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Hallandale Beach investigated for possible corruption

Watch Glenna Milberg’s Report on WPLG Channel 10

 

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Keith S. London Submitting his Candidate Petitions to the Supervisor of Elections to be placed on the ballot running for Mayor of Hallandale Beach
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Broward County Planning Council 2/2012

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In The News

Commissioner London fights to have city help relocate tenants

Friends and Neighbors,

A heartbreaking story is happening right here in our community. A Hallandale Beach apartment complex is forcing its tenants out. Leaving 26 of our neighbors without a home in 30 days

What’s causing this action? The City of Hallandale Beach CRA has an agreement to purchase a building only after the current owner removes all the tenants. Daniel Rosemond CRA Executive Director then wants to demolish the property. 

The current owner is in such a hurry to cash the CRA’s check he is resorting to illegal tactics by threating to withhold the tenants security deposits. This makes no sense withholding a security deposit for a building which is slated to be demolished. (See the condition of the building in the WPLG 10 news story below.) 

The CRA has NO defined plan for this building or the vacant land, currently we own approximately 3 acres across the street!

“Not on my watch”.

If our city is willing to pay $1.3 million for this property, we can find the $26k --less than 2% of the total cost-- to make our neighbors whole. I will fight to make sure these tenants have a clear path to finding a home; it's the right thing to do. I encourage you to join in on the discussion to ensure our neighbors have respect. 

Click here to contact your City Commission and let them know your tax dollars should not support throwing families out on the street. 

See below for the original WPLG10 broadcast on this topic.  

Keeping you informed,

Commissioner Keith S. London

Hallandale Beach apartment residents forced from homes after building goes into foreclosure

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Families say they are being forced from their homes in Hallandale Beach after their apartment building went into foreclosure.
 
An eviction notice telling families they have 30 days to vacate their home was left on the front doors of tenants.
 
"I just moved in January, so I was not expecting to move. I have a year lease," Fallon Hayes said.
 
The building, home to 26 people and one storefront, is under foreclosure.
 
Tenants saw the court order about four months ago, but property managers promised in writing that it was only the result of "miscommunication" and that tenants were not in danger of being evicted.
 
"They're slumlords," another tenant, Mattie Mongo, said. "They take your rent this day and the next day they give you an eviction. What kind of person is that?"
 
"We only have I'd say about two weeks to find a home, but with no money because the owner wants to keep our security deposit and charge us $22 a day after the first," Yvette Caro said.
 
Even though the building is in foreclosure, "For Rent" signs are still on display. Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney was told that one man moved in earlier this month, only to be given an eviction notice a few days later.
"They're putting us out on the streets," Caro said.
 
Tenants said they have no money to pick up and move somewhere else.
 
"I don't know. We need help," Mongo said.
 
Tenants said there are also growing concerns that security deposits won't be refunded.
 
"That doesn't work for me. I'm sorry," Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London said.
 
London said the city has since made a move to purchase the property and demolish the building, which sits across from a planned fire station.
He said he voted against the idea and has been pushing the city to offer residents relocation assistance.
 
"What are we waiting for?" London said. "We paid $1.3 million for this building and we're talking about $26,000 to make people whole, and this gentleman is holding up their security deposits? What are we going to wait for? Until their belongings are out on the street? Not on my watch."

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Rising sea levels are a threat - is your condo building safe?

Friends and Neighbors,

When reading the article below, ask yourself: "are we doing enough to protect our fragile environment here in South Florida and Hallandale in particular?" Rising sea levels constitute a threat to the future of our community, and our best course of action to combat this problem lies in preparation.

Keeping you informed,

Commissioner, 

Keith S. London

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Map shows which Miami condo buildings are threatened by rising sea levels

Even as scientists continue reminding us that Miami is one of the most susceptible cities to the potential damages of sea-level rise, developers continue erecting shiny luxury tower after shiny luxury tower in the areas most threatened by rising tides. So E Miami Condos, a website that tracks condo development in the city, put two and two together to figure out which buildings are at the highest risk. 

The site gathered information from the FIU School of Journalism's Eyes on the Rise app. The app allows you to key in your address and find out how many feet of sea-level rise it would take for your home to be underwater. 

miami-sea-rise-map

The map is divided into three color-coded zones. Red represents areas that are threatened with two feet of sea-level rise, yellow represents three feet, and blue represents four feet. 

Miami Beach and Key Biscayne have the most condo buildings that would find their lobbies underwater even if the level rose by just two feet. Edgewater, currently Miami's most booming neighborhood when it comes to condo buildings, also has several buildings that would be immediately threatened. 

