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Cooper City Government Issues

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Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#31 - Posted: 14 Nov 2006 14:12 
Around Broward County

COOPER CITY MAYOR TO SPEAK TONIGHT ON DRINK-FUELED DINNERS

Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger will speak publicly tonight about controversial pre-meeting dinners attended by city commissioners at public expense.

Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 on Nov. 2 broadcast a hidden-camera investigation documenting the taxpayer-funded dinners, which sometimes included alcoholic beverages.

Gov. Jeb Bush has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct a preliminary inquiry to examine allegations that commissioners drove under the influence of alcohol and broke state public-meeting laws.

The City Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. The mayor's statement is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.

After the mayor's statement, the commission will hear residents' comments.

Also at the meeting, commissioners will take a final vote on whether to move city elections from March to November. The proposed change also would extend commission terms to four years from three, so municipal races would coincide with state and federal elections.

The change would save the city about $50,000, according to the City Clerk's Office.

If approved by the commission, the proposed change would be put to residents in a March 13, 2007, referendum.

The City Commission will meet in the Municipal Building auditorium, 9090 SW 50th Pl.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#32 - Posted: 14 Nov 2006 23:02 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Nov 15, 2006 2:00 am US/Eastern

Law & Disorder: Commissioners Listen To Community

http://cbs4.com/iteam/local_story_318232514.html




Mike Kirsch
Reporting

(CBS4) COOPER CITY It was standing room only at Cooper City hall Tuesday night as residents flooded the commission chambers to complain about commissioners' behavior after CBS4 aired their exclusive report, Law and Disorder.

For more than hour citizens got up to mouth off about the mayor and commissioners after our report revealed them on videotape, drinking before a commission meeting at a local restaurant. Even though some allege that Mayor Debbie Eisenger and some commissioners were even discussing official business during the reunion, she continues denying this, which would be a violation of Florida's Sunshine Law.

"I would think that had there been any intent to violate the Sunshine Law, the dinner would not have been held in visible, public places such as Vita's Italian restaurant,"

Regardless, many residents were plain upset at the amount of alcohol that was consumed before conducting a public meeting. CBS4's Mike Kirsch counted up to 140 concerned residents that want the mayor out because of this. There were 40 people that showed up who were in support of the commission.

"I was told that this has been going on for years and only one or two drinks were consumed on any given occasion per person," said concerned resident Lisa Mallozzi. "Once I saw the news, I knew that I was lied to. Ten vodkas, two Manhattans with Jack Daniel's shots, two glasses of wine, two bottles of beer, and a Bloody Mary in a 45 minute period--you cannot consume this extreme amount of alcohol and not be under the influence."

The total of guests listed on the receipt was four people, although witnesses say two others joined them later. In our report we found that there were actually four glasses of wine consumed, not two.

Mallozzi reflected the tone of many who went up to the podium to talk.

"This alcohol was consumed by you and paid for by me."

Not all citizens were supportive of our investigative piece, some going as far as to say our report was slanderous, and that we were bullying a respectable city commission. They commended the commission for their work.

One moment of contention between residents and the commission was when one man went up to the podium to ask for a moment of silence for fallen BSO Deputy Brian Tephford, who was shot and killed earlier this week. The commission told him to sit down because he was out of order in going up.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation, at the request of Governor Bush, to examine if any improprieties were committed by the commission.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=25713@wfor.dayport.com


http://cbs4.com/video/?id=25719@wfor.dayport.com


UNEDITED VIDEO PART 1:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=25721@wfor.dayport.com


UNEDITED VIDEO PART 2:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=25722@wfor.dayport.com

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#33 - Posted: 15 Nov 2006 16:50 
Posted on Wed, Nov. 15, 2006

COOPER CITY

Cooper City mayor defends premeeting dinnersCooper City's mayor responded to the attention surrounding the city's dinners before commission meetings.

BY BREANNE GILPATRICK
bgilpatrick@MiamiHerald.com

Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger Tuesday gave a public explanation of premeeting ''commission dinners'' that have received attention from the governor and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Eisinger appeared before residents at City Hall for the first time since Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 broadcast the results of a hidden-camera investigation that showed commissioners gathering in bars and restaurants before meetings for the taxpayer-funded dinners.

She made a brief statement, repeating some of the points she made in a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush last week. She denied the city had done anything wrong.

''The dinners held prior to City Commission meetings were strictly social in nature,'' she said. ``The dinners have been a tradition in this city for more than 15 years.''

She also asked for permission to have administration draft an ordinance banning pre-meeting dinners -- although, apparently there is no ordinance on the books allowing such dinners.

More than 100 people, some angry, showed up at the meeting. Some had to stand outside because the commission chambers were packed.

''How dare you abuse our trust this way,'' said Lisa Mallozzi, 42. ``Just because it has been going on for years doesn't make it right.''

Mallozzi said she was outraged by the response she received from commissioners when she contacted them earlier.

It was ``akin to that of a child getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.''

Bush has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into whether Cooper City elected officials violated Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law by discussing city business at a private gathering.

The governor also asked for information on allegations city staff and commissioners drove under the influence of alcohol after these pre-meeting dinners.

Before the commission's Aug. 22 meeting, one bar tab showed about 20 drinks were ordered in 45 minutes. Witnesses said about six people attended that gathering.

The city clerk's office has not been able to confirm whether the roughly $75 tab was paid for by the city.

But four other dinners totaling about $1,000 were paid for by taxpayers.

Previously, commissioners have said no city business was discussed at these meetings. They also have denied that anyone attending the gatherings was intoxicated.

The commission also voted to ask voters to move the city's local elections to November. Commissioners have said they think the change will save money by allowing the county to pay for major election costs such as poll workers and equipment.

The proposed change will go before voters for a final decision in a March 13 referendum.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#34 - Posted: 15 Nov 2006 16:54 
Cooper City commissioners charged taxpayers for $5,531 in meals and drinks

By Thomas Monnay and Buddy Nevins
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted November 15 2006


COOPER CITY· City commissioners savored 23 dinners, about a third of them costing more than $300, at taxpayers' expense in the past two years, according to city records released Tuesday.

In all, city officials spent $5,531 since November 2004 on meals and drinks before attending commission meetings. The smallest dinner bill: $73, records show.

The documents were made public before Tuesday's commission meeting, where about 200 residents -- critics as well as supporters -- came to hear an explanation of why officials charged drinks and dinners to the city.

Mayor Debby Eisinger told them the commissioners have learned from their mistakes and never intend to dine before meetings again. She said commissioners intend to pass an ordinance that would make it illegal for city officials to charge taxpayers for dinner.

She further assured residents that no officials got drunk during the dinners. "I have never seen any of the commissioners impaired at commission meetings. This is simply not true," Eisinger said.

Not everyone was appeased.

"I think they owe tax reimbursement for all the time they've been doing it," said resident Tony Murguia. "Why should we have to pay for their dinners and drinks, even if it was one or two?"

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement this week began interviewing city officials to see whether any wrongdoing was committed. The investigation, at Gov. Jeb Bush's request, centers on whether any officials became intoxicated or violated the Sunshine Law. The law requires that when two or more elected officials discuss business, it must be at a public meeting.

Records show that in 2005, commissioners ate all their free dinners at the Blue Moon Grille in Davie. This year, they dined at two Italian restaurants in Cooper City: the Outback Steakhouse in Davie and Kavanagh & Morrissey's in Plantation. The credit card receipts provide total bills and do not break down how much was paid for alcoholic beverages and how much for meals.

Eisinger and commissioners on Tuesday refused to detail what took place at the dinners because the matter is under investigation. However, the officials previously denied any improprieties.

Eisinger earlier justified charging taxpayers for the dinners by saying the meals were intended to nurture camaraderie and team building among city officials and staff members.

County Commissioner Lois Wexler on Tuesday said she was invited to one of the dinners on March 17, 2005, at the Blue Moon Grille. She said she found it "strange" that city commissioners racked up a $141 bill and charged it to taxpayers.

"I got to the restaurant at 5:30 and they are all in the bar. ... At the end, I took out my wallet to pay and [City Clerk] Susan Bernard put her hand on my arm. `We [the city] pay for this. This is something we do,'" Wexler recalled Bernard telling her.

Wexler said the conversation at that gathering was about county issues, not city business. She said nobody appeared intoxicated "but I didn't give them a Breathalyzer."

She also said she would repeat her story to state investigators if asked.

City commissioners said FDLE agents advised them not to talk to the media about the investigation.

After being interviewed by two agents on Tuesday, Commissioner Elliot Kleiman said, "I told them the truth. I cannot say any more than that."

Commissioner Bart Roper also said he was interviewed but declined further comment. Eisinger said she expected to talk to agents possibly today. Commissioner Linda Ferrara said she hadn't been contacted.

Asked if state investigators have questioned Cooper City Police Chief John Hale, the Broward Sheriff's Office issued a one-sentence statement:

"We are aware of the FDLE investigation and must refer all questions about that matter to FDLE," said Veda Coleman-Wright, the sheriff's office spokeswoman.

At Tuesday's meeting, residents who wanted to hear officials explain the dinners at first had to wait outside City Hall because the commission chambers were jammed for a fire-rescue poster contest award.

Gladys Wilson thought that was a "ploy" to keep critics from speaking at the meeting. Using a bullhorn, she yelled to those outside: "Please don't leave! You're here for a purpose! Stay!"

When the residents took their seats in the chambers, supporters took one side of the aisle and critics the other.

Among the critics was Diane Sori, one of Eisinger's neighbors in the Embassy Lakes subdivision.

"I think what they did was wrong," Sori said. "It's wrong drinking before city commission meetings, where government business is discussed."

Sarah Sterling told commissioners many residents are behind them.

"We respect all you've done for us," she said. "There are more people in Cooper City who are for you than against you."

Another supporter was Howard Leibowitz, who said the dinner controversy is "much to-do about nothing." He said he felt particularly bad for Eisinger.

"I feel bad that she's been attacked so viciously over something so ridiculous," he said.

Staff Writer Ken Kaye contributed to this report.

Thomas Monnay can be reached at tmonnay@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7924.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#35 - Posted: 16 Nov 2006 07:05 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Nov 15, 2006 9:34 pm US/Eastern

Law & Disorder: Commissioners Listen To Community

Mike Kirsch
Reporting

(CBS4) COOPER CITY It was standing room only at Cooper City hall Tuesday night as residents flooded the commission chambers to complain about commissioners' behavior after CBS4 aired their exclusive report, Law and Disorder.

For more than hour citizens got up to sound off about the mayor and commissioners after our report revealed them on videotape, drinking before a commission meeting at a local restaurant. Even though some allege that Mayor Debbie Eisenger and some commissioners were even discussing official business during the reunion, she continues denying this, which would be a violation of Florida's Sunshine Law.

"I would think that had there been any intent to violate the Sunshine Law, the dinner would not have been held in visible, public places such as Vita's Italian restaurant,"

Regardless, many residents were plain upset at the amount of alcohol that was consumed before conducting a public meeting. CBS4's Mike Kirsch counted up to 140 concerned residents that want the mayor out because of this. There were 40 people that showed up who were in support of the commission.

"I was told that this has been going on for years and only one or two drinks were consumed on any given occasion per person," said concerned resident Lisa Mallozzi. "Once I saw the news, I knew that I was lied to. Ten vodkas, two Manhattans with Jack Daniel's shots, two glasses of wine, two bottles of beer, and a Bloody Mary in a 45 minute period--you cannot consume this extreme amount of alcohol and not be under the influence."

The total of guests listed on the receipt was four people, although witnesses say two others joined them later. In our report we found that there were actually four glasses of wine consumed, not two.

Mallozzi reflected the tone of many who went up to the podium to talk.

"This alcohol was consumed by you and paid for by me."

Not all citizens were supportive of our investigative piece, some going as far as to say our report was slanderous, and that we were bullying a respectable city commission. They commended the commission for their work.

One moment of contention between residents and the commission was when one man went up to the podium to ask for a moment of silence for fallen BSO Deputy Brian Tephford, who was shot and killed earlier this week. The commission told him to sit down because he was out of order in going up.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation, at the request of Governor Bush, to examine if any improprieties were committed by the commission.



Watch the latest video report on CBS 4 here:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=25767@wfor.dayport.com

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#36 - Posted: 16 Nov 2006 07:10 
Posted on Wed, Nov. 15, 2006

Lavish Cooper City dinners might have been in the shade

By BREANNE GILPATRICK
bgilpatrick@MiamiHerald.com

Cooper City commissioners, over a private $140-taxpayer-funded dinner, talked about possible school sites, county money for open space projects and the impact of county decisions on the city, according to a county commissioner who attended the meeting.

The meeting was among 23 dinners, totaling $5,500 -- all billed to taxpayers over the past two years, according to expense reports and credit card receipts obtained by The Miami Herald.

Records show city commissioners had private dinner gatherings before almost every commission meeting since the start of the year.

Several meals cost taxpayers almost $400, including a July 19, 2005 dinner at the former Blue Moon Grille in Davie, which cost residents about $385.

Only one evening cost less than $100.

Dinners preceded almost every major city vote, including passage of the city's most recent budget and most of the major zoning decisions about the former Waldrep Dairy property, which is now slated to become the Monterra housing development.

These table topics, and possible others, could leave Cooper City commissioners on shaky ground when it comes to the state's Sunshine Law, according to a Florida First Amendment expert.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is examining if commissioners broke the law by discussing city business at these pre-meeting commission dinners held at restaurants where they ordered alcoholic drinks. FDLE also is also trying to determine whether city officials drove under the influence of alcohol.

Commissioners have repeatedly denied that they discussed any city business at the meeting. They have also denied that they were inebriated at any of the dinners.

But at one dinner last year, the commissioners, in a group, discussed possible school sites to ease crowding in Cooper City elementary schools and earmarking county Open Space Bond funds for Cooper City, according to County Commissioner Lois Wexler, who attended one March 2005 dinner. Former city commissioners also have said county commissioners sometimes discussed the impact of county decisions on Cooper City.

Wexler said she didn't consider the topics strictly city business, especially because neither issue has appeared on the city commission's agenda.

But as Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, explains, the definition of ''city business'' can sometimes be broad.

The Sunshine Law was designed to prevent elected officials from making government decisions outside of public scrutiny.

''Only the court can make a determination if this was a violation or not, but this is problematic,'' Petersen said. ``All of these things could foreseeably come before the city.''

Mayor Debby Eisinger maintains she discussed county issues with county commissioners, but that the conversations were one-on-one.

''I was advised by city staff that these dinner gatherings are neither legally nor ethically wrong and that is because there is no unlawful discussion of city business,'' Eisinger wrote last week in a response to the governor.

Eisinger said Wednesday she was unable to comment further because of the FDLE inquiry.

Gov. Bush's general counsel last week requested the FDLE inquiry after a hidden-camera investigation by Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 showed city staff and commissioners gathering at local restaurants before meetings for taxpayer-funded commission dinners.

Tuesday night, Eisinger addressed about 200 residents at City Hall. In her statement, Eisinger repeated that no laws were broken at the dinners. But she also proposed an ordinance to put a end to the practice. The ordinance could appear before the commissions by Dec. 12.

''While we cannot go back and change the historic or recent past, we must use the lessons learned as we look to the future,'' Eisinger told the residents. ``The recent stirring of controversy over the dinners prior to commission meetings has taught us that it is in the best interest of all to place an end to the dinners.''

Author Janet G
Participant 

#37 - Posted: 17 Nov 2006 13:46 
My name is Janet Gill. I live in Timberlake.

I am very appalled by what is going on with this commission. I have read the paper, seen the video's on the news, and read your response to the Governor, Mayor Eisinger.

I know that the things you wrote were untrue. I have known John Sims for 14 years and he has never been an activist on any government issues, nor is he an anti-government dissident. In fact, most of his adult life has been spent in public service or working for the government. He has been genuine in his helping of many people as exhibited by this forum.

You have been dishonest to the governor and the news media. John Sims has been an honest, law abiding citizen who cares about our community. That is why we moved here. You take away our rights without our votes regarding the state of emergency issues by the taking of our personal property. The law states that we have the right to defend our property, even from the government.

I have lived here for 27 years and I know a lot of cooper City residents, and not one that I've talked to is happy about this latest issue or the way this commission is running the city.

In addition, it is disgusting that you have given yourselves exorbitant pay raises and benefits. You should all be ashamed, especially you Mr. Farrell. Certainly, none of you will get my vote in the future.

Thank you.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#38 - Posted: 19 Nov 2006 16:43 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Posted on Sun, Nov. 19, 2006

Outburst: Where Broward goes to vent On Cooper City commissioners' private dinners before commission meetings:

``I lived in Cooper City for over 30 years, the first graduating class of Cooper City High. This community was a nice community, but they have embarrassed us. I have a job, and if I am caught drinking before I go to work, I would be fired on the spot. I think they all should resign.''

``So maybe they should have used some common sense with the dinners, but I understand that this has been a routine for many years. Who hasn't had a lapse in judgment? Why let one dumb thing overshadow all of the good things that the mayor and commissioners have done? How would the residents that are pointing fingers feel if some of their dumb mistakes made TV and newspaper headlines. Come on, let's give them a break. No one died or lost an eye, so let's move on and spend our time on issues that really matter.''

``I'm a resident of Cooper City and this is very, very disturbing.''

``I was outraged they misused our tax dollars for drinking and going out to dinner. Normal people can't go to work with one drink. They deny, deny, deny, and they should accept the consequences.''

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#39 - Posted: 19 Nov 2006 16:45 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Posted on Sun, Nov. 19, 2006

I could never be mayor of Cooper City

BY FRED GRIMM
fgrimm@MiamiHerald.com

I'd drink. One look at that crowd, and I'd excuse myself, slip into the mayor's private chambers and take a long, medicinal guzzle of Tito's Handmade Vodka. Then another.

They were a restive bunch. Angry. Loud. Some came to defend their elected officials. But the others . . . Oh, Momma . . . pass the flask.

Cooper City Hall had reached its 178 fire-code capacity, and the overflow crowd congregated around the entrance and parking lot, muttering their disapproval, unhappy that no sound system had been set up outside. A blustery woman shouted, ''This is a scam! This is a scam!'' Maybe she meant ''sham.'' I sure wasn't going to correct her. Not without a drink.

Inside, residents went to the microphone to hector, lecture, harangue over revelations that Mayor Debby Eisinger and the city commissioners had been regularly whooping it up at the taxpayers' expense before meetings. They'd eat. They'd have a few drinks. Often with city employees. Then they'd head to City Hall and face their seething constituents.

BIG DINNER TAB

Miami Herald reporter Breanne Gilpatrick discovered through public records requests that the city fathers (along with the city mother) had billed the town $5,500 for 23 dinners and more than a few drinks over the past two years. They also face more serious accusations -- Sunshine Law violations -- if state investigators find that the dinner gang discussed city business at these unpublicized gatherings.

But possible Sunshine violations don't get a crowd riled. It was demon alcohol. And a WFOR-CBS 4 hidden cam video showing the pols enjoying themselves a tad too much.

MORALE BOOSTER

The mayor defended the gatherings as legal, ethical and good for the morale of city workers. (A few belts before a public meeting would sure raise my morale.) And although she saw nothing wrong with city leaders fortifying themselves before a meeting, Eisinger said she was terminating the practice.

No matter. Residents lined up and went at them like they were confronting Saddam's henchmen.

Speakers merged their usual grievances with the new drinking allegations. A man upset that his complaints about an unlicensed school had gone unheeded, snapped, ``Now I know why. You were ALL DRUNK!''

The crowd cheered like they had witnessed a TV wrestling takedown. It was then. That very moment. I knew I could never be mayor of Cooper City.

LIFE IN A BUBBLE

The fervor was stunning for a quiet bedroom town nestled in the West Broward suburbs.

As local scandals go, of course, Cooper City's is tame stuff. Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti, up to her ears in sludge, would gladly swap places with Eisinger. Next door, former Davie Town Administrator Chris Kovanes faces charges that he ripped his city off for the equivalent of 2,000 Cooper City dinners.

Up in Palm Beach County, Eisinger's white wine transgressions would be the envy of County Commissioner Tony Masilotti, facing federal charges for using his office to wrangle land deals that personally netted him millions.

And West Palm Beach Commissioner Ray Liberti has been charged with shaking down a massage parlor and a funky nightclub. Cooper City commissioners are bereft of such temptations.

In Miami-Dade County, voters would cheerfully join their elected officials in a mass toast if their misbehavior was limited to eating and drinking at taxpayers' expense.

But the point of moving to Cooper City is to escape such nonsense. One moves to suburban cocoons with the righteous expectation that city officials won't be portrayed in a grainy video on the evening news.

This scandal may be small beer, but in Cooper City, that's one too many.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#40 - Posted: 24 Nov 2006 19:18 
Posted on Mon, Nov. 20, 2006

Wobbly in Cooper City

OUR OPINION: TRUTH OF COMMISSIONERS' DENIAL HAS BEEN UNDERMINED
Which is more plausible? That Cooper City commissioners discussed city business during dinners before commission meetings? Or that they enjoyed each others' company so much that they met only to sip drinks and exchange notes about kids' soccer?

A reasonable person could easily deduce the more likely topics of the commissioners' dinner talk. If it's just small talk, why not meet for Saturday brunch? Why meet before commission meetings? But County Commissioner Lois Wexler, who attended one of the dinners last year, has taken some of the guesswork out of the matter. She recalled that some of the conversations involved earmarked county funds for Cooper City and possible sites for easing crowding in Cooper City elementary schools. Ms. Wexler said she considered such talk to be about city business, not county business.

But Florida's Sunshine Law, which requires that elected officials give public notice when two or more of them meet to discuss official business, would seem to suggest otherwise. Moreover, a fair-minded person -- say, a judge or juror, for example -- might also think a violation has occurred when two or more commissioners talk to a county official about city business. This is why Gov. Bush was right to order an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Mayor Debby Eisinger and the commissioners have steadfastly insisted that the conversations involved nothing more than social small talk. Now we know that at least on one occasion, not all of the conversation was about the price of a loaf of bread. Ms. Wexler apparently did not intend to undermine the mayor's and commissioners' assertions. But her statement kicks one leg out from under the wobbly stool on which the mayor and commissioners have staked their claim to innocence.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/editoria l/16055912.htm

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#41 - Posted: 28 Nov 2006 12:17 

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#42 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 07:33 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper was arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in the Town of Davie. He is awaiting release from Broward County Jail.

Broward Sheriff's Office
www.sheriff.org

ROPER, BARTLETT

INMATE INFORMATION

Arrest Number: 550601868 Arrest Date: 11/28/2006
Race: W Sex: M DOB: 11/26/1937
Height: 601 Weight: 255 Hair: GRY Eyes: BLU
Arresting Agency: DAVIE
* Location: MAIN JAIL
* Expected Release Date:

CHARGE(S) INFORMATION
Charge Number: 1
Case Number:
Statute: 316.193-2a2a
Description: DUI ALCOHOL OR DRUGS 1ST OFFENSE
Charge Comment:
Bond Type: BD
Bond Amount: 500.00
Disposition:
Projected Sent. End Date*:
* Subject to Change

For information on specific court cases, please consult the Broward County Clerk of the Courts web site.


http://www.sheriff.org/about_bso/dodcc/info/index. cfm


See the video's and news story's HERE
Bart_Roper_in_Jail.d.docAttached file: Bart Roper in jail
 

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#43 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 07:50 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Nov 29, 2006 9:12 am US/Eastern

Police: Cooper City Commissioner Arrested For DUI


(CBS4) COOPER CITY One of several Cooper City commissioners, already under fire for getting caught in a CBS4 hidden camera investigation, drinking and dining on taxpayer money before county commission meetings, has now been arrested on charges of DUI.

According to Davie police, Commissioner Bart Roper, 69, was arrested Monday night and taken to the Broward Sheriff's Office main jail in Fort Lauderdale where he was charged with driving under the influence. Bond was set at $500, records show.

Roper was one of the Cooper City commissioners, captured on undercover video, eating and drinking at restaurants in Cooper City and Davie, before driving to City Hall, where they passed laws and made decisions about expenditures involving taxpayer dollars.

Mike Kirsch's two month investigation was broadcast on CBS4 News earlier this month and also showed the commissioners voting themselves pay raises that more than doubled their salaries next year, after one of those drinking and dining gatherings.

At the time, Roper declined to comment to CBS4'S Mike Kirsch about the video and the undercover investigation.

If public matters were discussed, those meetings would violate Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which requires commissioners to discuss city business only in public.

City officials called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business.

