Plantation’s Shame: No Bid Deals, Higher Taxes






Long-time Plantation Commissioner Jerry Fadgen is running for mayor….again.

Fadgen was first elected to the commission in 1995 and has been trying to move up ever since.

His opponent will be the current Mayor Diane Veltri-Bendekovic. She joined the commission in 2001 and has been mayor since 2011. The Veltri in her name is from her father, Frank Veltri, who ran the city…forever.

(Actually, Frank Veltri was mayor from 1975-1999)

Bendokovic or Fadgen?

That’s the choice. It’s the ultimate Same Old, Same Old.

The Same Old, Same Old choices are unfortunately for Plantation, a city that desperately needs a change.

For instance, the city attorney in Plantation has been named Lunny…forever.

First there was Don Lunny, who was city attorney from 1975-1991. Then Don Lunny Jr. took over the job and holds it today.

A city contract passed down like the Lunny family was a hereditary monarchy.   I kid you not.


Don Lunny Jr.

Don Lunny Jr. or his father have been Plantation city attorney for 39 years! 


Fadgen and Bendekovic have let that no bid legal contract continue.  Lenny’s contract is said to be worth in excess of $1 million annually, according to one source.

In a county filled with excellent government lawyers, it is amazing that neither of these two mayoral candidates ever bothered to see if the taxpayers could get better and/or cheaper legal representation.

If Fadgen and Bendekovic were paying Lunny rather than the taxpayers, I bet they would have comparison shopped. At least once.

Fadgen and Bendekovic should hang their heads in shame for the Lunny endless contract alone.

But that’s not all folks!

The garbage company in Plantation has been Waste Management…forever.

It was decades ago when Plantation City Hall even considered taking bids to see if home owners could get cheaper waste collection. Other cities have and have saved residents money.

Again, Bendekovic and Fadgen have put up with this no bid travesty.

No bid contracts are apparently not the only constant in Plantation City Hall.

There is the ever increasing taxes.

Plantation’s tax rate has gone from 4.5 to 5.6 mills since the last mayor’s election in 2011. The tax increase came despite an increasing property tax base, according to the county’s website.

During the same period, Fort Lauderdale’s tax rate has stayed fixed at 4.1 mills.

No bid deals costing millions. Millions more in taxes soaked from property owners.

Could it be time for a change of direction in Plantation?

The question is whether either Fadgen or Bendekovic can provide that change.




21 Responses to “Plantation’s Shame: No Bid Deals, Higher Taxes”

  1. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Buddy, thank you for a timely article. With the upcoming elections, this and other issues need to be addressed by the next “Strong Mayor”

    While on the council, I discussed this No-Bid city attorney Monarchy, and what it got me was Don Lunny, writing a check to my opponent Pete Tingom, who would not dare cross Rae Carol or Diane when it came to the Lunny “tradition”

    What about the loss of Major Businesses in Plantation under this Tax and Spend Administration? Doris’s, Whole Foods, American Express, Plantation General, and if you look closely, Motorola is a small fraction of what it used to be.

    Each year we have been sold a Bill of Goods stating how bad things were left to Diane from Rae Carol, reserves down, taxes must be raised, stormwater fee added, selling the Plantation Acres Property. The list goes on and on, then she turns around and spends $2.2million for a New Community Center, wreaks havoc with the Police, takes their money and gives it all to the General Employees with a 5% pay raise!

    You can’t cry poverty and spend and tax like she has done.

    Thank you for exposing something that NOBODY wants to discuss, Lunny and Diane and his dominion over the City. Look at Sunrise, Coral Springs, Pines, larger cities, Good City attorneys, are we to believe that only Lunny can do a good job for Plantation? Will we ever find out? Bid it out, let Lunny bid, if he wins the contract I say great, if not, there is life after Lunny.

    Rico Petrocelli
    Former Councilman
    City of Plantation

  2. Well Said says:

    The Law Firm that Mr. Sam Goren runs is outstanding as it relates to muni government….Plantation, give him a call….

