Politician Regrets Insulting Broward Legal Maven

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Legal maven Sam Goren deserved applause, not insults last month. 

But insults are exactly what Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton aimed at Goren, a recognized superstar in municipal law.

“Untrustworthy”  who offered a “reckless” opinion are some of the abuse Bolton dumped on Goren. 

After listening to Bolton’s wild words, Goren quit last month as Tamarac City Attorney. 

 

Sam Goren

 

Who blames him? 

At this stage in his life, the 70-Something Goren didn’t need his integrity questioned.  

Now suddenly Bolton is having second thoughts. 

“I think that if I go back through my time here as a commissioner, that comment is probably the one I’ll regret…,” Bolton is quoted in tamaractalk.com. 

The website and its reporter Selene Raj have been on top of this story from the start. 

The scrap between Bolton and Goren started over a routine legal matter for the city — a legal settlement that could result in a storage facility in the commissioner’s district. 

Bolton didn’t like Goren’s legal opinion and wanted a second opinion from another lawyer. 

Bolton’s problem is he didn’t stop with just asking for a second opinion. He proceeded to unload on City Attorney Goren. 

I have known Sam Goren since the 1980s. He runs one of South Florida’s premier government law firms  — Goren, Charof, Doody & Ezrol — so naturally a political reporter’s path crossed his many times. 

I covered many, many legal tussles involving Goren and his government clients. There were law suits. Negotiations. Settlements. 

Some were controversial like his work for the Broward Supervisor of Elections during the 2000 Presidential Recount. Most were the routine work of government. 

Goren and his firm counseled literally hundreds of electeds over decades. I never heard one word that Goren was less than scrupulously honest and trustworthy. 

He will be hard to replace. With his experience, Goren is a repository of municipal law knowledge. 

But no one is irreplaceable. 

Goren’s replacement will be Hans Ottinot Sr., a former Sunny Isles Beach city attorney. Ottinot is respected enough by his colleagues to be a Florida Bar pick for the Judicial Nominating Commission in the Miami-Dade-based 11th Judicial Circuit. 

 

Hans Ottinot Sr.

 

 

Despite his credentials, Ottinot will have to prove himself.  He will have to do a good job. 

Goren did a good job, even Bolton now concedes: 

“I feel that we’re losing a gem that is extremely smart and who has represented our city well,” according to tamaractalk.com. 

Really?  Really? 

Didn’t Bolton hear the expression, “Too little, too late?”



15 Responses to “Politician Regrets Insulting Broward Legal Maven”

  1. MacAdder says:

    Maybe the apology only came because Dale Holness had a sit-down with his protégé after the meeting?

    Note that Bolton didn’t just put his foot in his mouth by calling Goren “untrustworthy” at the meeting. He also scheduled an agenda item to fire Goren at the next regular commission meeting (now moot).

  2. Kevin Tynan says:

    Sam Goren is one of the best local government lawyers based on experience and on his ability to give balanced legal advice. Another example of someone who just.s wants a yes man from his lawyer rather than a real counselor.

  3. Friend of Sam says:

    For someone, anyone, to describe Sam Goren as “untrustworthy” or offering a “reckless” opinion is beyond ludicrous. I know nothing of Mr. Ottinot but feel that I can say, hopefully without any disrepect to him, that he has very big shoes to fill. Tamarac is the poorer for Commissioner Bolton’s ill considered comments resulting in Sam’s departure for having been treated in such a shabby fashion.

  4. Mayor Richard J Kaplan (Ret.) says:

    I have known Sam Goren for over 30 years and found him to be one of the best Local Government lawyers I have ever seen. I’m positive that other local government lawyers and many elected officials would agree as well.

    It’s not that I haven’t disagreed with him at times, but he always presents a valid legal position or defense for his clients. Sometimes we come to realize the nuances of a legal position by having disagreements.

    Lawyers are not always correct. After all, 50% of them are basically wrong when a case goes to court because someone has to lose. But then clients have a right to put forward their position as best that can be done and hope for the best, so it is not always fair to blame the lawyer. Sam has always done his best for his clients.

    Sam would be an asset to any city or organization that he would agree to represent. He often led other government lawyers on legal issues involving local government. He is the Dean of Local Government Lawyers.

    This is a great loss to Tamarac and honestly have many years of representing clients, Sam has earned the right to be selective on who he wants to represent. So I don’t blame him for discontinuing this representation. If a lawyer doesn’t feel he can no longer serve a client properly, ethically he should cease representation. So he did. He didn’t need it anyhow.

    FROM BUDDY: Richard J. Kaplan is the retired mayor of Lauderhill.

  5. tom James says:

    sounds like Bolton…needs to be investigated.

  6. Jack McCluskey says:

    Buddy: I’ve known Sam longer than you, having been elected in 1978, when it was simply Josias. Steve hired Sam and it has been all good since then. He is more than trustworthy. If you don’t like his opinion, get your own law degree and practice as many years as Sam has, then you can disagree, but be civil about it. I don’t know Bolton, but he will regret this move, cause with Sam also came a stable of excellent city attorneys. Tamarac has lost a good one(s).

  7. Patti Lynn says:

    Sam’s shoes can never be filled. He is a local icon with an impeccable record, both personally & professionally. I was shocked watching the video. The folks in District 1 in Tamarac re-elected Commissioner Bolton despite his record, despite his impulsive behavior, and despite his tenuous link to the City of Tamarac. He regrets what he said. The City of Tamarac will be the poorer for his unprofessional outburst.

  8. Kevin Cregan says:

    There was never a more effective or ethical public sector (or private) attorney than Sam Goren.

  9. Bolton's an embarassment says:

    Marlon Bolton’s antics since his election have been despicable. If anyone would take the time to check out his social media history they would be shocked. How he got re-elected without any opposition research being done on him is puzzling. Hopefully that won’t be the case with his next election.

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Every time an uneducated racist poverty pimp like Bolton shows their low class mind it gets votes FOR TRUMP DESANTIS SCOTT N RUBIO.

  11. Joe Morguess says:

    As a long time Tamarac resident I’d marvel at attorney Goren’s clarifications of law as it applied to the Tamarac Commission’s duties, responsibilities and their questions whenever I attended Commission meetings over the years. I felt Tamarac was in good hands. He’ll be missed.

  12. Rico Petrocelli says:

    I’ve known Sam for close to 2 decades. His firm has been nothing but professional. On the Housing Authority for 7 years, David Tolces was our main lawyer, Sam would fill in for David. The city of Plantation had Keri Ezrol ad city attorney. They will be hard to replace for sure!
    Good for Sam, leaving as another council person wants to climb the political ladder off of someone else’s back…

    Rico Petrocelli
    Plantation Councilman 2005-09
    Broward County Housing Authority 2009-2016

  13. City activist Robert walsh says:

    This really doesn’t surprise me.The city atty.works for the commission. This commissioner didn’t like his assessment and lawyering etc.Again the atty.works for commission. The commission hired him,they can terminate him as well.By these comments Atty.Goren is well liked which is impressive but won’t change the outcome.

  14. Sue Gunzburger says:

    Have worked with Sam Goren for many years pn the many committees where I was appointed. He is one the most decent, deliberative, kind and honorable attorneys we have in Broward. I am appalled by the way he was treated. Tamarac has lost one of the very best.

  15. Carl Shechter says:

    I’ve known Sam Goren for 15 years, 12 of them as a Commissioner from Pembroke Pines District 1.
    There is no one more knowledgeable or ethical in the field of municipal law.
    You will regret your rash attack on a great lawyer and a good friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*