Wait. The Lobbyist wrote the rebuttal? The lobbyist in question is Ron Book.

Chaz StevensPolitics

puppet show & tell

Good Afternoon,

On behalf of Mr. Allen, I am forwarding a copy of the City of Lauderdale Lakes “Talking Points ” which was prepared to assist the City ’s Lobbyist (and other appropriate representatives) in responding to correspondence sent by County Commissioner Stacy Ritter (see email from the City Manager dated 1/30/13 around 4:21 p.m.). If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Holmes.

THANKS MUCH

Celestine Dunmore , MPA
Economic Development Mgr | Special Assistant to the City Manager

***

The lobbyist in question is Ron Book.

***

Jim/ Michael,

I offer the attached for your consideration and any revisions or other changes that you may believe to be appropriate.

I should advise that I have based this DRAFT narrative on the bulleted version of facts distributed last night by Celestine.

I approached the development of the attached letter  with the assumption that all necessary City staff have had the opportunity to review/revise, and/or to correct any earlier versions of the materials we have collectively developed in relation to Commissioner Ritter’s letters ove the past three days.

We want your feed-back  before we complete a final version for signature by both the Mayor and the CRA Chairmen jointlly as requested by the City Manager please.

CITY STAFF-Please review and revise the attached in relation to your knowledge and expertise before we wrap this up later today.

Our objective is to have the letter ready for signature today of course.

Thank you,

Gary Rogers

***

CITY OF LAUDERDALE LAKES TALKING POINTS
January 29, 2013

The following correspondence addresses concerns outlined in a letter written by County Commissioner Stacy Ritter. City’s Use of CRA funds

  • In 2010, the City utilized CRA funds in excess of $2.5 Million without proper approval by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and in conflict with Florida Statute (FS) Chapter 163.
  • In 2011, this issue was investigated through an independent CRA Forensic Audit that was requested by the CRA Board of Directors.
  • In 2011, the issue was also investigated further by the Broward County Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
  • According to the OIG Report, there were three City employees who played a possible role in the documented improper utilization of CRA funds all of whom were no longer employed by the City at the time the report findings were finalized and released.
  • In response, a repayment agreement (i.e. Forbearance Agreement) between the City and CRA was prepared and executed to ensure that the City would repay the CRA for all funds due. The City and CRA acted and initiated corrective actions for all the major findings listed in the independent CRA Forensic Audit and the OIG Report.

City/CRA Forbearance Agreement

  • Prior to the completion of the OIG report, the City and CRA negotiated, approved and executed a binding Forbearance Agreement under which the City will, over time, repay the CRA all monies owed to the agency.
  • The repayment of funds by the City to the CRA will ensure that the CRA and Broward County residents receive the benefits intended under the CRA plan through the utilization of these funds for approved CRA activities in the future.
  • All actions taken by both the City and the CRA in investigating/documenting/reporting and structuring the Forbearance Agreement were initiated with public notice and with proper published agendas and recorded minutes of all proceedings.

Rollover of Funds and Waiver of Interest

  • The CRA, in accordance with FS 163 Part III, properly adopts annual budgets, including the re-appropriation of prior year fund balance amounts, and follows all required standards for the reallocation of CRA funds remaining unspent at the close of each Fiscal Year.
  • “Waivers” of interest amounts due have not taken place although the Forbearance Agreement is structured and was properly approved and executed to require principal payments only.
  • The CRA Board has, in accordance with FS 163, approved the waiver of late payment penalties in relation to receiving the annual CRA Tax Increment Fund (TIF) payment from the City after the required payment due date of January 1st. This is proper conduct for a CRA and the approval was provided at a noticed public meeting as well.

Fund Balance

  • Annually, the CRA adopts a budget that re-allocates unspent prior year CRA funds (Including re-appropriation of annual fund balances) in accordance with Florida Statute 163. CRA line item budget entries are approved for specified eligible activities.
  • The reported “failure” on the part of the CRA to properly re-appropriate fund balances is not accurate.
  • We do not, based upon our budget adoption process and the structure of the adopted budget as published, believe that the appropriation of CRA resources has been done improperly and certainly.
  • We do not believe that any sort of “refund” would be due to the paying agencies including Broward County based upon the facts presented herein.

Financial Irresponsibility and Mismanagement

  • The documented actions undertaken by prior City Staff relative to the improper utilization of CRA funds by the City have been thoroughly documented and reported to the proper authorities.
  • The current City Administration has taken great strides forward in addressing documented past financial mismanagement or conduct by developing the Forbearance Agreement.
  • Both City and CRA staff provide current and fully transparent accountability for all fiscal processes.
  • It is standard/adopted policy that staff provide regular (monthly) and comprehensive fiscal reporting to all interested parties including: Elected Officials, members of the community, Tax Increment Fund paying entities (such as Broward County) and our lenders who are, as they should be, on high alert for assurances of fiscal integrity and for documentation relative to the ongoing financial stabilization in the City of Lauderdale Lakes.

