Pines prison fight now aimed at taxpayers

Bob Norman's Blog

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People of Pembroke Pines, it's time to get a little angry.

Your neighbor, the Town of Southwest Ranches, is threatening to sue you for about $2 million a year. Yes, you, the taxpayers and citizens of Pembroke Pines.

Southwest Ranches town attorney Keith Poliakoff is leading the charge to sue the Pines over the scuttled plan to build a huge private ICE detention center for illegal immigrants. The plan was met with strong public backlash by residents in both the Pines and the Ranches. When the Pines commission voted not to provide water for the project, the private firm that was to build the facility, CCA, sued the city before scrapping the project.

A good and honorable municipality would acknowledge defeat, understanding that the popular and political will simply fell against the prison. But Poliakoff told the Sun-Sentinel he's going to file a lawsuit against the Pines over an alleged $1.6 million the town was supposed to be paid from the prison on top of $350,000 annually in property taxes.

Understand this is all about money, not what the people want. The Ranches inked a secretive deal with CCA years ago that was going to pad the city's coffers and after an unforeseen obstacle -- those pesky people -- got in the way, they're going after the cash in a slimy lawsuit aimed at taxpayers.

Understand that this is the same Southest Ranches that squandered millions of its own town's money in incredibly bad deals that greatly profited town insiders. Those deals involved criminally charged former Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin and her convicted husband Richard Rubin, who made over a million dollars in town money for writing a few grants. They involved convicted felon Ira Cor, Rubin's sidekick, who made hundreds of thousands of dollars as the town's real estate agent. They involved former town manager John Canada, who employed his wife and sister and was grossly overpaid in a private town contract. 

And playing the role of town attorney throughout the scandals was Poliakoff and his father, Gary. And let's not forget Poliakoff's firm, Becker & Poliakoff, is one of the most political firms in South Florida, raising big money for candidates while it lobbies them with the likes of Bernie Friedman and Alan Koslow.

Bottom line, if I lived in Southwest Ranches, I wouldn't trust my town with the prison money anyway. And if you live in the Pines, you shouldn't take the Ranches' attempt at this money grab sitting down.

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