By William Hladky, BrowardBulldog.org
A gun show in January at Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium
Fresh efforts to enforce two county ordinances should prevent cash-and-carry gun sales at guns shows in Broward County for buyers who have not already passed a state background check.
BrowardBulldog.org reported last month that Fort Lauderdale Police were not enforcing the county’s background check ordinance for sales made at gun shows due to police confusion over its legitimacy. This month, police posted a sign at the entrance to a gun show at War Memorial Auditorium warning patrons about the county ordinances.
The Broward County Commission in 1998 passed the background-checks ordinance and a companion ordinance requiring a five-day waiting period when gun sales occur “on property to which the public has the right of access.” A violation is a misdemeanor.
The ordinances exempt holders of Florida concealed weapons permits who have already passed background checks. State law also exempts law enforcement officers from background checks mandated by state statute.
Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Detective DeAnna Greenlaw verified by email that city police were now enforcing the background check and waiting period ordinances.
“I am aware of the sign,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “That sign already confirms what we are doing…We are fully enforcing the county ordinances as well as the state law.”
Last month, police told BrowardBulldog.org that the county’s background checks ordinance was no longer in effect due to Florida Statute 790.33, enacted in 2011. That law declares all municipal ordinances that regulate gun possession and sales “null and void.”
Legal experts, however, said the department’s legal interpretation was wrong because that statute is trumped a 1998 amendment to Florida’s Constitution giving counties the option to enact ordinances requiring a background check and a three-to-five-day waiting period.
FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE ABOUT-FACE
The department soon changed its policy. The sign about the county ordinances was first posted outside the auditorium for a gun show on May 4-5.
The city police’s legal position is important. Broward’s two largest gun shows, sponsored by Ohio-based Suncoast Gun Shows and North Lauderdale’s Trader Ritch, are held in Fort Lauderdale.
Greenlaw, who speaks for Police Chief Frank Adderley, declined to discuss the department’s about-face.
But Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan focused attention on the enforcement issue in an email to county commissioners and the mayors of other Broward cities. He cited last month’s BrowardBulldog.org article and said, “If your City is intending to conduct a gun show or your law enforcement encounter a gun transaction initiated or conducted on property to which the public has access, I would strongly suggest you obtain a legal opinion regarding the city’s authority and obligation to enforce Broward County Ordinance(s)…”
Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler
Ryan’s email prompted County Commissioner Lois Wexler ask County Administrator Bertha Henry to request a legal opinion about the ordinances from County Attorney Joni Armstrong.
On May 1 Armstrong wrote, “…The County’s requirements for a five-day waiting period and a criminal history records check for the described firearms sales remain valid.”
Wexler also brought the ordinances to the attention of the Broward County League of Cities. “I wanted elected officials to be aware of what the ordinances said and for them to be enforced,” Wexler said. She added that Henry sent the county attorney’s opinion to Broward’s city managers.
The county ordinances should slow down “straw purchases” at gun shows, said Hamilton Bobb, retired Assistant Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami. Straw purchases occur when a criminal uses a girlfriend or an associate who can pass a background check to buy a gun.
“It should slow it down if the girlfriend has to wait five days,” Bobb said. “Usually they want to get a quick sale.”
Gun sales between individuals at non-public locations are not subject to background checks and a waiting period.
While state law requires licensed gun dealers to perform background checks on buyers even at gun shows, private sellers at gun shows in Florida are not required to do so in locations without an ordinance similar to Broward County’s.
Bobb pointed out that a felon can purchase a gun at a gun show if the seller does not do buyer background checks.
“I think (the ordinances) will have an impact,” Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs said, adding that she backs the ordinances “1000 percent.”
“It will surely stem the tide of illegal sales,” the mayor said. “I’m hoping through education about the ordinances that those cities that have shows will work with their city attorneys and law enforcement…”
“I don’t believe (the ordinances) will have an impact,” said Rich Nascak, executive director of Port Orange-based Florida Carry, which describes itself as a nonprofit, grassroots, lobbying organization “dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense…”
Nascak said, “I don’t believe in laws that are designed to be preventative in nature because they do not work. Laws against murder and robbery don’t prevent them. Laws are designed to determine penalties.
Residents have spoken out about gun shows at War Memorial Auditorium.
At commission meetings this winter, Charles King urged that they be discontinued, saying they were “getting a little out of hand” with guns being displayed as kids played outside in the surrounding Holiday Park.
Mark Hartman told commissioners, “The use of park facilities for gun shows for the promotion of weapons is completely contrary to a child’s safe environment. It sends an inappropriate message especially to our youth and to our foreign tourists.”
Marshall Schnipper disagreed. “I’ve never been to a gun show where a gun fight has broken out, never. Most of the people who own guns are responsible owners of firearms…I think everybody should own an assault rifle.”
Mayor Seiler said in an interview that Suncoast has a contract with the city to hold eight gun shows at War Memorial during the year. Suncoast will pay the city more than $38,000 for the use of the auditorium, he said.
“We will evaluate at the end of the year” whether the city should enter into a new contract with Suncoast, said the mayor, pointing out that he is not against gun shows.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Lawrence Livoti represents Suncoast. He said his client supports background checks and will not challenge the county’s ordinance.
“We’re appalled at what happened at Sandy Hook. We are not out to make sure everyone has a firearm…We want to keep them in the right hands,” Livoti said.
Suncoast considers the city its business partner. He said the company recently sent letters to each of the commissioners inviting them to attend a show.
“We pay a lot of money to the city, plus they earn huge fees from parking. Exhibitors stay overnight and buy food. They come from around the state and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in business,” Livoti said.
The next Suncoast gun show at the auditorium is scheduled for June 15-16.
Gun shows have been held at War Memorial since the 1970s. The city never has had an issue inside the auditorium, Seiler said.
The mayor, however, is concerned about the city’s lack of authority to control guns outside the auditorium in Holiday Park. “There should be reasonable restrictions so people can enjoy Holiday Park,” he said.
Seiler complained about the 2011 state law that invalidated all other city or county ordinances regulating gun possession and sales, saying it has “handcuffed the city.” He called it “ironic” that the state law that blocks police from enforcing “reasonable (gun) restrictions” in Holiday Park may now force the city to stop gun shows at the auditorium.