  3. Boonie says:

    Shocking in the past. …. and still shocking after all these years.
    What the hell? Then taxes go up. It just appears that the quality of the city has gone down.
    Sad state of affairs. It’s the same old bunch of clowns year after year.
    (Most) Employees at city hall are really trying.

  4. Sam Fields says:

    Don’t blame an idea for the people who support it.

    In this case going out to bid on trash and lawyers (insert joke here about this being redundant) is a good idea.

    It’s good even if Rico Petrocelli—who has been sanctioned by the Commission on Ethics and fails to mention he is running for office in Plantation—supports it.

  5. The Guesss Who says:

    The good news for Plantation is that it will have the opportunity to elect a new fresh voice in March, Louis Reinstein. Pete Tingom and Rico Petrocelli squandered their opportunity to address this and many other problems in the City. They do not deserve your support.

    Louis is a highly intelligent attorney with deep community ties. He will work hard for the City of Plantation’s future and move the City forward for all residents. Tingom and Petrocelli (who I don’t think will even qualify) are relics from the past.

    Move Plantation forward! Elect Louis Reinstein!

  6. Elaine Harmych says:

    Why should Plantation be any different from the rest of government agencies? If you look close enough most of our government is controlled by dynasties. You have the Kennedy, Bush, Clinton dynasties, just to name a few at the federal level and state politics are no different. Positions are handed down from family members on a consistent basis. Deals made behind closed doors that give the average citizen no chance to run for office. Check out your local politician’s lineage. No surprise at all!

  7. Moose says:

    Louis Reinstein is a quality candidate. A respected attorney and resident of Plantation for many years, he is qualified because he is not part of the Lunny/Bendekovic/Fadgen/Levy machine.

  8. In the know says:

    Bob Levy uses this same Attorney for Pembroke Park official business, handing this guy work as a City Manager and a Plantation Commissioner has got to be illegal or highly unethical!

    Someone should look into it!

  9. Plantation Voter says:

    I am a super voter who lives in Plantation. I have met Louis Reinstein through his many civic engagements. I was disappointed when he lost his bid for State Rep, but I am happy to hear he’s running for Plantation City Council Finally, someone who will be looking out for the future and young families.

  10. Sam Fields says:

    An added note on Plantation bidding out the job of city attorney.

    The contract should prohibit the city attorney from meddling in city politics beginning with a prohibition on giving or raising campaign contributions for city elections.

    It creates an appearance of partiality that spreads over to undermining legal advice.

    A city attorney worth his salt would be thrilled with such a rule since he can then keep his money.

  11. sick Ofbluebags says:

    Can we spend some money on being able to pay our water bill online?? After reading this i know who i’m NOT voting for!!

  12. Marty says:

    Definitely Time for Conservatives to change the ongoing series of Nepotism and Corruption that has plagued Plantation Politics for over the 30 years I have lived here. They’re Robbing the Residents here for sure in many convoluted ways. Regular “Numerologists”.

  13. ban blue bags says:

    The residents of Plantation have had enough. We are banding together on Facebook and have created a petition that you can sign to send a letter directly to the Mayor and commissioners:

  14. Chris Angel says:

    Don Lunny dominates the commission.
    He is the one that makes policy decisions in Plantation. They all just follow. If someone raises questions that would lead the commission to vote a different way than Lunny wants, he interrupts, and begins a diatribe and then they all know that, no matter how much doubt was raised, they should vote the way that Lunny is leading them to vote.

    Something is rotten in that City and it begins with Lunny

  15. domino9 says:

    What about Laystrom’s really close relationship with Lunny. If you want to get away with something in Plantaiton, it’s easy, just hire Bill Laystrom.

    I have seen the City vote on Laystrom matters, even when they make no sense and bring no benefit to the residents of the city. Hey Plantationites, WAKE UP. Start watching the commission meetings- you will be disgusted- they are absolutely an embarrassment.

    Talk about something stinking to high heavens.

    Wonder how much work Lunny’s firm refers to Bill and vice versa.

    Someone should investigate this

  16. comeupins says:

    Buddy, so glad someone finally has put a big spotlight on Plantation and their antiquated, parochial way of doing business.

