PAL Controversy Surfaces In The Middle of Plantation Election



Plantation police have been asked to investigate an incumbent city commissioner embroiled in a tough re-election battle.

A whistleblower inside the Plantation Athletic League has accused Council member Rico Petrocelli of misspending the organization’s money.

He told he filed a police complaint against Petrocelli.

Petrocelli doesn’t need this to surface again.  He is in the middle of a struggle to hold on to his council seat. 

The challenger is Peter Tingom, a former principal of Plantation High School.  Tingom has a base of former students and parents supporting him.

The PAL dispute — with Petrocelli in the center — has been swirling around city hall for over a year. 

Petrocelli’s political base has always been PAL, which introduced him to thousands of Plantation residents in youth sports. 

Petrocelli resigned from the PAL board in the midst of the controversy.

Parents brought the accusations to city hall last year.  They said there were $220,880 in “discrepancies in the books of PAL.

It resulted in an audit of PAL.
The audit found the league’s books “sloppy.  It came to no conclusion about Petrocelli.

“There are a number of unanswered questions, Mayor Rae Carole Amstrong was quoted in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the audit.

Armstrong this week wrote the board of PAL and asked them not to attempt to remove whistleblower Pat Roberts from the organization.

Roberts believes the PAL will attempt to do what so many organizations do when faced with criticism blame the messenger. 

Robert says PAL officials will move kick him out at this week’s meeting.

The whistleblower alleges that PAL higher ups use organization funds for cell phones and other benefits not part of the group’s goals.
Petrocelli is accused of using the group’s money to further his political career.  The accusations contend Petrocelli mixed PAL business with his political campaigns.

For instance, documents indicate that a party supposedly honoring the PAL at the city-owned Deicke Auditorium was really a political event for Petrocelli. A huge Petrocelli banner was displayed at party: “Thank You For Your Support. 

Whistleblowers questioned several checks found in the PAL books written to Petrocelli.

No one yet has ever proved Petrocelli did anything wrong, but an awful lot of criticism remains. 

Will the police get to the bottom of this?

Unlikely.  I would bet the cops duck this hot potato

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