Now of course you're thinking, When exactly is this expected to happen? That's the biggest debate among scientists right now, and no one has an exact timeline. 

"The answer could be sooner than 200 years from now or as long as 2,000 years," the authors of another sea-level rise mapping tool, released last year, said of peak sea-level rise. "Why the wide range? It is easier to estimate how much ice will eventually melt from a certain amount of warming than how quickly it will melt, which involves more unknowns. The same simple contrast would apply to an ice sculpture in a warm room." 

The 2014 National Climate Assessment predicted that sea levels could rise anywhere from one foot to four feet by 2100, but it left leeway that rise by then could be as little as eight inches and as much as almost seven feet. 

Scientists are also still trying to figure out how cuts to carbon emissions could curb sea-level rise. 

Which is to say none of these condos is at risk of being swallowed by the sea anytime soon, but don't assume the owners will be able to pass these homes on to their grandchildren. 

Here are the list of condos that would be swamped. 

Condos Affected by Two Feet of Sea-Level Rise

Miami Beach

Venetian Isle Apartments 

Island Terrace Condominium 

Costa Brava Condominium 

Alton Park Condo 

Mirador 1000 Condo 

Floridian Condominiums 

South Beach Bayside Condominium 

Portugal Tower Condominium 

La Tour Condominium 

Sunset Beach Condominiums 

Tower 41 Condominium 

Eden Roc Miami Beach 

Mimosa Condominium 

Carriage Club Condominium 

Marlborough House 

Grandview 

Monte Carlo Miami Beach 

Sherry Frontenac 

Carillon 

Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour 

Midtown | Edgewater

Quantam on the Bay 

Paramount Bay 

22 Skyview 

23 Biscayne Bay 

Onyx on the Bay 

Crimson Waterfront Residences 

Opera Tower 

Bay Parc Plaza 

Downtown

Marquis Residences 

Brickell

Emerald at Brickell 

Brickell Shores 

Bayshore Place 

Brickell House 

Key Biscayne

Key Colony 

Key Biscayne Beach Club 

Towers of Key Biscayne 

Oceana Key Biscayne 

Commodore Club South 

Coconut Grove

Port by Water Condominium 

The Mutiny 

South Miami

Deering Bay Condominiums 

Condos Affected by Three Feet of Sea-Level Rise (in Addition to Those Above):

Miami Beach

Harbor House 

Carlton Terrace Condominium 

Bal Harbour Tower 

Bal Harbour 101 

Ocean Blue Miami 

Crystal Beach Suites 

La Force Palace 

The Casablanca on the Ocean 

MEI Condominiums 

Maison Paco 

La Rive Gauche 

Royal Embassy Condominium 

Design Suites 

La Costa of Miami Beach Condo 

Crystal House 

Thompson Miami Beach 

Faena House 

Mirasol Ocean Towers 

Club Atlantis Condominium 

A loft South Beach 

Roney Palace Condominium 

Shore Club South Beach 

Miami | Edgewater

The Charter Club on the Bay 

Paraiso BayViews 

Platinum Condominium 

Biscayne Beach Residences 

Riviera Towers Condo 

Starloft 360 Penthouse 

Unity on the Bay 

Cite Condominiums 

Downtown

Ten Museum Residential Condo 

1000 Museum Condo 

Brickell 

The Plaza 

The Bond Brickell 

Jade Residences 

The Palace Condominium 

Villa Regina 

Brickell Heights 

Camden Brickell 

Coconut Grove

Residences at Vizcaya 

Condos Affected by Four Feet of Sea-Level Rise (in Addition to Those Above) 

Miami | Edgewater 

IOS on the Bay 

Bay Park Towers 

Bayview Tower 

Harbor 29 Condominium 

Moonbay Condos 

630 NE 27th St. 

Bay House Miami Residences 

Club on the Bay 

New Wave Condominiums 

22 Biscayne Bay 

Biscayne 21 Condominium 

Downtown Miami

18 Biscayne 

Marina Blue 

900 Biscayne 

Epic Miami 

One Miami 

Brickell

Solaris

Commodore Bay 

Brickell Bay Tower 

1430 Point View 

Costa Bella 

Brickell Harbour Condominium 

The Palace Condominium 

Brickell City Center 

Coconut Grove

Grove Isle Condominium 

Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove 

Grove at Grand Bay 

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FREE Music at South City Beach Park

Friends and Neighbors,
 
The City of Hallandale Beach is hosting some free music entertainment over the next few months at South City Beach Park. I encourage you and your family to check out one or more of the performances. It should be a great time!
 
See you there.
 
