OpEd: What Are They Hiding by Aletheia Drakos


Broward County Mayor and Commissioners:

via email

After looking over your February 26, 2013 commission meeting agenda I could not believe that two unanticipated revenue resolutions are being proposed to once again prop up and support the dysfunctional and criminally culpable City of Lauderdale Lakes with over $8.5 million in funding for BSO services! What’s going on? When does your (our) obligation end?…and, most importantly, why is the City desperately attempting to resist a full audit of its books by the State? The County has generously and foolishly agreed to front LL the costs for these services…yet the City’s management and elected officials are trying every trick and maneuver to deny any type of full review of its financial records and past transactions. Does that pass the smell test to you?

If they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide…why do they fear a State audit?

I am most distressed and outraged by the actions (or lack thereof) of your County Auditor. It is obvious to almost everyone that LL’s financials are incorrect…they have cooked the books and have stockpiled and raided special restricted funds to feed their General Fund. Yet, Mr. Evan Lukic seems perfectly content with the present arrangement…so long as Lakes continues paying back its BSO debt…in small increments. That’s all well and good…but it doesn’t address the larger issue…LL is robbing Peter (you and I) to pay Paul (the BSO debt). County and LL taxpayers have been ripped off for years …and continue to be ripped off! What about the illegal forbearance agreement that allows them to pay back the misappropriated/stolen CRA funds over 20 years (or longer)? Who gave them that authority? What about them not paying back the TIF to the taxed agencies, including the County? Why weren’t full CRA fund balances carried over from year to year? Why do their cash flow reports keep showing discrepancies? Why did they jack up the City’s Stormwater assessment fee (160%) when no projects are going on? What about their city manager’s intentional and ongoing bid rigging which has been verified by the Broward OIG? Where is the independent auditor they were advised to hire by the OIG? What about the withholding and probable destruction of pubic records? The purging of the City’s white, professional staff? Why would Mr. Lukic let the ILA that would permit the County to audit LL’s books expire, when so many red flags are present…when the BSO debt still hasn’t been repaid…and the criminal activities and fiscal shenanigans continue unabated? Is it laziness on his part…or something more?

If they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide…why do they fear a State audit?

Jon Allen is desperately trying to prevent a full audit from occurring. What does that tell you? He is not alone. His college fraternity brother, City Commissioner and former CRA Chair, Eric Haynes, is also doing his best to squash it. They have even put their lobbyist, Ron Book to work trying to ward off the State. House Representative Hazelle Rogers, a former Lakes Commissioner, is doing her utmost to keep the State away, and for good reason. Rogers received a $50,000 lobbying fee from the builder of the City’s new library while voting on the project and is under criminal investigation. The City’s spin machine will tell you that the CRA has already been audited. Not true. The Kessler audit of the CRA was deliberately scaled back to one year…its scope reduced. The financial reports and budgets Allen and his hand-picked, unqualified Finance Director have produced do not balance. Fund balances were not carried forward. Cash balances have been purposely misstated. This is what they consider due diligence. Allen was hoping no one would notice.

If they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide…why do they fear a State audit?

Allen has shown he can’t be trusted. He will lie, cheat, withhold information… and fabricate phony budgets and reports to live another day. He knows that he has to keep up his payments to the County for the BSO debt or his whole scheme falls apart. But do his means justify the end? Is what he’s doing acceptable to you? Why is Mr. Lukic, who is supposed to be our financial watchdog, not recommending a comprehensive audit by the State? Isn’t that what you (we) pay him for? If this charade and blatant waste of taxpayer dollars continues, we will lay the blame squarely at your feet…because you have permitted it to go on! This corrupt cabal in LL needs to be cleaned out now…for the sake of all good people! Call in the State auditors and stop taking your marching orders from a collection of crooks and misfits who have bled the taxpayers dry and who are playing you for fools! Do the right thing! Oh yes…and look for a new auditor!


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Chaz Stevens

Chaz Stevens

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According to John Stewart, I am the General Patton of the War on Xmas. Father, Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole. Professional troublemaker.
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