For more information, please contact the Office of the City Manager.

***

Roger’s Draft Version

February 1, 2013

 CITY OF LAUDERDALE LAKES

Dear County Commissioner Stacy Ritter,

We wish to provide you with pertinent facts relative to the concerns that you express in your recent letters to State of Florida Attorney Pam Bondi and to Senator Joseph Abruzzo regarding fiscal matters related to the City of Lauderdale Lakes and the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

Regarding the City’s Use of CRA funds, we confirm that in 2010, the City utilized CRA funds in excess of $2.5 Million without proper approval by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and in conflict with Florida Statute (FS) Chapter 163.

In 2011, this issue was investigated through an independent CRA Forensic Audit that was requested by the CRA Board of Directors. Also in 2011, the issue was investigated by the Broward County Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

According to the final OIG Report, there were three City employees who played a possible role in the documented improper utilization of CRA funds, all of whom were no longer employed by the City at the time the report findings were finalized and released.

Following the forensic audit of CRA funds, a repayment agreement (i.e. Forbearance Agreement) between the City and CRA was prepared and executed to ensure that the City would repay the CRA for all funds due.

The City and CRA acted and initiated corrective actions for all major findings listed in the independent CRA Forensic Audit and in the final OIG Report.

As regards the City/CRA Forbearance Agreement, we wish to inform you that prior to the completion of the OIG report, the City and CRA negotiated, approved and executed a binding Forbearance Agreement under which the City will, over time, repay the CRA all monies owed to the agency. We can assure you that the OIG is aware of the Forbearance Agreement having been developed and executed.

The repayment of funds by the City to the CRA will ensure that the CRA and Broward County residents receive the benefits intended under the CRA plan through the utilization of these funds for approved CRA activities in the future.

All actions taken by both the City and the CRA in investigating/documenting/reporting and structuring the Forbearance Agreement were initiated with public notice and with proper published agendas and with minutes of all proceedings properly recorded.

With respect to the concerns expressed about the rollover of funds and we wish to confirm that the CRA, in accordance with FS 163 Part III, properly adopts annual budgets, including the re-appropriation of prior year fund balance amounts, and follows all required standards for the reallocation of CRA funds remaining unspent at the close of each Fiscal Year.

As regards “waivers of interest” concerns, we confirm that waivers of interest amounts due have not taken place although the Forbearance Agreement is structured and was properly approved and executed to require principal payments only.

Please be advised that the CRA Board has, in accordance with FS 163, approved the waiver of late payment penalties in relation to receiving the annual CRA Tax Increment Fund (TIF) payment from the City after the required payment due date of January 1st. This is proper conduct for a CRA and the approval was provided at a noticed public meeting as well.

Fund Balance

Annually, the CRA adopts a budget that re-allocates unspent prior year CRA funds (Including re-appropriation of annual fund balances) in accordance with Florida Statute 163. CRA line item budget entries are approved for specified eligible activities.

The reported “failure” on the part of the CRA to properly re-appropriate fund balances is not accurate.

We do not, based upon our budget adoption process and the structure of the adopted budget as published, believe that the appropriation of CRA resources has been done improperly and certainly.

We do not believe that any sort of “refund” would be due to the paying agencies including Broward County based upon the facts presented herein.

Financial Irresponsibility and Mismanagement

The documented actions undertaken by prior City Staff relative to the improper utilization of CRA funds by the City have been thoroughly documented and reported to the proper authorities.

The current City Administration has taken great strides forward in addressing documented past financial mismanagement or conduct by developing the Forbearance Agreement.

Both City and CRA staff provide current and fully transparent accountability for all fiscal processes.

It is standard/adopted policy that staff provide regular (monthly) and comprehensive fiscal reporting to all interested parties including: Elected Officials, members of the community, Tax Increment Fund paying entities (such as Broward County) and our lenders who are, as they should be, on high alert for assurances of fiscal integrity and for documentation relative to the ongoing financial stabilization in the City of Lauderdale Lakes.

For more information, please contact the Office of the City Manager.

Chaz Stevens

Chaz Stevens

Professional Troublemaker
Father of the world-famous Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole, Chaz’s antics are sure to entertain, educate, and irritate. Chaz has been appeared on The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Fox News, and hundreds of national media outlets, and several international newspapers.
Chaz Stevens

@TweetsByMAOS

According to John Stewart, I am the General Patton of the War on Xmas. Father, Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole. Professional troublemaker.
William Rankin update: What a crook. http://t.co/zn6FHvtYsQ - 19 hours ago
Chaz Stevens