The city commission unanimously voted on Feb. 5 to ask the Legislature to repeal the law and allow municipalities the authority to regulate “firearms and ammunition in public parks and other local government owned facilities and property”
The Broward County Commission passed a similar resolution three weeks later.
Broward Bulldog Editor Dan Christensen contributed to this report.
William Hladky can be reached at email@example.com
By William Hladky, BrowardBulldog.org
An apparent misreading of state law by the Fort Lauderdale Police has kept officers from enforcing a Broward County ordinance that requires criminal background checks on gun buyers at gun shows.
Two legal experts have told BrowardBulldog.org that the police department is wrong to believe that a state statute enacted last year invalidates the county background checks ordinance. Similarly, the Hillsborough County Attorney said in a memo this month that his county continues to have the “authority to require criminal background checks.”
The 1998 Broward county ordinance says criminal background checks must be done on gun buyers when sales occur “on property to which the public has a right of access.” A violation is a misdemeanor.
But Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Det. DeAnna Greenlaw said the county ordinance no longer is in effect due to Florida Statute 790.33, enacted in 2011. That statute declares any city or county ordinance that regulates gun possession and sales “null and void.”
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s legal position is important. Broward’s two largest gun shows, sponsored by Ohio-based Suncoast Gun Shows and North Lauderdale’s Trader Ritch, are held in Fort Lauderdale.
Legal experts say the city’s legal interpretation is wrong. They say the law the city cites is trumped by an amendment to Florida’s Constitution, passed by voters in 1998, that gives counties the option to enact background check ordinances like Broward’s.
“Each county shall have the authority to require a criminal history records check…in connection with the sale of any firearm…when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to which the public has the right of access,” the amendment says.
‘POLICE HAVE IT WRONG’
Robert Jarvis, a Constitutional Law Professor at Nova Southeastern University, explained that the null-and-void statute has no impact on the county’s ordinance because it is rooted in the state constitution.
“A statute cannot nullify a Constitutional vision,” Jarvis said. “I think the police have it wrong.”
“You have a right to bear arms, but the state has a right to regulate,” Jarvis said. “When it comes to the Second Amendment, to firearms, a lot of misinterpretation and misinformation exists.”
Andrew McClurg, a firearms policy expert and law professor at the University of Memphis, agreed.
Jarvis “is certainly correct that a constitution trumps a statute. That’s a basic principle of constitutional law,” said McClurg, adding that the amendment appears to grant Florida’s counties the authority to enact background check ordinances.
The profile of Broward’s ordinance may rise with the U.S. Senate’s recent defeat of efforts to close loopholes and strengthen the federal background check law for gun buyers.
Mayor Jack Seiler
Broward State Attorney’s spokesman Ron Ishoy said in an email that his office was unable to find “any time where a law enforcement agency in Broward has brought us a case involving Broward County ordinance sec. 18-97.”
Nevertheless, Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler said in an interview that his city is enforcing the background check ordinance through another state statute, 790.065, regarding “the sale and delivery of firearms.”
However, that law only addresses the need for licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks. It does not address the issue of background checks for buyers who buy guns from non-licensed gun dealers, including those at gun shows.
The broader language of Broward’s ordinance covers non-licensed gun dealers. So, unless the buyer is exempt, it requires a buyer who purchases a gun from anybody at a public location to undergo a background check.
The Florida Constitution, state law and the county ordinance exempt from background checks gun buyers who are law enforcement officers or concealed weapons permit holders.
POLICE INTERPRET LAW
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley expressed a similar, apparently mistaken, opinion about the state law’s application.
“Everything in the county ordinance is included in the state statute…That is our interpretation,” said Adderley, citing legal counsel. Attorney Bradley H. Weissman is the department’s legal advisor.
Police Chief Frank Adderley
“He’s interpreting it wrong,” said Nova Southeastern’s Jarvis. “The state statute does not touch on the issue which is addressed in the ordinance.”
Representatives of the Suncoast Gun Show, which holds shows at the War Memorial Auditorium, did not respond to several requests for comment about the ordinance and its background check practices. Its next gun shows at the auditorium are scheduled for May 4 and 5 and June 15 and 16.
Ritch Cecilio and Jim Hayden sponsor gun and knife shows in Broward County. They say they avoid violating the ordinance by requiring their gun buyers to have a Florida conceal weapons permit.
Cecilio requires a gun buyer at his shows to present a Florida driver’s license as well as a carrying permit because he is “trying to eliminate the possibility that anyone not supposed to have a gun gets a gun.” If a dealer or collector does not follow this rule, Cecilio says he will oust him from the show.
Hayden said a permit guarantees that person has been fingerprinted. A buyer who doesn’t have a permit must buy his gun through a licensed dealer who must order a background check and cannot deliver it until after a five-day waiting period, he said.
Cecilio, who operates as Trader Ritch, sponsors a show the first Sunday of every month at the Universal Palms Hotel, 4900 Powerline Road, Fort Lauderdale. Hayden’s Oakland Park Gun and Knife Show happens about every other month at American Legion #222, at 4250 NE 5 Ave., Oakland Park. His next show is May 19.
Licensed gun dealers in Florida are required to do background checks through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement whenever they sell a gun. The checks are required wherever the sale is made.
In counties without a background check ordinance, civilians or collectors are not required to do background checks at gun shows or other public locations.
It is not known if promoters at the large Suncoast shows require gun buyers to have concealed weapons permits.
Mayor Seiler says that after the Sandy Hook Elementary School student massacre he contacted City Manager Lee Feldman, Adderley and the city attorney’s office to discuss enforcing gun laws in the city.
“I support stricter background checks…We have a very strong law enforcement presence at gun shows and we are working with multiple agencies at the state and federal level to enforce our gun laws,” the mayor said.
Gun sales between civilians at non-public locations are not subject to background checks. So it is often the case that gun purchases are discussed inside gun shows but are actually sold outside in the parking lot, said Hamilton Bobb, retired Assistant Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami.
“It is a big issue. It happens at every gun show,” Bobb said.
The Sun Sentinel reported that private dealers violated city law in during a gun show in January when they openly sold guns and ammunition outside Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium in Holiday Park. The city’s ordinance prohibits the sale of weapons in parks.
The Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this month that seven counties, representing 45 percent of Florida’s population, have background check ordinances similar to Broward’s. The newspaper reported the ordinances have been ineffective because of inconvenience, lack of public concern and misunderstanding of state law.
By William Hladky, BrowardBulldog.org
Conceptual drawing for Walmart Marketplace at Sunrise Boulevard and Andrews Avenue
Wal-Mart wants to build its first store in Fort Lauderdale – a Neighborhood Market on a seven-acre site on the southwest corner of Andrews Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard.
If built, it will be the first Walmart store in east central Broward County and the county’s third Neighborhood Market.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets primarily are grocery stores, smaller than the typical Walmart store or Walmart Supercenter.
The project has drawn early support from the leaders of nearby civic associations. Mayor Jack Seiler told BrowardBulldog.org the development would be a benefit to the adjacent Progresso Village neighborhood.
“The area is in need of an economic boost,” the mayor said.
Developer Frank Gatlin, CEO of Gatlin Development Company, and attorney Nectaria Chakas have met twice since January with the Progresso Village Civic Association, the neighborhood to the south and west of the mostly vacant development site, to discuss planning for the proposed 40,000-square foot store.
According to a map provided to the civic association, the development site would run from Sunrise Boulevard south to Northwest Ninth Street and Andrews Avenue west to Northwest Second Avenue. Several parcels on the site’s southwest corner are not included in the development plans.
In addition to the Walmart Neighborhood Market store, Gatlin’s plans include three additional freestanding buildings, ranging in size from 4,000 to 8,500 square feet. Chakas said in an interview on Friday that those buildings would be rented or sold to other retailers.
Chakas described the development as “a typical shopping center.”
Property records show that a limited liability company called Project Andrews owns most of the development site, 28 of the approximately 35 lots. State corporate records identity the managing member of Project Andrews as John K. Baldwin, of Saipan, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Attorney Chakas, who represents Gatlin but not Walmart, said Walmart has yet to give Gatlin the go-ahead to proceed with the project. No property has been purchased, she said, adding that she did not know when the project would proceed. “We haven’t submitted anything (officially) to the city yet,” she said.
In June, 2012, Frank Gatlin signed a letter of intent to purchase Project Andrews 4.73 acres for $5 million. A January 13, 2013, project status report shows that Project Andrews’ land purchase cost rose to $5.5 million. Project Andrews was paid $50,000 last August as a deposit, with additional earnest money deposits scheduled.
The status report also shows that between $10,000 and $50,000 deposit money has been paid to five other property owners for their lots. Depending on the lot, the closing dates range from next June until January 2014.
In interviews, members with the Progresso Village Civic Association and of the South Middle River Association praised the project as a way to help to improve the economically depressed area.
Progresso Village vice president J.J. Hankerson, whose neighborhood is to the south and west of the site, called it “a plus for the community.” South Middle River president Sal Gatanio called the development a “win-win” for Walmart and his neighborhood.
“There are not many other stores (in the area),” Gatanio said. “There’s no place for people to go food shopping…If it happens it will be a great thing.”
Gatanio said the location for the planned development has long been “horrendous” and “nothing but a problem.” He added, however, that he was speaking only for himself because his association, which is north of Sunrise Boulevard, has yet to take an official position.
Progresso Village president Bradley Cohen supports the project.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler
Cohen said that during his association’s first meeting with developer Gatlin in January, several members expressed concerns about aspects of the development, including traffic patterns, parking and landscaping. He said their concerns were satisfactorily addressed during the association’s second meeting with Gatlin in February.
Mayor Seiler, who said he was first approached by developers last year, told BrowardBulldog.org that neighbors have also expressed concerns about proper lighting and security cameras.
Gatlin has told the Progresso Village Association that he wants to get the project moving “as soon as possible,” according to Hankerson. Gatlin was out of town last week and could not be reached for comment
Wal-Mart’s website says Neighborhood Markets have about 95 employees and are approximately one-quarter the size of a Supercenter. In addition to groceries, they have a pharmacy and sell other kinds of merchandise.
Through the end of January, Wal-Mart counted 4,625 stores in the U.S., including 267 Neighborhood Markets.
Last year, Wal-Mart purchased a 13-acre lot located on the southeast corner of Oakland Park Boulevard and Northeast Sixth Avenue in Oakland Park. The site is currently a K-Mart.
Last June, the Sun Sentinel reported that K-Mart’s lease does not expire for several years. Gatanio said he’s heard that when it does the K-Mart would be replaced by a Walmart Supercenter.
By Ann Henson Feltgen, BrowardBulldog.org
Within the next few months, if city commissioners approve, Fort Lauderdale residents will have the option of receiving and paying their bills for city services online. The savings in postage and personnel will be used to purchase shade trees for residents who use the online pay system, or be placed elsewhere around the city.
That’s one proposed outcome of a new plan, called Vision Plan 2035, offering residents’ views of what the city should become.
Many who spoke up said they wanted “more walkability and bikeability, getting out of the car and into more public transit and other alternatives,” according to Susy Torriente, the assistant city manager who is overseeing the Vision Plan.
Shade trees are an important part of the budding plan – intended to encourage people to get out and walk or bike. Residents who opt to use online billing will be first in line to get them if they choose.
“There are ways to get things done,” said City Manager Lee Feldman, who envisions a tree canopy all around the city. “We can come up with solutions without increasing the budget.”
Commissioners will get a look at the Vision Plan’s survey results during today’s (Feb. 19) meeting at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.
The full plan is to be presented to the commission for its consideration on April 16.
This isn’t the first time community members have been involved in the city’s long-range planning. In the 1980s, such plans were drawn up in advance of development of the Riverwalk complex and the Museum of Discovery and Science.
Today’s long-range planning effort began as a citizens’ initiative in 2008 led by a local discussion group headed by former Mayor Robert Dressler. Dressler, who served as mayor from 1982-1986, runs The Fort Lauderdale Forum.
Former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Robert Dressler
In the spring of 2009, a proposal to create a new plan was presented to the city commission, which appointed an eleven-member “Visioning Committee.”
“Called ‘Our City, Our Vision,’ the process aims to determine what our citizens want Fort Lauderdale to be in 2035, and a specific goal has been to reach out to citizens not normally involved in city government,” Dressler wrote in a recent article for CityView Newsmagazine.
