She has the pictures.

One picture shows McLean’s car with a plate that expired in Nov. 2011.  The website said it was taken this month.

To back up their claim, the paper also notes that McLean has been charged with driving without a valid plate and a suspended license.

Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense – a misdemeanor if the first or second offense and beyond that, a felony.

Here is the full story.  I recommend it.

Below is McLean’s credit card bills from the website.  Click to enlarge.


19 Responses to “Margate Website Proves Again: Cities Need Ethics Lesson”

  1. observer says:

    Total joke. There is no legitimate reason for him to have a credit card from the City. What other cities do this??

  2. says:

    A sanpling of other stories on David McLean:
    Margate Commissioner Stiffs Resident for $15,000
    Commissioner McLean’s Tiki Bar Under Investigation by Florida ABT
    Margate City Commission Holds Special Meeting to get Bar Back Open
    Margate Commissioner owes more than $15,000 in delinquent Sales and Use Tax
    Commissioner McLean’s Bar and Grill Closed

  3. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    I was looking at relocating to SFLA over 20 years ago. Each Monday I would stop by a newsdealer on 42 nd street which sold out of town newspapers including the Sun Sentinel. They were a week behind when they sold them.

    What I recall was that Margate was always mentioned in the Sun Sentinel for corruption of the officials, employees and cops. What surprised me was that most bios of the perps had them as former NYCers who moved to Margate after they retired or were fired in NYC. Accordingly, Margate had the highest tax rates for smaller cities.

    I am not just picking on Margate.

    The Sun Sentinel also had endless articles each week about police corruption and scandal in a town called Hollywood.

    When looking for a home I made damn sure to not look for any home in either of those two places. Some things never change.

  4. Richard J Kaplan says:

    First let me say that I 100% agree about requiring the taking of ethic classes. As an attorney I am required to do so to maintain my law license. Though I believe that courses should be required in more than just ethics, such as government finances, procedure, civility, effective management, general government law, etc.

    I also advocated years ago that before someone ran for office that they should be required to take and PASS a course on government and ethics. This of course was never taken seriously except by me.

    As to Commissioner McLean, if he improperly misused the credit card against city policy, then it’s not necessarily the policy that’s wrong, it’s the person. I am sure the law has its own recourse to deal with the situation, and the city should be taking the appropriate action. Also, the same would apply to any other employee for improper use (not just because they are elected).

    I say this because for 10 years I have held a credit card from my city. It was issued to me at a repeated request of the City Clerk, and approved by the City Manager, to help with managing receipts, deal with unexpected issues, and better control of finances.

    It is to be used only for my city related travel, and as authorized by the City Clerk or City Manager, which has happened at times because of needs solely of the city. It is subject to continuous review and though no problems has ever been found, if there was it would be immediately dealt with.

    In fact the finance department has expressed to me that they appreciated that I have this card.

    I actually resisted the request for 3 years until it became very difficult for the city and myself in dealing with the paper work generated and issues that came up (not necessarily by me). Curiously it was issued a week before the problem with Broward County Commission Eggelletion came up in 2002 about using it to purchase a $600+ briefcase). At that point I almost gave it back, but was encourage to keep it.

    Over the years I regularly checked with staff to make sure there were no issues with its use and that there was no desire for me to discontinue to hold it. It has saved the city a lot of money and time.

    So, while I agree about the ethics problems of the situation that need to be addressed immediately, and the potential misuse of the credit card, I do not agree with the blanket statement “electeds (sic) have no business with a government-issued credit card.”

    I believe they should if it advances a need of the government, not necessarily the need of the elected official.

  5. No Nonsense says:

    $1200 at a crappy restaurant that’s now closed. The fact that the charge is exactly $1200 raises questions. Maybe the amount is a coincidence, but that much at a neighborhood pizza joint? Mr Satz please.

  6. sidelines says:

    Joe Egg formerly a Broward County commissioner learned the hard way how ‘personal’ expenses were scrutinized. it took a while but eventually all BCC lost their county issued credit cards

  7. SuzCo says:

    The crappy restaurant that is now closed was in a mall owned by the Margate CRA. And Mr. McLean is a member of that CRA Board and at the time may have been the head of the board. BTW that crappy restaurant rarely if ever paid its ridiculously low rent on time and the CRA board kept letting it go with hand slaps until “outed” the situation to the public.
    In 2007 McLean had to quickly sell his restaurant/bar which was in another CRA owned property since he was on the CRA Board. I recall the panicked calls from McLean to locals who might have been interested in assuming the lease.

