FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Dania Beach Mayor Pat Flury recently sold her house and moved out of her own city to live in Fort Lauderdale.
It was Dania resident Patrick Phipps who obtained proof of it. Like private eyes, he and his domestic partner Robert Covington shot video and photographic evidence over several days and nights showing Flury's black Cadillac Escalade outside a home on Avocado Lane in Fort Lauderdale.
Why does it matter? The city's charter, which Flury helped write, demands that all elected officials be "bona fide residents" of their city or "immediately" forfeit their office.
"The mayor oversees our budget ... she should live in the city," said Phipps.
The mayor bought her Dania Beach home in 1999 with a woman named Lee Lavery. They listed the house, which has been sold, for $439,000, though the sale price isn't known yet. In late May, Lavery purchased the Avocado Lane for $825,000. Flury's name isn't listed on the home, but during the past couple of weeks she packed up her things and moved into the house.
A photographer and I visited the Avocado Lane home on Thursday and sure enough, Flury's black Cadillac Escalade was in the driveway. Flury came to the door but didn't want to be on camera, so she answered questions from behind the door.
The mayor said she was living in the Avocado Lane home temporarily as she readied a condo she also owns in Dania. She said her niece lives in the Aqua Isles condo off Griffin Road, which Flury bought for $308,000 in 2008. Flury said the niece is moving out and she's going to move in on August 15 to regain her residency in the city over which she presides.
I asked her if she was going to live in the condo full-time.
"Full time is full time," she answered. "I take a lot of vacations and have a home in the Keys."
Sure enough, Flury, a retired hospital administrator, and Lavery, a boat captain, also own a waterfront home in Key Largo valued at $865,000.
Phipps isn't buying Flury's story. He wants the mayor thrown out of office because the political atmosphere in Dania is "filthy." After a bitter race last year, he said Flury was the one following him around and sitting in her vehicle outside his properties and making code enforcement complaints against him. "It's just a way to try to silence someone," said Phipps.
Flury admitted making code cases against her political opponent.
"If I see houses that are not appropriate then I make code violations absolutely," she said.
Now Phipps and Covington are the ones following the mayor.
"You try to go the noble route and not to get involved in the mudslinging," said Covington, "but this is kind of a vicious little city."
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