In early 2011, the commission hired the Philadelphia-based planning firm Wallace, Roberts and Todd to complete the first phase of the project – public outreach. The firm was paid $55,000.
The commission had approved another $250,000 for the contractor to complete the remaining two phases, but after Feldman was hired a few months later he decided to save money and take the planning in-house. Feldman’s budget for the remaining work is $42,000.
Both Feldman and Torriente have extensive experience with long range city planning. The city’s planning department also contributed.
VISION PROVIDES FRAMEWORK
Through a variety of methods, residents and city staff discussed the challenges and opportunities the city will face in coming years and came up with a framework for what residents would like to see happen.
From there, it is up to the city to develop innovative projects and funding, such as online bill paying to pay for shade trees. Another project that fits under the Vision Plan’s transportation component is already underway – linking rapid transit with trolleys and the WAVE streetcar to help lessen the number of cars on the roadways.
The Visioning Committee conducted a survey that collected more than 1,500 comments that amount to a “wish list” from residents across the city.
For the plan to work correctly, Feldman said, every city project should fall within the vision.
“If they don’t, I will recommend to the commission that they are contrary to the vision,” he said.
The survey was conducted using one-on-one interviews, town hall meetings and local summit groups.
“This allowed as many people to participate as possible,” said Torriente.
A recent Downtown Walkability study for downtown Fort Lauderdale, paid for by the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and others, offers specifics for how to encourage people to get out of their cars.
For example, the study noted that people need a reason or destination to walk to, using a safe, comfortable and interesting route. To provide those elements, the report suggested that walking routes be lined with shade trees rather than palms, and that roads be narrower, which can be accomplished by a low-cost method of new striping that narrows lanes and slows down cars.
“The Vision Plan is an aspirational message for 2035 not necessarily linked to one project or one thing,” Feldman said. The study with its specific suggestions fits into the Vision Plan nicely and is an example of where project ideas can come from, he added.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman
The city’s five-year strategic plan outlines specific projects within that time period and the city’s annual plan dictates when the project will be done and how it is funded.
PLAN INTRODUCTION MET WITH NAYSAYERS
The Vision Plan has had detractors. According to Vision Committee chairman Randall Vitale, an executive with Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust, complaints surfaced when the city hired consultants to do the work.
“It was felt that they were out-of-town consultants who didn’t know the community,” Vitale said.
There were also objections about the cost, but those dissipated after the project was brought in house.
City resident Dennis Ulmer attended the most recent Vision Committee meeting last week and said that while he supports the Vision Plan, the committee needs to better consider how global warming will affect city projects, such as putting utilities underground.
Even Feldman said the plan is not without pitfalls.
“The plan could get so aspirational that it’s not achievable,” Feldman said.
PLAN TIMING IS STRATEGIC
Supporters say the strength of the Visioning Plan is that it sets a destination for the city – a roadmap to the future.
Feldman said the Vision Plan would not become another public document that sits on a shelf. Instead, he says he will measure city performance against what is in the plan.
“We’ll be talking about ‘this is our vision, this is where we are, let’s develop priorities for next year’s budget.’”
And the timing is right. Feldman said that building permits for 3,800 housing units in the downtown area have been requested and are currently under review.
“People are coming back to the city,” he said. “And these condos and multi-family units will be above [ground floor] retail businesses.”
Some buildings in that mixed development will have retail, with parking above and residential on top of that, he said. Others will have retail, with parking, office space and finally residential on top.
“With increased density, we’re going to see increased retail, mass transit working better and walkability is vital,” Feldman said.
The timing is also strategic because city staff is beginning to think about the 2014 budget. If all goes as Feldman hopes, that new budget could be structured under the Vision Plan.
Ann Henson Feltgen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Ann Henson Feltgen, BrowardBulldog.org
This bridge on West Lake Drive in Fort Lauderdale’s Harbor Beach neighborhood is one of seven city bridges targeted for replacement. Photo: Ann Henson Feltgen
Its ocean-access waterways and backyard yachts define Fort Lauderdale’s pricey Harbor Beach neighborhood.
Yet despite its wealth, and its reliance on the water, the neighborhood is home to several of the worst bridges in Fort Lauderdale, according to a study by the city’s Public Works Department.
The worst of the bunch, seemingly freshly painted, shows no obvious sign of deterioration. If you look carefully, however, rebar exposed by cracked and crumbling concrete is visible at both ends of the bridge.
A 2010 inspection report also noted that the bridge’s channel bank is beginning to slump and concrete embankment protection have widespread minor damage.
The bridge is on West Lake Drive between SE 14th Street and Mercedes Drive and scored 24.7 out of a possible 100 points during its 2011 inspection. It is among seven low-scoring bridges in the city declared obsolete and in need of replacement in the Public Works study presented to city commissioners in September.
The estimated price tag to replace all seven bridges is about $17 million.
The city has no budget for the project despite staff recommendations since 2007 citing concerns about the bridges. Instead, Fort Lauderdale officials are waiting on a government handout – from state or federal sources – to replace the bridges.
BRIDGE MONEY NEEDED
The bridges were all built or rebuilt in the early 1950s. They include: the East Las Olas Boulevard bridge over the Himmarshee Canal, the bridge from Lucille Drive to Laguna Terrace in Harbor Beach, the Northeast 41st Street and Castle Harbor Isle bridges over the Toulon Waterway in Bermuda Riviera.
The others are in Harbor Beach on South Ocean Drive near Mayan Lake Drive, West Lake Drive near Lucille Drive and West Lake Drive near Mercedes Drive.
Fort Lauderdale owns 52 neighborhood bridges.
According to a Community Investment Plan approved by the city council in September, which included the Public Works study, work on the failing bridges should begin this year if money can be obtained.
The Florida Department of Transportation inspects bridges every two years – Harbor Beach bridges were last inspected in September 2011, according to state records.
In addition to inspecting bridges, the state also operates a federal bridge replacement fund that pays for the repair or rebuilding of deficient locally-owned bridges, said John Clark, FDOT state bridge maintenance and repair engineer.
“Our program is a statewide funding program of all locally owned bridges and we rank them on a statewide basis,” he said. “There are 200 bridges more or less on the list for replacement, but it’s funding dependent as it is a secondary use of federal funds.”
Because of their deteriorating conditions weight restrictions have been placed on most of Fort Lauderdale’s failing bridges. FDOT provided plans for bridge replacements in 2008, but none are currently on the state’s list for replacement.
“It’s kind of unusual to have sufficiency [ratings] that low and not be on the list,” Clark said of Harbor Beach bridge. “Other things can affect that number. There’s no safety issue, but it has a downgraded load capacity, so you can assume it isn’t in great shape.”
EXPECTING STATE HELP
The city expects FDOT to provide replacement funding, according to Fort Lauderdale spokesman Chaz Adams.
“FDOT has already funded the design portion of the bridge replacement projects,” Adams said. “It’s important to keep in mind that FDOT has provided funding to the city for two bridge replacement projects that are currently along Southeast 15th Avenue. “
Adams also cited FDOT financial backing of a bridge replacement that the city completed last year to the exclusive, gated Harborage Isle section of Harbor Beach. He expects FDOT to provide money for the replacement projects.
The city’s seven failing bridges are located in lightly traveled neighborhoods.
Harbor Beach’s ailing bridge is the only way in or out of the neighborhood that is surrounded by water. In 2005, it was used by an average of 2,690 vehicles a day, according to state reports.
Ultimately, however, it is up to the entity that owns the bridges to maintain and replace them when necessary, according to Clark.
“Our funding is only supplemental,” Clark said. “The federal program primarily supplies funding for our inspection program.”
He added, “Unfortunately, nobody notices these things until they are broken.”
Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale is stepping up on another set of bridges it owns.
According to the Community Investment Plan, budgets are in place and bids will go out for eight city-owned bridges that also need lesser repairs. The $3.34 million budget from the public works department’s general fund will cover repairs beginning this year and running through 2017.
The bridges are along Southeast 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th streets and Cordova Avenue, as well as Northeast 41st Street and Northeast 42nd Street.
Work includes repairing concrete spalling, cracks, expansion, joints, bulkheads, concrete piles and bridge repainting.
City staff said that this preventative maintenance work will extend the lives of these bridges for two decades or more.
Ann Henson Feltgen can be reached at ahenson@BrowardBulldog.org
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
A Fort Lauderdale Police internal inquiry into the out-of-state arrest of a street crimes unit sergeant did not follow departmental procedures for conducting such investigations.
Internal Affairs guidelines say investigators should obtain and review police reports, probable cause affidavits, booking sheets and other information about such incidents. Sworn statements are to be taken from witnesses, including the accused officer, “as soon as possible.”
None of that was done after Sgt. Jerald Fuller was arrested on July 19, 2009 when police were called to a “disturbance” at a private home in Somerset, New York.
Departmental rules also state that completed Internal Affairs investigations are to be submitted for review to both an assistant police chief and the chief of police.
Police files do not indicate that was done either.
As Broward Bulldog reported on May 24, Fuller’s arrest was erased from an Internal Affairs report maintained in a police database. The purged report was later released to comply with a Public Records Act request by the Broward Public Defender’s Office.
It can be a crime in Florida to alter a public record, whether a paper report or an electronic database. But state prosecutors declined to investigate, drawing a rebuke from Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, who had asked for a state inquiry.
Copies of the original and changed versions of the report were leaked to one of Finkelstein’s investigators in February. The Public Defender’s Office soon requested the Internal Affairs report from police to defend a suspect arrested by city police.
POLICE ACKNOWLEDGE PURGE
Police Captain Rick Maglione has acknowledged changing the report when he headed Internal Affairs.
He explained he did so to comply with a New York municipal judge’s orders that had dismissed and sealed the case four days after Fuller’s arrest. He did not include that explanation in the file.
Maglione also told Broward Bulldog that he did not seek to obtain New York police or court records to verify the facts surrounding Fuller’s arrest because those documents were “not obtainable” due to the judge’s sealing order.
New York criminal procedure, however, allows both the person accused and police agencies access to sealed records.
Captain Rick Maglione
Maglione said he relied on assurances he got from Fuller’s New York lawyer, George Muscato, and an official he did not identify in the Niagara County, Somerset Town Court, District Attorney’s office
“Everything I had was self-reported (by Sgt. Fuller). I was satisfied with that because I was also assured no crime had occurred,” said Maglione, who is now a top aide to Chief Frank Adderley.
VETERAN COP AND A DISTURBANCE
Fuller is a 19-year veteran and member of the police department’s controversial Northwest Raiders drug unit. He notified his superiors of his arrest.
In his two-paragraph report dated August 10, 2009, Maglione, a former Raider, identifies himself as both the investigator and supervisor on the Fuller inquiry.
It states that a neighbor called the police about a disturbance at a local residence involving Fuller, his brother “and another individual known to the Fuller family.”
“It was initially determined that Sergeant Fuller and his brother were responsible for some minor damage to the other individual’s property,” Maglione wrote.
Basic information such as the address where Fuller was arrested, the time of day of the incident, a description of the damage, and even the criminal charge lodged against him are not included in Maglione’s report.
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Original I.A. report states "Officer was arrested," left. Revised version, right. Click to enlarge.
The Broward State Attorney’s refusal to pursue a Fort Lauderdale Police Internal Affairs report that was purged of information about an officer’s arrest has drawn the ire of Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.
Finkelstein asserts that the police broke Florida public records law when the head of Internal Affairs changed a police database to delete any mention of the out-of-state arrest of Sgt. Jerald Fuller.
Fuller had been arrested in New York in connection with a dispute involving property damage. A New York municipal judge dismissed the case and sealed the court file four days after Fuller’s July 19, 2009 arrest.
Fort Lauderdale Police Capt. Rick Maglione, who left Internal Affairs in 2011, says he removed the arrest information to comply with the judge’s order.
It can be a crime in Florida to falsify or alter a public record, whether a paper report or an electronic database. So when a tipster alerted the Public Defender’s Office in February to what was done, a request was made for State Attorney Michael Satz’s public corruption unit to investigate.
Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said last week that he spoke with Maglione and determined no investigation was necessary.
“There is no crime in editing your own document,” Donnelly told Broward Bulldog. “It’s not a public record. It’s like a Word document.”
Finkelstein is not happy with Donnelly’s conclusion.
