Former Deerfield Commissioners Win a Trip to a Florida Ethics Commission Hearing

Categories: Broward News
After an audit of Deerfield Beach festivals declaring that three then-city commissioners secured scores of tickets to the city's mango festival "to garner political support" -- and the ensuing complaints filed by city activist Chaz Stevens -- those three former commissioners earned a trip to Tallahassee for a probable-cause hearing before the Florida Ethics Commission.

Those three lucky former commissioners are Sylvia Poitier, who's awaiting trial for five misdemeanor counts of falsifying public records; Steve Gonot -- who's appealed his yearlong jail sentence for misconduct, grand theft, and falsifying records; and Pam Militello.

Between the damning report released last year by forensic auditing firm Kessler International, an email to commissioners from the city attorney, and some missing or nonexistent records, this may be a problem for the three amigos.

Records showed that those three requested dozens of the $35-value tickets to the 2006 Carl Nixon Mango Festival, with one document showing Poitier for some reason receiving 262.

Florida Statutes say those three needed to file disclosure forms for gifts more than $100 and also disclose a conflict of interest if one exists. Public records requests for those documents filed by Stevens came back empty.

According to an email from City Attorney Andrew Maurodis attached to the complaint, he precisely explained that taking two or more tickets would be considered a gift and said commissioners may not have been able to take even two tickets if the festival were to be considered a lobbyist.

After it was realized all three of the former commissioners had voted to approve various amounts of funding toward the festivals, here's how it looked in Kessler's report:

Furthermore, from interviews and supporting documentation we obtained it was revealed that Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, Commissioner Steve Gonot and Commissioner Pam Militello saw an opportunity to capitalize on at least one of these street festivals and secured blocks of tickets for free and distributed the tickets to garner political support.

Now the three amigos have received the same letter, inviting them to Tallahassee for the hearing at 10 a.m. on December 2.

"The sole purpose of the probable cause hearing is to evaluate the results of the preliminary investigation," the letter says.

That means no new evidence nor witnesses may be used at the hearing, and this stage of events will decide whether there's probable cause to believe there was a violation of state ethics laws. If it moves forward, it would likely involve a trial and recommended penalty, if needed.

Two additional complaints were filed by Stevens against current former Mayor Al Capellini and Commissioner Marty Popelsky over the same matter, but those investigations didn't make it this far.

Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Matthew Hendley on Facebook and on Twitter: @MatthewHendley.

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Alright, if what you say is true, Deerfield is or was run like a lot of the south was run...  good ol' boys network... 


when you read more about it... it looks like the deerfield commission trusted some 'urban' organizer that failed to break even.  and made money in his for profit business, at the expense of tax payers.

To me its a gift to the blacks in the city so they can have a festival, but in the end its too much money for too little entertainment.  so I doubt it will continue. 

and the big Fking deal is the commission got some free tickets?  doesn't look like anyone was paying to attend... so it was always a free concert, for some.

"This isn't the first Mango Festival to raise questions of fraud. Attendance and revenues have declined since 2005, and the last time the festival was staged, in June 2008, it needed handsome subsidies from the city to break even. That year, city commissioners authorized $165,000 of taxpayer money to keep the festival alive. But when it was over, event organizers including Terry Scott reported that only 3,000 people had attended. They reported only $18,000 in ticket sales."

So what is the result of this corruption 'investigation'  ans: the festival is canceled.  it could never break even... so  no festival for the urban population. 

nice job! 


So, instead of getting 25 dollar tickets, the festival needs to print some complementary tickets, and give them to the commission?  

is that about it?  tickets to a street festival, no one will go to otherwise?  BFD!

What the heck is the mango festival?  and who would pay 25 bucks to go?  seriously?

city festival, and some folks in the city get some tickets.  do you really think the are selling them?

or does it make more sense that they are given to folks to get them to come out.  then maybe next year they participate...

weak sauce. 

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

Hey Matt;

It should be noted that Militello's lawyer is Tom Connick (codename Anus T. AnalGlands).  Connick's name might be familiar to you as he's publicly indicated to be the "General Co-Counsel" for the DBHA Executive Director (liar liar sansabelt pants on fire). That, in itself, is a story for another day.