    Rather than guessing, how about a record request for all of Lunny’s firms bills to the city


  17. Just Gotta Laugh says:

    I enjoyed reading this and the comments. As a born and raised resident of Plantation, I could not help but chuckle as none of this is new! These issues have been raised many times in the past, but nothing in the Kingdom of Plantation never changes for the better. So many dirty secrets, back door deals, political hatchet jobs and dirty laundry. I moved out of Plantation because I was disgusted with the city. Just to touch on one particular comment that struck me as targeted, let me just say that the so called ethics complaint against Rico always seemed contrived and questionable at best. More political punishment/payback than any thing else. I recall many votes that Rico stood alone as the only vote for what was truly best for the residents of Plantation. It seems that bad things happen to good people when they don’t just go along with the will of the throne! Anyhow, for what it’s worth, those are my observations.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


    OK, SO PLANTATION IS A “FIX” FOR THE INS, is that why McKinzie got three FORT LAUDERDALE City Commissioners, outgoing Bobby Dubost, Dean (Mr. Intregrity, my own Commissioner) Trantalis and former Police Chief with a solid reputation until this mis-guided vote, Bruce Roberts to put him on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. If you can’t run and win in Plantation, hell, just get three FORT LAUDERDALE City Commissioners to make you a City Commissioner!!!!!

  19. Becky Blackwood says:

    I can’t believe no one is complaining about Plantation having a mayor who makes over $100,000 a year plus we also have a city manager. Double dipping when the average mayoral salary I the county is between $35,000 to $40,000. Plus Plantation runs its own retirement system instead of joining in with the State of Florida. That, too, would save some money. I will never forget the meeting held in the City Hall with the Mayor advising the city’s residents about raises to pay for employees raises and retirement pensions. The employees occupied all but the last 3 pews in the meeting room and were sitting out in the lobby and were not allowed to speak until the last 15 minutes of the meeting. The meeting ran for 3 hours. The residents were informed they would have property tax increases on the City’s website only. What ever happened to good business practices especially with the raise in property values in the last two years.

  20. Gotta wonder... says:

    Big rise in the millage rates, 5% increase in water bills to meet “terms of debt covenants”… and the city has a volunteer fire department? Where’s the money going?

  21. betty cobb old timer says:

    Lunny isn’t as swift as a first year law student. Even I know the the law about free speech Lunny charged $190 to tell Rae Carol that is was legal for Rico (when he was on council) to have signs in friends yards saying Councilman Rico Petrocelli wishes you a Happy Holiday. Lunny also misinformed the council about the Plantation Community Center had to be torn down immediately or it couldn’t ever be torn down. So Diane wasted two million dollars and also inconvenience many many parents for summer camp, clubs etc.

    There are many good lawyers that would jump on the chance to be inhouse for the City of Plantation and we could save at least a half a million or more a year.We wasted $700,000 fighting the Para Medics a few years back about time and a half over 40 hours. Maybe it was in their contact – but the city lost so I guess it wasn’t in the contract and $700,000 was a lot of overtime. Usually Lunny just settles things out of court from what I hear., After all the poor taxpayer never knows whats going on – does the council know?

    Diane wants a new building to put her name on. She’s also taking a $375 monthly car allowance besides the city paying family full dental, medical, and prescription plan. Oh yea we also pay Social Security and she’s making well over $120,000 salary. Could she be going for a pension too – she has 14 years out of the 20 needed. We’re paying all that medical and half of Rae Carol’s ending salary for the rest of her life or at least ten years the family receives the difference in case of death. Frank’s heirs received three years of his retirement after he died. –

    Louis is a great guy but his eye is on the legislature. We need Rico to fight for the citizens. He did
    his homework while on Council. His questions about why so much money given to the Chamber of Commerce. I think that’s why they went after him to get him off council. Also he wouldn’t have gone along with the city taking over PAL. He had an error in judgement but nothing like it was blown up. But consider the source.

    The city needs every cent it can scrape up. Not like Tingham who said one night I didn’t read the backup but I vote no. No wonder he had the fastest retirement from the school system I’v ever seen except for heart attacks and deaths!`

    I can’t afford Diane in office.

    I love the blue bags system and I wonder who is doing the phony survey calls –