Broward News

Broward Denies Lauderdale Lakes Bailout After City Manager's "Governmental Ponzi Scheme"

Apparently having negative money isn't ideal for running city like Lauderdale Lakes -- but the Broward County Commission isn't quite ready to help.

Lauderdale Lakes commissioners place a lot of the blame on former City Manager Anita Fain-Taylor -- who was lambasted by one of the city's commissioners before she was unanimously booted out of office -- as the city believes it's nearing a $9 million deficit.

The county commissioners response to Lauderdale Lakes' request for financial assistance: Yeah, no thanks.

Still, the city believes that the fault for the financial downfall was Fain-Taylor, who the commission believes has been cookin' the books for years.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Lauderdale Lakes Commissioner Eric Haynes says what happened to the city "is no different than what happened to Bernie Madoff investors and Scott Rothstein investors.

"The commission was provided data, financial data that was manipulated. It was pretty much a governmental Ponzi scheme," he says.

The county may never have strongly considered bailing out Lauderdale Lakes anyway.

Lauderdale Lakes Commissioner Benjamin Williams told the Sun-Sentinel in May that the county wasn't really leaning on giving the city money, saying, "...if we help Lauderdale Lakes, we have 30 other cities that can ask for the same thing."

The plan for Lauderdale Lakes was to try to get their bailout from the county, and if that failed, they were supposed to propose a lease-back program -- mortgaging the equity on the city's property to pay the debt.

That apparently wasn't proposed, but the commission says they're going to try and dig out of the whole on their own.

Commissioners say they're going to raise the property tax near or to the limit of state law, increasing the fire fee, cutting fire and police funds 25 percent, and maybe a new public-safety tax.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley