Deerfield Housing Charity Owes Nearly $150,000 in Delinquent Taxes

A nonprofit organization in Deerfield Beach under investigation for mishandling tax dollars has failed to pay taxes on any of six properties for at least five years, according to records released to Juice this afternoon. The Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association stands to lose all six properties it owns on Southwest 1st Street (seen in the video above), due to roughly $148,000 in unpaid property taxes.

Of course, nonprofit corporations don't have to pay property taxes, so long as they apply for an exemption. And that's the strange part: WDBA has not applied for that exemption. Why not?

That's not clear. Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, whose daughter Felecia is the president of WDBA, told me this afternoon that

although she worked for WDBA in the past, "I never got into their finances." Felecia Poitier has not returned a message. Nor has the WDBA executive director, Dan Poitier.

In 2004, WDBA was selected to be the city of Deerfield Beach's Community Housing Development Organization, meaning it would receive the state and federal funding available for low-income housing, then administer those programs.

State records show that WDBA has been registered as a nonprofit since at least 1996 -- and Sylvia Poitier says it had the designation long before that. The properties on Southwest 1st Street appear to be rental apartments, but since they're owned by WDBA the nonprofit corporation dedicated to low-income housing, those properties should have been eligible for the exemption from property taxes.

Another peculiar bit of paperwork: A WDBA income tax return makes no mention of its six-figure tax debt.

At the very least, the WDBA's delinquency leads to questions about whether Deerfield Beach properly monitored the financial health of the charity administering its local housing programs.

A forensic auditing firm is scrutinizing WDBA among other nonprofits that received money through the city's Community Development Division. That firm, Kessler International, is expected to release its findings next month.

For more on Sylvia Poitier's association with WDBA, see this post from earlier today.

[Thanks to Acts of Sedition for the action video.]

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