Weston Accused of Mismanagement After Huge Overbilling Scheme Uncovered





After discovering that Weston had overpaid as much as $260,000 in one year for tree trimming, the Broward Inspector General accused the city of “gross mismanagement.”

The IG in a preliminary report also accuses long-time City Manager John Flint of a cover-up, hiding the suspected fraud from the city auditor.

The IG came to that damning conclusion about the city’s management after discovering that the city’s former landscape director had “personal and business arrangements” with vendors including a tree trimming firm that was overbilling Weston as much as $260,000 in one year.

Former Landscape Director Andrew Gilmore was fired on May 31, 2013, one day after the city was told of the IG’s allegations against him.

The preliminary report obtained by Browardbeat.com alleges that Weston was guilty of mismanagement for failing to supervisor Gilmore properly and not discovering the overbilling.  The city has until Sept. 3 to file answers to the charges.

“City officials engaged in gross mismanagement which left the city vulnerable to fraud. In light of the evidence available to the city and the blatant nature of the overbillings, proper controls should have detected the years-long scheme,” according to the IG report.


The allegations included:


* Gilmore lived in a house owned by the owner of GreenSource Landscape and Sports Turf, Inc. “None of the parties had records of rental payments,” according to the IG.

Gilmore told the IG he paid the rent in cash or by doing landscape work for the GreenSource’s owners.

GreenSource had multiple contracts with Weston worth “well over a million dollars annually.” Gilmore inspected GreenSouce’s work and approved its invoices.

*Gilmore drove a truck owned and insured by Varney & Sons, a company paid over $4.4 million by the city for trimming and removing trees and palms.

The IG report states its investigation revealed “a scheme to overbill for tree trimming services” by overstating the size of the trees and palms.

“Statistical analysis of billings for 2011 reveals that Mr. Varney likely overbilled the city by as much as $260,000 in one year alone,” the report found.

The city terminated its contract with Varney & Sons this week and on Wednesday sued the firm. More than $40,000 owed the firm is being withheld.

The IG report concludes with the notation that it is referring the Weston overbilling case and Gilmore’s actions to “the appropriate prosecutorial agency” for “potential” criminal prosecution.

City Mayor Dan Stermer answered the IG’s report in an exclusive Browardbeat.com interview.

“We won’t defend Mr. Gilmore and Mr. Varney. Mr. Gilmore was terminated. Mr. Varney is being sued,” Stermer said.

But the mayor vehemently defended Flint and the city staff against charges of mismanagement.

Stermer said that Flint didn’t know about the full extent of the allegations against Gilmore and Varney when he signed a statement for auditors in March 2014 that he had “no knowledge of any fraud or suspected fraud” by management or employees.

“We will have a full and wholesome response,” Stermer said.

He said Flint had implemented more than a dozen improvements since learning of the investigation, including stepped up employee disclosure requirements and ethics training.

“We are happy to make improvements. Every improvement makes us better,” the mayor continued. “We have no false sense that we do everything perfectly.”

Stermer noted that Weston has only nine full-time employees who supervise numerous vendors contracted to provide services. So Gilmore’s actions wounded the City Hall “family. When somebody in our family is accused of something like this, we are hurt. Moreover, these acts were taken against Weston’s residents and they deserve better from the city’s employees and contractors.”


13 Responses to “Weston Accused of Mismanagement After Huge Overbilling Scheme Uncovered”

  1. chacha says:

    Stermer is a truly fine man.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nobody has ever paid attention to how money was being spent in Weston. Flint runs everything there with commissioners trusting him to not make them look bad so now we should hope the commissioners take a stronger hand on the reins in the future.

  3. No Abby says:

    Buddy, sounds like the school board. Did u watch Brinkworth and Rupert ask question after question to staff during bond workshop? Humming and hawing by staff and Runcie. He is losing control. Ee1 voted down for additional spending, he was worried so pulled the other ee items. I think he is searching airfare for Chicago, after bond goes down he and crew better charter a plane outta here

  4. Call BSO says:

    Gilmore should be charged with a crime along with the firm’s principals. This is a transparent case of bribery.

