By Tom Lauder
Income from Mike Gelin’s insurance benefits company increased nearly 400 percent since becoming a Tamarac Commissioner three years ago, official disclosure forms show.
Last month, REDBROWARD reported City of Tamarac lawyers were so concerned over ethical issues raised by the business relationship between Gelin Benefits Group, Inc. and the Broward Sheriff’s Office that it asked the State of Florida Commission On Ethics for guidance.
On November 27, 2018, Gelin took the oath of office as a Tamarac Commissioner. One week later, Tamarac city attorney Sam Goren asked the Florida Commission On Ethics if a prohibited conflict of interest was created by a company owned by Gelin having an existing business relationship with BSO. The City of Tamarac has a contract with BSO to provide law enforcement services.
While the Commission On Ethics stated the Gelin Benefits Group’s deal with BSO posed no conflict of interest because it was signed before he was elected, it did highlight the problems faced when an elected official solicits business for a personally owned company from other municipalities and government entities.
The problem becomes even more complicated when an elected official fails to fully disclose business dealings with other government officials.
Commissioner Gelin appears to have a problem disclosing his business dealings to Tamarac voters. In June, REDBROWARD reported Gelin failed to disclose all of his government contracts on his required financial forms. Form 1 consists of three parts. Elected officials are required to disclose primary sources of income, secondary sources of income, and real property.
Under secondary sources of income, officials are told to include “Major customers, clients and other sources of income to businesses owned by the reporting person.”
Under secondary sources of income on his 2018 Form 1, Gelin wrote “N/A” which is shorthand for “not applicable.”
REDBROWARD asked Gelin to clarify why his contract with BSO between February 2018 and February 2019 was “not applicable.” Gelin did not respond.
On his Form 1 for 2019, Gelin listed contracts with the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes, and Broward Health (North Broward Health District). Still no mention of a contract with BSO.
Even though he listed just three government agencies on his 2019 Form 1, documents show Gelin Benefits Group previously touted contracts with multiple government agencies.
On January 10, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a proposal to the City of Lauderdale Lakes. In the proposal, Gelin Benefits Group states it provides services to the City of Miramar and BSO.
On August 22, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a controversial proposal to the City of North Miami. Gelin Benefits Group stated its clients included the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes, Broward Health, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and Broward County Government.
Under “notable client experience,” Gelin listed the City of Miramar, the City of Coconut Creek, and the Broward Clerk of Courts.
Under “references,” Gelin Benefits Group listed Miramar, BSO, and Broward County Government.
Last week, Gelin submitted his 2020 Financial Disclosure Form 1. Once again, Gelin only listed Miramar, Lauderdale Lakes, and Broward Health.
Did Gelin Benefits Group lose deals with BSO, the Clerk of Courts, and others entities?
While Gelin continues to list the same three clients on his disclosure form, another legally required form appears to show being a Tamarac Commissioner has been very good to Gelin’s bottom line.
Along with the financial disclosure forms, elected officials are required to reveal any outside or concurrent employment to residents. Since his election in 2018, Gelin has disclosed outside/concurrent employment for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020. All three forms list Gelin Benefits Group Inc for outside employment.
In addition to the name of the employer, the form asks for “remuneration received for the covered year.” For our readers in Margate, this means “how much were you paid during the covered year.” The official simply checks off a range of how much he received from the outside employment.
In 2018, Gelin declared he received between $25,001 and $50,000 from Gelin Benefits Group. Not bad for a company formed just three years earlier.
In 2019, Gelin stated his pay nearly doubled in a year. He declared receiving between $50,001 and $100,000 from Gelin Benefits Group.
Last week, Gelin filed his 2020 outside/concurrent employment form. While the COVID-19 pandemic hurt numerous small businesses across Broward, things were booming over at Gelin Benefits Group. Now, Gelin claims his remuneration from Gelin Benefits Group exceeds $100,001.
That is a 400 percent pay increase for Gelin since taking office in Tamarac just three years ago.
Guess the lockdown doesn’t hurt your business when most of your big clients are local governments.
GELIN APPLIES FOR PPP LOAN
But, if Gelin received more than $100,000 last year, why did Gelin Benefits Group apply for a PPP loan for its two employees? Records show Gelin Benefits Group received a $34,000 PPP loan in April 2020. These records show $34,370 of the loan was forgiven.
Also, the contracts between local municipalities and Gelin Benefits Group are funded with Broward taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Even Gelin Benefits Group’s newest deal with the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office is funded with public dollars.
And Gelin still picks up a paycheck as a Tamarac Commission. Who pays Gelin’s salary?
Yep, Broward taxpayers.
But Elberg Mike Gelin is not the only Broward official getting fat eating off the Broward taxpayer trough….
Originally reprinted with permission from RedBroward.com.
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