Thanks to Militello and her cronies, it seems that corruption never sleeps motherfucker.

As you can see, the story of greed and avarice keeps circling back to the same individuals, cretins from Central Casting who job the system to their own benefit. Many of these folks belong to an organization known as the OSOB (think stunt doubles from the movie Cocoon) and it's not the first time one of those SOBs caught hell from the Ethics Commission.

Those interested in learning the backstory are invited to check this out:

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius


Normal Internet etiquette in this situation calls for those in the know (me) to mock, ridicule, and scorn those not in the know (you). However, since you appear to be new to the InterWebs, I am willing to cut you a break this one time.

You have conflated the final year of the Mango Festival (2010) and its promoter (Skinny McWiggins) with years past. The year in question for this ticket giveaway, 2006 in this case, the City of Deerfield Beach contributed approximately $430,000 to the Mango Festival organization. It wasn't a free concert. It was a paid event that profited Carl Nixon Mango Festival Inc,; an organization with tight ties to the Poitier family and loose accounting practices.

So there you go.  A nice welcome aboard response. However, in the future, try not to be such a blithering fucking idiot.


its not exactly  the  air and sea show.... who would pay to go to this thing anyway?

I never heard about this 'festival' till today... 


Congratulations ChazThank you, for all that you do to expose the corruption.


LOL, OK,  

So this was back in 2006... I didn't hear about the mango festival back then either.  But I was not in the  target customer's demographic profile....

But if you are correct, then $430,000 given to a for profit festival, would be a very generous gift.  and giving more tickets to the commission would be a bigger gift.  Ok....  more gifts to the impoverished. 

but where's the criminal intent?   

Do you think the tickets were sold for a profit?  Or where they given as gifts to friends and associates... 

Sure they should have marked the tickets as gifts according to the law... but it just seems like a technical problem.  The receivers of these tickets, just gave away their gifts?  or is there some evil intent I'm missing?

and didn't the City of Ft Lauderdale give half a million to the Air and Sea organizers (again, a while back)... 

ps: I now live in Deerfield, so this is of some interest..

Can you give me the short summary, for what I'm missing? 

city gives lots of money to promote black festival, then gives more tickets to commissioners that give them to their friends and associates.  (which I would assume would promote good will in the city).

To me this seems like a technical problem, if they gave what they were given away...

set me straight Boss!

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius


It also seems you haven't heard about this new piece of technology known as the Shift Key.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

>> but where's the criminal intent?   

If you check out the Tom Francis story, you will learn that the Mango folks took in huge dollars, yet declared $17,000 in gate attendance...  


>> Do you think the tickets were sold for a profit?  

I *know* former commissioner Sylvia Poitier sold the tickets for profit.  Also, during the most recent Brazilian Festival, Poitier was alone with ParksRec Director George Edmunds counting cash receipts, which from the Kessler audit we learn that $27,000 or so missing.

Question: Why was a Commissioner alone in a room counting money? Why wasn't someone from Finance there?

>> Sure they should have marked the tickets as gifts according to the law... but it just seems like a technical problem.  The receivers of these tickets, just gave away their gifts?  or is there some evil intent I'm missing?

It is the gestalt that you need to consider.  From the 2006 elected class, 3 of the 5 have been arrested and removed from office (all because of my complaints and work, though I had help with Gonot/Capellini). A 4th commissioner from that class, Pam Militello, was the supposed "champion of ethics".

My job is to research, document, and communicate.  I don't ever worry about outcome.

>> which I would assume would promote good will in the city

The basis for the Mango festival was scholarships.  For the $430,000, they gave away 10 scholarships worth $500-$1000 each.  All to children of color.  Some children related to folks on the Mango committee.

>> to me this seems like a technical problem

Technically speaking, murder is against the law.

>> new to Deerfield Beach

Then you will want to check out my blog on a regular basis.  If it happens here in town, I am in the know.


PS: Were does it say 2006 in the above article?     I had to read it again..

Sorry I don't know more about this...  just what I'm reading here...

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