Money Flows To Pols As Project Winds Way Through City Hall




It’s good to be the mayor.

Especially if the city is Margate, which Mayor Antonio Arserio describes as “business friendly.”

Especially when you are running for reelection…like Arserio.



Antonio Arserio




Get this:

Mayor Arserio was handed ten separate $1,000 checks —$10,000 —for his reelection on Jan. 4. The checks are from companies tied to a proposed apartment complex, currently working its way through City Hall approvals. 

That $10,000 is roughly 40 percent of his reelection donations as of January 31. 

It is good to be a Margate City Commissioner, too.

Commissioner Thomas Ruzzano was given five separate $1,000 checks — $5,000— from businesses tied to the same development project. 

Now get this:

The donations to Ruzzano are for his reelection in November 2024! 

Yup, 2024.

You can decide whether Ruzzano took the questions about the donations seriously. Among other questions, he was asked why companies would give money now for a 2024 race. Here is the one-paragraph answer he emailed Browardbeat:

“I guess I’m a likable guy, plus maybe the ‘strongest Mayor in the World’ (video attached) helps a little. I was also the only elected official endorsed by the Democratic and Republican Party last election as well. This is nothing compared to what I raised last election and plan on raising more.”

Ruzzano, who is not currently mayor, attached to the email to Browardbeat a video of him lifting 405 pounds.




The donations are connected to Marquesta, envisioned as 220 apartments sprawled across 8.113 acres along Coconut Creek Parkway. 

First proposed in 2017, it would have been built by now if it wasn’t for the staff in Margate City Hall. The project was stalled when city staff said the initial plans didn’t meet Margate’s requirements for such a complex.

Now the reimagined Marquesta is back. 



The Margate project is being proposed by TC MC Margate Apartments LLC, whose manager is Tomas Cabrerizo, according to state records. 

Cabrerizo works out of a Miami office, which is also the home of the well-known Legacy Residential Group. (Tom Cabrerizo is CEO of Legacy)

The same Bird Road address and the name “Legacy” are used by the companies that donated money to the two Margate politicians. 

“While I appreciate their generous support, this does not call into question any vote I make. I review all the facts and make decisions on what’s best for Margate,” Mayor Arserio wrote Browardbeat. 

“The City is faced with raising taxes which I am against, or welcome smart development,” the mayor continued. “This project will provide more housing which is in high demand and add much needed tax revenue. Not to mention beautiful curb appeal to an area that desperately needs it.”

Marquesta would definitely have curb appeal. I don’t think anyone would argue that Marquesta would be an improvement over the aging strip shopping and small school that is currently on the property. 

Like most development, there is a downside. It would add density and traffic to Margate. 

Not much. Just a little. The 220 apartments won’t swamp local schools or gridlock streets. 

But the journey to overcrowding always starts with one more apartment, one more car. 

Watch out when Arserio says developers are “excited about the positive changes coming to the City and have recognized our business friendly approach.”

If there is a key lesson of South Florida government, it is this:

There is only one step from business friendly to business lackey. There is only one step from economic development to over development. 

Have Mayor Arserio and Commissioner Ruzzano have learned that lesson?

We shall see.

8 Responses to “Money Flows To Pols As Project Winds Way Through City Hall”

  1. Sick of Margate says:

    The Margate commission is a failure. Drive through Margate and look at it.

  2. anonymous says:

    Arsenio is a loser.

  3. Richard Kaplan says:

    If this is something objectionable, then you should look more closely to County Commission, State Legislative and Federal races. This is small in comparison. There you are looking at hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

    Does it mean they bought a vote? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the candidates character. I know some I believe did and others it didn’t.

    Does it mean it buys an open opportunity to listen? Maybe, maybe not. I would hope the elected official would give everyone the same access to listening and some do while others don’t.


    Richard Kaplan is the former mayor of Lauderhill.

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


    The reason Dean, Glassman n Sorensen are WALKING A HIGH WIRE is if the continue to attack 16 year fired City Auditor John Herbst he’ll rate them out. I know, I watched Herbst watch Dean, Glassman n Sorensen kiss the backside of EVERY MEGA DEVELOPER N MULTIMILLIONAIRE LOBBYIST at Social Events, 2012-start of the Pandemic. You think Margate is a disgrace? Mayor Kaplan is right. Why was hundreds of thousands given to Glassman WHEN HE HAD NO OPPONENT LAST TIME? OR TRANTALIS? How many ZONING CHANGES N DEALS HAVE DEAN N GLASSMAN SUPPORTED?

  5. MacAdder says:

    This recently happened in Tamarac, as well, but not to the same degree. Marlon Bolton, who’s not up for reelection until 2024, received a $1,000 campaign donation in November 2021 from a business owner looking to move his company from Fort Lauderdale to Bolton’s district. Coincidentally, that business owner petitioned the city for a special exception and a land use code amendment on January 12, 2022, which were both approved.

    However, I would argue that, in Bolton’s case, this type of campaign donation was a mistake. I would expect that, in most cases, Bolton asks lobbyists to “sow a seed” into his “ministry” at That would explain why he’s reported income of more than $100K for the past three years from his “prophecy” business, Forecast Holdings, LLC, based on City of Tamarac financial disclosures.

    So, if Arserio was smart, he’d get ordained by some Internet-based, fly-by-night church and do the same thing. Then he wouldn’t have to worry about pesky reporters combing through his campaign contribution lists.

  6. Margate Tony says:

    i dont see any rule breaks anywhere here. Kepep up the great work Mayor Arserio.

  7. Sam the Sham says:

    Developers around here suffer from a deep lack of imagination. Mixed use takes a bit more thought and creativity but pays huge dividends. This tired corner needs an injection of a little fun and out of the box thinking. And if the politicians take money to put the same old boring crap in, they should get an injection too.

  8. Huh ? says:

    I read this article as addressing the appearance of impropriety created by the conduct of Mayor Arserio and Commissioner Thomas Ruzzano. Of course, its improper and you are correct in calling that out. In looking at former Mayor Kaplan’s post, that point seems to be totally lost on him. I guess I should not that surprised. Maybe he’s friendly with these guys. Who knows.