  5. T.Y. says:

    Flint is an arrogant prick who has been there too long because if a Weston resident has a problem, he treats them like he is the King and the resident (me) is the serf. His attitude is that he should be sitting on a throne in his office and wearing a crown. Weston has an absentee commission who lets Flint get away with anything.The IG needs to examine every contract Flint signed in the past 10 years.

  6. Real Deal says:

    Weston operates like a large homeowner association. They have a beautiful community and low taxes which is made possible by using vendors to provide services instead of city employees. It saves them millions of dollars. They need to a full-time internal auditor on the staff to review all billings before paying them. John Flint has done a great job in Weston as city manager. This story shows they can do better.

  7. Plain Language says:

    Words are important otherwise our thinking becomes unclear.

    When we say gross mismanagement, that should apply to a gross (substantial) waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. It suggests reckless behavior.

    When we speak of an undetected error, or a weakness in an element of internal controls, we should refer to those as a management weakness or internal control weaknesses needing correction.

    The first is more closely related to recklessness, acting without caring about the outcome, than the second which involves closing a gap in a process previously thought to be sufficient.

    If the IG calls this gross mismanagement, they had better be prepared to defend that with evidence of what motivated the weakness. Otherwise it is they who abuse their authority.

    Weston is owed money, there may be vendors who were crooks. But how that came to occur is very relevant in what terms we should use. The use of the phrase “gross mismanagement” is very serious and should not be toyed with.

  8. Chris Rock says:

    Both of these statements can’t be true. How did Flint fire the employee in May 2013 after he was told of the IG’s allegations, and then sign a document in March 2014 that he had no knowledge of suspected fraud unless he was clueless to what was going on. So either it was gross mismanagement, or gross incompetence.

    “Former Landscape Director Andrew Gilmore was fired on May 31, 2013, one day after the city was told of the IG’s allegations against him.”

    “Stermer said that Flint didn’t know about the full extent of the allegations against Gilmore and Varney when he signed a statement for auditors in March 2014 that he had “no knowledge of any fraud or suspected fraud” by management or employees.”


    Flint is hinging his defense on the word “fraud.” He claims the IG’s office never told him that Gilmore was accused of “fraud.” He says that he fired Gilmore because of the “appearance” of wrongdoing, not “fraud.”

  9. Russ says:

    A Weston resident should be pretty upset with all the sweetheart deals, it needs to be looked at the long time association with Calvin Giorodian, there it and fiance’ and the building dept. with CAP Government
    , a lot done with out the benefit of completive bidding. It appears if your a friend of a Flint your a shoein..

  10. Freddie Brown says:

    If flint fired Gilmore for the appearance of wrongdoing as he claims why wouldn’t he terminate the contractor who’s house he lived???? No he gives the contractor the tree work until they get a new tree contractor??? And how bout the relationships he has with CGA and Weiss Serota??? I bet they have tons of unnecessary invoices but they are flints buddies so no rules apply or bids needed!!! Just a waste of a shitload of weston residents tax dollars!!! City is run like a good ole boy network always has!!! Commission needs to set up and take action!!! Because if flint was so good he wouldn’t be putting all the IG recommendations in place if the city was run so efficiently!!!! Him and the finance guys all need to be fired!!!!

  11. John L. says:

    The City of Weston has always been a model City of Broward County. Professionalism, Efficient and Pristine are words I use to describe John Flint, the Mayor, the City Commission and the City of Weston.

  12. U.G.H. says:

    Chris Rock- you rock. Right on buddy.
    Great analysis-

    Fraud or appearance of wrongdoing belies the timing

  13. Chris Angel says:

    HEY I.G.





    Not to mention their familial entitlement to positions