Keeping you informed,
Keith London

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Political Witch Hunt Update

 keith london city commisioner logo
 
Friends and Neighbors,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for your support over the past year. You may have heard that I have been the victim of a politically-motivated witch hunt, led by our Mayor and her special interest allies.

In case you missed it, here's what took place:

  • About a year ago, I was seeking to have the Commission terminate our City Attorney after I lost faith in her ability to be impartial with the Commissioners.
  • After word got around that I was seeking her termination, she quickly began falsely accusing me of racial and gender discrimination --allegations which were deeply hurtful and completely untrue.

Fortunately, the truth won the day. A year later, I was completely exonerated of those allegations.

But here's the bigger problem. Between then and now, over $133,000 of YOUR tax dollars were spent on high priced attorneys at the behest of our Mayor to pursue this despicable witch hunt against me. 

I can deal with being called names, and I can handle these ridiculous and offensive allegations, but I can't standing watching my neighbors' tax dollars being spent to fund Mayor Cooper's political agenda.

I hope you'll take the time today to read over some of the recent Sun Sentinel articles that have covered this saga and educate yourself on the facts. While I'm happy to put this episode behind me, I think it's critically important that I share with residents exactly what has transpired. Hopefully we can prevent this massive waste in taxpayer dollars from happening ever again.

Keeping you informed,

Commissioner, 

Keith S. London

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Hallandale's London not sexist or racist, report says

The yearlong investigation that cleared Commissioner Keith London of allegations of discrimination should have been capped in both price and scope, his attorney saidMonday during a special meeting called by the mayor.
 
City Attorney Lynn Whitfeld, who is black, accused London of gender and racial discrimination a year ago after learning he planned to push for her termination. At the time, London told the Sun Sentinel he had lost confidence in her ability to provide unbiased advice to the commission.
 
On Monday, Mayor Joy Cooper commended the city attorney for having the courage to lodge a complaint against London.
 
While the report cleared London of the bias claims, it admonished him for being aggressive and rude. But Monday, several residents came to London's defense, saying he helped people regardless of race.
 
Commissioner Michele Lazarow lauded London for being a watchdog and denounced the report as "character assassination."
"I think we should let this go and call it a day and not continue on with this witch hunt," she said.
 
Commissioner Bill Julian agreed.
 
"As far as I'm concerned the case is closed," Julian said. "The man has been cleared of all charges. I think we should move forward as a commission and try to get along a little bit better than we do. We have city business that is more important than this."
 
City officials tapped the Bryant Miller Olive law firm to handle the investigation. The report, released in mid-February, cost around $100,000.
 
London's legal bills were capped at $3,200 while the city-hired law firm's were not, said Dana Gallup, attorney for London.
 
The investigation "mushroomed into these other issues that had nothing to do with the initial scope," Gallup said. "It seems as though this investigation was used as a political vehicle to find reasons to embarrass or censure or punish Commissioner London."
-------------
 
 
 
Commissioner Keith London this week was cleared by an outside law firm of accusations of racial and gender discrimination.
 
City Attorney Lynn Whitfeld, who is black, leveled the allegations in February 2015, after learning London planned to push for her termination. At the time, London said he had lost confidence in Whitfeld's ability to give impartial advice to her commission bosses.
 
London declined comment Tuesday, saying he had not yet read the report.
 
"I'm happy he's been vindicated," Commissioner Michele Lazarow said. "I expected him to be. I have never heard an accusation like that before about Commissioner London."
 
The year-long investigation, released Tuesday and handled by the Bryant Miller Olive law firm, cost taxpayers more than $100,000, city records show.
 
"There is no factual support to find that Commission London's action in wanting to place Ms. Whitfield's contract on the commission agenda was motivated by race or gender," the report said. Investigators also found London had no reason to terminate Whitfield for cause.
 
Keith London cleared of bias claim
Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London has been cleared of bias claims leveled by the city attorney. (Sun Sentinel)
Whitfield, who had also accused London of creating a hostile workplace, declined comment. She has been Hallandale's city attorney since December 2011.
 
While investigators cleared London, they took him to task for rubbing people the wrong way. They quoted his critics, who accused him of being aggressive, intimidating and rude.
 
The report urges London to express his opinions in a professional manner.
 
Mayor Joy Cooper says she plans to hold a special meeting Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. to discuss the report.
 
"The report does not find discrimination based on gender or race," Cooper said. "But it does show a pattern of breaching our city charter."
 
In Hallandale, the commission hires and fires the city manager and city attorney, but is forbidden by the charter from giving direction to their staff.
 
In the report, former City Manager Renee Miller alleges London spoke directly with staff rather than coming to her – a claim denied by London.
 
"We can not remove a commissioner," said Cooper, a longtime rival of London's. "We can censure a commissioner. That is something we will have to discuss.''
 
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From February 29, 2016 Special meeting City Attorney
 
First I want to address the findings of the report itself. From the moment this report was commissioned, it was a witch hunt, not by the city attorney, but by the Mayor who elevated the severity of a meritless complaint beyond reason.
 
Supposedly, the intent of this report was to determine whether or not the city attorney’s allegations of race and gender discrimination against me were founded.
 
As we all knew, and as the report ultimately confirmed, I am not a racist or sexist and, even if the allegations were true, which they were not, there would have been no violation of any employment law anyway!
 
See, the accusation of race discrimination was meritless coming out of the gate for the simple reason I was on the commission when Ms. Whitfield was hired on a 5:0 vote. If I wasn’t a racist in casting my vote to hire her, I did not somehow become a racist when I wanted to fire her.
 
Ms. Whitfield not doing her job, doesn’t make me a racist.
 
If you were to take the time to read the entire report and sworn statements ,which by the way are conveniently not on the city’s website, you would quickly learn that even those who dislike me know  I am not a racist or sexist.
 
After months of interviewing current city staff, two retired majors from  our police department, elected officials from the tri – county area, members of the clergy, white people, black people, Hispanic, Armenian, Caribbean people , retired people, working people, including myself, the investigation resulted in a finding that there is no evidence to support the false allegations leveled against me by Ms. Whitfield.
 
And for all that, our taxpayers absorbed the burden to the tune of more than $100,000. But I’ll touch more on that later.
 
After concluding that Ms. Whitfield’s allegations of racism and sexism were untrue and a desperate attempt to distract from her shortcomings and failures as our city attorney, this entire process should have come to an end. But a witch hunt must find something, so now we move on to the “other” findings of this report.
 
To paraphrase, the report makes clear that I am not always the friendliest and most soft-spoken person around, but without question, there is one characteristic described in the report that is absolutely accurate. I am aggressive! And you know what? You’re damn right I’m aggressive.
 
I’m aggressive about doing the job that I was elected to do.
 
I’m aggressive about stopping the waste of our taxpayers’ money on mandates that are not properly planned.
 
I’m aggressive about representing the best interests of all the people of Hallandale Beach.
 
I’m aggressive about demanding that our government be transparent.
 
I’m aggressive about getting things done the right way.
 
And, I’m aggressive about making sure that we don’t waste six figures of taxpayers’ money on a witch hunt.
 
That money could’ve put another cop on our streets.
 
That money could’ve provided funding for an afterschool program for children.
 
That money could’ve provided additional funding for Commissioner Lazarow’s body camera initiative.
 
That money could’ve been used to fund a campaign to educate Hallandale Beach residents on the damage that Styrofoam is doing to our environment and the impact it has on our beaches.
 
The money could’ve been used to purchase better equipment for our parks.
 
The money could’ve been better spent by rebating each of our residents $2.50 and using the remainder to purchase extra toilet paper for park bathrooms.
 
The Mayor and this commission wasted over $100,000 of money that doesn’t belong to them. The money belongs to the taxpayers of this city. And they should be as disgusted as I am that the money was used to fund a political agenda that was based on lies, deceit and selfishness.
 
We are elected to serve the public, not to serve ourselves. And our staff was hired to implement policy, not to play politics.
 
As a representative of the people of Hallandale Beach, I am offended. As a taxpayer of Hallandale Beach, I am disgusted.
 
Mayor, it’s no secret that you and I don’t like each other. But as a representative of the people of Hallandale Beach, I would never use an employee’s false and legally deficient allegations against you or against any of my colleagues up here.
 
But the Mayor wanted an investigation, and she got one. Now, after wasting more than $100,000 of our taxpayer’s money and the allegations to have been found without merit, legitimate concerns as to the city attorney’s competency remain.
 
Where do we go from here: This entire debacle began after I gave the city attorney the courtesy of letting her know I intended to discuss her employment contract at a upcoming commission meeting, which is a an open public forum. At the time, she was failing to live up to the standards I believe we as a city deserve, and she has continued to fail to meet those standards.
 
Ms. Whitfield’s contract allows for this commission to terminate her for cause. From what I have observed Ms. Whitfield, has committed the following: acts:  misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance.
 
My initial concerns are still valid. They include her inability to keep any of us acting legally out of jail.
 
