Delray Beach officials are fielding complaints from residents about the Auburn Group which the city hired to construct a 192-unit low-income residential development called Villages at Delray.
Friends and family of the late Gerald A. Williams have created a foundation and scholarship in his name. The Gerald A. Williams Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund will be based at the University of Florida, where Williams attended law school. It will award funds to students who are active in the Black Law Student Association and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. Williams was the brother of former Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner Levoyd Williams. He was also the long-time general counsel for the Palm Beach County School District until his death earlier this year. For more information on the scholarship, call the Office of Student Services at the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law, 352-273-0620.
SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED
Joshua Lawrence, a registered sex offender, was sentenced to life in prison for molesting a then 10-year-old boy on multiple occasions over several years and eventually raping him. The abuse dated back to 2004, when Lawrence used video games to entice the boy.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials have concluded that Deerfield Beach City Commissioner Sylvia Poitier and former Commissioner Gloria Battle had conflicts of interest when they voted to award HUD funds to organizations they had been affiliated with. As a result, the city should repay $224,742, the HUD audit found. Battle says she did not have a conflict and that HUD officials never interviewed her. At the City Commission meeting this week, Mayor Peggy Noland asked Poitier to resign, which she refused to do. Commissioners then asked the city attorney to seek outside counsel on how they can remove her from office. HUD also says the city should repay another unrelated $170,546 due to a lack of documentation of how those monies were spent. The audit came about after blogger and City Hall watchdog Chaz Stevens began scrutinizing city operations. This is the latest take-down in Stevens’ campaign to bring accountability to Deerfield Beach city government and he deserves a key to the city for his efforts. Stevens has intimated that he may challenge Vice-Mayor Joe Miller in the next election.
CHILD SHOT AND KILLED
Maiya Nelson, 9, was shot in the head and killed Sunday, Oct. 3, after her mother's former boyfriend Jody Gordon, 41, fired multiple shots into a minivan they were traveling in, police said. Shawana Newson, 32, and another woman and their children were fleeing their apartment complex with Gordon in pursuit when he allegedly riddled the minivan with bullets. No motive has been released but Gordon has a history of domestic violence. Gordon has a child with Newson but it was not the child who was killed. Gordon fled the area to the west coast of Florida but turned himself in to Tampa police the following day, police said.
ACTIVIST NOW CANDIDATE
Mae Smith, president of the St. George Homeowners Association in Lauderhill, has been a strong advocate on community issues. Often-times she butted heads with city officials. Accusing incumbent Margaret Bates of being ineffective and disconnected from resident concerns, Smith is now taking her cause on the campaign trail. She and another challenger, Richard Campbell, are seeking to oust Bates in the Nov. 2 election.
GIVE THEM A HAND
Bruce and Shawn Chait, the father and son developers, are admitted crooks but they should be given a hand for their role in exposing numerous corrupt politicians they bribed in Broward County. If it were not for their cooperation with prosecutors, any number of these so-called public servants would remain on the loose, shaking down developers. Thanks, guys.
Several weeks ago, a high-level Homestead city operative handed over stacks of documents to law enforcement officials alleging conflicts of interest, kickbacks and more. The documents have spurred several criminal investigations into alleged corruption at City Hall. The documents reportedly cover several areas. One of them is the operation of the General Services Department which handles electricity and other utility billing operations. The department’s director, Jerry Estrada, did not respond to calls or e-mail requests for comment but several residents and business owners have been questioned about electricity bills that have been waived.
Jabcol Williams, 31, has been charged in the death of his wife, Rhonda Mickens-Williams. Her bloodied body was found in the couple’s Overtown home on Tuesday. She had been stabbed repeatedly. Police have not released a motive in the killing.
Judge Lawrence Schwartz has ruled Miami Gardens City Council candidate J. Phillip Tavernier’s name will be on the ballot as a runoff candidate in the Nov. 2 election. After the primary, Tavernier filed suit, alleging that hundreds of votes were not counted and that election officials improperly awarded Felicia Robinson the victory. The court found that Robinson did not get the required 50 percent of the vote tally and now she will have to face off against Tavernier in a run-off.
DELIVERY ROUTE DRIVERS
South Florida Times is seeking motivated individuals to run newspaper delivery routes on a part-time basis. Applicants must have their own vehicles and be available to work at least one day per week, on Fridays. For more information, e-mail Circulation Coordinator Robert G. Beatty II at riibeatty@SFLTimes.com or call him at 954-356-9360.
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@sfltimes.com.