Can’t Make This Stuff Up
What good is the City of Plantation Code Enforcement if the enforcement is selective or corrupt?
After now attending the Special Magistrate Meetings for six months and seeing how the City of Plantation conducts code enforcement I can only come to one conclusion it is both!
The East / West Divide is broadcasted and the pitting of neighbor against neighbor the procedure of the City of Plantation.
These city officials have forgotten that they work for the residents, NOT special interest developers that the long established residents will be paying for in the future in the form of not only taxes but also gridlock, transient non-voting apartment dwellers.
The City of Plantation City Council has allowed special interest developers to build small apartments that, as a result, created another development explosion of storage facilities. Giant storage warehouse facilities have already been approved for both the west and east sides of the city.
Two Companies, Same Ordinance, Different Results
So… What’s the issue?
Let’s start with Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill.
At the Special Magistrate Meeting Thursday, September 20, 2018 Hearing to Reduce Fine. According to the City of Plantation Code Inspector Matthew Rodgers, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill had accrued a total of $13,250 in fines.
My understanding is that they had tree issues which Matthew Rodgers made them replace, not once but twice at considerable cost to Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill. There were also shrubbery issues as well.
Over $13k in fines that Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill had to pay $500 just to get the issue back on the Special Magistrate Agenda to request the Reduction in the fine. It is also the last item the Special Magistrate will hear.
Steven Eisenberg was the Special Magistrate for this meeting, which the City of Plantation rotates different individuals to make the determination of the hearing.
Mr. Eisenberg made it clear to every individual that he could do what he wanted in assessing fines, reducing fines and the time-frames of the fines.
On a number of occasions during the meeting he would be told a violation was in compliance and he would order fines on that same violation that was complied to. He ordered everyone to turn their phones off but yet as a storm was approaching and he volunteered his phone was going crazy with storm notifications.
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Construction Project Coordinator explained that the City of Plantation continually sent the violations to the landlord and not to the individual to resolve the issue. They made many efforts to comply with the violations but Matthew Rodgers would point out another issue for them to resolve resulting in the elapsed time to comply.
Matthew Rodgers testified that the City of Plantation recommended a Reduced Fine of $5,962.50 with an additional $1,611.66 in attorney fees.
Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Construction Project Coordinator reiterated that the City of Plantation had continually sent the notices to the wrong parties even after requesting the revision to Matthew Rodgers. The violations that were pointed out were addressed in a timely matter after receiving the notifications. Requesting that there be no fine at all.
The Special Magistrate reduced the fine to $2,500.00 plus the $1,611.66 totaling $4,111.66. That does not include the $500 fee to be heard for a grand total $4,611.66!
To say the least, the Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Construction Project Coordinator did not feel the fines were acceptable.
Now let’s look at Christopher Longsworth, Invesca Development Groups’ Strata at Plantation.
It is well documented here on the non-compliance of the swale of the property that four years ago Christopher Longsworth committed to bring property into compliance. But let’s not go there…
It’s well documented here that the City Of Plantation cited the property: 09/19/2016 – CE16-02658 – 4350 NW 8 CT 100 PL 33313-6775 – Landscape Enforcement.
After the 1/17/2017 Fine Begins was posted, actually a year and a half after that date was the property improperly marked as complied! And oh wait for it, the city missed one of the open violations and Diana Berchielli had it marked complied although Cindy Cravens’ is named as who updated the violation in July of 2018. All this after I brought the issue up to the City Council back in May! NO FINES! NOT ONE DIME.
Per my post documenting the meeting I had back in June with Diana Berchielli and Danny Holmes, she claimed that at some time during the last 18 months it was in compliance. Bringing pictures that I had taken of the property periodically throughout the time the property was NEVER in compliance.
Bringing us to where we are now.
Christopher Longsworth, Invesca Development Groups’ Strata at Plantation not only gets special access during City of Plantation City Council Meetings they seem to have privilege at the Special Magistrates Meetings as well. Being Number 23 on the agenda, their case was brought up FIRST! Why, cannot tell you but Matthew Rodgers had only two cases for this meeting. Strata at Plantation first and Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill last.
Christopher Longsworth, Invesca Development Groups’ Strata at Plantation employees time apparently is more valuable than a City of Plantation employee who sat there for three some hours waiting for the Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill hearing!
Coincidence or Corruption?
Quite honestly I cannot tell you the amount of the fine for Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill but just say it was $250 per day. That would translate into fifty-three days of noncompliance at the original fine amount. Christopher Longsworth, Invesca Development Groups’ Strata at Plantation’s fine a whopping $75 per day.
Special Magistrate Steven Eisenberg extended the time to comply to October 10th! And on top of that changed the effective date from the original July 19th date to September 21st! If they comply less than thirty days of fines.
Funny how my post Coincidence or Corruption? dated July 12th that City of Plantation City Council President Lynn Stoner received $3,000 in contributions back in June of 2018 from Christopher Longsworth after the September of 2016 violations were marked complied in May of 2018. Then on July 19, 2018, Rico Petrocelli, running for City Council received the same $3,000, from the same companies, all owned by Christopher Longsworth! On July 25, 2018 the second September of 2016 violation was marked as complied. Coincidence or Corruption?
Talk about catering to special interests!