Tamarac Commission Tries To Hide Controversial Appointment

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Touched by a corruption scandal while in office, former County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman’s appointment to a Tamarac city board was apparently controversial.

So controversial that Tamarac City Commissioners tried to hide it.

Maybe so controversial because Lieberman was deeply enmeshed a decade ago in a dirty deal to pave over two golf courses and built 700 homes. In Tamarac.

Tamarac’s mayor, several commissioners, a County Commissioner and a School Board member ended up being charged with wrong doing surrounding the project.

Lieberman was never charged.

But Lieberman’s fingerprints were all over the Tamarac development.

So when Lieberman surfaced as a recent committee appointment to the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, her name was kept on the down low. Lieberman’s appointment never appeared on the agenda.

Ilene Lieberman

The appointment of Lieberman was hidden so well that Commissioner Marlon Bolton complained that he couldn’t find it in his April 24th agenda packet. 

“I don’t see it…I’m talking about the appointment,” Bolton said during the meeting. “I don’t see it physically.”  

It was slipped in just before the vote by Commissioner Mike Gelin.

Gelin never mentioned Lieberman’s name during the meeting, nor did any other commissioner. 

Finally Mayor Michelle Gomez let Lieberman’s name slip. The mention by the mayor appeared to be a deliberate attempt to inform the public what was happening. 

Lieberman’s appointment to the city’s Planning and Zoning Board is noteworthy because of her role in a scandal in Tamarac involving corrupt developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.  

The Chaits bought influence with city and county officials who voted on their development plan, they later testified in a 2010 trial.

And Lieberman’s name surfaced again and again in testimony about the sleazy Tamarac developers, as the Sun-Sentinel reported:

Bruce and Shawn Chait

“The Chaits told prosecutors they paid a local political consultant more than $100,000 — in cash — in 2006 to perform public relations work and lobby for their project. Bruce Chait said he didn’t think he needed the consultant, Beverly Stracher, but hired her at the strong suggestion of County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who lives in Tamarac….

”When Commissioner Lieberman tells you to do something, you do it,” Bruce Chait told state prosecutors in June.

 There is no suggestion that Lieberman’s recommendation was illegal, but it raises questions about why she reportedly pressed so hard for the hire.

“…Bruce Chait told investigators that Stracher, who called Lieberman “the redhead”, would tell him ” ‘the redhead’s not happy today and this is what she wants. And the redhead’s not happy today and this is what she wants. And this is what she wants.’ And it just never ends.’”

Also, Channel 10 News wrote on its Internet site: 

“Lieberman came out on the front lines vigorously defending the deal, but then suddenly went quiet. During a long stretch in late 2010 and early 2011 she went AWOL and near-mute. Lieberman missed numerous meetings and those she did attend were often by phone. There were rumblings that she was leaving politics. She never fully explained her extraordinary absence, but well-informed sources said she was devastated by a state corruption investigation in which prosecutors looked into her ties to dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.” 

Lieberman ended up giving evidence to prosecutors in the case against then Tamarac Mayor Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco, who was charged with corruption-related offenses.

When Flasbaum-Talabisco was found not guilty, her attorney Larry Davis told Channel 10 that the real villain in the case was Lieberman, who he claimed pulled the strings behind the scenes.

“Ilene Lieberman is the picture of pay-to-play politics in Broward County,” Davis reportedly said.

Since the entire corruptioon case concerned a development project in Tamarac, it is no wonder why Gelin and the commissioners tried to sneak through this appointment to the Tamarac Planning and Zoning Board. 

Tamarac residents should applaud Mayor Gomez for making this appointment public. At least Gomez know that the public’s business should be done in public. 




9 Responses to “Tamarac Commission Tries To Hide Controversial Appointment”

  1. Chaz Stevens says:

    She’s definitely the poster-child for female white privilege.

    One could argue she’s no Al Capellini, but you’d have to really work at ignoring the cognitive dissonance.

    It’s like when you flush the loo … do you really expect something to show back up on the front porch?

    In the end, can’t she just go terrorize some bingo hall somewhere?

  2. David Rose says:

    She shouldn’t even on the board. She lives in the a Woodlands whose two golf courses are the target of rezoning for development by 13th Floor Builders. It’s a conflict of interest.

  3. A fly on the wall says:

    As usual, follow the money. Does this ethics deficient Broward Democrat want the golf courses developed and can help to make it happen or is she now playing NIMBY and wants to keep the golf courses intact?

    In other words, what is in it for Ilene?

  4. Jeffrey Smoley says:

    Something tells me 13th Floor is behind this. Ms. Lieberman was never found guilty of anything and was never even charged. Saying that because she lives in the Woodlands there is a conflict of interest, well then any mayor or city commissioner (or Planning and Zoning board member) who lives in Tamarac should be removed if they have to vote on anything in Tamarac.

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    What else would you expect from Broward? Ilene had a pillow in her commission office “It’s good to be queen.” She left out “teflon.” And Tamarac has always been a cesspool.

  6. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    To some it all up.Concerning the Chaits- all else fails- Snitch( yes).As far as Mrs.Lieberman all else fails- throw Mrs.Talabisco under the bus( thank God for Larry Davis to save the day for u- Mrs.Talabisco).Lieberman to cool for school.To close let M.r.(Eggeltion take the fall( member the bribe money),which landed Joe here in prison.So now red riding hood( Lieberman) wants to be on this advisory bd.They say history repeats itself.Will see….

  7. right wing says:

    ever take a drive through western sections of tamarac lately. this once nice town being raped, pillaged and plundered as tamarac attempts to compete with coral springs and sunrise.and several half empty strip malls within a mile of city hall. sad.

  8. Count. LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    If Ilene Lieberman LIVES IN TAMARAC what was she doing amongst FORT LAUDERDALE RESIDENTS advocating on. FORT LAUDERDALE CITY ISSUE?

  9. The Unspoken Truth says:

    Talabisco is the one who cast the vote. Talabisco was Lieberman’s acolyte and envisioned a big political future for herself with Lieberman being the power behind the throne. For some unknown reason, people feel sorry for her. I don’t.

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