Update: Profile In Cowardice — Pembroke Pines Commissioners and Jail


More than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for the book “Profiles In Courage.”  It sketches the history of eight U. S. senators who took courageous, proper positions although those stands were unpopular.

Well, let me propose a new book…“Profiles In Cowardice.” I would start with Pembroke Pines City Commissioners Angelo Castillo, Jay Schwartz and Iris Siple.

These three bowed to a howling mob of western Pembroke Pines residents who were opposed to an immigration detention center nearby.  The commissioners made up the 3-2 majority who cancelled a contract to supply water, sewer and emergency services to the new prison.

To satisfy a handful of residents, the entire city will be haunted by the financial consequences of this decision for years.

First of all, Pembroke Pines immediately loses millions in revenue it was counting on.  Second of all, the city now has 14 firefighters on the payroll that are not needed.

And the city will already spend money to defend a federal lawsuit filed against it hours after the Wednesday vote by land owner, Corrections Corporation of America.

Although the land for the 1,500-bed facility was scheduled to be serviced by Pembroke Pines, it is in Southwest Ranches.  That town wants the prison and the tax money it will provide.

“If the Court finds, as Pembroke Pines’ own City Attorney has found, that Pines is required to provide CCA with water and sewer service, the actions taken by Pembroke Pines last night could cost its tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars,’’ warned Keith Poliakoff, town attorney for Southwest Ranches, in an email printed in The Miami Herald.

The suit seeks to compel Pembroke Pines to provide the water, sewer and emergency services that it promised CCA.

It alleges the commission committed  “tortious” interference in CCA’s business and they violated the company’s constitution rights to equal protection by canceling the contract.

CCA is also seeking attorney’s fees and damages. I hope the people in Century Village and all the many areas of Pembroke Pines not near this proposed prison like paying and paying and paying.

I sympathize with the handful of neighboring homeowners because I wouldn’t want a detention center near my house. In most cases, I would be with them.

This is not the case. Their rights do not include the right to stop the construction of a lawful project.  Their rights do not include slapping the rest of the residents with unnecessary costs.

I hate to say this, but what did they expect would be built across the street in an industrial zone?

They remind me of those who buy property near the airport and then complain about the noise.  They should have checked the land use and zoning of their neighbors before buying homes, which is what anybody should do.

If this project falls through, the neighbors no doubt will see something else built that is legal under the zoning and land use.  Like an asphalt plant. Or tire recapping facility.  Or an auto junkyard.

Castillo, Schwartz and Siple will have to live with the consequences of their decision…along with the rest of the city residents. That includes eastern Pembroke Pines, southern Pembroke Pines and the condos, who will all be paying.

These three lightweights proved this week they are just small town politicians with small minds…and no backbones.


78 Responses to “Update: Profile In Cowardice — Pembroke Pines Commissioners and Jail”

  1. Str8 Talk says:

    Wow Buddy. This is the FIRST time in history you attack and call out Castillo. We all knew he was a small town politician and this shows he is still NOT READY FOR THE BIG LEAGUE on the County Commission. (I hear he is looking at running for Gunzburger’s seat when she retires)

    FROM BUDDY: This vote was a real disappointment. He has a great resume. Maybe he is not ready for the county commission because he can’t make the tough votes. By the way, I wouldn’t call the county commission “the big leagues.” More like Pembroke Pines is the Little Leagues and the county commission is the Minor Leagues.

  2. sidelines says:

    surpised to hear your opinion but you are entitled to it. I understand the land use for this site and ‘future approved uses’ was decided years ago (maybe even 10 yrs or longer) under a prior commission. guess no “Future Home of ______” sign was posted for all to observe over the last 10+ years. The ignorance is not a defense in a court of law. but if SW Ranches doesn’t have the services for their project, how ‘reasonable’ is it for them to expect PP to provide considering the opposition in PP? additionally John Canada and cronies had a cozy deal running SW Ranches so who knew what deals were made over the years? Until internet and public records access most people were ‘in the dark’ on many gov’t dealings that would affect them. sadly many still are.
    I’m not a lawyer and the courts can make arbitrary rulings at times but if it goes to court and decided there, so be it. And let this be a lesson for any property owner, regardless of current use, to use some skepticism, common sense and e caveat emptor.

  3. Mike S says:

    Buddy Nevins –

    You are wrong.

    These three showed the courage to not play political bed fellows with the Private Prison industry and instead look out for the future of their community instead.

    I won’t regurgitate all the facts that have been revealed in past months about…..

    (1) The way this deal was negotiated in the dark with the majority of SWR residents dating back 20 years knowing nothing about it.

    (2) Online research reveals these types of facilities often do not benefit the towns as promised when the carrots are being dangled in front of people’s eyes.

    (3) The historical record of how these facilites often chase away or deter other types of businesses coming into the area.

    (4) Real estate value drops of 10-18% in affluent areas (less in true remote rural locations) etc..

    and more ………..

    You can take the time and do the research yourself if you really care to.

    The fact is, it would have been EASIER for these council members to go along with the CCA and SWR plans.

    They were in fact the PROFILE IN COURAGE you refer to.

    Cowardice would have been letting a facility such as this be built in the midst of a residential area and saying YES to all CCA and SWR’s demands ……… thus taking the easy route

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Ask my residents and they will tell you. My vote was entirely about courage.

    Best regards,


  5. Joe the Plumber says:

    They lost me at “This area is not appropriate for the detention center.”

    You mean the area that is zoned for just such a purpose and is next to a 30 year old prison, a landfill, an industrial park, and ANOTHER PROPOSED PRISON SITE.

    When I made this comment to one of them, their response was (and I’ll paraphrase):

  6. tiny bubbles says:

    Angelo has always been gutless . Siple thinks she is riding this office unto the county Commission. I agree that this decision was wrong.

  7. Pembroke Pines Resident says:

    This is one resident, Angelo, who believes you are exactly what Buddy wrote. You aren’t courageous. You are willing to cost the city lots of money to save your political skin.

  8. Lorena says:

    It is important that people know that Vice Mayor Siple, Commisioner Castillo and Commissioner Schwartz have MORE BACKBONE than congressmen, congresswomen, senators, SWR officials combined. These 3 commissioners have shown that they are willing to fight for what is right for the community, the people and NOT FOR A PRIVATE CORPORATION.

    The ones that do NOT have a backbone are the SWR officials that have become CCA puppets!!!!!!! Our country is going in the wrong direction because there are no longer politicians (like Siple, Castillo and Schwartz) that make tough, but ethical decisions. Lobbyists, money and greed are destroying our country. And corporations like CCA are destroying towns and that is what Siple, Castillo and Schwartz are trying to prevent, and that takes COURAGE!!!!!

  9. Ron B says:

    Pembroke Pines had no business cherry-picking the area north of Sheridan Street. There should never have been homes built so close to the industrially designated area or the landfill. Pines’ Commission agreed in a legally enforcable contract to provide water, sewer and fire protection to SWR, and have broken that contact. Good luck in court Sam Goren, your Commission just made you very rich, and will cost the PP taxpayers for years to come.

  10. Bill Di Scipio says:

    What do you say about a Town Attorney who essentially tells the council not to approve a hookup to Sunrise municipal water as requested by a resident in an area of SWR serviced by Sunrise?

    Where does this hypocritical Town Attorney get off pining about equal protection when CCA will have to drill wells and a septic system JUST LIKE TOWN HALL possibly or most other residences in the Town? Why should Pines be obligated to give CCA a water hookup when our very own town prohibits its residents from connecting?

    Don’t you believe in contract law? Both Pines and SWR were not under duress when then gave each other a way to terminate the agreement FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER (convenience). Then, some 3rd party feels entitled to waste our federal resources fighting the decision to terminate a legally executed contract? What country do you live in?

    Broward county is a cesspool of corruption. The republicans can be just as bad as the democrats in this place. Specifically, Southwest ranches makes the rest of the county look clean by comparison. Rubin, Wasserman, Canada, and Ghallegar, and Ms. Cleo point to a few of our more notably corrupt players.

    Further, SWR is the consummate leech of tax dollars. There isn’t a park grant or some other grant that they won’t stick their hands out for. FEMA giving out free generators? Give me a free one for my 1 acre “gentleman farmer” ranch while others in BC are living in trailers.

    This mindset of corruption and perpetual hat in hand is disgusting given how affluent the community really is.

    We’re under no obligation to live under the back room deals that were hatched under “cones of silence.”

    Our first amendment right to petition our government for redress even in the face of a “cone of silence” and hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing propaganda all paid for with money earned from public entities prevailed in Pines last night.

    Huzzah to Castillo, Schwartz and Siple.

    Lastly, no matter what the Mayor says, the VAST majority of Ranchers, east to west OPPOSE this prison. There are VERY few supporters.

  11. The Grey Ghost says:

    “What did they expect?” So true. I going to pay now for more firefighters that aren’t needed. Thanks, folks.

  12. Disipio's a clown says:

    Any commissioner that posts on a blog is a tool. Castillo you define the word tool.

  13. SWR says:

    I wanted a rural lifestyle so I bought my home in SWR. The town thinks a detention center is rural but that’s not what we want. The Pines people do the right thing and stand up for their community. SWR should join Pembroke Pines. They have intelligence and stand up for their people.

  14. West Pines says:

    Nevins says “If this project falls through, the neighbors no doubt will see something else built that is legal under the zoning and land use. Like an asphalt plant. Or tire recapping facility. Or an auto junkyard.”

    Where can we sign up? I would take any one of those over the immigration jail.

  15. Rolling On Floor Laughing says:

    First it was “Red Lite Cameras – for your own good” (& highway robbery has nothing to do with it, we promise…) and now it’s a federal lawsuit for not providing water, sewer & emergency services to a legal business. Is Pembroke Pines a city or a slapstick comedy? And that Angelo Castillo clown thinks he can be a County Commissioner after doing so much damage to Pembroke Pines?!? What a buffoon!!!

  16. Bill Di Scipio says:

    The track of West Broward High School sits 1.25 miles from the proposed entrance at Sheridan and 202nd. It sits practically at the entrance of Chapel Trail Nature Preserve.

    It’s adjacent to a dump that was slated for turning into a park like Vista View and a 40 year old prison slated for closure in 6 weeks. The area has grown up and out. Its time to reflect on that. Belle Glade WANTS the ICE facility.

    So, it’s zoned for a prison and a bunch of
    other stuff too. Just because you can rev
    your Lycoming airboat full bore for hours on end, doesn’t mean you should or that you won’t get incessant complaints.

  17. Pines resident says:

    You are wrong Angelo, you caved to the threats of a few to screw the rest of us. The residents will be paying for this for years to come.

  18. Katie Perry says:

    In 2 robosurveys, over 89% of residents in Pembroke Pines and SW Ranches were against the prison. Where were all these pro-prison residents in the last 6 months of meetings? The answer is nowhere because the only ones who want it are CCA’s fake bloggers, SW Ranches corrupt cronies, HOA presidents who have been wined and dined by CCA, and now you Buddy. So add up the 4 pro-prison residents who came to the Nov 5th meeting at Library, the SW Ranches Town Officials, The Rolling Oaks HOA, DWS, Buddy, Bergeron and others and you got maybe 15 people who want this monstrosity. Hundreds more have come to meetings and rallies to oppose it. Like Doug McKay likes to say, Buddy, do your homework.

  19. Incredulous says:

    Ron B,
    Didn’t that legally enforceable contract have a 9 month termination for convenience clause? Isn’t that legally enforceable?

  20. get real!! says:

    The issue is no anti-prison vs. Pro-prisons. The issue is a) what a city provides to other businesses, it can’t discriminate its essential services b) a city can’t tell a private business what to do on their land.

    Do we want a prison, clearly not. We allowed the county commission in 89/90 and again in 2005, to move the process forward. The current folks can’t stop the train, because it already left the station.

  21. Living in Pines says:

    Go back to school Buddy. You said “Pembroke Pines immediately loses millions in revenue”… Right, just like I lost millions of dollars Wed. night when my numbers weren’t chosen in the lottery. That prison would be the most devastating thing that has ever happened to Pembroke Pines. Residents throughout the city know that – overwhelmingly so. The 3 commissioners did the right thing.

  22. mike s says:

    Reading the comments of the pro-prison supporters above, I question is there anything at all they would oppose if it meant money. There seems to be this obsessed mentality that governments need more and more and more money when in fact spending is usually the fault, not revenues. Do the research and really think about this….. how is having the nations largest illegal prison a good asset for your community……… if you find this to be a wonderful idea, I would assume selling your soul to the devil would also be acceptable if the perceived money was good enough. This area should be developed into a true positive business area if you want more tax revenue…. not become the dumping ground for crap no other area wants unless they are totally impoverished, desperate or remote. Landfill is closed, ladies prison closing, residents dont want a prison here and were never asked by their elected leaders before theae shady deals were done in dark.rooms and hidden from public view….. this is a golden opportunity to escape the mistakes of the past and make something positive of that area economically and not resign PP and SWR into becoming cast as some pathetic Prison Town economy like Pahrump Nevada or countless other towns now regretting the deal they made with this particular devil or those like them.

  23. East Pines says:

    The motion to terminate the fire contract was insisted upon by Iris Siple who cut a deal with the fire union to gain their support. The fire union got to keep their employees and never objected to Iris once. They were in the bag on this deal all along.

    That allowed Siple to grandstand and ride this issue like a surf board to re-election driven by a campaign strategy designed by Judy Stern. This article needs to be about Iris Siple. Siple should be answering questions. She thinks people don’t notice but we have known for a long time that Iris that cannot be trusted but makes a very good actress.

  24. Bill Di Scipio says:

    There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s stopped everyday. This includes everything from nuclear power plants (obviously planned for plats “zoned” for power stations), to Walmarts, to Casinos, jailai, etc., and that’s just in south Florida alone.

    It is not a done deal. We have every right to a say in what goes on in our backyard especially if public safety is at risk. No claim can be made that this jail doesn’t put the public at risk at a greater level than an asphalt plant, for example.

    They can’t put a phosgene plant there just because the zoning MAY allow it.

    If everybody thought it was over, why does CCA posit the statement. “If you reject the detention center…” in its slick marketing literature?

    Further, ICE has NOT made a decision. Call them and ask them. Every one of you has put the cart before the horse. There is no offer. We are talking about the Federal Government and Keith Poliakoff who have been saying for two months now, I believe, that the contracts are coming now. Their latest claim was this week. They apparently aren’t here, are they?

    Done deal? CCA says, “If you reject the Detention Center…” That’s inconsistent.

    The council meeting last night had people who stood up and said “this is going to be of great benefit to the town.” Interesting. No contract has yet been shown, yet they apparently know the details enough to make such a statement? No financial details have been made public in any way shape or form other than the upside going with this prison specifically is $450K to the town. Period. That’s 5% of the budget.

    I think not.

    The council is not obligated to accept either an ICE contract or a revised CCA contract. By virtue of land ownership, my municipality is hardly obligated by CCA to sign a third party contract with ICE, for example. What if the contract says that SWR shall assume full liability for escapees damages, for example? Are we obligated to enter that contract?

    Contracts are not coerced. They are not made under duress. If we were obligated to sign a contract, then you have one more gyration of contract law which makes mockery of free association.

    I can’t even begin to understand bashing Pines for somehow breaking the law for exercising a 9 month for convenience clause that also provided the Town the same option in 4 months. It’s as clear as day.

    Maybe SWR has the legal liability for suggesting to CCA that the water/sewer contract they had with Pines was rock solid when it had clauses allowing the deal to be terminated for whatever reason either side wanted. If I were CCA, I’d be mad at SWR for making such claims if they were made.

    Since when does zoning for industrial use MANDATE the town Council approve an ICE agreement? That’s an enormous stretch.

