By Selene Raj
After 15 years of serving the City of Tamarac, City Attorney Samuel S. Goren abruptly resigned after a city commissioner accused him of being “untrustworthy.”
For over 40 years, Goren has represented cities such as North Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines and served as city attorney for Coral Springs from 1993 to 2010.
His resignation came via email, less than a day after the December 9 city commission meeting, where he was accused of being untrustworthy by Commissioner Marlon Bolton and had his legal role undermined by a 4-1 vote seeking outside legal counsel on an issue he had advised on.
City Manager Micahel Cernech said following the actions at Wednesday evening’s meeting, Goren resigned on behalf of himself and his law firm effective January 9, 2021.
It was an abrupt end to a lengthy professional and cordial relationship.
Following the news of Goren’s departure, Commissioner Bolton stood by his actions.
“I was elected to advocate on behalf of my residents, and they do not want a storage facility in our neighborhood,” he said.
It was Commissioner Bolton’s understanding that the city did not have to execute the closing documents and could go back to the drawing board with minimal legal impact. He said that Goren did not provide enough information that would have been adequate for his constituents.
The 1.75-acre property, located on the northeast corner of W. Commercial Boulevard and Rock Island Road, was given to the city by the Chaits of Prestige Homes after they purchased the Sabal Palm and Monterrey Golf courses. The city accepted the property and was planning to build a fire station on the lot, but then decided to renovate and improve the station located further east.
The Chaits sued the city for the land, and a compromise was made to sell the land and split the proceeds. The land was then purchased by the storage facility company, Rock Island Storage, as a part of the compromise in 2018.
Goren was giving the commission an update on the status on December 9 when the controversy broke out.
“He does not have to live with a storage facility in his backyard forever, we do,” said Commissioner Bolton, “He is hired to protect our city’s interests, but I do not feel that is the case the storage facility and that is a problem.”
Commissioner Bolton said it is because of this, he opted to hire outside legal counsel because he aimed to make a decision that was not “reckless.”
“It is very suspicious that less than 24 hours after getting approval to hire an attorney to look into the handling of the storage facility matter, that our attorney resigned,” said Commissioner Bolton, who didn’t say what he suspected Goren of.
However, Mayor Michelle Gomez, the sole official on the dais to vote against hiring an additional attorney to give a second opinion on the public storage issue, was deeply disappointed.
“I am very saddened by the disrespect shown towards an extremely well-respected attorney and law firm that has served our city well since 2005,” she said and added that the firm had earned its excellent reputation in Broward County, the state, and nationwide.
The city manager expressed similar sadness about Goren’s departure.
“I will certainly miss Sam’s representation, counsel and guidance which I’ve been the beneficiary of for the last 15 years,” said Cernech, “Sam Goren and his entire law firm have been a friend to us all, and his presence will be missed by many in our organization.”
Since Goren’s departure, a special meeting has been called on Monday, December 14, at 9:00 a.m. to discuss how they will choose new legal representation per their charter.
Goren was unavailable for comment.
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.
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