For months now, concerned residents have become dramatically more aware and active. Through this heightened awareness, the ‘unholy’ relationships between city administration, city council and the development community have been uncovered. Articles in BocaWatch have raised these concerns but our elected leaders remain reluctant to take corrective action.
In light of this reluctance, residents have realized that change will not be accomplished inside city politics but must be brought about through outside watchdog agencies; to wit: State and Local Ethics Commissions, the Inspector General’s Office, the Department of Professional Regulations, the Florida Bar, the Circuit Court and the Public Corruption Unit of the State Attorney’s Office.
But….filings within these agencies, with the exception of the Circuit Court, mostly remains out of the public eye until the complaints are upheld or dismissed. The agencies themselves will not confirm or deny such a filing with only the possibility of waiver available for the public to become aware.
To date, we know that there are three (3) Florida Commission on Ethics complaints; one (1) Palm Beach County Inspector General complaint; and, one (1) Palm Beach County Circuit Court action.
Rumors have been swirling for some time now that additional resident generated items are in progress at the Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) and the Florida Bar. BocaWatch has now confirmed that some rumored complaints have, in fact, been filed.
One such filing is a DPR complaint concerning architect Derek Vander Ploeg for a series of alleged misrepresentations made under oath in his presentation(s) on behalf of client(s) to the city council. At the Chabad presentation this past week, Mr. Vander Ploeg, in response to an inquiry from the council, cautioned that a DPR filing addressed to him is pending.
Recently, residents have raised concerns about untrue sworn testimony by witnesses at city council meetings. This subject was also a significant topic at Councilman Singer’s last town hall meeting. BocaWatch reported on these concerns resulting in responses stating that there is nothing that council can do to address alleged untruthfulness; claiming that such behavior is not within the purview of the city council nor is there a prescribed remedy contained within the city code.
The use of outside watchdog agencies is a clear signal that residents are fed up with business as usual by some industry insiders who enjoy positions of influence; sitting on city advisory boards and committees while‘gaming’ the system for the benefit of private clients having interests in front of the city council.
Another rumor confirmed this week concerns Glenn Gromann, chair of the Downtown Advisory Committee and member of the Planning and Zoning Board. Mr. Gromann, who is not a member of the Florida Bar, has had a complaint filed with the Bar alleging that he is engaged in the unlicensed practice of law. Inquiry has been made by the Bar to Mr. Gromann concerning his involvement in the Credit and Banking Law Group, P.A., an interstate law partnership; his alleged involvement with various entities as Authorized House Counsel; and his 2014 establishing of a for-profit company by the name Glenn Gromann, P.A.; stating in official filings that its purpose is ‘law firm’.
Kudos extend to residents that have the courage and leadership quality to bring the business as usual attitude prevailing in Boca Raton to the outside agencies for review. These types of questionable actions cannot be allowed to proceed with impunity; they need to be addressed and, when appropriate, corrected/stopped immediately.
BocaWatch will continue to follow these items and will timely report results as results become available. By their nature, these outside agencies are slow; be patient but know that the more eyes that are looking, the more likely the status quo will change.
So…. because of swirling rumors, BocaWatch will begin to publish a ‘Rumor has it’ column regularly beginning in September; 18 months in front of the next municipal election; to wit: the residents’ next opportunity to not only change the attitude on the council but actually change some of the current elected officials with voices friendlier to a resident’s point of view and not, as now, voices with interests seemingly representative of the developer’s viewpoint.
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