    CCA are just a bunch of bullying jackasses. It’s up to ICE to grant a contract to CCA. It isn’t CCA or SWR’s call to obligate ICE to providing a contract. It’s inconceivable that CCA has the gall to think that their campaign contributions have ensured them an ICE contract for south Florida. But, everybody is acting as if ICE is on a railroad track going in one direction only.

    It’s amazing how little anybody really thinks about the implications of this all.

  25. Bill Di Scipio says:

    Oh, and to the chiding of Castillo and Pines, how many of you have ever sat through the farce of a Southwest Ranches Council meeting.

    Pull the tapes from last night. It was one of the most stunning examples of “not ready for prime time players” I’ve ever seen.

    From vice Mayor McKay slamming the podium demanding ignoring the town charter by DEMANDING the 3 month old relationship with the Town manager be terminated. Next week they are going to vote to fire the Town manager.

    This is while they are apparently going to manage and review two prison contracts, upgrade their volunteer FD to a regular fire department. They can’t even produce a rational fee schedule for permitting they are so inept. They mistakenly billed their residents a $1 fire assessment. So, with my denial of public records access lawsuit and the $1.25 the took from me, I could have paid my fire assessment and had change to spare!
    Ineptitude beyond ALL comparison.

    If the vote to terminate Fields’ employment is successful, we will have had Canada, interim – Wrains, Russo, Lynn and now Fields as managers in the 12 year existence of this municipality. That’s a new manager every 2.4 years. And you bash Pines? I hurt myself laughing. Perhaps Fields has a good case to be made for wrongful termination because he’s being fired for being a “strong town manager” when that’s part of our charter.

    Anybody bashing Castillo and Pines for their relationship with SWR is completely out of the loop. Go to a few town council meetings in SWR and honestly come back and tell us that Pines is amateurish and unprofessional.

    No clue at all.

  26. Silver Lakes says:

    We are the largest homeowner association in Broward County. In fact we have more people living in Silver Lake than live in the entire Town of SW Ranches. We support what the city commission voted to do and respect them for doing it.

    The city manager at the meeting said that all but 3 of the 14 firefighters would be absorbed by planned retirements and there could be more. That means the net loss of this is nearly nothing or might end up amounting to nothing.

    The way we see it, we are no worse off financially for cancelling this agreement than we were before the detention situation came forward. We handled the situation properly.

    This decision was made by our elected leaders with strong resident support. We know it was a difficult issue but it was a community decision and we are pleased with it.

  27. Well? says:

    The Pembroke Pines Commissioners may be something but they are not “courageous.” They are practicing the old “NIMBY” game – Not In My Back Yard. I’m sure they will win re-election and cost their citizens millions of dollars in court costs, and the “prison” will still get built. Congratulations! Also, to those residents citing the “overwhelming” opposition to the facility – property rights have weight in this country. The site has allowed such a faciilty for years and years. Your ignorance is not the property owners fault.

  28. Bill Di Scipio says:

    Get Real,

    I keep rereading the comments. You really don’t understand. CCA property is in SWR. SWR is obligated to provide water/sewer, not Pembroke Pines. Right? I mean, Weston isn’t obligated to provide me with routine EMS service, are they? Pembroke Pines is not obligated to allow me, as a SWR resident to participate in municipal little league, are they? There is municipal sovereignty.

    CCA and SWR should have ensured the water/sewer ILA was more solid than having a 9 month termination for convenience clause in it if they were that concerned about Pines’ water source.

    Pembroke Pines is either obligated to provide utilities outside their boundaries or they aren’t. The courts will decide.

    In a strange way, what’s going on is that SWR refuses to let its residents hook up to municipal water from Sunrise Water District even though their SWR neighbors have it. Probably Town Hall is on a well and septic system.

    So, you have a bizarre case where CCA is demanding municipal hookup from a neighboring city when they knew damned well that the entire Town of Southwest Ranches is on wells and septic systems. The jackass bully boys think they are entitled to it.

    Yet, the Town refuses to let its residents hook up to municipal water from Sunrise.


  29. touche says:

    What is really interesting is that all of these people complaining purchased property next door to the heaviest industrial zoning in Broward County. When they purchased the property they must have mistakenly thought that the landfill was a mountain and that they were purchasing mountainview property. I wonder what they thought the maximum security women’s prison was? A spa?




    Of course, this is not unique. NIMBY complaints happen everywhere. Again, I sympathize with people trying to protect their homes. But they should have realized that undeveloped property in South Florida doesn’t stay undeveloped very long.

    By the way, nearby there is already a huge postal facility with trucks going in and out, an asphalt plant, a concrete plant, a landfill, a prison with very dangerous criminals (unlike a detention center, where many average people are being held because of immigration problems), a hurricane debris burning site, a huge auto auction site, a fire station and many acres of undeveloped property.

  30. Federal Lawsuit Filed says:



    “Hypothetically speaking, if ICE denies the contract and CCA blames the decision on Pembroke Pines, the city will be liable for a huge amount of money. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars.”

    “If CCA goes ahead and drills its own wells, etc., and a federal judge then rules against Pines, the city could be on the hook for all the extra costs of CCA’s new water system.”

  31. Privacy 101 says:

    What I find quite telling about this whole thing is the lack of comment from Angelo Castillo. He is usually quite vocal in what he believes. The fact that he added a one liner to this blog says a lot.

  32. Bill Di Scipio says:


    Yes, it does say a lot. There’s now a federal lawsuit against them on this topic. How much do you think their attorney is recommending they say to you about this case in public?

    Or do you think the attorney has requested a cone of silence on the pending litigation?

  33. Bill Di Scipio says:

    Federal Lawsuit,

    That’s what it says.

    Please quote the contract that Pines terminated. I’ll do it for you:

    “18.2 In addition to and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Agreement, this Agreement may be terminated by the CITY for convenience upon providing the TOWN with nine (9) months written notice as provided for herein.”

    Seems clear as day, doesn’t it?

  34. Bill Di Scipio says:


    The post office is slated for closure. The prison is closed per state order on May 1st.

    What’s in an asphalt plant compared to a Krome Ave detention facility anyway?

    Really, what’s your stake in all this? Yours are just debunked CCA/SWR talking points.


    But the neighborhood lived with those uses for years and nothing happened. In fact, home prices went up until the recession.

    My stake is this: I believe in property rights. If a judge says the city was right, so be it. Until then, I have to assume that CCA has the right under the zoning and land use to build that detention facility.

  35. Bill Di Scipio says:

    Regarding mountain view property, haven’t you ever heard of the superfund dumpsite that is now Vista View park on I75 in Davie?

    Your sarcasm is not justified. Yes, dumps get turned into beautiful “mountain view” parks all the time. In fact, just down the road I can fly a parachute off one such parks on Sunday morning.

    That was the plan for that dump after 20 years anyway as we have demonstrated.

  36. Angelo's One Liner says:


  37. Bill Di Scipio says:


    Do you believe in contract law? Specifically, do you believe this clause should be enforceable?

    “18.2 In addition to and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Agreement, this Agreement may be terminated by the CITY for convenience upon providing the TOWN with nine (9) months written notice as provided for herein.”

    This is what the commission acted on that you blogged about. I fail to see how your implicit claim that one municipality is obligated to provide services to a 3rd party in a different municipality and that the two primary parties cannot enter into contract with the aformentioned stipulation.

    I fail to see how there is anything to support your claim of property rights at this point. It’s contract law that is under discussion. Can two legally able entities enter into a mutual contract and stipulate termination criteria. Further, how is CCA even party to this contract.

    This is what you seem to be unable to comprehend.

    Whether you take issue with our goal of stopping this prison is certainly a debatable point. However, it’s not the topic of your blog nor is it the point of the Weds. commission meeting.

    Of course I believe in contract law. We’ll see what a judge says. I’m not going to play judge, who under our laws will determine whether the clause you are citing trumps the constitutional violations alleged by the land owner, CCA.