Gov. Jeb Bush's office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the allegations.

http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_333082627.h tml

See the video here:
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26322@wfor.dayport.com

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#44 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 07:56 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper arrested for DUI

DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper was arrested for DUI last night in Davie.

The Commissioner was already in the middle of a controversy for drinking with other officials before commision meetings. The drinks were bought using taxpayer money. Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have subsequently opened an investigation into the Cooper City Commission.

The 69-year-old Roper was elected as a Cooper City Commissioner back in March of 2002.

http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI33813/

See the video here:
http://wn.wsvn.com/global/video/popup/pop_player.a sp?ClipID1=1091643&h1=Cooper%20City%20Commissioner %20Bart%20Roper%20arrested%20for%20DUI&vt1=v&at1=N ews&d1=28434&LaunchPageAdTag=News&fvCatNo=&backgro undImageURL=&activePane=info&playerVersion=1&hostP ageUrl=http%3A//www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/ MI33813/&rnd=67132378

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#45 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 10:26 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Nov 29, 2006 12:18 pm US/Eastern

Police: Cooper City Commissioner Arrested For DUI

Yusila Ramirez
Reporting

(CBS4) COOPER CITY One of several Cooper City commissioners, already under fire for getting caught in a CBS4 hidden camera investigation, drinking and dining on taxpayer money before county commission meetings, has now been arrested on charges of DUI.

Bartlett ''Bart'' Roper was busted on a DUI charge Tuesday night after police said they found him slumped over the wheel of his truck on a public road. When they woke him up a rap on the window, he flashed an obscene gesture at paramedics, police said.

Roper, 69, was stopped in Davie and taken to the Broward Sheriff's Office's main jail in Fort Lauderdale. Bond was set at $500, which he posted Wednesday morning. While leaving the jail, Roper was asked whether he was heading to a commission meeting, and he flipped the crowd of reporters the same obscene hand gesture as he was driven away.

According to the Davie police report, officers found Roper dozing behind the wheel of his pickup truck in the northbound turning lane at 5700 Pine Island Rd.

Officers, joined by paramedics, knocked on the driver's side window of the silver Chevy, which had a shredded front tire. The driver lifted his head, smiled and gave paramedics ''the finger.'' Officers detected a ''very strong odor'' of alcohol when Roper got out of the vehicle.

Roper was given a road sobriety test, which he failed. Roper also told officers he'd had "a few drinks in Cooper City.''

The police report also stated that Roper was asked to hand over his driver's license. When he reached into his pocket to pull it out, his hand was empty but kept insisting it was in his hand.

Roper also refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Roper was one of the Cooper City commissioners, captured on CBS4 undercover video, eating and drinking at restaurants in Cooper City and Davie, before driving to City Hall, where they passed laws and made decisions about expenditures involving taxpayer dollars.

Mike Kirsch's two month investigation was broadcast on CBS4 News earlier this month and also showed the commissioners voting themselves pay raises that more than doubled their salaries next year, after one of those drinking and dining gatherings.

At the time, Roper declined to comment to CBS4'S Mike Kirsch about the video and the undercover investigation.

If public matters were discussed, those meetings would violate Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which requires commissioners to discuss city business only in public.

City officials called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business.

Gov. Jeb Bush's office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the allegations.


See the WFOR CBS 4 video report on Commissioner Bart Roper giving the news cameraman 'the finger" when leaving jail here:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26327@wfor.dayport.com

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#46 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 12:17 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Cooper City commissioner bonds out after DUI arrest

BY BREANNE GILPATRICK AND KATHLEEN McGRORY
kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com

COURTESY OF WFOR-CBS 4
SENDOFF: Cooper City Commissioner Bartlett Roper makes an obscene gesture to cameras after leaving a BSO jail this morning.

A Cooper City commissioner, one of several facing a state inquiry for allegedly drinking booze on the taxpayers' tab before public meetings, now has a more immediate problem:

Bartlett ''Bart'' Roper was busted on a DUI charge Tuesday night after police said they found him slumped over the wheel of his truck on a public road. When they roused him with a rap on the window, he flashed an obscene gesture at paramedics, police said.

Roper, 69, was stopped in Davie and taken to the Broward Sheriff's Office's main jail in Fort Lauderdale. Bond was set at $500, which he posted about 9 a.m. this morning, flipping a throng of journalists the same hand gesture as he was driven away.

Roper has no prior criminal record in Florida. And Broward court records show no previous traffic violations.

Cooper City Commissioner Linda Ferrara and City Attorney Alan Ruf declined to comment about the incident this morning. Mayor Debby Eisinger and Commissioners Elliot Kleiman and John Valenti could not be reached for comment.

According to the Davie police report, here is what happened:

Officers arrived at 11:19 p.m., responding to a report of a man dozing behind the wheel of his pickup truck in the northbound turning lane at 5700 South Pine Island Rd. in Davie

The police, joined by paramedics, knocked on the driver's side window of the silver Chevy, which had a shredded front tire. The driver lifted his head, smiled and gave paramedics ``the finger.''

Officers detected a ''very strong odor'' of alcohol when the man emerged.

Roper was given a road sobriety test, which he failed. He staggered when told to walk a straight line and swiveled his head when instructed to shift only his eyes back and forth, the report said.

Roper told officers he'd had ``a few drinks in Cooper City.''

Asked to produce his driver's license, Roper insisted it was in his right hand. But his right hand was empty. He refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test.

Roper's arrest comes amid allegations that he and other Cooper City commissioners and officials gathered at local bars and restaurants before meetings for taxpayer-funded dinners during which alcohol was imbibed. If public matters were discussed, the meetings would violate Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which requires commissioners to discuss city business only in public.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jeb Bush requested a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry into resident allegations that commissioners violated the Sunshine Law and drove under the influence after those dinners.

That inquiry was ongoing as of today, and FDLE findings will determine whether the governor requests a full investigation.

City officials called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business. On Nov. 14 Eisinger proposed an ordinance formally banning the dinners.

There was no scheduled Cooper City commission meeting Tuesday night. The commissioner's truck was towed.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16122395.htm

Roper's Bigraphy:
http://coopercity.govoffice.com/vertical/Sites/%7B 6B555694-E6ED-4811-95F9-68AA3BD0A2FF%7D/uploads/%7 BCBA61486-A612-4401-9F65-B8E63968733F%7D.PDF
roperpd.pdfAttached file: Bart Roper Police Report
 

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#47 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 12:33 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Bart Roper giving the Cooper City community "the finger"

The Commissioner was so drunk his peace sign was one finger short!
Bart Roper to all-F*** You!
Bart Roper to all-F*** You!

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#48 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 12:41 - Edited by: johnbsims3 

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#49 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 14:02 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Finger-pointing Cooper City commissioner charged with drunk driving in Davie

By Buddy Nevins
sun-sentinel.com
Posted November 29 2006, 10:20 AM EST


DAVIE -- Cooper City Commissioner Barlett Roper was arrested Tuesday night and charged with drunk driving after police say they found him asleep and slumped over the wheel of his pickup truck, which was stopped in the street.

When Roper, 69, was awakened by Davie paramedics knocking on his window he "smiled and gave them the finger," police said.

His truck was stopped in the northbound right turn lane in the 5700 block of South Pine Island Road, Davie, with a flat tire around 10:45 p.m., according to the police report.

Davie Police Off. J. R. Arndt reported that once Roper was coaxed out of his truck, he failed roadside sobriety tests and refused a breath test. Arndt quoted Roper in the police report as saying he had a "few drinks in Cooper City" earlier in the evening.

Roper was charged with one count of driving under the influence.

First elected in 2002, Roper is one of several Cooper City commissioners being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for using city money to drink and eat at local restaurants before commission meetings.

State agents are looking into whether commissioners broke the Sunshine Law, which requires public business to be conducted in public, and other laws.

There was no commission meeting Tuesday night.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorid a/sfl-1129coopercity,0,5513490.story?coll=sfla-hom e-headlines

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#50 - Posted: 29 Nov 2006 18:32 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Nov 29, 2006 6:54 pm US/Eastern

Police: Cooper City Commissioner Arrested For DUI

Roper posted $500 bond Wednesday morning

Carey Codd
Reporting

(CBS4) COOPER CITY Not even a month has gone by after a CBS4 News undercover investigation revealed Cooper City Commissioners drinking before public meetings, that police announce the arrest of one commissioner for DUI.

