Broward News

[UPDATED] Fort Lauderdale City Worker Fears Violence Between Building Department Staff, Alleges Cover-Up by Building Director

An extramarital affair between members of the Fort Lauderdale Building Department sparked a confrontation at city offices in which one city worker threatened to shoot and kill his coworker, according to an anonymous letter sent to the City Commission this week.

The writer, who claims to be a longtime employee of the Building Department, says that Building Director Valerie Bohlander stopped a manager from filing a complaint about the incident. "I am now in constant fear to go to work every day," writes the worker. "I am afraid that this issue will escalate and that I or one of my co-workers will be injured or even killed."

More from the letter after the jump.

The letter, which was was received by the City Commission on September 7, does not indicate the date of the confrontation. But it names the three city workers allegedly embroiled in a love triangle:

A manager from the Building Department, Alex Hernandez, recently threatened to kill code manager Michael Maloney in a fit of rage over the fact that (Hernandez's) wife, assistant code manager Deborah Hernandez, was having an affair with her boss, Mr. Maloney. This encounter took place in Mr. Maloney's office in the Building Department. Mr. Hernandez was heard saying that he was going to kill Mr. Maloney and a firearm was mentioned and/or produced during this incident.
Another city worker, Adam Feldman, who the writer says is Alex Hernandez's brother-in-law, "intervened and had to physically escort Mr. Hernandez out of Mr. Maloney's office. This may have averted an escalation of events in that office that could have led to a terrifying outcome."

I reached Alex Hernandez this morning and asked him if he threatened Mr. Maloney. "No, I don't know anything about that," he said. Deborah Hernandez, Maloney and Feldman did not immediately return messages left today seeking comment.

The Building Department's administrative coordinator, Kathye Reilly, may have witnessed the confrontation, according to the letter, which claims that Reilly was going to file a complaint "but was advised not to and was stopped from reporting this incident by department head Valerie Bohlander."

The writer continues: "Her zealousness to stop this issue from leaving her department where she can control it shows me and all employees that she cannot be trusted and that she will protect those managers that she is close to at any cost."

A Building Department official referred all questions to Fort Lauderdale spokesman Chaz Adams, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

UPDATE: Adams phoned a moment ago and told me that the allegation of workplace violence has been forwarded to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and that because it's an ongoing investigation, the city could not comment on the case until after that investigation is concluded.

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Thomas Francis