Wasserman Schultz recruited friend Bob Butterworth, an elder statesman of Florida politics, to moderate a question-and-answer session. The questions were to be read from cards filled out by audience members. Only three people, out of the dozens in attendance, indicated that they supported the prison.

Much of the audience had been recruited by Di Scipio's anti-detention-center group, which had publicized the event on Facebook and the web and put up signs. What Wasserman Schultz had intended as an opportunity to spread information, the activists had seized on as a rare chance to speak candidly to ICE and CCA honchos.

The meeting devolved into a circus. Residents asked Mayberry, the CCA vice president, about a recent news report that the company had been avoiding property taxes by renting cows to graze on the property. "We have done everything we are allowed to do and take advantage of exemptions as any business would," she said.

Whenever residents complained that they hadn't been made aware of plans to build the detention facility, Mayor Nelson countered that the process had been thoroughly vetted and rattled off a history of the decades-old deal.

In response, a woman stood up and read the email from Poliakoff that Di Scipio had discovered, in which the town attorney had said, "the less we say the better off we will be." If Poliakoff hadn't meant to sound conspiratorial, his words were certainly interpreted that way by the jeering crowd. He did not speak at the meeting.

Things took a turn when Frank Ortis, mayor of Pembroke Pines, took the podium. "The longer I sit in this meeting, the angrier I'm getting," he said. But he wasn't angry at the raucous crowd, which was booing him. "I've told you this is a Southwest Ranches issue," he said. "We don't have a vote in it... This is what happens when you don't go to the people first."

Before he could finish that last sentence, the booing had changed to thunderous applause.

PolitiFact Florida later rated his claim that Pembroke Pines "didn't have a vote in it" as "mostly false," citing four separate occasions when his city's commission voted to support or not interfere with development of the detention center.

Pembroke Pines Vice Mayor Iris Siple was next to take the stage. She said that part of the firefighting agreement — the part that said her city would provide water and sewer to the facility — had been added by Southwest Ranches without notice at the last minute and that she hadn't seen it before voting.

"I just sent a text to our city clerk," she said, "asking to add an item to the agenda for our next meeting, where I will ask my fellow commissioners to consider using the agreement's... termination clause." She was threatening, maybe promising, to withdraw the city's pledged support for services to the facility. More wild applause.

Today, Siple says she's still researching that option: "I voted for [the water and sewer agreement] because I didn't realize that it was there. I'm not going to take full blame, because no one else at our meeting brought it up either."

Poliakoff says the town added the water and sewer clause just a few days before Pembroke Pines voted on it "because they wanted to confirm that Pines had the capacity to service the facility." Its cancellation may be a moot point, he says: "In the event that Pines did not provide water, the facility would still be built but would have to provide its own water."

Poliakoff, who was in high school when CCA first started trying to build on the site, says the time to put up obstructions is long past. "The time to say you object? That was in the 1990s," he says.

But the work of the agitators left its mark on Pembroke Pines officials. They might have spent years quietly voting through development of the facility with little public feedback, but on the evening of Tuesday, January 10, city commissioners made a grand, if possibly futile, gesture. They voted unanimously to draft a letter of opposition to the detention facility — and send it to the president of the United States.

Poliakoff expects a final decision from ICE within two months. In the meantime, he's putting together a new contract with CCA that he says will be the best possible deal for the town. He promises plenty of time to review it.


Di Scipio has engaged the services of a rookie attorney in Tampa to sue the Town of Southwest Ranches for $1.25.

"It's the first suit I've gotten where the plaintiff's attorney's bar number is listed as 'pending,' " scoffs Poliakoff.

Di Scipio claims that the town clerk wrongly billed him for copies of records that he should have been able to view and photograph for free under state law. He had only a dollar and change in his pocket at the time, so he handed it over for a few pages of copies. Later, he took legal action, a crowning move on top of his months of research and frustration.

Poliakoff is treating the suit seriously — and thoroughly. Di Scipio says he was furious earlier this month when Poliakoff deposed his wife. As a possible upside for both parties, the men are not allowed to speak to each other as the case proceeds.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
86 comments
Sid
Sid

As soon as Debbie Wasserman Schultz name comes up and the backdoor description of her dealings? I know I am against whatever that broad is for..umm $1000 dollar donation..isnt that sweet?

JAWZ
JAWZ

I do like the Poster artwork for this story ! Would look good on the back of a t-shirt or Framed.

Shelby7789
Shelby7789

It's a box for "Illegal Immigrants" Call it what it is.

EricShun
EricShun

Jose can you see by the twilight's last dawn?