Bartlett ''Bart'' Roper was arrested on a DUI charge Tuesday night after police said they found him slumped over the wheel of his truck on a public road. He is one of several commissioners under fire for being caught in a CBS4 hidden camera investigation, drinking and dining on taxpayer money before county commission meetings. When they woke him up a rap on the window, he flashed an obscene gesture at paramedics, police said.

Roper, 69, was stopped in Davie and taken to the Broward Sheriff's Office's main jail in Fort Lauderdale. Bond was set at $500, which he posted Wednesday morning. While leaving the jail, Roper was asked whether he was heading to a commission meeting, and he flipped the crowd of reporters the same obscene hand gesture as he did earlier before being driven away.

According to the Davie police report, officers found Roper dozing behind the wheel of his pickup truck in the northbound turning lane at 5700 Pine Island Rd.

Officers, joined by paramedics, knocked on the driver's side window of the silver Chevy, which had a shredded front tire. The driver lifted his head, smiled and gave paramedics ''the finger.'' Officers detected a ''very strong odor'' of alcohol when Roper got out of the vehicle.

Roper was given a road sobriety test, which he failed. Roper also told officers he'd had "a few drinks in Cooper City.'' The police report also stated that Roper was asked to hand over his driver's license. When he reached into his pocket to pull it out, his hand was empty but kept insisting it was in his hand.

Roper also refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Roper was captured on CBS4 undercover video drinking and dining before a commission meeting in which him and his colleagues passed laws and made decisions about expenditures involving taxpayer dollars.

Mike Kirsch's two month investigation was broadcast on CBS4 News earlier this month and also showed the commissioners voting themselves pay raises that more than doubled their salaries next year, after one of those drinking and dining gatherings.

At the time, Roper declined to comment to CBS4'S Mike Kirsch about the video and the undercover investigation.

If public matters were discussed, those meetings would violate Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which requires commissioners to discuss city business only in public.

City officials called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business.

Gov. Jeb Bush's office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the allegations.

http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_333082627.h tml

Video story:
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26336@wfor.dayport.com


The 5 O'Clock story on video:
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26340@wfor.dayport.com

Mike Kirsch's 6 O'clock video report on CBS 4 News:
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26352@wfor.dayport.com

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#51 - Posted: 30 Nov 2006 06:21 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Cooper City Commissioner Charged With DUI

POSTED: 11:00 am EST November 29, 2006
UPDATED: 12:46 pm EST November 29, 2006

COOPER CITY, Fla. -- A Cooper City commissioner was arrested Tuesday for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.


Authorities said they found 69-year-old Bartlett Roper sleeping behind the wheel of a pickup truck in a turn lane at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.


Police said Roper flashed an obscene gesture at paramedics who responded to the scene.

When Roper was released from jail on $500 bond Wednesday, NBC 6 cameras captured Roper making the same obscene gesture to reporters.

Police said on Tuesday Roper failed a roadside sobriety test and also failed to provide them with a driver's license.

According to the police report, Roper admitted to having a few drinks in Cooper City.

The arrest came just days after allegations emerged that Cooper City commissioners were drinking and dining on taxpayer dollars prior to commission meetings.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into whether those officials violated the Sunshine Law, which requires those types of meetings be held only in public.

Meanwhile, Cooper City officials have not commented on Roper's arrest.

http://www.nbc6.net/news/10421222/detail.html

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#52 - Posted: 30 Nov 2006 11:18 
State agents to probe DUI arrest of Cooper City commissioner

By Buddy Nevins
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted November 30 2006


State law enforcement agents, already looking into whether Cooper City commissioners broke the law by drinking and dining on the public tab, said Wednesday they will also look into the drunken driving arrest of two-term Commissioner Bartlett "Bart" Roper Jr.

Roper's arrest on Tuesday night concerns the Florida Department of Law Enforcement because of "the circumstances and subject matter of our ongoing inquiry," said agency spokesman Phil Kiracofe.

"We would naturally be interested in this, given the individual in this DUI case is already the subject of a related inquiry," Kiracofe said.

The FDLE two weeks ago began investigating complaints by critics that commissioners may have violated state laws, including the Sunshine Law, when they privately dined and drank alcohol at taxpayers' expense at local restaurants. There was no commission meeting Tuesday night before Roper's arrest.

The law requires that when two or more elected officials discuss business, it must be at a public meeting.

Kiracofe said state agents plan to talk to Davie police and look at documents involving Roper's arrest. FDLE would not be involved in prosecuting the case, only checking to see if it relates in any way to the original inquiry, he said.

Roper, 69, was charged with one count of driving under the influence, a second-degree misdemeanor, after Davie police say they found him about 10:45 p.m. asleep and slumped over the wheel of his pickup truck. It was stopped in a right turn lane in the 5700 block of South Pine Island Road, about four miles from his home.

Reached on his cell phone after being released on $500 bail from the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Roper said he had no comment "at this time."

Roper said two weeks ago that he had been interviewed by FDLE agents about the free dinners and drinks, but said he would not discuss the inquiry with the media.

Although state law allows the suspension of a public official for drunkenness and other reasons, Florida governors have seldom suspended a person charged with a misdemeanor.

Roper's arrest, and its timing, "certainly isn't a good thing for us. I hope residents understand we can't baby-sit our fellow commissioners," said Commissioner John Valenti.

Mayor Debby Eisinger could not be reached for comment despite two messages left on her cell phone Wednesday. The dinners and drinks paid for by the city have ended, Eisinger said.

She earlier justified charging taxpayers for the dinners by saying they were intended to nurture camaraderie and team building among city officials and staff members.

John Sims, one of the chief critics of the city's longtime free meal and drink policy, said, "This commission is a disgrace" and Roper should resign.

A two-page report released by Davie police on Wednesday said Roper was found sleeping in the driver's seat of his silver Chevrolet truck, which had a flat tire. The keys were in the ignition but the car was not running.

When awakened by Davie paramedics knocking on his window, Roper "smiled and gave them the finger," the report by Officer J.R. Arndt states. Once coaxed out of his truck, Roper "staggered and fell against the door frame."

He told Arndt he had a "few drinks in Cooper City" earlier in the evening, the report said.

Asked to produce his license, Roper reached into his pocket and pulled out his empty hand, according to the report.

"He would then tell me that his license was in his empty hand. This was repeated several times," Arndt stated in the report.

Roper was instructed to walk a white line in the road as part of a sobriety test, but "at one point he lost his balance and fell into me," Arndt's report adds.

If convicted of drunken driving, Roper could face up to a $500 fine, a six-month jail sentence, probation, community service and suspension of his driver's license for a year for refusing to take a breath test.

A city resident for 24 years, Roper was chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board twice before being elected to the commission in 2002. A retired Sears Roebuck & Co. merchandise manager, his current term expires in March 2008.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl -croper30xnov30,0,4215362.story

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#53 - Posted: 30 Nov 2006 11:23 
COOPER CITY

New twist: Cooper City official charged with DUI

Amid the Cooper City drinking inquiry, a commissioner is found slumped over the wheel of his truck and charged with DUI.

BY BREANNE GILPATRICK AND KATHLEEN McGRORY
kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com

COURTESY OF WFOR-CBS 4

SENDOFF: Cooper City Commissioner Bartlett Roper makes an obscene gesture to cameras after leaving a BSO jail this morning.



A Cooper City commissioner, one of several under inquiry for dinner gatherings that involved drinking before commission meetings, now has a more immediate problem:

Bartlett ''Bart'' Roper was arrested on a DUI charge Tuesday night after police officers said they found him slumped over the wheel of his truck on Pine Island Road in Davie. When they roused him with a rap on the window, he flashed a vulgar gesture at paramedics, police said.

Roper, 69, was taken to the Broward Sheriff's Office's main jail in Fort Lauderdale. Bond was set at $500, which he posted about 9 a.m. Wednesday, flipping a throng of journalists the same hand gesture as he was driven away.

Roper has no prior criminal record in Florida. And Broward court records show no previous traffic violations.

A woman answering the phone at Roper's home Wednesday afternoon said Roper had no comment on the arrest.

Cooper City Commissioner Linda Ferrara and City Attorney Alan Ruf also declined to comment about the incident. Mayor Debby Eisinger and Commissioners Elliot Kleiman and John Valenti could not be reached.

