Parkland Horse Arena: Rich Folks Fighting


There is a war going on over a Parkland horse arena.

This is really just a bunch of rich folks fighting.  But rich folks fighting is always entertaining.

Here’s the story:

A handful of residents living in an area set aside for agriculture uses object to an arena owned by a wealthy couple, Howard and Gwen Dvorkin.

Dvorkin is one of the nation’s credit counseling kings.  He has beaucoup bucks.

I’m told that wife Gwen wanted to offer people, especially children, the opportunity to ride horses and train with experts.  So he made it happen.

I’m guaranteed a month of good will if I buy my wife a pair of earrings.

The rich are different.  Howard bought Gwen 20 acres in Parkland.

They planned an equine arena starting in 2008. They named it Pine Hollow.

A handful of neighbors quickly began objecting to the barns and jumping facilities.  They said it caused noise and commotion on their street.

The city asked for a legal opinion whether Pine Hollow could be shut down. The city’s lawyers said it couldn’t stop the horse arena because it was a bona fide agriculture use protected by a state law.

The neighbors hired legal brawler Skip Campbell, a former state senator and successful plaintiff’s attorney. Then they sued.

No White Hats

Of the four suing the city, none are innocents:

  • One ran a landscape business out of his Parkland home.
  • Another ran a business described by a city official as “competing stables” to Pine Hollow.
  • A third ran a roofing company, always a bucolic addition to any neighborhood, out of his Parkland home near Pine Hollow.
  • A fourth plaintiff, Mark Caputo, admitted in an e-mail he knew of Pine Hollow’s plans before it expanded (My underlining and bold facing):

From: Mark Caputo []

Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 10:30 AM

To: Michael Udine

Cc: Jared Moskowitz; Caryn Gardner-Young;;

Subject: Pine Hollow


Mayor Udine,

We have remained professional and respectful of your position and thus have refrained from public discourse regarding the Pine Hollow matter. However, we are dismayed that you continue to make public inference that our family “knew” what was being planned across the street from our home and thus our concerns are unfounded.

We were aware of plans to expand the equestrian facilities but trusted it would be done in a lawful manner. Even had we been forewarned, does this absolve the City from its duty to follow the applicable development approval process for an arena of this scale? The scale and intensity of use of that arena is completely incompatible with the surrounding residential homes.

Your “oversight”, Mayor, has negatively impacted our property value and more importantly destroyed our family’s quality of life.  Perhaps you should consider this before you publicly dismiss our concerns.

Mark and Lisa Caputo

6780 NW 81st Terrace


So they knew that Pine Hollow was expanding.  It couldn’t be that long ago because they only bought the home in 2010, according to county records.

Now they are complaining and suing!



The Cops Are Called


Another plaintiff, Barry Laramee along with his wife Laura Laramee, take the prize for bizarre behavior in my opinion.

No, they didn’t use the wrong fork at a Parkland soiree.  No, they didn’t wear a dinner jacket when the invitation called for formal wear.

They were questioned by sheriff’s deputies for allegedly disrupting events at Pine Hollow.

How uncivilized!

Barry and Laura Laramee were not charged with any crime.

However, the sheriff’s deputies wrote reports on the incidents.

According to the reports:

  • Barry Laramee admitted blowing a loud air horn, which folks at Pine Hollow said were scaring the horses while children were riding them. Laramee told deputies he was using the horn to train his steer.
  • Laura Laramee was accused of turning on her car alarm and yelling at the children riding horses.

Portions of the two police reports are below.

Rich folks fighting.

In one corner is Dvorkin. He’s über rich.

In the other corner, four of his neighbors.  They might not be as rich as Dvorkin…but I wouldn’t pass around the cup for them.

After all, everybody in this story lives in Parkland.



Blogger Chaz Stevens has explored elements of this story, too, here.  A portion of two police reports of incidents at Pine Hollow involving Barry and Laura Laramee (Click to enlarge):


35 Responses to “Parkland Horse Arena: Rich Folks Fighting”

  1. Ranch hand says:

    Why do people continue to move to areas and then complain when lawful that are there exist and operate. Parkland ranches has been ag for decades. There are many stables, commercial farms, Nurseries, landscaping companies, all with there related noise and nuisance. They are allowed. Learn to live with it or don’t move there!

  2. YAFOS says:

    Wow,Buddy, must be a really slow news day. I now feel officially idiotic for even reading this dribble to the end, including the remarks.