Great Country
Great Country

A millionaire sues a city to get back $1.25.  Are we a great nation or what!

Jazz
Jazz

I dont think the point is money...its more about the sunshine law and citizens' access to public records which were denied in this case

SueSue
SueSue

Get your stories right, I read in another article that he was not denied access but there was a question on how he could copy it, which was later (a few minutes) cleared up.  And people wonder why our taxes are so high here is a good reason why,  pay the lawyer more to work this, brilliant, it appears this has nothing to do freedom.

Jilirk
Jilirk

It has everything to do with FREEDOM and the SUNSHINE LAW. SWR pays this attorney a high end salary. He should make sure the staff is oriented to the  correct way to provide information when requested. It wasn't provided in a timely manner and appeared that it wasn't going to be either. So how would youknow the time frame it involved? Sound "FISHIE" to me. The TOWN ATTORNEY gets copies of every piece of cummunication in and out of that office. The biggest KICKER of ALL and the ITEM that should WORRY you is WHY CCA ADAMENTLT INSISTED the OFFICIALS from SWR where told to stay at a HOTEL for $489.00 per night and not to stay anywhere else. YOU should insist on knowing WHO PAID FOR THAT BILL???  YOU NEED TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jilirk
Jilirk

That's what you think!!!!!!!You should update your info. You're behind the times!!!!!!!!!!!!It's called "FREEDOM" Get your facts right!!!!!!!! Educate yourself about your GOVERNMEMT and ELECTED OFFICIALS and how they try to DISTORT the TRUTH and HIDE it.

Jilirk
Jilirk

That's what you think!!!!!!!You should update your info. You're behind the times!!!!!!!!!!!!

PeopleRock
PeopleRock

And to those of you who think you might actually get construction jobs at the proposed site, forget about it!  That's "fixed", too.  Should this get to the point of construction, Bergeron has the lock on that contract, and he has his own people.

Carpenter
Carpenter

Bergeron builds roads not buildings.

Jilirk
Jilirk

That's what you think!!!!!!!You should update your info. You're behind the times!!!!!!!!!!!! for $150,000,000 you'll learn fast how to build buildings  real fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stefan Kamph
Stefan Kamph

Though Mr. B didn't speak to me, I was unable to verify or substantiate the claim that he has a construction contract locked in. Original sale called for him to provide roadway improvements. If you have any other information, please provide it: stefan.kamph@browardpalmbeach.com

PeopleRock
PeopleRock

Those of you calling area residents opposing the prison nimby's and whiners are missing the point... this project does not belong in ANYBODY'S backyard.  There are plenty of locations this could be built where not even one family would be affected, but would still be easily accessible to employees, vendors, etc.   The town council of Southwest Ranches is not only desperate, they're lazy!  There are any number of highly profitable uses of that site that would enhance the entire area.  Instead, they cling to the back room promises of CCA who has just one customer for their proposed prison - the federal government - and one type of detainee - illegal immigrants - whose numbers could dwindle dramatically, or even entirely, depending on the ever changing political climate.  Oh, let me revise my previous statement... The town council of Southwest Ranches is not only desperate and lazy, they're also foolish!

Susanwest
Susanwest

PR you do realize that CCA owns the land not SWR, and if you read the article you would have found out that they owned it before the town was formed, and if you haven't worked it out the area is already zoned for this use, so how could the "lazy, foolish" town find another use without getting their pants sued off.  Sometimes its better to get on a wagon than get run over by it.

PeopleRock
PeopleRock

Of course I know that CCA owns that land.  It was purchased years ago in connection with a specific prison deal at that time.  That deal fell through and nothing was done with that parcel.  In the years that followed, the surrounding area grew into an overwhelmingly residential community; there was no reason for residents or prospective home buyers to think that a new prison facility would ever be built there.  Property prices were climbing higher and higher.  It was not uncommon for property owners to hold onto their parcels hoping to sell at the absolute highest price (many, to their detriment if they did not sell in time).  To the average on-looker, CCA could have been holding that investment for a number of reasons, none of which included a prison.  Meanwhile, SWR had plenty of time to re-zone parcels to reflect and enhance the residential and wildlife preserve area that had developed there in west SWR and Pembroke Pines.  But the inexperienced and gullible council members of SWR were easy prey for the pros at CCA.  They sold-out their own town and Pines as well.  The SWR council had every opportunity to oppose the proposed use or prevent it over the years, but instead they did just the opposite - and they did it behind everyone's back, plotting quietly for years with CCA.  Don't throw around that made-up excuse about SWR fending off a potential lawsuit from CCA -- that is absolute rubbish.  The only lawsuit SWR has to worry about is from the many thousands of area residents if the council of SWR doesn't withdraw its support for the proposed prison.

Bystander
Bystander

Prisons do have to go somewhere, but they dont belong in a residential area. This area was alot different years ago, alot less developed, and no schools. If these people that want the prison were smart, they would have built this before all the development. Ron Bergeron of all people should have known better, he had a huge part in west browards development so he knew all along he was going to put a prison near schools  He should be ashamed for HIS actions. Shame on Alligator Ron Bergeron - shame on you for knowing what was going on all these years, and shame on your for wanting to put a prison and casino on the edge of the everglades.

Shocker
Shocker

So let me see if I understand this story:

1.  After 6 pages the way I understand it, a man who hires warehouse workers in Miami, who himslef lives in a house worth close to $1m, is fighting a deportation facility.  What a shocker!

2.  A stay at home mom who bought a home near the property, is fighting it.  What a shocker!

3.  A property owner who has been there forever and knew that it would be placed there wants the facility.  What a shocker!

4.  A Town that claims that it desperately needs the revenue has instructed its beyond politically connected Attorney to get the facility.  What a shocker!

I dozed off twice reading this article, which could have been summed up in less than 1 page.

Jilirk
Jilirk

You sound like a "CRONIE"

Protect America
Protect America

Jilirk, you mean Kromie!  Save our Country and Protect our Boarders!

Shocker
Shocker

I live no where near this community, nor could I ever afford a house there.  I am simply a New Times reader, who saw this story.  Just because I lay out the facts as I see it should not subject me to such a childish response. 

Jilirk
Jilirk

This town has very nice cross section of residents from all SOCIOECONOMIC CLASSES and ETHNICITIES. It's not rich by any means. The elected officials believe they need a "JAIL" to pay our bills. We also have a working class. Since the value of homes decreased significantly, and too many foreclosesures on the market, it's very affordable if you want it. You are quoting HEARSAY about the man with the warehouse. So if you aren't a "CRONIE" I suggest you don't go after people you don't know. Go to CORRECTIONS CORP OF AMERICA, or WHY I HATE CCA try not to spend too much time selecting your topic. There are so many make sure you have spare time.

Carpenter
Carpenter

I just read this article.  I am an out of work carpenter who needs to support my family.  Does anyone know when this will be built and who I can call for a job?

Jilirk
Jilirk

Go to North Fork Okla. CCA could use you there.

Carpenter
Carpenter

I can only hope that one day you lose your source of income and learn what it means to struggle to survive.  You want me to leave because I am need a job.  You people are truly disgusting.

Bystander
Bystander

The people that are truly disgusting are the ones that want to bring this prison to our town. 

Jilirk
Jilirk

Go to North Fork Okla. CCA could use you there.

Jazz
Jazz

They're so understaffed there the nurses were asked to arm themselves and help quell a prison riot!

Jilirk
Jilirk

They sure are. It's in print and documented. on your internet type in CORRECTIONS CORPORATION of AMERICA. read all the articles that pop up about their ability to manage prisons, or read WHY I HATE CCA. Put in North Fork, Okla Prison

Jazz
Jazz

Google how corrections corp of America uses tax loopholes to get out of paying their fair share of taxes. Educate yourselves and read Yale university reports, AFSCME reports and ACLU studies on how CCA is a burden on local taxpayers. Research the states that have closed CCA facilities because they cost more to run than a state prison. Read the university and state studies how CCA cuts corners on security and training to save monry. The list goes on and on....

FQS9000
FQS9000

Ah, NIMBY's in an uproar.  How quaint.  How stupid.  DiScipio would have an entirely different take on the whole property rights versus a whining weasel if it was his property that he had negotiated permits for 10 years ago.

Prisons are a LEGAL business.  Deportees have to go somewhere.  Corrections Corporation really, Really, REALLY doesn't want these inmates loose in the town either.  So all the sniveling is merely about a big concrete box, that makes no noise, no smell, no pollution, is to all building codes, provides employment, obeys all federal, state, county and town laws and pays taxes.

DiScipio is a jerk.  

Jilirk
Jilirk

You must be one of the GANG OF SIX" and a definite CRONIE. The reason you quoted all the false information is because you  as part of the GANG OF SIX stands to personally benefit monetarily.

janesdobbs
janesdobbs

 @4fcdc516de5bb69612c676bf03620d7d:disqus At least DiScipio is standing up for something!  All you ever do @FQS9000:twitter  is sit behind your computer writing snide comments that make no sense.  These facilities DON'T belong near homes and schools.  Go do a little research online and you'll find out they are pretty bad.  No Matter WHERE they are!  privateci.org  start there... I'll save you some time!  Come back and we'll talk after you take a look around!

FQS9000
FQS9000

DiScipio is merely 'standing up' for himself, which makes him a greedy pig.  Not a particularly praiseworthy goal.  Home and schools are not impacted by a concrete box in anyway other than in silly land where mere proximity equals evilness.  Just as the proximity of a school does not improve any children who do not attend it.

Grow up.

Bystander
Bystander

DiScipio is standing up for everyone who believes this is the wrong place for a facility like this.  If you think this is just a "concrete box" youre delusional.  This is going to be a maximum security federal site, this has NO place near homes, much less schools.  You are seriously missing the point.

I Agree
I Agree

I agree, and if I owned a warehouse and needed warehouse workers I would be standing up against this as well.

janesdobbs
janesdobbs

 I'm sure he would invite INS into his building to run through all of his employees.  It's not the fact that it's an ICE Prison...It's a PRIVATE PRISON... Their Secrecy BREEDS Human Rights Violations!!  Grow up!

Out of Work
Out of Work

Does anyone know if this facility will be hiring?  What about the construction jobs?  If anyone know where I can sent my resume please let me know.

Jilirk
Jilirk

Go to North Fork Okla. CCA could use you there.

Out of Work
Out of Work

I live here, my family lives here.  I may be poor, but I'm certainly not stupid.  Maybe you should be in this facility!

Jilirk
Jilirk

I guess you are a "GANG OF 6". or one of the CRONIES. If not go educate yourself on the CORRECTIONS CORP OF AMERICA.

Jazz
Jazz

This is not the area for a prison, much less a for profit prison or immigration detention facility. There are almost a dozen schools within a 5 mile radius with thousands of children attending these schools on any given day. Private prisons are known for cost cutting measures to make their shareholders money. The first areas they cut corners is training, staffing and security. Their guards are paid $10/hour and are not required to meet the same standards as a state prison guard, sheriff or local police. They are not properly certified to carry weapons in alot of cases. Because of low pay and inadequate benefits, there is a high turnover rate. Security systems are not correctly monitored or maintained in facilites, leading to breaches of security within the prison, and leading to the possibility of escapes. Imagine the lockdown that would occur if there were an escape.

Private prisons are known to understaff their facilities; there are numerous accounts of riots and escapes. Private prisons staff less guards per inmate than state prisons. Its also proven private prisons do not save states money. States have saved millions of $$$ by closing CCA facilities, yet at the same time, Florida wants to privatize prisons using our tax money.

There is no guarantee detainees housed in this facility wont have violent criminal backgrounds or mental issues. There is no guarantee pedophiles and sex offenders wont be kept here. There is no gurantee inmates from Texas and California wont be transferred here. CCA cannot protect or guarantee SWR indemnity in the case of an escape where damages and costs are incurred from from the incident. They say the town will be indemnified, but no insurance company is going to provide that kind of liability for our town. CCA cannot even get the liability coverage they need, how can they tell us theyre going to indemnify the town? There are several instances where CCA has broken contractual agreements with towns regarding coverage. . CCA is known to use tax loopholes any way they can to avoid paying their share of taxes. In 2002 the IRS sued them for back taxes and in other cases, CCA has tried claiming thier prison residential to avoid taxes. This is money lost to our children and schools.

So before you berate and belittle the NIMBYs perhaps you should do your homework. This facility does not belong in the middle of a residential area, it belongs in a more remote area. If this was going to be built 800 feet from your home and family, youd have issues with it too.

reply

Out of Work
Out of Work

I'd love to make $10 an hour.  Do you know where I can send a resume?

Jilirk
Jilirk

Go to North Fork Okla. CCA could use you there.

Irony
Irony

After seeing the decimation of the beach by development all this years, it's about time you rich people get a taste of it as well.  Amazing that most of the people who profited off of the housing boom live in your area, and now they are complaining about development.  Irony!!!  Glad your finally getting a taste of your own medicine.  

Which Came First
Which Came First

Which came first the prison or the residential area?  Classic NIMBY story.  This one just impacts a few rich people.  Oh well.  

Jazz
Jazz

Its amusing and makes my day when ignorant comments are made to refute facts. Is that all you have? Come back when you can make intelligent informed comments instead of spouting nonsense

Jilirk
Jilirk

Go to North Fork Okla. CCA could use you there. What makes you believe you are intelligent and above us. You didn't quote facts. We have. You must be the" GANG of 6", or their" CRONIES"

S
S

...

 
Loading...