Cash Cow, Part 2

Things are changing in Southwest Ranches, but the outlaws are in charge

The other $130,000 is spent on Social Security, interns, and expenses, Canada told the newspaper.

So all is well and good in Canadaville, eh?

Hell n'eh.

To this day, nobody knows how much money Canada and his family have raked in during the years his company has been on the Ranches' payroll. Back in 2000, the town paid John Canada & Associates $350,000 for a year's work -- and all he employed was a single clerk. Only later did he hire his wife, daughter, and other employees.

And at least 130,000 legitimate questions remain. It's a mystery why Canada would need any money for "expenses." In addition to salary, the town pays all his office and travel bills, after all. And how long has he been paying his employees the salaries listed? It'll be interesting to see who the town's interns were too.

I filed a public records request for some of that information last week. How much do you want to bet the administrator dodges it? I'll make that wager based on one known fact: Canada is one of the most purely arrogant men in the civilized world, Weston included.

The administrator, for instance, is still claiming that he never needed to release the salary information. And so far, he's kept his wife and daughter on the payroll. We'll see how long he can keep that charade going. Complaints have already been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics regarding his love of public money for his family, according to well-placed sources. I know well of the ethics board's vagaries, but I can't believe the commission will let Canada's transgressions stand.

The Broward State Attorney's Office, meanwhile, is investigating whether Canada's public-records embargo violated the state's "Government-in-the-Sunshine Laws." Canada's handing over of a few numbers shouldn't satisfy prosecutors, but it probably will. We're talking about Michael Satz here, a state attorney who never met a corrupt official he couldn't clear.

If nothing else, the rigmarole surrounding the town has helped to save the new city of West Park from a similar fate. Canada, Poliakoff, and town Mayor Mecca Fink had planned to move their act from Southwest Ranches to West Park. They spoke with city leaders, urging them to privatize their government and hire them as their managers and attorney. And they were serious contenders for the job after the city was incorporated in March. Following the recent revelations about the town, however, the city not only dumped the Ranches carpetbaggers but decided not to privatize the manager position.

Now if Southwest Ranches would only do the same.

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