By Sharon Aron Baron
Using his elected title on his email blasts each month, City Commissioner Marlon Bolton continues to direct constituents to a phony website, which publishes only favorable news about him and those he chooses.
Run by his friend, Anthony Bonamy, who owns a political consulting company, Bonamy listed Bolton as a personal reference on his North Lauderdale application for deputy city clerk — who Bolton encouraged the commission to hire. In turn, the Tamarac Post runs puff pieces on Bolton — possibly to counteract the negative press he has received.
Bonamy’s role in Tamarac politics appeared to violate his employment contract with the City of North Lauderdale. Leaders were so concerned with Bonamy’s “political career” and his use of Marlon Bolton as a professional reference that they prohibited him from performing any political consulting work while employed by the city. However, on April 13, they eventually fired him without cause while still in the probationary period.
When social media was created for the website, residents reported that it was Bolton who sent out hundreds of invites to all of his connections to “Like” and “Follow” Tamarac Post.
In his email blasts from City Commissioner Marlon D. Bolton, he doesn’t direct constituents to the city-run website for official information. Instead, he urges them to read the Tamarac Post — even after RedBroward exposed his conflict of interest in March.
On March 12, Tamarac Talk wrote about Bolton, when he and Commissioner Mike Gelin demanded the interim city attorney be called “permanent.”
Just days later, a press release was issued by the city (we passed on publishing it), which was then published on — you guessed it — The Tamarac Post. They congratulated Hans Ottinot on becoming the permanent city attorney for Tamarac, although the title was in name only, and the city was still seeking a permanent replacement.
Ottinot even quotes the Tamarac Post in his resume for the permanent position of city attorney.
According to RedBroward, while most of the Tamarac Post stories are filed under the generic “staff writer” byline, a large sample of stories have the name Dawne Richards attached. In an email, Richards says she knows Marlon and has few mutual friends.
She also told RedBroward that a political activist told her about freelance writing opportunities at the Tamarac Post. Richards could not recall the activist’s name, nor was she able to name anyone who recommended story ideas.
She also is unaware of who signed the checks for her stories. “I submit my stories, and they send a check,” said Richards.
In 2017, The Florida Commission of Ethics advised then-City Commissioners Michelle Gomez and Julie Fishman their website start-up would be a conflict of interest since it would collect revenue to operate and that revenue could come from soliciting possible city vendors. They did not proceed.
Imagine the Pravda-like world we’d be living in if politicians created their own media to fit their narrative.
It couldn’t happen here, right?
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- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.
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