I certainly do not trust her legal advice, she has allowed the Mayor to start a meeting prior to the scheduled time, that evening she had three opportunities to correct her mistake; (1) before the meeting started (2) when I brought it to the attention of Commissioner Lazarow who was not in the room and who the Mayor was once again acting childish towards, (3) or when the clerk was questioned and he stated that the meeting started prior to the 6:30PM published time. Ms. Whitfield also allowed the city commission to move the meeting date and time of CRA meetings, for which she is not the attorney nor participant. Ms. Whitfield also made unsubstantiated bar complaints against Attorney Tony Alfero, who is the chief legal defense counsel for the FPBA of Broward County. Lastly for well over a year. She’s been looking for another job, she was going to leave the City of Hallandale Beach anyway.
 
Now we get to see who on this commission wants to play politics and who wants to act in the best interest of the people who elected us to protect their hard earned tax dollars.

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The Search for a Memorial CEO Continues

Friends & Neighbors
The Sun Sentinel has published an opinion/editorial regarding the recruitment and candidate interviews by the Board of Commissions of the South Broward Hospital District for a new CEO for the Memorial Healthcare System.  The interviews of the remaining four internal and four external candidates for chief executive officer begins today. Meeting times and day are today Friday 9:00 am 5:00 PM Saturday 9:00 am 5:00 pm.
 
I trust you'll find the candidates in the editorial interesting and I encourage you to read the article and voice your opinion in the comments. I look forward to seeing you at theses very important meetings. 
 

Board turmoil causing harm to Memorial

Keeping you informed,
Commissioner Keith London
 
 
 

After watching the board of the South Broward Hospital District in action, it comes as no surprise to learn that two external CEO applicants have dropped out, one without comment, the other citing the turmoil engulfing the public hospital system.

Today, the board that oversees Memorial Healthcare System will begin interviewing the remaining four internal and four external candidates for chief executive officer.

As to why he withdrew, David Bradley, a regional president of Sutter Health in Northern California, said: "It appears the political turmoil will be a significant distraction to the organization's mission of delivering safe, quality care for patients."

Let that sink in. The turmoil on Memorial's board could be "a significant distraction" to delivering safe, quality patient care.

 

It never should have come to this.

Memorial's longtime CEO, Frank Sacco, should be handing over the reins on a high note. Except for a dysfunctional board, he is leaving this taxpayer-supported system in great shape. It's making money, cutting taxes, scoring high quality marks and expanding services to our community.

But as he prepares to retire at the end of February, records show one board member, Laura Raybin Miller, is riding him hard.

Miller is demanding to see all the emails Sacco sends his management team. She's reaching over him to give directions to staffers. She's ordered exhaustive reviews of hospital departments. She's asking to see people's employment contracts. She's accused the general counsel of having a "conflict of interest" for representing the board and the administration. She approached an expensive search firm before the board even agreed on the process. She regularly sends emails to all board members, despite regular admonitions from legal counsel about potential Sunshine Law implications.

Most surprisingly, Miller also met with the leader of the North Broward Hospital District, who's at odds with Memorial. A couple of weeks ago, she told us she met with Dr. Nabil El Sinadi because "I need a sounding board from time to time."

This week, before her colleagues had a chance to weigh in, Miller ordered a contract be drawn up for Aurelio Fernandez, whom the board chose to be interim CEO after Sacco leaves. Fernandez, the chief operating officer of Memorial, also is an internal candidate for the full-time job. In the interim, Miller wants his pay increased from $550,000 to $740,000.

Did Miller not see the letter from Gov. Rick Scott that asked board members, during this process, to focus on patient outcomes and reducing costs for taxpayers?

Given Memorial's success, it's hard to know what's driving Miller, who couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. In an earlier interview, she told us the board has a philosophical divide about how to govern, that some members want more input on more things.

However, multiple sources cite a different motivation. In her 16 years on the board, Miller has never been chosen chairman — and for that, she blames Sacco.

So now, on the occasion of his retirement, Miller appears to want to wrestle power away from the CEO's office and ensconce it firmly on the board. And that's a problem, for as this community knows from the history of the North Broward Hospital District, bad things happen when board members use their power to influence day-to-day operations.

Plus, what quality CEO wants to show his board all the emails he writes to his management team?

When the search for his replacement began, Sacco told his board members the process would be a two-way street. Not only would they be evaluating candidates, the candidates would be evaluating them.

That two candidates have backed out is important feedback.

So today, as Memorial's board meets to begin interviewing candidates, its members need to address the disruption Miller is creating. For starters, the board should pass a policy that prohibits board members from emailing the group, and sanction any violators.

To the candidates, we again say, this is a great job, with great employees. And the cloud hanging over this high-performing health care system will pass.

This community will stand for nothing less.


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