By Tom Lauder
Multiple city staffers instructed a Tamarac non-profit to write checks to local businesses supporting Tamarac Commissioner Marlon Bolton’s personal Turkey Drive last month, records show.
A Commissioner staffer, as well as City Parks and Recreation employees, told the non-profit Parks And Recreation Foundation Of Tamarac (PAROT) to write checks totaling more than $2,000 even though the Board rejected a formal request at their August meeting.
Established in 2011, PAROT has sponsored local golf and bowling tournaments which raises funds for kids in need to attend summer camp.
In August, Greg Warner, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, asked PAROT to fund Bolton’s Turkey Drive.
According to PAROT Chair Julie Fishman, the board flatly rejected the request. But in October, the PAROT treasurer received requests from City staff about the event.
On October 28, Eliane Benjamin, administrator for the Tamarac City Commission, asked Warner if he could “kindly assist” with getting a $500 check issued to The Great Commission Center And Outreach organization. Benjamin said Peter Richards would pick up the check.
On November 2, 2021, PAROT wrote a $500 check to The Great Commission Center And Outreach. A note on the check reads, “Commissioner Bolton’s Turkeys.”
In another email, Benjamin follows up with Warner after a meeting. Benjamin tells Warner that a $400 payment has been promised to Garfield McLean, owner of Ackee Tree Jamaican Restaurant, for fifty boxed meals.
While McLean will pick up the check, the meals will be picked up and distributed by Peter Richards of The Great Commission Center and Outreach. Benjamin tells Warner that Richards will also pick up fifty turkey vouchers from Tapatia Supermarket.
The meals and turkeys were to be distributed at Bolton’s Turkey Drive on November 13 at Caporella Park.
On November 3, 2021, PAROT wrote a $400 check to Ackee Tree Jamaican Restaurant. The note on check reads, “Commission Bolton-boxed lunches.”
On November 9, 2021, PAROT wrote a $1,341 check to Tapatia Supermarket. The note on the check reads, “Comm. Bolton—turkeys.”
A promotional email sent by Commissioner Bolton lists Tapatia Supermarkets, the City of Tamarac, and PAROT as sponsors of the event.
REDBROWARD asked Elaine Benjamin if Marlon Bolton instructed her to contact the Parks and Recreation Department and PAROT about writing checks to these businesses. Benjamin said her supervisor told her all inquiries must be made through the public information office.
Why did anyone in City think to involve PAROT in this food drive?
How is a Turkey Drive within the purview of the Parks and Recreation Department?
Why is an unknown and brand new non-profit like The Great Commission Center And Outreach and its owner has given such control over an (allegedly) city-sponsored event?
Did every voucher and boxed meal get distributed at the Caporella Park event?
Originally reprinted with permission from RedBroward.com.
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