By Agrippina Fadel
Tamarac resident William Goffinet was escorted by police from Wednesday’s meeting after making a comment taken as a threat by a city commissioner.
Appalled by his comments, Mayor Michelle Gomez called for a recess.
Goffinet, a Woodlands Country Club resident, spoke during public comments about Sawgrass Lanes, now Bowlero at 8501 N. University Dr., missing a marquee sign on the side of the building, telling Gomez she “hasn’t put any pressure on the bowling alley to put up one.”
“You and George Santos over there are both in the bowling alley all the time,” said Goffinet, referring to Commissioner Elvin Villalobos as the congressman recently caught in a mountain of lies, scandals, and investigations.
Villalobos reminded Goffinet of the rules of conduct for public speakers and said he would make a motion to remove the resident from the meeting if he didn’t comply.
“Did you take that personal?” said Goffinet. “It is the second time you’ve done that. You violated my right for free speech. It will happen at some point. I will come back at you, ok?”
Gomez said, “Excuse me, are you making a threat?” to which Goffinet answered, “That’s not a threat. It’s a promise.”
Gomez then called for a recess.
According to Villalobos, after the cameras were turned off, the atmosphere in commission chambers got “overheated,” and Broward Sheriff’s Officers “cordially removed” Goffinet from the room.
In his comment to Tamarac Talk, Villalobos said Goffinet often verbally attacks him and Gomez during public comments. Commissioners tried to remove the outspoken resident from the chamber last September when Goffinet verbally attacked Gomez and demanded answers about the city’s dealings with 13th Floor Homes.
Villalobos said he was baffled by the resident’s comments.
“I don’t represent Goffinet, and he cannot vote for me. His issues are not in my district, yet he does not address the commissioner of District 2, where he lives, or District 4, which covers the area he seems to have a problem with,” he said.
Villalobos said Goffinet attacks the mayor but forgets a majority vote decides on city matters.
“He refuses to understand that Mayor Gomez is not the sole person making decisions in Tamarac. He thinks that everything is her fault,” he said.
“This is not the first time he threatened me in this manner. He has done that in public places, including the bowling alley, and I have told him he needs to stop.”
“I don’t want to press charges or get him arrested, but you don’t just say things like that to someone,” said Villalobos, who added that commission members are not trying to silence the residents; however, everyone must follow the rules of public comments and refrain from attacking or threatening commissioners.
Bowlero received city approval for five variances that will allow the business to fully renovate the interior and exterior of the outdated building in April 2022.
“The bowling alley is in the process of being completely remodeled, so it is unclear what the issue is and why he is not addressing it with his commissioner directly,” said Villalobos.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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