Broward News

Hallandale Commissioner Asks for Public Records, Gets Kicked Out of City Office

Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London appears to be the only city official bothered by the ethics of doing land deals with Joe Kessel, a realtor who's also under contract as a consultant to the city. The other officials, it seems, are bothered by how much London cares about this.

Yet those officials don't seem willing to do the one thing that will make London stop making demands: give him public records.

Since December, he's been waiting to receive documentation of payments made by the city to Kessel and services Kessel performed under the terms of the consultant's contract. In the fifth month of that request, London finally received his record during Wednesday's meeting: a single piece of paper.

But that one two-sided piece of paper looked funny to London. For one thing, it didn't have a date stamp, like every other city document he's seen. For another, the invoice numbers were 101 and 102, which also seemed a little odd.

So London says that during a break, he visited the deputy city manager's office to ask for the original document. As the deputy city manager pulled it from the file, London asked if he could simply view the whole file, then request copies. "And then she told me to get out of her office," says London.

One invoice for Kessel that London provided to Juice made reference to Kessel's having done a "short sale property analysis and report." London asked for that; thus far, the city hasn't produced it.

During the commission meeting, London and City Manager Mike Good staged their own version of an Abbott and Costello routine. London asked whether Good signed Kessel to a new contract when the term for the first one ended last July. Good said that there was no "executed" contract. "So there was a draft contract?" London asked. Good told the commissioner he wasn't sure, according to London.

At that point, London says, the other commissioners came to Good's defense. "They're saying 'You got everything you wanted,'" says London. "I said, 'Are you kidding? It's been five months!'"

Good and Mayor Joy Cooper have not returned calls for comment on the Kessel contract.

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Thomas Francis