Roper's arrest comes weeks after hidden cameras from Miami Herald news partner WFOR-Channel 4 captured him, along with the mayor, the three other commissioners and some city officials, gathered at local bars and restaurants before City Commission meetings for taxpayer-funded dinners during which alcohol was imbibed.

Earlier this month, Gov. Jeb Bush requested a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry into allegations by residents that the dinners violated Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which generally bars elected officials from discussing city business in private. FDLE also is examining claims that city officials drove under the influence after those dinners.

FDLE INTERESTED

FDLE investigators will examine any information from Roper's arrest that might pertain to their inquiry, said Anthony De Luise, governor's office spokesman. The results of the FDLE inquiry will determine whether the governor requests a full investigation into the dinners.

City officials called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business. On Nov. 14, Eisinger proposed an ordinance formally banning the dinners.

The Davie police report gives this account of Roper's arrest:

About 10:45 p.m., officers responded to a report of a man dozing behind the wheel of his pickup truck in the northbound turn lane at 5700 South Pine Island Rd.

The police, joined by paramedics, knocked on the driver's-side window of the silver Chevy, which had a shredded front tire. The driver lifted his head, smiled and gave paramedics ``the finger.''

Officers detected a ''very strong odor'' of alcohol when the man emerged.

Roper was given a road sobriety test, which he failed. He staggered when told to walk a straight line and swiveled his head when instructed to shift only his eyes back and forth, the report said.

Roper told officers he'd had ``a few drinks in Cooper City.''

Asked to produce his driver's license, Roper insisted it was in his right hand. But his right hand was empty. He refused to submit to a breath test.

CALL FOR REMOVAL

Residents who led the charge against the city's pre-meeting dinners have called for Roper's removal.

''This further proves our point -- our city officials are not doing what they should be doing,'' said John Sims, one of the first residents to publicly question Cooper City's pre-meeting dinners. ``These people should be held to higher standards. They shouldn't blatantly disregard the law.''

Several other Cooper City residents picking up students from Cooper City Elementary School next to City Hall on Wednesday afternoon said they didn't like the example set by a DUI arrest of an elected official.

''You're a commissioner,'' said Don Skoglund, 69. ``You're supposed to be setting the standard.''

But Gov. Bush has never suspended an elected official for a DUI alone. The governor suspended former Miramar Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman in June 2005 after Salesman was charged with a DUI about a month before. But Salesman also was charged with fleeing a police officer, a third-degree felony. Salesman is awaiting trial.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/breaking _news/16127043.htm

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#54 - Posted: 3 Dec 2006 10:42 
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Politicians Behaving Badly: Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper

Imagine, if you will, you are an elected city commissioner. Within the past month, a scandal has erupted concerning allegations of you and your fellow commissioners meeting for dinners, just prior to commission meetings, at which the commissioners order as many as twenty (20) alcoholic drinks during a 45-minute period, bill their dinners and drinks to the taxpayers, and perhaps, in violation of the state's open meetings law, discuss matters that may foreseeably come before the commission. Your state's governor has recently ordered a law enforcement investigation into these troubling allegations.


What do you do? Well, if you're Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper, one of the things you do is you go out and get so inebriated from drinking mass quantities of alcohol that, according to the police report, you pass out behind the wheel of your truck in the middle of a turn lane on a busy public roadway, and when police officers and paramedics come to see if you're alright, you wake up and give them the finger. After the police officers smell you reeking of alcohol and hear you slurring your speech, you admit "you had a few drinks in Cooper City," you are repeatedly unable to produce your driver's license, which was found by the police in your front pocket, you stumble and fall into the police officer, you fail roadside sobriety tests, and you refuse to take a breathalyzer test. After you are arrested on charges of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and you bond out of jail the next morning, you look at the throng of local reporters and the television cameras, and you give them the finger as you are driven away.


Mr. Roper, you are a class act! I'm sure your eight (8) grandchildren: Crystal, Dustin, Christopher, Katie Lyn, Cody, Meaghan, Samantha, and Emily Grace are very proud of you. What a wonderful role model you are for them!

As a resident of Cooper City, I would like to thank you for preserving jobs for bartenders and servers by patronizing drinking establishments in Cooper City. After all, if you had gotten drunk in Davie or Pembroke Pines, that would really have added insult to injury.

In addition, I would like to praise you for the excellent judgment you showed, especially during the pendency of a law enforcement investigation into the current scandal involving City Commissioners' drinking alcohol before Commission meetings, in going out and getting all liquored up and driving while intoxicated. Among other things, this shows you get drunk on nights when there is no Commission meeting, instead of only on nights when there is a Commission meeting. So you can't blame the City's taxpayers for buying you all those drinks and making you into a boozehound. In my opinion, any doubts as to the source of your dull, glassy-eyed stare from the commission dais, as shown in the CBS4 reports, have now been resolved.

Perhaps you will find a way to blame your drunken carousing on those pesky citizen-activists, just like Mayor Eisinger blamed them for exposing your taxpayer-funded pre-commission meeting soirees. It is likely you will look to blame anyone other than yourself for your conduct.
Thank you, again, Mr. Roper, for being such a credit to Cooper City.

# posted by Stephen Verbit @ 9:18 PM 0 comments links to this post

Posted at http://nobleamericans.blogspot.com/

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#55 - Posted: 6 Dec 2006 18:26 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
Commissioner Kleiman Talks to School Students About the Alcohol Scandal...Tells them not to listen to their parents. Blessed by the Mayor, Debbie Eisinger.

Watch the video here:

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26682@wfor.dayport.com



I love the typical spin by Kleiman; "You know there's not one damn bit of proof of any of this". He needs to learn how to keep his mouth shut.

It's funny...his middle school "constituents" aren't of the age to vote.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#56 - Posted: 10 Dec 2006 19:26 
Commissioner under scrutiny

Critics want city leaders to remove Roper, but only governor can do that

By Thomas Monnay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted December 9 2006


COOPER CITY · Although some community activists want the city's leaders to remove Commissioner Bart Roper from office, City Attorney Allan Ruf says they don't have the legal authority to do so.

Ruf, who has been on the job since 1978, said only Gov. Jeb Bush can suspend Roper. But Anthony DeLuise, a spokesman with the governor's office, said Bush has no intention of removing Roper.

Since Roper's arrest Nov. 28 on a drunken driving charge, a second-degree misdemeanor, critics have been pressing for Roper's removal and said commissioners should address the issue when they meet Tuesday.

"It's a shame," said Lisa Mallozzi, an eastern Cooper City activist. "I think he needs to resign and get help ... Cooper City needs a new image."

Mallozzi, a former commission candidate, said she knows of a few people who plan to call for Roper's dismissal on Tuesday.

John Sims, who has been generally critical of the commission, said he would start a petition to recall Roper.

Steve Marhee, a civic leader, said he respects Roper for his hard work on the commission, but said Roper owes residents an explanation.

"I don't know his side of the story," Marhee said. "I'm sure people want to know what happened."

Roper probably won't attend Tuesday's meeting, said his attorney, Raag Singhal of Fort Lauderdale.

Singhal said Roper "will be pleading not guilty" on the drunken driving charge.

Commissioner Elliot Kleiman said Roper has "done an exemplary job."

Kleiman added, "One mistake by an individual should not erase everything good that he's done."

Roper, a two-term commissioner, was arrested two days after his 69th birthday in the 5700 block of South Pine Island Road after police found him asleep and slumped over the wheel of his 2000 Chevrolet pickup.

The incident has drawn plenty of attention at a time when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into whether commissioners broke any laws during private dinners held at local restaurants prior to commission meetings.

Bush ordered the FDLE inquiry, which is still ongoing, after media reports and a complaint by Sims alleging possible misconduct during the dinners. Commissioners have denied wrongdoing.

No court date has yet been set on Roper's drunken driving charge.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#57 - Posted: 11 Dec 2006 11:21 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
The inherent danger in the Cooper City local government

The danger inherent in the Cooper City local government's arrogant assertion that it has the power to trample American citizen's civil liberties in the name of "Someplace Special" is illustrated by a seemingly minor incident that occurred these past few months in regards to states of emergency powers along with the boat ordinance and the new drinking scandal. As an American citizen, I have been threatened by Cooper City officials and labeled as an "activist" and an "anti-government dissident" simply for speaking my mind in accordance with the First Amendment at a Cooper City commission meeting, and on camera, all because the Cooper City commission has allowed county law enforcement officials to steal our property without a duly issued warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction in the name of "homeland security" or "state of emergency", even though Cooper City officials have no legal authority to do so.

