Outgoing Sunrise Mayor Steven Feren, who is leaving office next month to take a judgeship, is proving once and for all that's he's unfit for public office.
The mayor's recent actions have been disgraceful. He is, right now, scrambling to try to get his fellow Sunrise commissioners to vote to ensure him an extra $150-a-month subsidy for the rest of his life as part of his city retirement plan. Sunrise taxpayers should be outraged since they are already paying him a pension and a $200-a-month subsidy on top of that. The public will also be paying his $145,000 judicial salary. This guy isn't a public official -- he's a hog at a trough. Here's the Sun-Sentinel's Susannah Bryan's most excellent report on Feren's outrageous effort.
That alone disqualifies him in my bood, but that's not all. There are rumors floating around at the highest levels of City Hall right now that Feren may have gotten special treatment on a condo deal in his city. The mayor apparently put down a deposit on a luxury condo at the towering Tao development on Flamingo Road next to Sawgrass Mills. Today the two 26-story towers -- where the condos were sold from $350,000 to $800,000 apiece -- sit empty. The developer defaulted and the project has gone back to the bank.
Feren's fiance, Sandra Baker, was heard boasting at city hall recently that Feren was the only buyer at Tao who was returned their deposit on the overpriced units.
If true, there is a whole lot wrong with this picture. First off, Feren supported the Tao development and voted in favor of its interests three times, the last time in 2007.
Did he put the the deposit on the unit before or after the vote?
Also, did he get special treatment when the deposit was returned (assuming it was returned)?
I got the Tao developer, Harry Weitzer, on the phone and asked him if Mayor Feren had been returned his deposit on the unit.
"I don't know anything about that," he told me on his cell phone. "The project has been turned over to the bank."
Then the connection, very mysteriously, went dead and calls thereafter went unanswered. I sure hope Weitzer is okay. A detailed phone message about the matter left with Feren has gone unreturned as well.
There is a possibility that Feren has done nothing wrong in regard to the Tao towers. But Sunrise -- and Broward County -- deserves an explanation of what exactly transpired before he is ever sworn in as judge.
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.