  38. Resident of Sunrise says:

    I agree that if the property is zoned for such a project then it would be hard to stop it. But the bottom line is, when you have such a large group of residents in opposition to a project, they have the right to try and keep it out of thier city. Elected officials are there at the “will” of the voters. These elected officials must do what the residents want. The residents have no choice but to demand help from those they chose to put in office. That is thier job as electeds. Outsiders should have no say. This is how it is. If this is the direction the residents want to go, then it is thier right to demand it. Of course the lawyers will fight it because that is thier job. I applaud the electeds that stood up and followed the direction of the voters even though they will probrably lose this in the courts. Perhaps a letter to those same residents explaining this and the possible cost to the city would help. If after that, the residents still want to fight it, then I say “good luck to them”.

  39. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Here’s what I’ve said before on this topic and because we’re now being sued, I may not have much more to say about it for a while.

    Pines cancelled two interlocal agreements (contracts) with our neighbors the Town of SW Ranches. One involved road closings. The other fire rescue. CCA is not a party to either contract and are excluded as third party beneficiary under either contract.

    That means they have no right to rely on either of those contracts in any way whatsoever. The contracts were purely between Pines and the Town and any mention of them or their parcel is strictly a matter between the City and the Town upon which CCA can claim no reliance. Pines has never had any contracts with CCA and never made any promises to CCA.

    Both contracts specifically contemplate termination, by either the City or the Town, with or without cause. Termination for convenience in the case of the fire contract is available to either party, and by mutual consent in the case of the road closure contract. Both contracts were properly terminated according to the terms set forth therein.

    None of this has anything to do with CCA’s property rights, and as far as we can tell they enjoy the very same property rights today than they had before either contract was executed or terminated.

    Regarding CCA’s property rights, if any, to obtain Pines water and sewer service, we have two conflicting legal opinions from well respected lawyers on that very question. Together with CCA counsel’s arguments, we now have three legal points of view on the same question.

    CCA and the Town have both said publicly that CCA has the ability to dig their own well and process their own waste on site without need for Pembroke Pines services. That suggests to me that they have options to consider and don’t rely exclusively on Pembroke Pines for either.

    The Pembroke Pines City Commission is unsure what our city’s rights and obligations might be regarding tthe specific question before us that never been adjudicated in the State of Florida.

    Therefore, uncertain of the law, the Pembroke Pines City Commission unanimously voted to take file a declaratory action to request a judgment that defines our rights and obligations to provide water and sewer service to land parcels, including CCA’s property, located outside our city limits, and the extent to which we have authority to determine how much water and sewer service we owe to parcels located outside our city limits. We are uncertain of the law and filing this action is the responsible way to find out.

    In Pembroke Pines we feel confident that this is the proper step to take and so we are proceeding in good faith to properly address this situation.

    Thanks again.


  40. Mike S says:

    This has been like a Perfect Storm of bad decisions stacked on top of more bad decisions to create the mess that exists today.

    I don’t know the history, but how the heck was it ever split up and allowed for SWR to own a square island of property in the middle of Pembroke Pines in the first place ?

    This is like me owning my home but the next door neighbor owns my swimming pool in the backyard and can do with it what he wants.

    Of course this was a problem waiting to blow up.

    No matter what SWR would have planned for that area, it will always impact Pembroke Pines the most.

    In fact the nearest homes to the site (the ones that are only a good rock throw like people have indicated or was shown in the video) are Pembroke Pines homes.

    Those people had ZERO say so (and zero warning)in how they were going to be impacted.

    One sloppy mess or “in the dark deal making” stacked on top of more bad actions has grown into this mountain of political crap today.

    Ask residents who have moved here over the past 20 years (And did their research) … we were told the landfill was slated to be closed and turned into a park … possibly eventually more homes like near I-75 /Griffin/Dykes etc..

    Never in talks with Broward county, real estate agents or any other entity was the mention of massive prisons to hold Illegals ever mentioned to widespead public notice.
    Ask the Residents and you will see this is true.
    Even employees of Broward School Districts were not aware of it when planning school locations.

    You can’t take action against what is being hidden from you.

    But look how that all changed late last year when for the first time this Prison plan DID IN FACT FINALLY BECOME PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.

    That pretty much says it all.

    It’s simply easier to do things right from the beginning instead of deal with the chaos later by trying to be sneaky and deceptive.

    Obviously based on all the evidence and examples from other towns we have seen exposed over the past 6 months by RAID and other online research sources, I personally don’t want to see this Prison come here.

    Like I said earlier, this is a golden opportunity to break ranks with the chain of bad moves that have led to this mess.

    The women’s prison is closing,
    The landfill is closed.
    The residents STRONGLY oppose the Prison now that they know about it.

    This is a perfect time to wipe the slate clean and create a true positive Business Complex out there instead of being an economy based on the scourge and blight of society.

    Honestly, at this point I would not be surprised if CCA themselves said …… “The heck with this. It isn’t worth it. We have other location options where there is no resistance and not all these roadblocks.”

    Besides, knowing the small price they paid for this land and the way West Broward continues to grow, and with the landfill closed and ladies Prison leaving ………… they could sell the property to some developer for profit most likely.

    Such would not be the case in a place like Belle Glade for example.

    Logically, I might really suspect they are thinking another location is a smarter and more profitable option for them about now.
    Business in business in the end …… and this business angle must be looking pretty tarnished about now.

    Another location ?
    Less resistance.
    Less Population.
    Less Utility issues.
    Less media exposure, scrutiny and bad press.
    More bottom line profit.

    Would not surprise me to see CCA say .. “No Thanks and Good Bye”
    and move to another site in a more appropriate location.

  41. Rolling On Floor Laughing says:

    Read the lawsuit (click the scribd link provided by Federal Lawsuit) and the sordid tale is told – the Pembroke Pines City Attorney concluded that the City is legally obligated to provide CCA with water & sewer & would be liable to CCA for damages if it didn’t. Then the clowns on the Commission paid for an outside legal opinion based on limited information (some might call this “opinion-shopping”) and surprise surprise surprise, the outside opinion gave the Commission what it wanted to hear. Well, I am looking forward to rolling on the floor & laughing once again when the court specifies the number of dollars Pembroke Pines has to pay!!!

  42. Bill says:


    It’s not my fault I chose to live next to a prison and a dump. As a property owner, it is my right to tell other people what they can with their property.



  43. Bill Di Scipio says:


    It’s not a property rights issue only. For SWR to get the contract, they enter into an intergovernmental agency contract where they are responsible for managing the immigration detention and removal prison FOR ICE.

    There is nothing on this green earth which gives ANY property owner the right to expect that the town its in sign a contract with ANYBODY, never mind ICE.

    Nothing is stopping CCA from building a prison, but don’t expect SWR to agree to manage the facility for ICE.

    SWR doesn’t even have the competency to manage fire assessments or $40K procurement contracts without screwing them up. Why the HELL would I want my town managing a contract upward with ICE and downward to CCA?

    What kind of lunacy is it for a town with this reputation to take on such a responsibility.

    This is much greater in scope than a mere land use or property right issue.

    After thinking about all these comments, I’m surprised that a well respected writer like yourself hasn’t but scratched the surface of what this deal is all about.

  44. Jim says:

    Considering the circumstances of this whole scenario, even if a Judge were to somehow find for CCA and against Pembroke Pines (which I doubt if the judge is honest and not bought) – If I were the City, I would simply refuse to pay.


    I don’t know how many times we have had to sue clients for not paying bills on massive contracts.
    We go to court.
    We win the judgement for as much as $500,000 and the last words from the Judge are “Good Luck Collecting”.
    The legal system in America is great for handing out judgements but pretty much impotent on enforcement.

    Same reason States like Arizona, Alabama and other should tell Holder and Obama to go jump in a lake and go ahead enforcing the Illegal Immigration laws they had planned for their States.

    I do not normally support mutiny, but that assumes laws are being properly administered.
    When the system itself begins to break down and fail, then people need to ignore those laws that are wrong.

