Broward News

Deerfield Housing Official May Be Relative to Poitiers and Target of Investigation

The program director of Deerfield Beach's Community Development Block Grant allegedly has family ties to the Poitiers, who run a charity at the center of an investigation for misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Wednesday morning that program director, Stephanie McMillian, received an email from the investigator, Michael Kessler. It began thus:

Stephanie, I have received numerous reports through the audit that you are related to the Poitier family.
If McMillian is closely related to the family, she may have been legally required to disclose conflicts of interest. A charity run by the Poitier family, the Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association, received funding through the CDBG program that McMillian oversaw.

City records records reviewed by Juice did not indicate whether McMillian responded to Kessler's query. I reached McMillian a moment ago. "I have no comment," she said to the question of whether she's related to the Poitiers. She referred my questions to the city manager's office.

Another email indicates that Kessler has grown frustrated by the lack of response to records requests he has made to McMillian and Debra Chatman, program director of the city's state housing program. "I would like to be able to state (in the final report) that the sub-recipients cooperated with my requests for information," wrote Kessler in a note Wednesday morning. "But as you know, time is running out and I cannot wait forever to issue this report!" (Chatman did not immediately return a call for comment.)

On the other end of the investigation, WDBA has also been slow to respond to Kessler's requests. The auditor has complained to City Attorney Andy Maurodis who told me this afternoon that he was in the process of writing the complaint in a lawsuit he will file on the city's behalf next week if the records don't materialize by then.

The WDBA is run by Dan Poitier, a former cousin by marriage to Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, who used to occupy a management role with the charity before stepping down in advance of her election. Her daughter, Felecia Poitier, is WDBA's president. And Sylvia's brother, Lionel Ferguson, reportedly has a financial stake in the charity, which named him as a liability in a financial filing with the city.

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Thomas Francis