Broward News

Trouble's Her Middle Name: Vice Mayor Is a Woman in Distress

Deerfield Beach Vice Mayor Sylvia Ferguson (previously Poitier) may have had a financial interest in a nonprofit corporation for which she voted to award public funds. Acts of Sedition blogger Chaz Stevens has posted financial documents of the Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association that show the nonprofit owes Lionel Ferguson $74,000, as well as a document from the Broward County Department of Environmental Protection that identifies Ferguson as the vice mayor's brother and cites a claim from Sylvia Ferguson that despite financial hardship, "she has made ends meet through loans from her brother totalling approximately $70,000."

The county is seeking to collect fines from Sylvia Ferguson in connection with environmental violations at her business, Deerfield Cleaners and Laundry.

The WDBA has received federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whose funds are allocated by the county and whose program to promote affordable housing is administered by the city. Through that program, Deerfield Beach was awarded $253,111 with which to rehabilitate eight homes. But the association has also received money directly from the city's general fund -- in August of last year, it received a $30,000 loan with which it paid down an overdue water bill. But it was then slow to pay subsequent water bills and returned in March to ask for $30,000 in "outreach funding." The vice mayor, whose daughter Felicia Poitier is WDBA's executive director, argued in favor of another $30,000 payment and voted for it, but the motion failed.

Stevens is celebrating his discoveries in style: by selling clothing with his blog's new logo. He says the proceeds are going to Women in Distress -- just not the woman whose distress is the source of his newfound notoriety.

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Thomas Francis