    All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

    Considering the conduct and questionable activity in Southwest Ranches that invited CCA to the area in the first place, this whole contract and associated deal making should be found null and void.

    Further it sounds like some higher levels ethics investigation may be in order here.

    This whole story smells funny.

  45. Mike S says:

    Ignoring CCA for a minute and stepping back looking at this scenario ………. it really is the combination of illogical moves cascading on each other.

    1) SWR somehow is the owner of a small postage stamp shaped piece of land surrounded on all 4 sides by Pembroke Pines.
    How did that ever happen ?

    2) SWR Ranches is on Well and Sewer through out the town, yet they expect another City to provide them water, sewer and other services for this “island” of property ?

    3) Now somehow a Prison company who is receiving OUR taxpayer money given to them via a Federal Contract is thinking of moving into the land SWR sold them but can’t service ……… yet they expect another City (PP) to give them the services they need.
    HUH ??????????

    4) PP had a contract with SWR …. NOT CCA to exercise an option to supply services.

    Pines did in fact have a no-fault termination option to break off the deal with SWR.

    I see no VALID lawsuit here as far as CCA is concerned.

    Of course this is America where you can sue for almost anything and the courts will hear the case because no Judge or Lawyer is going to dismiss frivolous cases when it is just another business stream for them.

    We have Burglars breaking into houses and hurting themselves, then suing the homeowners…….. and sometimes winning !
    So excuse me if I don’t have much faith in the court system to do the right thing here.

    But I fail to see any way to justify telling Pembroke Pines they MUST supply services to some corporation that decides to build on land that actually resides inside another town.

  46. Bill Di Scipio says:

    It will be an interesting number of months watching the court proceedings, that’s for sure.

    Property rights. I’m not sure if this group tends to be more libertarian minded or conservative minded or what.

    But, CCA is currently permitted to build a 1500 bed 240K sq. ft. facility which may house only low and medium security prisoners per the 2005 SWR resolution.

    Let them do what the rest of us do in SWR. Let them get permits to drill their wells (we are PROHIBITED from connecting to municipal water by the Town ourselves), and put in their septic system after getting permits.

    Then, when they need clients for their business, let them be really free market oriented and go to the private sector for their customers.

    Lastly, if they need somebody else to be a front man for a contract to be signed, let them turn away from my Town (and we taxpayers) being that underwriter of the contract. Let them find somebody else who wants to contract with ICE or let them contract directly with ICE.

    No, this has nothing to do with the “purity” of the concept of property rights. They are scamming and leeching off every source of government they can tap into.

    And ALL of that leeching is financed by confiscating MY property, i.e. my wages and earnings through taxation.

    CCA’s business model is the poster child for crony capitalism.

  47. sidelines says:

    Wow! Buddy has certainly woke up the neighbors!! Thank you. What is happening here and how it will be settled will set precedence in the courts and local gov’t. If SW Ranches needs PP to provide the infrastructure services, and PP doesn’t want to, why should they? Hope the judge is fair, wise and prudent.

  48. Wondering says:

    Bill Di Scipio what is this deal all about? Please enlighten us.

  49. Pines resident says:

    “Your residents” as you like to call us, were NOT asked if we agreed with all the money being spent now and in the future on the lawsuits. The threats did the trick and you caved. Plain and simple.

  50. Resident of chapel trail says:

    The commissioners did the right thing! Angelo Castillo has always done his best to represent the residents and he has shown it with this vote. Commissioner you will always have my vote!!! Also, he is not the only commissioner that posts on blogs…..that was pretty rude to call someone a “tool”….learn some respect for others.

  51. Bill Di Scipio says:

    Of course I believe in contract law. We’ll see what a judge says. I’m not going to play judge, who under our laws will determine whether the clause you are citing trumps the constitutional violations alleged by the land owner, CCA.


    Again, has Pines denied water to CCA? I believe that they have NOT turned down CCA’s application and have filed for a declaratory action to put it to a judge to rule on before they take the step of denying the application.

    If those facts are in dispute, please correct me. Otherwise, where’s CCA’s standing? Have they been injured?

    Regarding the contract. Can you imagine a situation where there is a contract between you and me where we have a mutual agreement to terminate the contract for whatever reason we want EVEN if one of us is in breech of the contract?

    Also, in our agreement, we agreed that this contract is between you and me and that it shall not give ANY rights to a third party at all.

    Then, you desire to terminate the contract and do so. So, your office mate comes along and sues you for violating HIS constitutional rights because you terminated the contract with me.

    You really have to use pretzel logic to rationalize this scenario while maintaining that you are a supporter of contract law.

    You’ve just done precisely that.

    I believe Castillo is right. You never know what a judge is going to do, but this federal ruling would be a setback in contract law with some of the most stunning ramifications for contract law. Further, it’s mainly the federal government itself which uses convenience clauses so regularly. It would undermine the legal construct of a convenience clause.

    CCA is just spending money they earned from governmental sources to waste time in court.

    Like any other Rancher including Town Hall, our neighbor CCA should drill a well and put in a septic system like we all do. They should be PROHIBITED from connecting to a municipal water source just like we are prohibited from doing so. Equal protection, you know?

    CCA should then find another puppet rather than Jeff Nelson or Keith Poliakoff to sign a contract with ICE so that they can financially benefit and also shed risk of operating the type of business they wish to operate.

  52. Howard Vollovick says:

    A woman’s prison has existed out here for years, this is a maximum security, death row prison, yet in the 18 years that I’ve lived out here, I have never once heard anyone complain about it.

    When these people purchased their homes, they knew that a maximum security, death row prison existed out here, yet they purchased anyway; why?

    Why is it ok for the woman’s prison to be here but not the ICE prison? The threat is actually greater with the woman’s prison being here vs. an ICE prison.

    There are approximately seven schools out here give or take, in all of the years that these people have lived here, how many have ever gone to the City Commission and spoke about the safety for their children knowing there’s a maximum security, death row prison out here?

  53. sidelines says:

    Please see this (also todays print edition page A5

    Corrections firm offers states cash for prisons

    Associated Press

    The nation’s largest private prison company made an enticing offer to 48 states that went something like this: We will buy your prison now if you agree to keep it mostly full and promise to pay us for running it over the next two decades. Despite a need for cash, several states immediately slammed the door on the offer, a sign that privatizing prisons might not be as popular as it once was.
    Corrections Corporation of America sent letters to the prison leaders in January, saying it had a pot of $250 million to buy facilities as part of an investment. The company is trying to capitalize on the landmark deal it made with Ohio in the fall by purchasing a facility, the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private firm.

    Prison departments in California, Texas and Georgia all dismissed the idea. Florida’s prison system said it doesn’t have the authority to make that kind of decision and officials in CCA’s home state of Tennessee said they aren’t reviewing the proposal. The states refused to say exactly why they were rejecting the offer.

    “Knowing the state government, it has to have something to do with the potential political backlash,” said Jeanne Stinchcomb, a criminal justice professor at Florida Atlantic University who has written two books on the corrections industry. “Privatization has reaped some negative publicity, so I can only assume that despite the possible benefits, there would be a price to pay for supporting it.”

    Bruce Bayley, associate professor of criminal justice at Weber State University, said he hoped something other than politics drove the states’ decisions.

    “It’s always hard for politicians to turn down the money,” said Bayley. “On the flipside, though, it speaks well to the professionalism of corrections departments of these states who don’t want to sell out to companies just to add some money to their bank accounts.”

    Critics of private prisons called the offer a backdoor way to delay the sentencing reform movements that have sprung up in many states looking to cut prison budgets. Lawmakers in many conservative states that once eagerly passed tough-on-crime laws are now embracing alternative sentences for low-level offenders who would otherwise be locked up.

    CCA said selling a prison to a private firm doesn’t block states from pursuing sentencing reform. The company also said it was still too early to say whether any state would take them up on the bid.

