New Documents Suggest Need for Deeper Investigation of Deerfield Housing Authority | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Broward News

New Documents Suggest Need for Deeper Investigation of Deerfield Housing Authority

At least two major construction contracts doled out by the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority in the past year were supposed to be advertised for competitive bids but were not. It begs the question of whether the recipients of those no-bid contracts received favors from city officials.

And it comes while the city is already investigating two nonprofit corporations who accepted public dollars but who must account for how the money was spent.

It's starting to look like a snowball effect in Deerfield Beach. After the jump, we'll take a closer look at the two major contracts at issue, with some help from activist Chaz Stevens, who posted documents on his website Friday.

One of those contracts went to Best-Tec Abatement, a West Palm Beach firm that was hired in late August to remove and dispose of asbestos that was found in the ceilings of the DBHA's Stanley Terrace Apartments on Southwest 2nd Street.

A big job that would cost over $100,000 to complete. The housing authority's procurement polices require that jobs of that magnitude be awarded only after conducting a sealed, competitive bid, demonstrating that the agency picked the most qualified, most reasonably priced contractor.

But documents show that the asbestos abatement was split into tiny increments of $2,200 -- the cost of performing the service for one of the 48 units at Stanley Terrace. By making the contract amount such a small sum, the housing authority provided itself a means for avoiding a public bid.

I left messages this afternoon with the housing authority's executive director, Pam Davis, and with Best-Tec's president, seeking an explanation for why the asbestos contracts were broken up in this fashion. If I hear back, I'll update the blog.

The other contract that raises eyebrows dealt with turning a maintenance outbuilding into a community center along Northwest 1st Terrace. This project had a $40,000 price tag, easily meeting the $25,000 threshold for requiring sealed competitive bids.

But there was no competitive bid, and the contract went to Ridge General Construction -- whose principal is Don Ridge. He is the husband of Kimberly Dellastacious, an architect who had been retained by the housing authority as a consultant. A Google search for Ridge General Construction takes you directly to the site for Dellastacious' architecture firm.

I spoke this afternoon with Dellastacious, but she hung up the phone shortly after I introduced myself, saying, "I'm not talking to you because I'm not really sure who you are."

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'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Francis

Latest Stories