“Despite direct evidence that a police captain, while conducting an Internal Affairs investigation, altered a report to conceal the fact that a police officer was arrested, your office has found nothing wrong nor even found the need to investigate,” Finkelstein said in a recent letter to Satz.
In an interview, Finkelstein added, “The public record is not a work of fiction, but that’s what happened here….It was creative writing to make it appear that what happened didn’t really happen. If it isn’t illegal, it is certainly unethical.”
Public Defender Howard Finkelstein
SERGEANT DISCLOSED ARREST
Fuller, a supervisor with the city’s controversial anti-drug unit known as the Northwest Raiders, disclosed his arrest to superiors. Details, however, are sketchy. Not only is the New York court file sealed, Maglione did not obtain – or request – a copy of the New York police report describing what happened. New York law allows police agencies access to sealed cases.
“Everything I had was self-reported” by Fuller, said Maglione, a former Raider. “I was satisfied with that because I was also assured (by Fuller’s New York lawyer and an unnamed local district attorney) that no crime occurred.”
Maglione’s account, based solely on what Fuller told him, states that Fuller was on vacation in Niagara County, N.Y. on July 19, 2009 when “he became involved in a disturbance at a privately-owned residence.” Fuller, a 19-year-veteran, was with his brother “and another individual known to the Fuller family, the report says.
“The disturbance prompted a neighbor to contact the local police and it was initially determined that Sergeant Fuller and his brother were responsible for some minor damage to the other individual’s property, but any contemplated charges were subsequently dismissed once it was determined that no crime occurred,” the report says.
Maglione’s report does not say what crime Fuller was charged with, provide the location and time of the incident, describe the damage or say what police agency investigated. It also does not mention that one or two other persons were arrested.
Likewise, the police file includes no notation that the report was altered because of New York law. The department’s software system, IAPro, also does not track such changes. “It overwrites the first entry entirely,” Maglione said.
Maglione, now a top aide to Chief Frank Adderley, says he deleted the arrest information in an update before finalizing his report in August 2009. But Al Smith, Finkelstein’s chief investigator, said he determined the alterations were actually made about a year later. During that time, he said, the cleaned-up version was sent out in response to several requests for information about Fuller.
The arrests occurred on a Sunday. By the end of business Thursday, the case was dismissed and sealed by Somerset Town Court Justice Donald P. Martineck.
A few days later, Fuller presented Maglione with a letter from his attorneys, George Muscato and Michael H. White Jr., declaring that “all charges” had been dismissed and that complainant Clayton Cooper had signed a document stating “he did not want to pursue any further charges” and, in fact, had never wanted “to bring charges in the first place.”
Cooper is not further identified. A 78-year-old man with the same name who resided in a small home in the tiny town of Barker, which is surrounded by Somerset, N.Y, died in September 2010.
CLOSED CASE COMES BACK
Maglione closed Fort Lauderdale’s Internal Affairs investigation on August 10, 2009. He did so, he said, without obtaining a police report to verify what Fuller had told him. A signed hard copy of his report, sans mention of the arrest, is included in the file. Case closed, he said.
Captain Rick Maglione
But two and a half years later, on February 1, 2012, investigator Smith, a former Fort Lauderdale police detective, received at his home copies of two nearly identical internal Affairs reports about the New York incident. The second, as Smith put it in his referral to prosecutors, was “sanitized” to omit the fact of Fuller’s arrest.
The Public Defender’s Office filed a public records request seeking Fuller’s file because he is a witness against a client. The police coughed up the version of the report that does not mention that he was arrested.
Police legal advisor Bradley Weissman now says it was a mistake for police to release even the censored report because of the blanket sealing order.
“I believe we made an error when we turned it over,” Weissman said. Still, Florida’s broad public records law requires such records to be open to the public.
Fuller’s Fort Lauderdale attorney, Michael Gottlieb, is upset that someone leaked Internal Affairs records about his client. He said he suspects it was done by “somebody in internal affairs who wanted to get somebody else in trouble and who thought this case was improperly closed or that favoritism was shown.” He declined to name names.
A MATTER OF CONCERN
While prosecutors have brushed the matter off, Finkelstein’s letter to Satz calls it a matter of “great concern” because defense counsel rely on information in Internal Affairs files to locate information they can use to impeach the testimony of officers who are witnesses against their clients.
The disagreement is part of long-running legal spat between Satz and Finkelstein about pre-trial disclosure by prosecutors. For nearly 50 years, courts have required prosecutors to turn over so-called Brady evidence – information favorable to a defendant.
Satz has said his disclosure policy “far exceeds” his legal obligations under Brady. Finkelstein counters that Broward prosecutors tend to withhold too much potentially favorable evidence and have little interest in enforcing Brady requirements when it comes to the police. He cited that concern in his letter to Satz.
“The failure to address this incident evidences the double standard your office employs when police misbehavior is at issue,” Finkelstein said.
By Ann Henson Feltgen, BrowardBulldog.org
Archaeological workers monitor construction work at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park last May
Archaeologists hired to examine artifacts unearthed last year at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park now say they are convinced they mark the sites of both a U.S. Army fort built in 1839 and a prehistoric home of the Tequesta Indians.
A team led by Robert Carr, executive director of the non-profit Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, conducted the research. A decade ago, Carr led the team that excavated the Miami Circle at Brickell Point in downtown Miami.
“Significant archaeological evidence was uncovered that includes artifacts associated with the Tequesta Indians and the historic Seminole War fort, the third Fort Lauderdale built during the conflict,” says Carr’s recent report to the city.
More than 200 artifacts – including buttons from military uniforms, musket balls, and even hand-hewn Dade County pine posts used to construct the fort – were used to establish the fort’s location at the park. Prehistoric pottery sherds, animal bones and shell refuse are cited as evidence that the Tequestas inhabited the site as early as 1200 AD, the report says.
Like the Miami Circle, the report says Fort Lauderdale’s richly diverse beachfront dig site is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Carr recommends in his report that the city consider seeking that protected status, and authorize additional archaeological investigation.
“I think if you were to rank the historical sites in Broward, this would be in the top five,” Carr told Broward Bulldog. Hundreds of archaeological sites – on land and under water – have been recorded in Broward since the 1970s, according to the county’s web site.
“It’s definitely a very significant find,” said Broward County archaeologist Matthew DeFelice. “The Indian artifacts go back to between 2,000 years ago and the 16th century.”
LOOTERS ARMED WITH METAL DETECTORS
But archaeologists’ excitement about the site has been tempered by fear of looters.
“There was a lot of publicity about the site when the first artifacts were found, and a lot of treasure hunters have gone out there with metal scanners and stolen artifacts from the city,” said Carr, whose Davie firm was hired to fulfill requirements of state and county law regarding the protection of historic properties. “I’ve seen their postings online.”
DeFelice also has read the Internet posts.
“This is a shared piece of history,” he said, pointing out there is no market for such artifacts. “There’s no reason for going out to a site and taking a musket ball. This should not be any more permissible than going out to a park and digging up a tree.
“It’s upsetting that people will go out and they’ll relic hunt thinking they can make a buck or two,’’ he said. “But [the artifacts] will probably sit on a mantle or in a drawer.”
Carr’s report urges the city to take steps to protect the site, including “increased police protection and surveillance.”
Mayor Jack Seiler said he was not aware of the theft of artifacts at the site.
“Nobody has approached us about adding additional security at this location,” Seiler said.
The relics were uncovered between February and July last year during a $3.1 million construction project in the park. The discoveries coincided with the city’s 100th birthday celebration.
DEAD SOLDIERS BURIED ON THE BEACH?
Carr’s team worked alongside construction workers, looking through soil from 15 trenches and various holes dug on the city-owned property to bury utility lines.
The archaeological work cost the city about $27,000.
“Through the artifacts, we can gain valuable information on how people moved around at the fort — what areas of the property were used for cooking, recreation, sleeping, caring for the wounded and ultimately for burying Army personnel when they died,” Carr said.
“It’s not altogether surprising that we found evidence of the fort,’’ Carr said. “We have survey maps from the 1870s and 1890s, and from those maps we had the approximate location where the fort existed.
Only a small section of the 24-acre park was examined. That includes an area that was repaved before it could be studied, Broward Bulldog reported in May.
The site contains additional artifacts, which are buried under sand but could be dug up by looters. Security at the site was provided only during construction.
Carr’s suggestion that the city nominate the site for listing in the National Register of Historic Places would provide protection from redevelopment. He also recommended adding the fort location to the city’s list of historical sites to add another layer of protection.
Bob Carr, right, Rachel Canfield Dr. Ryan Canfield and Ray Skinner examine artifacts recovered last year from utility trenches Photo Courtesy of Tim Harrington
The city has beach regulations that prohibit digging holes, and erecting tents, canopies and fencing, according to city officials. But the city does not have an ordinance that addresses the use of metal detectors.
DeFelice said the city’s Historic Preservation Board is considering an ordinance that would focus on issues such as where metal detectors can be used. If the board agrees that such a measure is needed, it would be forwarded to the City Commission for possible adoption.
“The language should provide additional measures from historic sites being looted, but that will take at least six months,” DeFelice said.
MORE WORK TO BE DONE
Carr’s report recommends more work at the site to search for additional artifacts that would help explain more about the fort, the third of a trio of military posts built during the Second Seminole War.
“We have just scratched the surface,” DeFelice said. “We need much more documentation on the property and we must manage it accordingly. This is an opportunity to share U.S. history with people from all over the world.”
The cost would be about $50,000, Carr said.
But city officials were not optimistic that any local dollars could be found.
“Right now there is no extra money in the budget,’’ Seiler said. “Our budget is set up by priority, and as for money for the work, it depends on priorities.”
Carr said grants from the state or other interested groups might be found. One idea is to make the site a controlled tourist attraction.
“One of the things I am going to propose is to request funding from the Tourist Development Council for the work and do it during tourist season,” he said.
Carr’s report says three forts were established at different locations between 1838 and 1842.
MAJOR WILLIAM LAUDERDALE’S FIRST FORT
Major William Lauderdale and his Tennessee Volunteers built the first at the forks of the New River. It was abandoned on May 7, 1838, and re-established briefly nearly on the north bank of the river the following winter.
The third fort was sited in an area across the street and slightly south from what is today Bahia Mar. The Army and Navy Chronicle of 1839 described it as “a perfect rectangular closure with a block house at three of its angles – the guns were placed in order to sweep the most assailable points.” the report says.
The beachside fort, constructed on a spit of land that grew due to dredge and fill operations 100 years later, was a launching point for “numerous military expeditions into the Everglades in pursuit of the Indians,” the report says.
The fort was abandoned in 1842, eight months before the end of the Second Seminole War.
In 1876, the U.S. government built a House of Refuge for shipwrecked sailors — a precursor of the U.S. Coast Guard — on the beach just south of the area that is now Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. It moved to the site of the fort in 1891, and the Coast Guard began operating a station there about 30 years later.
The dig turned up artifacts from those periods, too.
Ann Henson Feltgen can be reached at email@example.com
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley
Waste Management’s three-decade virtual monopoly on trash disposal in Broward appears to be nearing an end after a competing syndicate’s “best and final offer” for the job was ranked higher by a Miramar bid committee.
The Miramar bid is expected to be used by other Broward cities to drive down the cost of trash disposal for residents and customers throughout the county.
The proposal by the group whose public face is the politically influential Davie land baron Ron Bergeron offers substantial price savings over Waste Management’s bid. Other cash-strapped municipalities, including four with representatives on the committee that ranked the bids last week, are watching the process closely.
The deal will be presented to the Miramar commission for contract approval, probably in early February. From there, other cities and even the county could piggyback on the pact.
“I have no preference as to who gets the contract, but who gets the contract should be best for the residents of Miramar and our community,” said Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley.
CONTROLLING TRASH BILLS
Miramar has led the push for a new trash disposal deal since a year ago when the county’s embattled Resource Recovery Board failed to win approval for a new long-term deal with Waste Management without seeking competitive bids. Miramar customers alone pay to dispose of 70,000 tons of garbage a year.
The Resource Recovery Board, created in the late 1980s, has historically been the negotiating arm for the cities and county.
A home or business owner pays a single fee for two separate parts of garbage removal. Residents pay a trash hauler to pick up garbage curbside and then they also pay money – commonly called a “tipping fee” – to bury or burn the trash at a landfill or incinerator.