    “It was an outreach letter making them aware of these offers, it’s yet another tool in the toolbox,” said company spokesman Steve Owen. “We can design and build and own facilities from scratch or manage government facilities, but this is a third business model.”

    CCA said the offer was inspired by the $72.7 million sale of Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio. CCA and its main competitors, which have said they don’t plan to make a similar offer, typically build their own prisons or manage state-owned lockups.

    “We want to build on that success and provide our existing or prospective government partners with access to the same opportunity as they manage challenging corrections budgets,” Harley Lappin, the company’s chief corrections officer, said in the letter to prison leaders in every state except Ohio and New Hampshire.

    Eligible facilities must have at least 1,000 beds, must be less than 25 years old and in good condition, and have to maintain at least a 90 percent occupancy rate.

    The private prison industry boomed in the late 1980s and 1990s as states sought cheaper ways to jail people and voters began resisting building more prisons. Now companies like CCA and its main rival, Florida-based Geo Group Inc., operate dozens of private prisons throughout the nation.

    But efforts to privatize prisons have become highly-charged political debates in many states, partly because a sale often requires legislative approval or an OK by the governor.

    In Louisiana, lawmakers last year defeated Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to privatize and sell several state prisons to generate $90 million. Relatives of prison employees aggressively fought the move, fearing that they would get lower pay and less benefits working for a private firm.

    An effort to privatize a chunk of Florida’s prisons also met stiff opposition from lawmakers in February. They blocked what would have been the largest prison privatization in the U.S.

    Some critics of CCA’s bid said their concerns extend beyond the financial costs of a deal. About two dozen religious groups signed a letter saying that accepting the proposal would be “costly to the moral strength of your state.”

    “Mr. Lappin’s proposal is an invitation to deepening state debt, increased costs to people of color who are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration as well as their families and communities, and decreased public safety,” said the letter, sent by groups including The Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/09/v-print/2684816/corrections-firm-offers-states.html#storylink=cpy

  54. Get A Clue, Bill Di Scipio! says:

    Hey Bill Di Scipio, listen up!!!

    1) Although the City Commission was in the process of filing a declaratory action in state court, CCA actually beat the City to the courthouse, and CCA’s filing went straight into federal court.

    2) Try reading the CCA lawsuit – if you bothered to do that you would see (page 10) that in 2006 Pembroke Pines signed off on the County Wastewater Application acknowledging that Pembroke Pines will be the provider of sewer services to CCA. And the City also signed off on the 2006 State Wastewater Application (page 11), certifying in writing that the City of Pembroke Pines would provide sewer services to CCA. And in 2010 the City of Pembroke Pines reaffirmed in writing that it would provide water / sewer to CCA and had the system capacity available to do so (page 13).

    3) In November 2011 the Pembroke Pines City Attorney stated in writing that the City of Pembroke Pines “has a legal obligation to provide water and sewer to the proposed [CCA] facility.” (see page 17 of the CCA lawsuit).

    4) In February 2012 the Pembroke Pines City Commission admitted in writing that “…the proposed [CCA] facility legally falls within the water/sewer service area of the City…” (see page 21 of the CCA lawsuit).

    There are more goodies in the CCA lawsuit as well – read it! The City of Pembroke Pines has already cooked its own goose. All the federal judge has to do is open up the bottle of A1 sauce and ring the dinner bell. It will be an “all you can eat” buffet for CCA, which will immediately gorge itself on Pembroke Pines taxpayer dollars.

  55. mike s says:

    And all Pines has to do is refuse to pay regardless of what some judge determines.
    As Pines I would tell CCA , SWR, a judge or anybody else …We are not obligated to provide services to some company that sets up shop in another town.

    People toss around lawsuits these days like Halloween candy….. and as Jim said above …… if you know you are in the right, then ignore what some singular judge declares. Chances are the judge may have been shady anyway

  56. mike s says:

    I find a sad irony in all the talk about agreements, lawsuits, contracts and obeying the law above.
    The simple reality is this………
    If the government was seriously and strictly enforcing immigration laws in the first place in such a way that illegal entry was deterred, there would be no need for taxpayers to waste money paying for special purpose prisons like this at all.
    These prisons are a terrible waste of taxpayer revenue just mopping up a mess created by not firmly dealing with illegal immigration on the front end.

  57. Bill Di Scipio says:

    I love the cowards who post but don’t use their name. At least with Howard and Marygay, they have the fortitude to stand behind their sentiments on a personal level.

    Although I disagree with both of them, I can respect that they don’t hide.

    Why hide? What is it that you don’t want us to know?

  58. Bill Di Scipio says:

    @Get a Clue:

    Such hand waving and bombast. If all of that is true, why did CCA have Poliakoff put the following provision into the 2011 Fire/EMS contract:

    “Section 22.20 City agrees that it has sufficient capacity to provide water and sewer services to the Town’s future 2,500 bed detention/corrections facility (approximately 500,000 gross square feet of floor area), and that it will expeditiously approve a water/waste water utility agreement to provide such service at the City’s then prevailing rate, in accordance with state law (City’s rate + surcharge).”

    How can Pines “expeditiously approve” something CCA claims is already approved? Don’t you think Charlie Dodge and Sam Goren would have said something?

    And to remind the readers, this is the termination clause in that very same contract:

    “18.2 In addition to and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Agreement, this Agreement may be terminated by the CITY for convenience upon providing the TOWN with nine (9) months written notice as provided for herein.”

    Who are you? I bet you are probably Leonard or Sam, aren’t you?

    CCA is just a despicable bully, and not a good neighbor.

  59. Get A Clue, Bill Di Scipio! says:

    Firstly, contracts routinely include seemingly redundant provisions – for example, a rental lease may specify that the tenant must not violate any local, state or federal laws, even though it is obviously already illegal to do so. The practical effect is that in addition to the existing criminal penalties, a violation of the law then becomes a contract violation as well, thus heightening the consequences.

    Secondly, as clearly stated on page 31 of the CCA lawsuit:

    “[…] Defendant City has fully negotiated and approved the terms and conditions of aPotable Water and Sewer Installation and Service Agreement with CCA-LLC, including themotion passed by the City Commission on December 7, 2011, pursuant to Agenda Item No. 14and negotiations with the City Manager regarding the applicable surcharge.
    The City’s remaining duties are ministerial. The Mayor must simply execute the Potable Water and Sewer Installation and Service Agreement and deliver a copy thereof to CCA-LLC […]”

    Ministerial duties involve no decision-making. For example, if a judge orders the issuance of a permit, then the town clerk has the ministerial duty of preparing the permit paperwork accordingly.

  60. Bill Di Scipio says:


    The prison is slated to close on May 1st. BCI has not housed death row female inmates since 2003. That’s 9 years ago.

    This prison houses approximately 620 female prisoners. Most of the incarceration is open or dormitory style with only 1 block allocated for cells.

    The prisoners are not “short timers” and generally won’t have the same traffic of visitors in and out. There are no federal courts housed at BCI.

    The CCA prison was slated for 2500 beds, will have a very transient population, will have many visitors, will be a processing area for the many times more detainees released with electronic monitoring and is more akin to the Krome Avenue Detention Facility. I suggest you drive 20 minutes and see it rather than making irrelevant comparisons to an obsolete dorm style prison slated for closure in 6 weeks.

    All your “what if” questions are simply irrelevant. A 2500 bed (or 1500 bed) immigration prison and processing center is more similar to Krome Ave than to BCI. Quit obfuscating that fact.

    Lastly, it’s not just a prison. It’s a contract between SWR and ICE to provide immigration detention and removal services to the federal government. Operations and governmental type management is NOT a core competency of SWR.

    As a matter of fact, they will vote to fire their Town Manager on Thursday after only 3 months of tenure. This will mean we need to hire our 6th town manager in merely 12 years.

    It’s a totally dysfunctional government with no ability to chew what they are about to bite off in terms of owning a contract with ICE.

  61. Bill Di Scipio says:

    @ Clue,

    Well, as anonymous as you are, who’s to say you aren’t a Berger Singerman employee working for your client CCA who is the plaintiff in this suit?

