Hallandale investigated for possible corruption

hallandale-building-jpg

Hallandale Beach’s city leaders have had separate interviews with investigators at Broward County’s Inspector General’s office as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into city dealings.

One focus of the inquiry seems to be the city’s 2009 purchase of a blighted property from its own city commissioner Anthony Sanders and his nonprofit ministry.

Despite the Broward County Property Appraiser’s estimated value of $146,360 for the land and building, the city commission approved a sale price $235,000, according to city records.

The mayor and commission paid for at least three more appraisals, one of which reflected the county appraiser’s number and two that came in higher.

“We were in negotiations and we had actually, evaluations of this building,” Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper said.

The mayor said the city needed the parcel to join its property across the street for a redevelopment project. That project is now in limbo because of the economy, Cooper said.

The lone “no” vote on the building purchase came from Commissioner Keith London.

“There was no agreed upon plan, there was no voted-on plan, there was no funded plan,” London said. “What I was told is ‘we needed the land.’ So again, if we needed the land according to the property appraiser, the land is valued at $95,000. Why am I paying $235,000?”

The answer to that question may lie with the seller, Commissioner Sanders, who declined to meet with Local 10 at city hall Thursday. His wife’s charities were provided space in the building, which is also part of the Broward Inspector General’s investigation.

City employees said they have already turned over reams of documents to the inspector general at that office’s request. The inspector general’s office will eventually issue a report on any of the findings.

[local10.com]

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