It reminds me of Nazi Germany:
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering (1893-1946)

There can be no doubt that Governor Bush's investigation and his final report could be designed, from the inception, to clear the Cooper City officials of any wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct. It is certainly easier for everyone involved in a minor incident involving a fellow politician to nonchalantly sweep it under the carpet just as the Cooper City mayor and commission, along with their cronies have attempted to do.

However, the statements and conduct of Mayor Debbie Eisinger and Commissioner Elliott Kleiman, as well as the public drunkenness of Commissioner Bart Roper, reveal an arrogant, contemptuous, and condescending attitude on the part of the Cooper City officials involved toward anyone who would have the chutzpah to question their authority, actions, their take on law enforcement authority or attempt to invoke their constitutional rights as United States citizens. The commission and mayor have not seen all of the video evidence, yet they denounce and debunk an unbiased and multiple award winning journalist as also having an agenda, along with the statement "You know there's not one damn bit of proof of any of this." The video 'proof' speaks for itself.

In this instance, FDLE officials, from Governor Bush to FDLE attorneys in the General Counsel's Office, have consistently been haughtily dismissive of Cooper City citizen's concerns, and the entire city commission have attempted to disclaim any responsibility for the events of the past few months by invoking the totemic incantation that this was a "social tradition" matter, as if the mere mention of alcohol would be a talisman against anyone questioning the conduct of the Cooper City commission, Mayor and the guilty by association law enforcement officer, Chief John Hale.

Not only have officials been dismissive of citizen's concerns, some also tried to intimidate one citizen from seeking answers to his questions from the Governor stating that any and all questions should go through the FDLE. For example, Mayor Debbie Eisinger blatantly attempted to obstruct justice and discourage Mr.Kirsch from seeking public records by attempting to thwart the process and impose unlawful and unjustified fees and charges on Mr. Kirsch as a condition to obtaining the records he requested.

Amazingly, the city has no written documentation concerning the dinners and previous requests for documentation, which apparently has been recently shredded. (Despite repeated FOIA requests by citizens since inception of this issue, Cooper City has failed to publicly address or produce any records documenting or confirming the alleged actions. Public records requests to the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO), whom the mayor's family were claimed to have been involved in local law enforcement responses to alleged multiple open house parties at the mayor's residence, were similarly unavailing. BSO claims to have no formal records or citations written concerning this matter even though they were dispatched to the mayor's residence on multiple occasions.)

Neither Cooper City nor the FDLE could care less about finding the answers to the very important questions surrounding their actions. The mayor's reply to the Governor proves the point. From the little evidence that is available, it appears the FDLE officials involved simply assume, without any question, that the city commissioners were legally authorized to spend money on drinks and booze while discussing city business because, after all, this is "Someplace Special." (The statement regarding "Someplace Special" is apparent and supported based on the preferential treatment Commissioner Bart Roper received while in jail and after being booked according to direct witnesses who work at the BSO facility.) In making this assumption, they are no doubt supported by what appears to be their institutional inclination that, as city officials and law enforcement officers, they are above the law, and may act at their own whim, answering only to their organizational leadership (possibly the Blue Ribbon or Charter Committee) whose actions must not be questioned.

We now know that the city did not have the legal right to enforce a no boat ordinance or the confiscation of tools, equipment and supplies, but the citizens let it happen anyway. What are they going to do? Well, a lawsuit is the only viable option.

Mayor Eisinger was not legally authorized to spend citizen's tax dollars on anyone for 'social tradition". Thus, on the issue of the drinking, dinners, denial of private property rights and the confiscation of private property, there was an armed man at the commission meetings (and also at the alcohol based 'dinners'), with a uniform and a badge, who was apparently there to harass and intimidate certain people, threatening to arrest and imprison people, blatantly violating citizens' constitutional rights, and curtailing their liberty when they exercised their right to address their government, when they said something that the mayor didn't like. Chief Hale may have had a good faith belief that what he was doing was legal, but citizens' liberties were aggressed upon nonetheless when he was given the wink and nod from the mayor to forcibly remove citizens if required and when ordered, upon non-violent and truthful citizens concerns or comment. In truth, the only difference between Chief Hale, the city commission, the mayor and a criminal was which one of them had the gun and the badge.

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#58 - Posted: 11 Dec 2006 18:12 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
John B. Sims III


December 11, 2006

Re: Response to Cooper City Mayor Debbie Eisinger's reply of November 8, 2006 to your initial communication to the mayor regarding possible Cooper City local government ethics violations

Governor Bush,

This letter is in response to Cooper City Mayor Debbie Eisinger's reply of November 8, 2006 to your initial communication to the mayor regarding possible Cooper City local government ethics violations. I have been very disgusted and disappointed with the actions of the Cooper City Commission and those of the Office of the Mayor. Their attempts to spin and discredit the facts and evidence, along with calling myself, among others, 'anti-government dissidents' are disturbing at best. The mayor has no knowledge of the 'history' regarding myself and the surrounding of the facts.

Regarding the Mayor's comments about myself, I have never been an 'anti-government dissident' nor have I ever been involved in any local government issues. In fact, I have been a government public servant and government employee most of my adult life working for local governments and their contractors with security clearances. I am extremely distressed that I, an American citizen and US Navy veteran, was labeled an 'anti-government dissident' a title held by such dissidents as Salmon Rushdie and Andrei Sakharov.

I also have never 'continually' attended any commission meetings until the commission discussed and passed an illegal ordinance disallowing private property owners in non-deed restricted communities to own and possess certain property. At that meeting, I voiced my concerns regarding the proposed ordinance (See attached Exhibit A and B) at the request of Mr. Tim Wilder, who I met through business dealings a few short weeks before the aforementioned meeting. I have been to three commission meetings in the fifteen years that I have lived in Cooper City. Regarding the Blue Ribbon Committee mentioned by the mayor, the issue was the least of concerns by the Committee.

Be advised that I do not own a boat that violated the proposed ordinance, but I simply voiced my concerns due to the alleged unlawfulness of the ordinance as stated by the authorities and as previously ruled upon by the courts. As far as questioning the Commission, I understand that it is our right to confront and question both local government and state government officials, yet Mayor Eisinger condemns both Mr. Wilder and me for our appropriate actions simply because she did not agree with what we had to say. In fact, Mr. Wilder and I simply asked questions, which were ignored and not responded to. Mr. Wilder's question to the City Manager was "Mr. Farrell, what are the consequences to a city employee under the influence of alcohol?" My question was "Why won't this commission answer the question?"

The mayor has now lied directly to you in her response. In addition, I have never threatened nor initiated litigation as stated to you by the mayor. The record shows that I have never initiated and 'personal attack' to any commission member or the mayor. In fact, on one occasion, when I respectfully asked for a moment of silence for one of our fallen police officers, I was attacked by the commission and was told that I was out of order, when in fact the entire commission meeting on that particular date was out of order and not complied with in order to keep concerned residents out of the meeting regarding the alcohol and Sunshine Law violation scandal. On prior meetings, the allowable number of residents far exceeded the allowable number and no Fire Marshall or Police were there to control the crowd.

In regards to my 'severe objection' to the emergency management ordinance, my objection was simply that of not allowing any person or official on my private property without a duly issued warrant, especially in order to confiscate my equipment and tools necessary to protect my family's life, liberty and property in case of a disaster. In addition, the ordinance provisions regarding the taking of firearms were appalling and are not lawful.

Mayor Eisinger has not seen the hours of video footage by Channel 4 WFOR and continually attempts to discredit unbiased reporting and upstanding residents with vicious attacks and lies. The video evidence is apparently all a big lie by Channel 4. In fact, I was a witness to some of the footage and can attest to its authenticity.

Be advised that I have no 'personal goals' or agenda as stated by the mayor in her response to you other than to let them know that they need to follow the law and not be a rogue commission doing whatever they please at the blessing of the city attorney, while eroding the rights of the citizens of Cooper City.

I wish to personally thank you and your family for all of the hard work and public service that you have graciously and generously provided to the citizens of the State of Florida. I wish you well in your future and Godspeed.



