Palm Aire Special Recreation Tax District Ordinance

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published September 2, 2008


Misleading propaganda has always been used by people with private agendas. History books are full of good examples of bad propaganda. 

In this case it didn't create a world war, but it surely guaranteed that the property taxes for homeowners and condo owners in the Palm Aire area would increase really soon. Misleading propaganda was used by Vice Mayor George Brummer and members of the so-called "Council of Presidents" under the leadership of George J. Cuolahan to convince gullible condo owners to vote in favor of a Recreation District that would -- at more or less no cost – prevent anyone from building on the more or less defunct golf courses. Intentionally the word TAX was omitted from the propaganda brochures to mislead the potential voters.

Vice Mayor George Brummer -- according to witnesses -- even went so far as to market his "goods" -- the Palm Aire Special Recreation Tax District Ordinance -- in the polling rooms.  

And to squelch any opposition George J. Cuolahan had all “Vote NO” signs removed as soon as they were posted the afternoon before the election and on Election Day. ONLY those signs continued to be removed as soon as they were again put up. George J. Cuolahan also sent out an e-mail to the Presidents of the Palm Aire Condominium Associations under the subject line "Illegal Signage": Presidents, you are urged to encourage members in your associations to remove and dispose of these signs wherever they are found. These "Vote NO" signs are political and violate more than just the prohibitions of the various condo associations.


But Cuolahan's e-mail shows that he is aware that there are rules and regulations governing these condominiums. But it seems that he only remembers that regulations and statutes exist when it fits his purpose. And he was only talking about the “Vote NO” signs a concerned owner had made at his own expense. This just shows the low caliber of the people in charge of pushing this TAX DISTRICT.


And while the opponents of the Tax District used their own money to fight the creation of this District that will lead to an increase of property taxes, Brummer, Coulahan and some over-eager board members of the Palm Aire Condominiums used association dues of unsuspecting unit owners to finance the PRO RECREATION DISTRICT CAMPAIGN. Allegedly under false pretenses, the so-called STEERING COMMITTEE, headed by George Cuolahan, with members Joel Aronson, Ralph Calatchi, Jay Gross, Malcolm Isaacs, Michele Herzmark and Sam Weinstock (according to George Brummer), collected donations from the various associations. And despite the fact that checks were made out to the "COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS" it has to be noted that this so-called “council” is not even a legal entity, according to records of the State of Florida .


Board members and owners were not fully informed about the use of these funds, as can be seen in the accounting records of the various associations that are trying to hide the real purpose of the "donations."  For example, George Brummer's condo accounted for the amount donated as "miscellaneous expense," while another one booked the amount under “legal expense.” In the accounting records of other associations the reason for disbursement of the funds was plainly left open. 

Association boards that refused to donate to the "cause" because they quickly figured out that Florida Statutes don't allow the use of association funds for lobbying purposes were pressured to change their minds with personal e-mails and telephone calls.

But these disbursements of funds finally woke up some condo owners, concerned about the way their money was spent. And quite a few of them quickly discovered that there were a lot more financial irregularities than just donations to the STEERING COMMITTEE. It seems the more they look, the worse it gets. Quite some notable amounts of money were disbursed for "Holiday Bonus," cashed by board members on their private accounts. Cash was disbursed -- no reason given. Bidding requirements for contracts were clearly ignored -- and the list goes on. Owners are in the moment working to evaluate financial records. Most likely quite a few of them will be filing a CONDO CRIMES SCREENING CHECKLIST and will submit it to the Office of the Condo Ombudsman, using the SCAM PILOT PROGRAM to have their association boards investigated.

Even if the vote in favor of the TAX DISTRICT was won by a landslide -- according to George Coulahan (only 1500 folks voted out of more than 9000 homes and condos) -- it may not have been the smartest move for some of these board members to follow the call of Vice Mayor George Brummer to donate association funds for pushing a TAX DISTRICT. TIME WILL TELL!

"POLITICIANS" with a personal agenda like George Brummer shouldn't even be elected by the voters. They are the ones at fault when we see our economy go down the drain.  Florida 's citizens don't have any more money to finance other people’s entertainment. Buying the golf curses? Throwing more good money after bad?

A little hint for the condo board members who consider becoming a candidate for the Board of Supervisors for the Palm Aire Special Recreation District:

  • A TAX DISTRICT is considered a government entity and the supervisors can be held personally accountable, unlike in condominiums were board members are indemnified under the business judgment rule. No more fiddling with other people’s money! Just check with some of the former Palm Beach County commissioners -- who have been sentenced to prison terms for working to fill their own pockets.

It is definitely high time for the government agencies of the State of Florida and law enforcement in Broward County to look into the alleged abuse of association funds -- not only for using association funds for lobbying purposes!  Obviously, there are lots of other financial irregularities!



Pompano sets vote on Palm Aire special recreation tax district