TALLAHASSEE, FL- As if standing with disgraced Sheriff Scott Israel wasn’t bad enough, Andrew Gillum’s fundraiser tomorrow morning in Fort Lauderdale may involve some shady dealings with the Broward County Commission as reported by the Sun Sentinel and

“In addition to standing with disgraced Sheriff Scott Israel, Andrew Gillum will be joined by all eight Democrats on the county commission in a building that is being considered by the county for a $24 million purchase,” said Meredith Beatrice, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Florida. “How can local officials guarantee the fundraiser won’t benefit the building owner at the expense of Broward taxpayers? Corruption and shady government dealings seem to follow Andrew Gillum everywhere he goes.”

Commissioners defend Andrew Gillum fundraiser in building county might buy

Sun Sentinel

By Anthony Man

September 20, 2018

Eight of the nine Broward County commissioners are co-hosting a fundraiser Friday morning for governor candidate Andrew Gillum — at space donated by a property owner who wants the county to buy the same building for $24 million.

The fundraiser is organized by Commissioner Dale Holness, who was one of Broward’s most prominent Gillum supporters at a time when other commissioners were supporting different candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Holness is also the commissioner who raised the idea of buying the building in question, in the Spectrum Office Park in northwest Fort Lauderdale, with his colleagues last month.

Holness said in a telephone interview there’s no connection between the free space for the fundraiser from the building owner and the possibility of the county buying the building. “I see nothing where anyone is getting any personal benefit from it,” he said.

Holness said everything about the fundraiser for Gillum “is transparent and done transparently” because all donations will be disclosed, as the law requires. That includes the value of the donated space, he said, which would be an in-kind donation.

Holness said building owner Sheldon Gross wanted to hold a fundraising event for Gillum and offered space in his building.

In August, county commissioners were considering the purchase of another property in the Spectrum Office Park for the supervisor of elections and property appraiser’s offices when Holness said the county should instead take a look at the 128,000-square-foot building at 2050 Spectrum Blvd.

Holness described it at the time as a “superior building.” He said the county had previously looked at the building, but there were problematic ownership issues. Those issues were cleared up with the sale of the building in July, Holness said.

The idea of the county buying the building is pending.

The eight Democratic county commissioners are listed on the invitation for Friday’s event, along with 14 other elected officials and several other people prominent in politics and government in Broward.

Among those on the invite is lobbyist John Milledge.

The Broward County lobbying log shows that Milledge, along with building owner Gross, met with Commissioner Nan Rich on Monday to pitch the building along Northwest 21st Avenue near Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

(Gross met Tuesday with Commissioner Chip LaMarca, the lobbying log shows. LaMarca, the only Republican commissioner, couldn’t be reached for comment on Thursday.)

Rich said there’s nothing wrong with holding the fundraiser at the building the county is considering buying. “One thing has nothing to do with the other.”

She said the 2050 Spectrum Blvd. building “was just a good location that had a large atrium that could be used and some breakout rooms for meetings that people could have with [Gillum] and different commissioners and constituents. And there’s nothing sinister about this. This is just a place that was chosen by [Holness] to have the event for Andrew Gillum.”

The conservative Red Broward website questioned the propriety of the venue. “Will Andrew Gillum Breakfast Fundraiser Cost Broward Taxpayers $24 Million?” the website asked.

“These people have nothing to do with their time,” Rich said. “They’re constantly looking for things under a rock.”

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