Mayor orders police chief to remove rival commissioners from meeting

Blowup comes after vice mayor admits to accepting favors from developer

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Hallandale Beach Commissioner Keith London said the public deserved to hear about what is now a criminal investigation into his city's vice mayor, Bill Julian, after Julian admitted to Local 10 News that he agreed to accept secret favors from a developer prior to a vote on a $450 million development in his city.

But when London began reading a prepared statement about it at a city budget meeting Thursday, Mayor Joy Cooper, a political ally of Julian, shut down the meeting.

"I’m calling for a recess," Cooper ordered.

After the recess, London picked up where he left off, and Cooper ordered police Chief Dwayne Flournoy to remove him from the dais.

"They need to be removed now," Cooper said.

As Flournoy stood at his side, London and Julian squabbled.  

"You're taking bribes," London said.

"Stick a sock in it," said Julian.

Commissioner Michelle Lazarow, an ally of London, was also removed from the meeting.

"The mayor is protecting Bill Julian," London said.

Cooper refused to go on camera Friday but said she was not trying to protect Julian.

"I have a meeting to run," she said. "They have a right to speak, but they didn't have a right to speak at that time. It was not on our agenda."

The state attorney’s office confirmed that a criminal investigation has begun into the Julian matter.

Lazarow said the Julian matter needs to be addressed immediately.

"The most important story that's ever happened to the city is being ignored by the mayor," she said.