    You can quote a lawsuit. So? Every single suit that was ever lost had a complaint that the plaintiff thought was valid.

    Bill Di Scipio

  62. Mike S says:

    “18.2 In addition to and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Agreement, this Agreement may be terminated by the CITY for convenience upon providing the TOWN with nine (9) months written notice as provided for herein.”

    That one line in the contract pretty much says it all.
    As I recall, PP informed SWR around December they may have intentions to cancel the contract.

    Here we are three months later.

    Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

    Not much different than any other Service Provider-Client Contractual arrangement.

    ie … either party can cancel with prior written notice to the other within such an such a time before a certain deadline.

    This seems to be patterned after that same basic concept.

    Bottom Line —
    CCA can continue on this path, build their own water and sewer service, charge back even more to the taxpayers and fight the local community for years to come, as they are not welcomed here in this tightly packed and growing residential environment and will never be accepted or greeted with open arms.


    They can choose another location that is more suitable for a prison facility.
    Isolated away from residential areas.
    In an impoverished and non-growing community.
    Where there will be minimal impact from the community and lower service and utility costs.
    ie … the kind of place that should have been chosen in the first place for these kinds of facilities.

    This entire scenario (as described above) has been one screw up stacked on another.

    PERHAPS ….. if the prison had been built in 1973 when 3 million fewer people lived down here and there was almost no residential development West of Cooper City, this might have been okay.
    The towns would have been able to plan how close they were willing to develop to this area.

    But do to a number of circumstances (including keeping things secret).
    Almost every resident you meet in PP and SWR will tell you they knew nothing about these plans.

    Okay, you can explain away a handful of people being ignorant.
    But how do you explain THOUSANDS of residents ….. the vast majority, not knowing ?

    Even those savvy enough to ASK and do their HOMEWORK by asking Broward County officials BEFORE they moved out there were told different versions of what the area would be including Park, more homes, etc.. But never the nations largest Prison for holding Illegal entrants into the Country (and potentially a spill over for nearby GTMO if some new reports are accurate and not just rumor)

    We even have Broward County School officials who state they had no knowledge of these plans when determining school locations.

    And we have copies of emails that show correspondence between CCA officials, SWR attorney and council members telling everybody to “Keep this quiet”.


    The pile of crap that has combined to make this mess today stacks pretty deep.

    But such is usually the case when trying to force a flawed idea.

  63. Get A Clue, Bill Di Scipio! says:

    @ Bill Di Scipio – I have no relationship, directly or indirectly, with CCA, PP, SWR, Berger Singerman, or any other organization involved in this controversy. If I had my druthers, there would be no private prisons anywhere in USA.

    @ Mike S – Florida has a very strong Public Records law. There were plenty of public records generated along the way. CCA bought the land in 1997 & every land transaction is a public record. The fact that CCA operates private prisons has been public knowledge since 1983. Anyone can go onto the Property Appraiser’s website, bcpa.net, to find out who owns any piece of land anywhere in Broward County. There have been numerous SWR and PP Commission actions going way back to 2005 on this topic, all taken in open, public meetings, and all creating open, public records. That’s a 15-year trail of public records, and 15 years of CCA paying property taxes on its land. And at the federal level there is the Freedom of Information Act – another source of public records. There has been a long, long trail of evidence that this was happening, which PP & SWR residents have simply ignored for the past 15 consecutive years. In the legal world, failure to object to an event within 30 to 60 days usually results in the loss of your right to object. It’s been 15 years. You snooze, you lose. Don’t want this to happen again? Get an investigative reporter to cover PP / SW.

  64. Mike S says:

    RE the above ….

    It is certainly easier to search stuff today with internet access and more detailed Websites and public records.

    But such has not always been the case.

    But your attempts to rationalize and justify the efforts taken to hide these negotiations and prison plans from public view don’t fly.

    Essentially your explanation makes it sound like all elected leaders and County Officials when directly asked are allowed and expected to be misleading and deceptive and the common resident or citizen has to become a part-time investigator to dig the truth out of public record searches and other means.

    Say what you will, but we both know that is not the way American government or elected officials who are voted in to serve their constituents are supposed to behave or perform their jobs.

    It was never designed that things should be hidden as much as possible and the justification to the general public is it was up to them to keep a constant tab on courthouse filings and public records to know what is going on around them.

    It this were the case, a person would need to make a regular routine of performing records investigations every few weeks simply so nothing gets sneaked by them.

    Can’t say we agree on this one.

    This is analogous to me knowingly giving you a disease, but when you get upset over it —— I tell you it is YOUR FAULT, because you never asked me if I was sick.

    We can debate the technicalities of sneaky political and legal maneuvers all day long.
    A fine example being the so called “Sunshine Law” where issues are supposed to be discussed in open forum with the citizenry ……….. but in reality it is a sham 90% of the time, because they have already made the deal in private and the public notice is just a show to satisfy the requirements.

    Do we care about appearances or reality ?

    The bottom line is almost 90%+ of the residents asked say they never knew anything about a prison being planned there.

    With a failure rate that high, something about the information and notification process now being used is not working.

    We can blame all those thousands of residents for being ignorant of how to investigate public records ……. OR ….. we can ask why elected officials who are supposed to serve the people that elect them intentionally made a point to “keep this quiet” as per released emails.

    When an entire population of multiple thousands INCLUDING BROWARD COUNTY OFFICIALS themselves are not aware of the plans, one must question the system of information distribution as well as the people.

  65. PP needs a Watchdog says:

    @ Mike S – Indeed we should. Way back in 2005, Bob Norman (then working for the New Times) was busy exposing breathtaking levels of corruption & nepotism over in SWR:


    Now you make a good point regarding weaknesses in the Sunshine Law. But (sad to say) it is still one of the very strongest open government laws in USA, and there is a lot that can be accomplished with it. Bob Norman illustrates that power rather brilliantly.

    The problem is that Bob Norman was pretty much the only cop on the beat, and he already had his hands full with SWR’s slimepit. Investigative reporting is not, to put it mildly, one of the Sun-Sentinel’s strong points. The Herald does some of it from time to time, but mainly on Miami- Dade or statewide issues. There is a profound shortage of investigative reporting in Broward County. To fill this gap, citizen journalists such as Chaz are digging up the dirt and publishing it on the Internet. Does PP even have a Chaz-type citizen journalist working the beat? Obviously not.

    Somebody has to do it. Anyone who thinks politicians & officials can be trusted obviously hasn’t bothered to read Bob Norman’s hard-hitting investigative reporting on Southwest Ranches. That is why we have divided government, and that is why we also have the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. PP needs to either home-grow another Chaz or hire another Bob Norman.

    FROM BUDDY: The Sun-Sentinel did more investigations in a year when I was there than the Broward-Palm Beach New Times has done in its entire existence.
    J. P. Renaud and myself exposed the purchase of swamp land by the School Board in Southwest Ranches in a Sun-Sentinel series. Just one of the many investigations I worked on at the Sun-Sentinel.
    The Sun-Sentinel today has many faults. It still finds some time to do investigative journalism on a level that the Broward-Palm Beach New Times has never touched. Just recently using an elaborate database search and a number of fine journalists, the Sun-Sentinel had a crackerjack investigation on cops who break speeding laws and got immediate results.

  66. PP needs a Watchdog says:

    Actually, Mike S, the corrupt practices you refer to are a long-standing American tradition. Remember Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon? Remember Dick “WMD in Iraq” Cheney? Remember George “Standing In The Schoolhouse Door” Wallace? America has NEVER been a fountain of sweetness and light where politicians & public officials could be counted upon to do the right thing. You might find that in Norway, Denmark or Sweden, but you damn sure won’t find it here.

    The best that can be said is that Americans mostly respond to official corruption by tightening laws and closing loopholes. The big (correction, BIG!!!) exception to that has been the mammoth civil liberties disasters spawned by Dick “WMD in Iraq” Cheney (Patriot Act, etc. ad nauseum).