  3. Always Observing says:

    From what I know, this is nothing but a shakedown. The four tried to extort money out of Dvorkin, which is never going to happen so they instead they try to extract the cash from the City. Nothing but a bunch of money grubbing snakes in the grass trying to achieve their own agendas. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. Mr. Ed says:

    The city has a horse arena just a block or two from Pine Hollow in the Ranches, a neighborhood for horse people. What’s the difference between the city facility and the traffic it brings and Pine Hollow. A horse is a horse. If these people want a typical suburban life they should move to Coral Springs.

  5. touche says:

    I agree with Mr. Ed. What about the Farmers Market and the traffic it generates all the way out to University Drive.

    What distinguishes Parkland from all other cities in Broward County is the equestrian lifestyle. Why in the world would you move there if you did not want to see horses, smell horses, enjoy horses…
    I dont like seeing the landscaping operations in the Ranches and all that accompanies that such as broken down equipment sitting in plain view of others…

    Why wouldnt these folks buy a house in one of the gated communities which would have ensured that they would not be subjected to legitimate permitted uses.

    Parkland is an equestrian community and that is what makes it so special. Horses belong there and all things that celebrate and promote horses and riding.

    Keep up the good work Gwen. Your passion and love for horses is refreshing and the good work that you do there is appreciated.

  6. Chaz Stevens says:

    Hey Buddy;

    There’s a whole cottage industry of what the hell are they thinking… Like:

    1) Illegal wells drilled
    2) You’re using what type of fertilizer again?
    3) That’s the public right of way there Holmes

    Also, it’s funny that Bob Norman blasts Howard Dvorkin for modest campaign contributions to Team Moskowitz, but fails to mention the big big big contribtuions Dvorkin made to Senator Campbell.

    Using Norman’s bent logic, if Dvorkin was looking to purchase/curry favor, then his big dollar donations to Campbell should be worth something right?

    Also, what’s failed to be mentioned is the rash of shit the City of Parkland gave Dvorkin. I’ve seen the emails (story on MAOS next week) and if that’s getting cut a break because of his friendship with Michael Udine, I’d hate to see taking one for the team.

    From the City Engineer to Planning and Zoning, Parkland really made it very difficult on Dvorkin.

    By the way, only one tangentially related matter only came before the City– pertaining to a 27 year old barn on Dvorkin’s property – and Udine recused himself.

    So how is Udine working to job the system for Dvorkin?

    I fail to follow Norman’s logic of a quid pro quo. Perhaps one of his seven commenting cronies can explain the following — Udine, never voting on any issue, is guilty of advocating for Dvorkin because __________?

    Is should also be mentioned that Mark Caputo is a big shot doctor at Holy Cross. And yet his wife is trying to scare the crap out of horses, possibly hurting a child? These aren’t big kids we’re talking about here… You would think the doctor knows about trauma.

    Doesn’t take much to see this story for what it is.

    1) Norman wants ratings, so he’s going to sensationalize it
    2) The Four Horsemen want to shake down Dvorkin for cash.
    3) Air horn sales in Parkland is a brisk business.

    And Chaz? Chaz always wants to be part of the story, so next week I’ll be filing a couple complaints against Donnelly’s nursery. So there is that.

  7. Chaz Stevens says:

    Hey Buddy;

    I did some digging and came up with a “creepy anti-Semitic” angle to this story…

    As if blasting the klaxon wasn’t enough…



  8. Chaz Stevens says:

    Also, I got the story wrong.

    It wasn’t the Cavuto on the horn. Apologies to Mrs. Cavuto for the mistake. Completely unintentional.


  9. christine says:

    Dr. Caputo.

  10. christine says:

    Dr. Caputo and his wife Lisa have 2 young sons. I doubt they would ever do anything to put any person, child or not, in harm’s way.

  11. Ranch hand says:

    Anyone who blows off an air horn to scare a kid on a horse should be charged with a crime.

  12. Mark says:

    All one has to do to see a much cozier relationship is a very quick comparison between companies owned by Dvorkin and campaign reports of the others involoved and they will see a much cozier relationship. For reference the law allows a max $500 contribution per person, entity etc.

  13. Chaz Stevens says:


    How do you propose that cozy relationship translated to the real world?

    This matter didn’t come up for a vote.

    The Commission isn’t allowed to manage staff.

    I looked at everything and didn’t find any quid pro quo.

    You allude to, but stop short of actually stating a fact.


    There is none.

    Dvorkin has a ton of cash. He contributes. That’s not illegal.

    If he was buying favors, then show us the favors. I couldn’t find them and I looked really really hard for them.


