^
Keep New Times Free
4

Dean Trantalis Ambushed With Ethics Complaint During Commission Meeting

Commissioner Dean Trantalis was ambushed with an ethics complaint by attorney Bill Scherer during Tuesday evening's public hearing for the new proposed Vintro Hotel on the beach.

It seemed like a well-organized attack, as Scherer accused Trantalis, in front of everyone at the meeting, of ethical violations concerning the hotel project.

Scherer said that Rick Smith, a realtor who had a client interested in buying the property where the hotel would be built, was once Trantalis' domestic partner. Scherer accused Trantalis of not disclosing this.

Broward resident Art Seitz, who attended the meeting, told New Times that Scherer's ambush was "the sleaziest thing that's happened in City Hall in decades."

Mayor Jack Seiler immediately called a recess to the proceedings. Moments later, Trantalis recused himself and called Scherer's accusation "ambush politics."

He also said he had no idea of any wrongdoings by his former partner.

"Because my former partner had a client that wanted to buy this property as well as other properties, I guess on the beach, he contacted me," as did others, Trantalis said. "To say he's a relative... he's not a relative because you know in Florida, gay people aren't allowed to marry.

"My instincts say I should fight this," Trantalis said before walking off.

Seitz says that Scherer had arrived with what looked like "160 pages" worth of ethic complaints toward Trantalis and that other things during the hearing seemed off.

Seitz alleges that a vote was rigged and that an actor was hired to pretend to be homeless.

"Here's this muscular guy that comes in wearing brand-new shoes and jeans," Seitz says. "He sounds articulate and yet tells everyone how he's slept in the park for the past several days."

Seitz alleges that the man was a prop to help sway votes.

"Dean didn't have a clue it was coming," Seitz says of Scherer's accusations.

As he recused himself from the hearing, Trantalis looked over at Scherer and said, "Nice try."

Where things get shady is the history between Trantalis and Scherer.

Scherer had sued Trantalis in the past, concerning a beach development proposal during a previous term on the commission. Meanwhile, Trantalis upset former City Commish Charlotte Rodstrom back in March. Rodstrom is the wife of former Broward Mayor John Rodstrom, who happens to be good friends with one Bill Scherer.

Rodstrom once challenged the county's term limit law. Scherer represented him.

"People were flabbergasted by the ambush," Seitz says. "This smelled of something that has been in the works. It's about getting Trantalis out of office."

Whether that's true is up for debate. But what is true was that Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts and Commissioner Romney Rogers admonished Scherer for making the public accusations.

They then voted 3-0 against a proposed 13-story beach hotel.

A call to Trantalis' office remains unreturned.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter



I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.