Plantation Athletic League Must Remove Officers Or Lose Contract



Culminating a year-long battle between the Plantation Athletic League and city hall, the group was told Thursday to throw its directors out or lose its contract to run city youth programs.

The move by Plantation Mayor Rae Carole Armstrong will dramatically change the way the city runs athletics programs for thousand of youths.

The cancellation came in a letter from Armstrong to Evan Krakower, president of the PAL.

Armstrong wrote that the long-time contract with PAL to use city facilities will end September 30 unless the following changes are made:

*The current Executive board must resign.

*A new board must renegotiate an entirely new contract which allows the city to take a larger role in any future youth athletics.

*The newly-reconstituted PAL must have stronger controls over its finances.

*Any PAL special events get prior permission from the city.

“The city cannot continue to invest millions of taxpayer’s dollars in a program that runs at odds with the City Administration and Park and Recreation Department, Armstrong wrote.

The non-profit PAL currently runs the athletic programs at city facilities.

The cancellation is a vindication of  whistleblower Pat Roberts and his allegations that PAL was  misspending the money parents paid to enroll their children in athletic programs.

In her letter, Armstrong praised Roberts and cited the refusal of the PAL board to work with the city and its lack of controls over its finances.

She said there were still questions about $104,000 in PAL money that disappeared.

“Although Evan Krakower has consistently stated that PAL came through (a city) audit with ‘flying colors’, this statement is not factual…, Armstrong wrote.  “…The unanswered question includes insufficient documentation to show how $104,000 was written off.

She also said that the group went against her orders and attempted to throw Roberts off the board after he tipped off city hall.

“Despite my warnings and strong disagreement with any ‘discipline’ of Mr. Roberts, PAL disciplined him anywayno one will be ever able to convince me that what Mr. Roberts did was anything but the right thing, she wrote.

Roberts first complained about one the “special events cited in Armstrong’s letter.  That one cost Former Commissioner Rico Petrocelli his seat.  His defeat in March was attributed to publicity about his political party paid for with PAL money.

Even more disturbing is the allegation in the letter that “the city does not have clear information concerning the events and circumstrances surround the theft/embezzlement of $104,000 in 2001 which was ‘settled’ by the PAL Executive Board without any advance city notice.

The group also paid “at least $1,737 of parents’ money to hire an attorney to respond “to an investigatory subpoena, she wrote.

In conclusion, Armstrong wrote:

“As I have said before, the City’s relationship with PAL goes back many, many years to a time when the organization operated on a shoestring budget. It must return to having a primary focus of closely cooperating with Plantation for the paramount public purpose of providing volunteer service to our children in public programs. The contractual relationship of Plantation is a bestowed public privilege.  If PAL wishes to change its current culture and embrace working with my Administration in a cooperative way, then I would welcome a dialogue with a newly elected and different executive board.if this is not PAL’s desire, then the City has moved on and committed itself to a different method of providing the same or a better level of service to Plantation’s youth and PAL can proceed to unwind its affairs within Plantation.

11 Responses to “Plantation Athletic League Must Remove Officers Or Lose Contract”

  1. Plantation Resident says:

    Great move Mayor Armstrong. It is about time someone cleaned up that PAL mess.

  2. PAL Mom says:

    Commissioner Veltri-Bendekovic and Mayor Armstrong should be commended for cracking down on PAL. I always felt it was a closed club that took our money but excluded us from any decisions. It’s time that the city took a bigger role in PAL.

  3. Watch Out says:

    Bob Levy was part of this whole mess. He co-hosted a party with Rico. If he used PAL money, he should fall, too.

  4. AboutTime says:

    Long time coming. I can only wish that this will be a beneficial move for the kids and not turn into another poorly run program.

  5. PAL Volunteer says:

    Bless you Mayor. The audit was a sham. “Follow the money” Clean it up.

  6. Ron Jacobs says:

    I agree with all of the above.

  7. Larry T says:

    This is the first moves of the next election. Armstrong wants to help Bendekovic by getting rid of her enemies. The PAL board needs to go, Buddy, but you need to make clear the political reasons behind it.

  8. PAL Volunteer says:

    Larry T – Before everyone turns this on the mayor & politics, have you been to any of the PAL meetings? This board treats the city as enemies. And outside of the commissioners reporting about their sports, the executive board talks more about how to fight with the city rather how to improve serving the kids. This board has turned off so many prospective younger parent volunteers, it’s pathetic. I’m glad that we now can see how the PAL won’t be a secret society any more.

  9. Pal Volunteer says:

    PAL Volunteer. Bulls eye !! The arrogance of a few people is destroying the organization. Everything needs to be dismantled. The Plantation Eagles, the travel soccer group of PAL has over $100,000 in a seperate account. How could this happen? Blow it up !!

  10. Susanna Bott says:

    Way to go! A GREAT decision by Administration in favor of getting back to basics like … ah, honesty, integrity, fun … and,
    oh, yes, truth in bookkeeping practices that would be good.
    You know, the chore values you’d come to expect from an organization charged with administering a children’s recreational sports program for the kids and families of Plantation! It has been a long time coming, and perhaps even long overdue, the executive PAL board needs to be dismantled. Perfect. Thank you!

  11. Plantation Working Mom says:

    I’d like to know why the embezzlement of $104,000 was just pushed under the rug to save face for the criminal who stole it. Why didn’t they prosecute and get the money back? That was an illegal act that should have been pursued. Has the statute of limitations run out on that one yet? I’ll bet if you look around to other sports programs in Broward County, you’ll probably find your culprit.