Airport Appointments….the beat goes on….

5

Top Tallahassee attorney hired to defend the City Council’s appointments….

With my two ethics complaints pending at the Florida Commission on Ethics (FCOE) against Robert Weinroth and George Brown (individuals recently appointed by the City Council to the Boca Raton Airport Authority), the City apparently has hired Tallahassee Attorney Mark Herron, to enter an appearance on behalf of these named individuals in the complaints.

Mr. Herron is a well-recognized and highly paid attorney based in Tallahassee who is often associated with cases having to do with ethics and voting challenges; a formidable and expensive legal combatant….

It must be nice to have an unlimited budget on the taxpayer dime to hire such notable representation for individuals that arguably should not be represented by the City Attorney at all.

In the video record of the City Council’s justification for this action, there was no limit placed on the City Attorney as to the scope and cost of this representation.

The City Attorney advised the Council that she was going to take this action unless they stopped her from moving forward. The Council did not stop her and, in fact, offered their opinions as to why her actions are warranted….

Funny….The City Charter specifically talks to this type of action and offers no language to support these expenditures.

In a May 11, 2015 email from the City Attorney to me and copying the city manager and all council members, she states that the City Charter provides for the City Attorney to “act(s) as legal advisor to the city and to all its officers on matters relating to their official duties.” (Sec. 3.10, City Charter). She goes on to say that “the Office of the City Attorney, therefore only issues legal opinions and advice in accordance with that provision.”

Well, where in that language does one find justification to represent the individuals named in these ethics complaints? I proffer that there is none….making this expenditure of taxpayer dollars dubious at best….

Placing their name into nomination and being appointed to the Boca Raton Airport Authority is not an ‘official duty’ of either of these individuals in their roles as City Council member and Deputy City Manager.

Even more interesting is that in the City Attorney’s analysis of my ethics’ complaints, she uses the adjective ‘frivolous’ to characterize the filings. Well, if it is so frivolous why does a high paid, top tier attorney in Tallahassee need to be retained to respond at the FCOE?

A very curious question for sure….

We shall see what we shall see but I stick by my belief that the airport appointments were improper; that advising these individuals as to legal consequences of their actions is improper; and, that paying for legal representation to defend the individuals in these ethics complaints is also improper.….

You be the judge…..

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Corruption in government begins when the citizens are complacent and allow a small number of people to take multiple seats in office. This is what we are experiencing now in Boca Raton. People like Robert Weinroth, Glenn Gromann and Derek Van der Ploeg are controlling multiple committees and their joint ventures are receiving the approvals they want. Qualified and expert citizens need to step up and fill these open positions so this monopoly of cohorts don’t completely rule our city.

  2. Let’s hope the City officials have not made this an open ended gift of attorney fees for these legitimate complaints. It appears the expensive legal team hired was chosen for their influence and lobbying skills above all else. If the City feels the complaints are not valid then it would be prudent to wait for a decision from the Ethics Panel before incurring expenses on the taxpayer dime. The following is from CityEthics.org “Any provision for attorney’s fees should, like the City Ethics Model Code, contain two elements: a dollar limit and the word “reasonable” before “attorney’s fees.” ” I hope this language is in the “:Agreement”.

  3. What can be done to stop this from happening? Have the local papers and news media been brought in to this power grab? Is there a legal avenue of appeal to bring this to a halt? And how did these developers and special interest groups get this power? There seems to be a need for transparency and responsibility for the actions taken by the council and the committees. Sunshine is a great cleanser when there is questionable behavior by the council. Public exposure is really needed here to change the culture we are experiencing.

  4. Thank you for your endless work regarding our out of control City Council and the decisions they make. I truly believe, there should be term limits, one seat one time. It will avoid any and all conflicts of interest.

  5. The time has come to replace the City Attorney with a Law Firm on retention!!! What is the total cost for this department
    with all their PERKS. I am sure this would be a large savings.

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