Best Regards,



John Sims

CC: Charlie Crist
FDLE
Governor_Bush_Respon.docAttached file: Governor Bush Response
 

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#59 - Posted: 12 Dec 2006 09:00 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
OUTBURST

WHERE BROWARD GOES TO VENT


http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/st ates/florida/counties/broward_county/16199444.htm

On the arrest of Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper on a DUI charge, and the commission's now-discontinued practice of holding private dinners before its public meetings:

'They have a `Light Up Cooper City' ceremony tonight and it seems like Bart Roper got lit a little early.''

``Cooper City Commissioner Bart Roper needs to resign now. Cooper City doesn't need an idiot like that as a commissioner.''

``It's about time Cooper City's commission, mayor, and especially city manager all step down. ''

``The Cooper City Commission meetings do not warrant the amount of press they have received. What is the real issue behind this vendetta, and who has the connections to get so much unwarranted press? ... I have personally observed these commissioners just prior to their meetings on several occasions. They were discussing family, friends, holiday plans, etc. -- no commission business. They are very nice ordinary people who are dedicating their time for the benefit of their neighbors, for little compensation.''

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#60 - Posted: 13 Dec 2006 13:20 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
COOPER CITY

Cooper City leaders get an earful from residentsMore than 40 people turned out to express their disapproval of recent actions by Cooper City commissioners.

BY JERRY BERRIOS
jberrios@MiamiHerald.com



ABSENT: City Commissioner Bartlett 'Bart' Roper was not at Tuesday's meeting. Cooper City residents showed discontent with their elected leaders Tuesday night, scolding them for several incidents that have drawn negative attention to the small city.

More than 40 residents crowded the City Commission chambers at the first meeting since Bartlett ''Bart'' Roper was arrested on DUI charges.

The arrest came after commissioners were already under a state inquiry for gathering at local bars and restaurants before commission meetings. The dinners were paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Hidden cameras from Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 captured commissioners drinking alcohol during the gatherings.

Roper was absent from Tuesday's meeting. Reached at his home afterward, Roper said he had no comment.

On Nov. 28, Davie police said they found Roper slumped over the wheel of his truck on Pine Island Road in Davie.

When they roused him with a rap on the window, he flashed a vulgar gesture at paramedics, police said.

''I think it is an absolute disgrace that Bart Roper did not have the guts nor the dignity to show up tonight to face the citizens,'' said resident Diane Sori, one of half a dozen who criticized Roper or the commission as a whole. ``It just adds credence to the allegations that were brought forth about this commission last month.''

Last month, Gov. Jeb Bush requested a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry into allegations by residents that the dinners violated Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which generally bars elected officials from discussing city business in private.

FDLE also is examining claims that city officials drove under the influence after those dinners.

Davie police said officers detected a ''very strong odor'' of alcohol when Roper emerged from the truck.

He was given a road sobriety test, which he failed.

City officials have called the dinners a long-standing city tradition and said they were neither intoxicated nor discussing city business

Watch the video here:
http://cbs4.com/video/?id=26952@wfor.dayport.com

###

Some Cooper City leaders defend billing meals to taxpayers
Cooper City commissioners were caught on tape drinking and eating together at bars and cafes before meetings.

By BREANNE GILPATRICK

Cooper City commissioners voted themselves hefty pay raises and approved a $40 million budget -- all after wining and dining on the taxpayer's dime, according to a hidden-camera investigation by Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4.

The two-month investigation, which was broadcast Thursday night, showed city commissioners and City Manager Chris Farrell at restaurants in Cooper City and Davie, having dinner and chatting while holding wine glasses and, in one case, what the report said was a beer bottle. Afterward, they drove to City Hall, where, before a room filled with residents, they passed laws and made decisions about expenditures involving taxpayer dollars.

After one such gathering, the television investigation showed, the commissioners voted themselves pay raises that will more than double their salaries next year.

All five of the commissioners -- Mayor Debby Eisinger, Commissioners Linda Ferrara, Elliot Kleiman, Bart Roper and John Valenti are on the tape, as well as Farrell. Ferrara and Valenti did not return phone calls Thursday. Roper declined to comment. Eisinger said the dinners have been a standard practice for years. Kleiman said the meetings are good for the city.

''As with any type of PR activity, it gets expensed to taxpayers,'' Kleiman said. ``The whole purpose was to develop our image.''

Farrell responded in an e-mail: ``At no time did any member of the commission, or any member of the city staff, ever consume an inappropriate amount of alcohol or ever become intoxicated at any of these dinners.''

For years, before most commission meetings, commissioners and city staff have been holding ''City Commission dinners,'' current and former commissioners said. CBS4 documented four recent dinner meetings between Aug. 22 and Oct. 3, which cost taxpayers nearly $1,000 in total. It wasn't clear if commissioners were discussing city business at the dinner meetings. If they were, the meetings would violate Florida's Government in the Sunshine Law, which requires commissioners to discuss city business in public.

And if they weren't discussing city business, some taxpayers are wondering why taxpayers are footing the bills.

''Why are we paying for that?'' Cooper City resident John Sims said. ``If indeed it is personal time, they should be paying for it.''

Even if the commissioners weren't intoxicated -- and there was no evidence they were -- Sims said any alcohol before a city meeting is too much. ''I don't care if it's one sip of beer or wine or hard liquor,'' he said.

During the CBS4 investigation, reporter Mike Kirsch followed Cooper City commissioners and senior city staff to restaurants. CBS4 then used hidden cameras to record the commissioners standing around bars and sitting down to dinner while talking to each other and to the city manager, BSO District Chief John Hale and other officials. Farrell and other commissioners were drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, the report said, but Hale, who was in uniform, was drinking soda.

After a Sept. 27 dinner, the commission voted to raise the mayor's salary from $7,000 to $20,000 and they hiked each commissioner's salary from $6,000 to $15,000 a year.

One person who witnessed one of the dinners, Miami Beach police union president Bobby Jenkins said he saw the group on Aug. 22 while sitting at the bar at Landlubbers Raw Bar and Grill, in Cooper City.

Jenkins, who lives in Cooper City and has been a road sobriety test instructor for more than 20 years, said he was appalled: ``The fact that they were drinking, that was what shocked me more than anything. If I showed up to work that way, they'd fire me.''

Kleiman told The Miami Herald that the dinners were held to recognize employee accomplishments, which is why the meals were expensed to taxpayers. Eisinger said commission members and department heads have attended pre-commission meeting dinners for years.

''These dinners have been a customary practice of prior City Commissions in Cooper City for more than 15 years,'' Eisinger told The Miami Herald in an e-mail. ``I have been advised that these dinners are neither legally nor ethically wrong in any respect as no City business is discussed.''

Commissioner Kleiman's son, Scott Kleiman, a former city commissioner, confirmed the tradition.

''Maybe somebody had a glass of wine,'' he said of the meetings he attended. ``But nobody was sitting in a bar for hours drinking.''

The city no longer hosts these dinners, Farrell said in his e-mail. The most recent credit-card charge was for a $200 dinner on Oct. 3.

One Cooper City resident e-mailed Gov. Jeb Bush about the dinners. The governor's legal counsel is reviewing the e-mail. At an Oct. 24 meeting, two citizens, including Sims, asked commissioners whether they had ever drank alcohol before their meetings. Commissioners said they didn't feel the need to answer.

According to Cooper City's code of ordinances, ''drinking intoxicating liquors while on duty'' is a reason for termination for city employees. The recall of elected officials is left to voters, according to the city charter.

It is not clear from the tape what the mayor and other commissioners were saying during these dinners. But the Florida Sunshine Law bars elected officials from discussing city business with one another in private. The law allows professional staff members to talk to each other or commissioners, but they can't pass messages between commissioners.

Jenkins said he heard references to the ''agenda'' and ''revenue'' at some of these meetings but said he did not know if it was city staff or elected officials discussing these issues.

The law extends to any discussion of city issues by elected officials, said Dan Paul, a retired First Amendment lawyer. It does not prohibit personal meetings. ''You don't have to show it had been on the agenda or schedule for discussion or anything like that,'' he said. ``Most Sunshine Law violations are things that never show up on the agenda.''

Sunshine Law violations are considered a misdemeanor, said Sandra Chance, executive director for the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. Penalties include up to six months in prison, a $500 fine and removal from office. ''If they were talking about issues that affect the city, then I think that crosses over to discussions that should be held in the sunshine,'' Chance said.

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