The deal being negotiated by Miramar is for the tipping fee portion of a typical garbage bill. The separate rate charged by a trash hauler to pick up garbage is set through agreements negotiated between a hauler and individual local governments.
The new reduced tipping fee would save Miramar and its residents more than $500,000 a year compared to Waste Management’s offer. That does not include an additional $2 a ton returned to the city as part of revenue sharing generated by the sale of recycled materials.
Waste Management’s subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies owns and operates two local waste-to-energy plants where 26 cities and the county now haul their solid waste to be incinerated. The current base tipping fee under Wheelabrator is $72.57 a ton; Wheelabrator has proposed chopping that to $52.50 a ton. Bergeron’s group has offered a tipping fee of $45.25 a ton.
Broward commissioners in June approved a two-year, $107.3 million interim disposal agreement with Wheelabrator at about $57 a ton to last until July 2013. That’s when the existing inter-local agreement among the county and the 26 cities that make up Broward’s Solid Waste District expires.
While the Resource Recovery Board’s plan included significant cuts in the tipping fee, it was blasted by various city officials who said it didn’t go far enough and amounted to a huge giveaway to a multi-billion dollar corporation flush with years of excessive profits made at the expense of Broward customers.
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Wheelabrator has signaled to Miramar that it won’t go down without a fight. On Nov. 21, company Vice President William B. Roberts fired off a protest letter to the city’s procurement director objecting to the way the bidding was handled and claiming it favored Bergeron’s group.
“The process has been less than transparent or in compliance with Florida law,” Roberts wrote.
The low bid garnered by Miramar comes from a venture that teams Lantana-based Sun Recycling with Bergeron Environmental and Recycling. Bergeron’s partner in the Miramar bid is his longtime friend Anthony Lomangino. Lomangino is chairman of Sun’s parent, Southern Waste Systems. Bergeron already has a contract with the county to dispose of hurricane debris.
Both Wheelabrator and the Bergeron group have hired teams of lobbyists. Bergeron and Southern Waste Systems are represented by longtime Bergeron General Counsel Aleida “Ali” Waldman, former county commissioner George Platt and Democratic insider and attorney Bernie Friedman. Wheelabrator is represented by veteran local lobbyists Bill Laystrom and Dennis Mele, among others. Both sides include frequent contributors to local and regional political candidates.
BIG MONEY AT STAKE
The members of Broward’s Solid Waste District generated more than 11 million tons of garbage in 2008 – the latest year for which those totals are available. Savings for cities – and their residents and businesses – will vary depending on how much trash they produce.
For example, Fort Lauderdale produced more than 190,000 tons of trash in 2008. Its annual disposal savings under the Sun/Bergeron proposal would be as much as $1.8 million. Hollywood, which generated 116,000 tons, would save nearly $1.1 million a year. Coral Springs’ savings would be nearly $900,000 a year on 96,000 tons.
Officials in Oakland Park, where city leaders helped drive the push for competitive bidding, said this week that the Sun/Bergeron proposal would save the city $365,000 annually –or $1.8 million over five years. Over the summer, that city’s commissioners became the first to lower residential service rates – by 15 percent or $3.75 a month – based on the county’s interim deal.
By Karla Bowsher, BrowardBulldog.org
The Shippey House with its front porch detached. PHOTO: Karla Bowsher/Broward Bulldog
One of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest homes has been granted another 14 days of existence after a three-year fight over the property’s fate.
On Tuesday, city commissioners unanimously agreed to spare the decrepit but historic Judge Shippey House.
Local preservationists have fended off the property’s demolition since a New York-based company purchased it in foreclosure in 2008. They now have until the commission’s next meeting on July 5 to establish a nonprofit organization and a plan to raise an estimated $190,000 needed to relocate and restore the structure, city spokesperson Chaz Adams said.
The Shippey House, which no longer has a foundation, currently rests on thick metal beams in Fort Lauderdale’s oldest neighborhood, Sailboat Bend.
“It seems like it’s some old house – oh, geez, it’s crumbling – but this is the kind of thing that defines a community,” said Alysa Plummer, president of the Sailboat Bend Civic Association. “The Judge Shippey House is a contributing structure to the Sailboat Bend Historic District.”
The house, at 215 SW Seventh Ave., is named after its first resident and Broward’s second judge. Fred Shippey served as county judge from 1920 until he resigned due to illness in 1933.
One of the last historic homes left on Southwest Seventh Avenue, the Shippey House will find a permanent home just a few blocks down the street if its supporters can raise enough money in time.
The civic association hopes to relocate the Shippey House to Cooley’s Landing, a public city park that borders the New River at the west end of the Riverwalk Linear Park. The Riverwalk Trust supports their plan, trust executive director Eugenia Duncan Ellis said in a letter sent to the city commission last week.
After its relocation and restoration, the house will serve as office for the trust and other uses.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler likes the plan.
“As one of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest homes, the Shippey House represents a link to Fort Lauderdale’s rich history. The idea proposed by the Sailboat Bend Civic Association to relocate the home to Cooley’s Landing and restore the structure would enhance the west end of our Riverwalk and enable this community asset to be preserved for future generations,” Seiler told Broward Bulldog.
Jacquelyn Scott, a Fort Lauderdale resident of 43 years, is spearheading the fundraising effort. A real estate agent with ReMax Preferred, Scott involved the Broward-based real estate company as well as ReMax corporate, located in Denver.
ReMax Preferred agreed to accept Shippey House donations in their escrow account until a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group is established. Company CEO and general counsel Paul Caillaud wrote to John Himmelberg Jr., the attorney for the Shippey House’s current owner, CVM 1 REO, LLC, to request time to raise funding to move the house.
Himmelberg declined comment.
Caillaud also got the support of ReMax corporate, which will be sponsoring a fundraiser with the Florida Panthers and motivational speaker Tom Ferry at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. No date for that event has been set.
The Sailboat Bend Civic Association estimates that it will cost $32,000 to relocate the house and $158,000 to restore it.
“The commission agreed that it would be a good thing and that they were in favor of it as long as they didn’t have to contribute financially,” Scott said after Tuesday’s city commission meeting. “So the onus is on us.”
For those who would like to learn more about the house or Judge Shippey, check out the colorful history that local civic activist Cal Deal has compiled and published on his site, Fort Lauderdale Observer.