  14. Watching the crazies says:

    Read the police reports. Caputo, Donnely and Laramee all questioned by police for trying to intentionally spook horses with kids on back. These people just want money and apparently will do anything to get it, even if that means killing our children. Laramee is limited. Caputo however understands trama as he is a doctor with Holly Cross. I forget, who is the victim?

  15. observer says:

    Interesting. I’ve been to the area and Pine Hollow has actually cleaned up the place. Used to be four or five old run down homes with many people living there. It is now one of the premier riding facilities in SoFla. Pine Hollowis a major improvement to the area.

  16. christine says:

    Hey Watching, being “questioned” is not being charged. It is seeking information. Stop the libelous insiinuation.

  17. Chaz Stevens says:

    Personally, all of this, I believe, will be a moot point with the passage of the enhanced “Right-To-Farm” act.

    I agree with the caveat that I’m not a lawyer. Here is the law (with my italics):

    .50 Nonresidential farm buildings and farm fences.—
    (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any nonresidential farm building or farm fence is exempt from the Florida Building Code and any county or municipal code or fee, except for code provisions implementing local, state, or federal floodplain management regulations.
    (2) As used in this section, the term:
    (a) “Nonresidential farm building” means any temporary or permanent building or support structure that is classified as a nonresidential farm building on a farm under 2s. 553.73(9)(c) or that is used primarily for agricultural purposes, is located on land that is an integral part of a farm operation or is classified as agricultural land under s. 193.461, and is not intended to be used as a residential dwelling. The term may include, but is not limited to, a barn, greenhouse, shade house, farm office, storage building, or poultry house.
    (b) “Farm” has the same meaning as provided in s. 823.14.
    History.—s. 13, ch. 98-396; s. 19, ch. 2002-293; s. 51, ch. 2002-295; ss. 6, 9, ch. 2011-7; HJR 7103, 2011 Regular Session.
    1Note.—Section 9, ch. 2011-7, provides that “[t]his act shall take effect July 1, 2010.” Passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives over the Governor’s veto March 24, 2011. House Joint Resolution 7103, 2011 Regular Session, provides that C.S. for H.B. 7103, 2010 Regular Session, which became ch. 2011-7, is effective, “upon becoming a law, the veto of the Governor notwithstanding”; the bill became law on March 24, 2011.
    2Note.—Section 553.73(9)(c) was redesignated as s. 553.73(10)(c) by s. 32, ch. 2010-176.

  18. Watching the crazies says:

    Are you kidding? How often do the police knock on your door? Take the rose color glasses off and see it for what it is. How Holy Cross Hospital allows one of their docs to put kids lives in danger is totally beyond me. Are they somehow perpetuating there own business by harming children? This story isn’t going to look to good for Holy Cross Hospital once it’s on the front page of the SunSentinel.

  19. christine says:

    I know Mark and Lisa. And I know their 2 young sons. And I know they are innocent of your libelous insinuations.They are not really friends, I don’t socialize with them, I am not a patient.I don’t have a pony in this race. The situation doesn’t affect me inthe least.What’s your pony?

  20. Watching the crazies says:

    No pony. No horse. No dog. No air horn either. Live in the ranches for years and watched all the fighting for the last decade or so involving most of the same parties. Tired of the drama. Live and let live.

  21. christine says:

    And that’s exactly what’s wrong with Broward. Your “I don’t want to get involved.” attitude. Drama might have been going on for the last decade or thereabouts. But please, we both know Lisa and Mark have not been a part of it. They were living in the Country Club.

  22. Chaz Stevens says:


    Once upon a time, I once worked for a computer company that was purchased by the German firm AEG.

    Upon learning AEG used previously used female slave labor and provided the electrical equipment at Auschwitz, I immediately tendered my resignation and quit that day — as my value system would not permit me to a part of such nonsense.

    There are just some things that will never and should never be forgotten.

    In my life, you are judged by the company you keep.

    Perhaps folks are judging the Doc and his wife by the company they keep…

    Just a thought.



    For the record, I am not a Jew. In fact, I am an atheist.

  23. Ranch hand says:

    @christine you might be correct. Per the story, Caputo purchased his home in the ranches in 2010, and he was aware of pine hollow and the expansion. This is the real problem. Not the “I don’t want to get involved attitude”. It’s the concept that people move near lawful uses and then complain about them after.

  24. Chaz Stevens says:

    @Ranch hand

    Or, according to my sources, look to parlay the purchase of a $1.2M house into $1.8M.