  67. PP needs a Watchdog says:

    7 years later, SWR is still making headlines as a governmental horror story… my congratulations to Bill Di Scipio & Bob Norman for exposing the SWR slimepit yet again!!


  68. What's in the name? says:

    @ Mike S.

    At some point the resident must be willing to participate with their local government. Apathy is not an excuse.

    Attend a budget hearing at any city and less than 1% show up to dispute the tax rate. Yet they will be the first to complain they pay to much in taxes.

    At some point, the responsibility needs to be with the resident.

    So onto the case of CCA. The nearest residential property to this site is 1455 feet away? Most municipal ordinances are for property owners within 300 or 500 feet of a subject site. So in theory they should not and would not be noticed. Are you saying the entire town should be noticed with every possible proposal or just the ones you think are important? There are codes in place that govern these procedures. If you do not think they are sufficient propose changes.

    I am not saying I support CCA, just that if residents are really concerned, they need to participate. Everything cannot be force fed to them. People cry foul at the decisions of government but do not participate.

    You claim corruption, but all the agendas are public record. How many meetings do you attend?

    The laws in place.. ie Sunshine and public notification keep citizens in the process, nonetheless, they have to decide to act.

  69. Mike S says:

    PP/Watchdog —
    I understand what you are saying, but to be fair you only identified the faults of one party.
    One could compile a list just as bad for the current pathetic administration .
    I fact, taking all things into consideration , I would much rather prefer a Nixon in office today compared to the incompetent glorified Social Worker we have now.

    What’s a Name —
    I have attended meetings when either the published Agenda or Monthly Town Newsletter mentions an issue I find important of of interest.
    Over the years this has included ..

    BSO changes
    Easement Return Issues
    Frontier Trails Park development
    Fights with SFWMD
    Town Parade or Party plans
    Equestrian Park

    But interestingly enough
    (and very telling in my view)
    The same manner of communicating these issues above failed to make any mention on CCA/ICE Prisons at any time over the past 13 years.

    Nothing really publicized until late last year when this all began.

    Oversight is public notice -or- an effort to conceal and much as possible ?

    Somehow all the residents were aware and informed on all these other issues ……. but oddly enough, the ICE/CCA Prison seemed to just slide by without mention for all that time while deals were being made and negotiations were in the works.

    I understand what you are saying about people using resources to investigate what they can find out ……… but by the same token, I can’t buy that as an excuse to justify intentional deception and hiding of information from the residents on the part of elected officials in power.
    Elected to perform a function ON BEHALF of those people — not against them.

  70. Mike S says:

    One last comment as it pertains to the talks of investigative reporting above.

    From what I have heard in passing this last week.

    There is about to be a large magnifying glass placed on this area as a result of this whole ordeal.

    Way too much smoke and revelations of odd conduct.

    It finally has the attention of the outside world who are now curious to look a little deeper into the whole history of SWR, the founders, the key people along the way and the connections of the current key players.

    We will see if anything comes of it.
    But it seems to be heating up now with more scrutiny coming.

  71. Mike S says:

    As I referenced in my final comments on this issue above ……

    The deeper scrutiny is beginning …


  72. Jane says:

    Regarding above reference to $1.25 lawsuit.
    Read the case first then the news report. Bottom line guy doesn’t wait a few minutes for attorneys answer, decides to sue over nothing,the municipality defends it’self and racks up fee’s from legal work. Judge dismisses case as for being a joke, municipality attempts to recover it’s costs and now the guy can’t afford it.
    Why on earth didn’t he think about that before he decided to sue. My goodness people are unreal in their expectations. That would have been the first thing I would have thought about, My Downside if I lose. And people wonder why their taxes go up here is a perfect example.

  73. Panda Bear says:

    Although everyone seems to forget that at some point either our forefathers or we were immigrants, the bottom line with this SWR/PP issue is not the prison itself, but rather the fact that they say it will be for immigrants….and that’s the key word here: immigrants. They don’t want immigrants in their backyards. Period. If it had been said that it would be a regular prison, I don’t think it would’ve mattered that much.

  74. SWR, not Bill Di Scipio, is to blame says:


    […] Poliakaff is threatening to counter-sue Di Scipio on the grounds that Di Scipio’s lawsuit is frivolous. Poliakaff, is also threatening to seek monetary damages from Di Scipio for filling his public records lawsuit.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the same nonsense in my own cases. Most of the time these threats are nothing more than a defendant’s attorney trying to impress his client or play to the media. Even when an defense attorney is able to convince a defendant to actually file one of these counter-lawsuits, commonly known as a “57.105″ I’ve never had one get to a hearing, much less succeed.

    In my opinion, these tactics are simply an attempt to intimidate folks who take a stand for civil rights. The facts in Di Scipio’s case are simple: a man walks into a public agency and asks to inspect and photograph non-exempt public records; the town clerk prohibits man for taking pictures of non-exempt public records (in direct violation of FS 119.07 (3)(a)); man files lawsuit to enforce Florida’s Public Records Act.

    […] if the Town of Southwest Ranches were to simply acknowledge that any person desiring to inspect and photograph non-exempt public records has a right to do so, refund Di Scipio’s $1.25 and pay his reasonable attorneys fees this could all be resolved for well under $5,000. If, however, they keep playing games and this goes to an expedited hearing for summary judgement, I would expect that figure to mushroom to well over $15,000. In the end, the Town of Southwest Ranches is going to acknowledge what Florida Statute Chapter 119.07 (3)(a) says:

    “Any person shall have the right of access to public records for the purpose of making photographs of the record while such record is in the possession, custody, and control of the custodian of public records.”

    The question is, how much will it cost the taxpayers?

  75. Mike S says:

    Panda Bear

    In a word.
    You are wrong.

    A regular Prison would be just as strongly opposed.

    As for the logic of your claim …

    These are not simply immigrants.
    These are people who have entered the United States illegally.

    It is not the same thing.

    All my friends for example who came here from Cuba, Thailand, Peru, China, Colombia and Malaysia LEGALLY are immigrant.

    People who choose to ignore the proper process of entry are in the country illegally.

    An analogy since you seemed confused on the issue ……

    A burglar who breaks into your home when you are at work is not a House Guest.
    If you invite them over, that is different.

    No system based on chaos and disorder and blatant disregard for compliance (or enforcement) of laws and logical order ever has a good result for a society.

  76. Mike S says:


    You may wish to study the timeline of this case again.

    Your summary is wrong.

    The town had resisted complying with the Freedom of Information for MONTHS after many requests.

    Bill then brought his own copy equipment to town hall and said he would make the copies himself so as to eliminate the excuse that the town “had no time and resources to make requested copies”.

    The lawsuit (as I understand it) was intended to bring attention to this apparent attempt at obstruction on the part of SWR.

    Anybody else writing on here can correct me if I am wrong — but this is how I have seen the story reported in every other article before this one.

  77. It Could Be Worse says:

    I’d much rather live near a detention facility for illegal immigrants (who, if escaping, will do their level best to disappear) than a prison for hard-core criminals (who, if escaping, may well be interested in committing as many murders as possible)…

  78. Mike S says:

    It could be worse —

    Why should you have to choose a lesser evil at all ?

    Your statement is analogous to saying you would rather have prostate cancer than liver cancer.
    Neither is desirable.

    Prisons of any kind should be in isolated areas that are MILES away from residential areas.

    In the case of these Illegal Detention Centers, they should would not be needed at all and we would not be wasting taxpayer money mopping up this mess if Immigration laws had been (and were) being strictly enforced on the front end.

    The deterring factor would already be established.

    What we see here is Washington not enforcing immigration law and even stopping States from enforcing the laws such that we have a wide open invitation for people to enter illegally daily by the thousands …. and THEN, we create a false industry by spending labor and money to build these special prisons and incarcerate the people we did not prevent from entering in the first place.

    Smokes and mirrors and a horrible waste of taxpayer money.

    Kind of like putting padlocks on barn doors AFTER you let all the horses and cows run free.