“Vigilante trappers” and pet activists have improperly stuck Broward taxpayers with the tab to sterilize feral and stray cats.
An internal county report says Broward’s Stop Pet Overpopulation Together (S.P.O.T.) program was misused by animal rescue groups to have wild cats spayed and neutered at local clinics in violation of program rules.
No allegations of wrongdoing were leveled at any specific animal rescue group or clinic, but reports by Broward’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards recommended better verification of pet ownership before S.P.O.T. sterilization vouchers are issued.
Testimony began Tuesday in the politically-charged, insider stock trading trial of Fort Lauderdale heart doctor and top Republican fundraiser Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah.
Zachariah, who has raised millions of dollars for the GOP, stands accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of using nonpublic information to make nearly $1 million in illegal profits trading stock in two Florida companies in 2005.
The federal civil trial in West Palm Beach is expected to last about a week.
Some big names are expected to testify, either in person or by deposition. They include South Florida corporate titans Philip Frost, the billionaire chairman of the board of Teva Pharmaceuticals, and George Zoley, CEO and chairman of The GEO Group of Boca Raton.
Yet another Fort Lauderdale neighborhood is fighting City Hall over plans for unwanted new development – and has taken the additional step of hauling the city into court to try and stop it.
In court papers, the not-for-profit Trust for Historic Sailboat Bend claims the fix was in when the city commission voted 5-0 in March to bulldoze and replace the Dr. Kennedy Homes public housing development. The vote, after a lengthy public hearing, reversed the city Historic Preservation Board’s 2009 decision to deny demolition.
Now, trust officials say they have proof the city intended all along to approve the demolition: a letter Mayor Jack Seiler wrote last September expressing the city’s “support” for the demolition and offering his “best wishes for the success” of the controversial replacement housing project.
“The mayor had his mind made up before the evidence was heard,” said Trust Vice President Charles Jordan. “The quasi-judicial hearing over which he presided was a charade.”
Campaign contributions typically go to politicians, but timeshare owners in Broward, the state and across the country will soon split $562,000 – an amount equal to the illegal contributions collected by the political fundraising arm of the U.S. vacation industry from 2003-2007.
The payout is part of a deal between the industry and the Federal Election Commission to settle civil allegations of wrongdoing in the solicitation and distribution of millions of dollars in political contributions.
The American Resort Development Association – Resort Owners Coalition PAC will also pay a $300,000 civil penalty. It is the largest fine imposed by the FEC since 2007.
Homeowners are crying foul at Pompano Beach’s plans to funnel to a private developer as much as $2 million in federal housing funds meant to help neighborhoods blighted by foreclosed and abandoned houses.
“Do we feel betrayed? You got that right,” said Ron Boehl, president of the Cresthaven Civic Association.
Pompano Beach is among the hardest-hit cities in a county with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. A city report this month said there are more than “1,900 bank-owned properties” in Pompano, with another 1,600 homes in pre-foreclosure proceedings.
The Cresthaven and Pompano Highlands neighborhoods on the city’s north side have taken the brunt of the foreclosures and now face a second blow of losing access to about $1 million in federal money meant to revitalize abandoned and foreclosed houses.