    Four months and $600,000 later.

    Not a bad gig if you can get it.

  25. christine says:

    @ Ranch hand

    You may be correct in that. And I am not calling that argument either way. My only concern was to clarify the issue that the Caputos were not responsible for putting the children, or anyone else for that matter, in harm’s way.


    Agreed. People are judged (rightly or wrongly) by the company they keep. However, I have also noticed through out life, that while you can pick your friends, you seldom pick your neighbors. And I bet many of us have moved in to homes,or had folks move in next to us, or in adjacent residences, where the only thing we might have in common with them is a shared wall, or fence. Perhaps the Caputo’s guilt by association is due to that.
    As to their economic motives, I am unable or willing to address that. Again, my only concern was to clarify the “horn issue”.

  26. Chaz Stevens says:


    >>I have also noticed through out life, that while you can pick your friends, you seldom pick your neighbors

    Using the long established legal court case of Chicken v. Egg, which came first? Pine Hollow or the Caputos?

    Given the Caputo’s own email, they apparently knew in advance of the horse farm’s expansion. To wit: they knew their neighbors before they bought their property.

    In the car business, that’s known as “buyer’s remorse.”

    On a side note, no one seems to be talking about the restraint shown by the parents of the little kids on horseback when the air horn was sounded.

    Personally, if I was over there with my five year-old daughter and Barry did that bullshit, I’d have kicked his ass up one side of the road way and down the other.

  27. christine says:


    I was/am not interested in where the Caputo’s live. I was referencing the fact that while their neighbors may have indeed sounded the air horn, they did not. Ergo, guilt by association. My only interest was in establishing the fact that they were not responsible for putting any child in harm’s way.
    I agree with you however about the restraint shown by the parents. However to be honest, I would have instead removed my child from any possibility of future malevolence or maleficence, and found another riding school.

  28. Horse Lover says:

    Just so everbody is on the same page, many people witnessed when a white Lexis pulled out of Caputo’s driveway and parked by the side of the riding ring and waited for a child to come around riding a horse when the white Lexis’s horn begann blaasting in order to spook the horse. The horse bucked and almost threw the child. A few hours later the same whie Lexis pulled back into the Caputo’s driveway and into their garage. My understanding the police were called and the Caputo’s were issued warning.

    A warning was also issued to Mary Donnelly for speeding by the farm to spook the horses. Unfortunately for heer she did it in front of a police oficeer.

    Now let talk about “victim” Laura Laramee. She walks up and down the street blasting an airhorn. I undstand she has moved on to now just setting off car alarm.

    Thesee people dont seem like very rational folks.

  29. christine says:

    That surprises and disappoints me. Thanks for the clarification. For adults to take out their anger jepordizing the welfare of a child is beyond irrational; it is immature and malevolent.

  30. Chaz Stevens says:

    @Horse Lover

    Wasn’t there some dude on a motorcycle doing kinda the same thing as Donnelly?

    I don’t recall the details, but I think it might have been the kid of one of the Pedantic Four…

    I have put my request into BSO for the copies of any warnings issued. If they exist, that’d might make for some good reading.

  31. christine says:

    @ Chaz
    If possible,please share them here. Thank you.

  32. Shake it up baby says:

    Buddy when you looked at the public record for this purchase date, did you also happen to notice that a few months after the purchase caputo deeded the property from himself to both himself and his wife? Normally a pretty routine thing doctors and or asset protectors do. In this case it happened around the same time he short sold his previous home for about a 750000 loss and well well under the mortgage value. All spelled out in public records. Maybe @always observing has it right.

  33. Chaz Stevens says:

    @Shake it up

    Yeah, funny you should say that…

    According to the public records, the Caputo’s got killed in the real estate bubble.

    Especially in ’11… From the record, it really seems they took a $$$ beating.

    Which makes one wonder…

    If my source is correct and they wanted to turn their Ranches $1.2M investment into $1.8M — with Dvorkin coming out of pocket for the $600K, then perhaps there’s one possible motive here…

    Motive and frustration it may seem.

  34. christine says:

    @ Shake it up baby
    Interesting.Many folks who reside in Parkland took huge hits in property value. Especially the Golf and Country Club, where the Caputos lived, since it was Ground Zero for the chinese drywall disaster. So very sad to think they might risk a child’s life because of money… incredibly shallow is that?

  35. christine says:

    By the way Buddy,
    Rich is a relative term. Many folks here are “house poor”. Let alone lacking in any values other than the Amighty Dollar- or socceer.