  8. Str8 Talk says:

    Kaplan: Its still wrong. What makes you have a credit card and other commissioner on the City do not? It doesn’t make sense. You thumb your nose at the voters and you manipulate the City. Its time to VOTE YOU OUT in 2014!

  9. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    When the all going to learn that eventually every thing comes out in the wash-how true. This new Inspector general, first of all is no joke and secoundly and more importantly he will not hestitate to put some of you in th e slammer(no matter how much influence and money you have)I mean really sir 1200 bucks at some restuarant so you can be the big shot(w/ our money-hang him by his balls).

  10. SuzCo says:

    Commissioner Le Peerman called for David McLean’s resignation at the Commission Meeting But did not receive a second. The Commission did censure McLean

  11. Le Peerman says:

    I asked him to resign he chose not to, I made a motion for an investigation and to censure him and take away his credit card. I did not get a second. The Commission voted to censure him and to tighten up the policy for the credit cards for the commissioners.

  12. Floridan says:

    The problem is not the credit card, it is the misuse of the credit card (if, indeed, that turns out to be the case).

    Many, if not most, large corporations issue credit cards to their management employees, not as some sort of perk, but to avoid having to deal with reimbursments, cash transactions, requiring employees to pay for company expenses with their own funds, etc. Also, and as noted above, credit cards provide a written record of transactions, even if the orignal receipt is lost or isn’t issued.

    Finally, this is the 21st century — electronic transactions are the most efficient way of making purchases and keeping track of expenses. Checks and cash are on the way out.

  13. I Care says:

    Tonight Margate missed an opportunity to deal with Commissioner McLean head on and wound up only slapping his wrist.
    I heard it said after the Commission meeting that if the residents of Margate don’t care to show up and ask for accountability then there is nothing else to do. As much as that may sound like a cop-out, it is actually a very true statement. Case in point, look at the comments here, do they sound fed up with the situation? Did anyone get up at the meeting and tell David to his face what they think? No! And that’s the problem. If you sit back and expect someone to do it for you then you have taken no steps to see your City Government held Accountable. You complain at your keyboard and you moan and groan at the bar or at the golf course or at home yelling at your TV but you don’t get off your butt and do something about it. Sit back and let the few (who stand alone) do it for you.
    And you think Government is the problem???
    You get the leadership you allow. We are responsible for what is going on in our city and we need to stand up together to change it. Mitch Pellecchia stood up, Commissioner Le Peerman Stood up, Mayor Pam Donovan stood up. Where were the rest of the citizens of Margate? I Hope that if there is wrong doing going on with David, it will be investigated. If he has done nothing wrong he will be cleared. However, as a pattern of behavior is being revealed, just how likely is it that Mitch has only just scratched the surface. Think about it.

  14. Richard J Kaplan says:

    What I find interesting about Str8 Talk comments, is that while they probably from Lauderhill, they are unaware of the city’s Charter that the voters approved.

    Do they know that the Mayor is one of the two people required to sign checks of the city? But their argument is that I can’t sign a credit card?

    BTW, remember, this credit card was at the request of the City, not by me, and that I resisted agreeing to it for some time. If the City had requested of other Commissioners, then again, it would have been for the City’s benefit, not the elected officials request.

  15. Le Peerman says:

    My city credit card sits at city hall until I travel when I get back it goes back to them. I check in at a hotel with it, (because that is what is used to book the room) after they run the card for the room. I give them my personal credit card for anything after that. I have said before it is the people you have to trust. I did not ask who enforced the policy when I signed the agreement, I read and understood the agreement when I signed it.

  16. says:

    New Story just published:
    Margate Vice Mayor David McLean Censured for Abusing City Credit Card

  17. Le Peerman says:

    Vice Mayor’s explanation.,0,1347594.story#tugs_story_display

  18. pissed residents says:

    You should dig deeper one of margates politicians was bragging how he was in a car accident where he was hammered drunk and when police arrived on scene they told him you are drunk go home and let him drive home

  19. TheBrowardRepublican says:

    It was really nice to see that the City of Margate rose up in a single voice this last election and chased McLean out of town.

    What? They didn’t? Instead, they chose to reelect him? (Insert your own comment here)