Cooper commissioner urged to step down following DUI arrest
By Thomas Monnay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted December 13 2006
COOPER CITY · Angry residents pushing for the removal of two-term Commissioner Bart Roper were told Tuesday night that city leaders have no power to take such action.
Pressure to oust Roper, who did not attend the city commission meeting, has been mounting since his drunken driving arrest Nov. 28 in the 5700 block of South Pine Island Road. Police say they found the 69-year-old retiree asleep and slumped over the wheel of his 2000 Chevrolet pickup truck.
City Attorney Allan Ruf said Cooper City's charter doesn't address the second-degree misdemeanor.
Ruf said only Gov. Jeb Bush has the discretion to intervene. A spokesman for the governor has said Bush would not act because Roper isn't charged with a felony.
Several residents at the meeting expressed outrage because the incident occurred while state investigators are looking into whether the five commissioners broke any laws at private dinners held at taxpayers' expense. The meals were before commission meetings during the past few years.
Those dinners also involved drinking, but commissioners have denied they were intoxicated. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement's inquiry is ongoing.
"He knew he was under watch, he should have been on his best behavior," said Lisa Mallozzi, an eastern Cooper City activist and former commission candidate. "I want to know what happened." John Sims, whose inquiries sparked the investigation into the whole commission, said he would initiate a petition drive to help remove Roper.
Raag Singhal, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney representing Roper, said last week Roper would plead not guilty to the drunken driving charge.
Commissioners did not comment publicly on Roper's arrest. However, in an e-mail last week to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Mayor Debby Eisinger said, "Driving in an intoxicated state is not acceptable behavior for anyone, and I certainly do not condone Commissioner Roper's behavior. ...While I do not know much about Commissioner Roper's personal life, I believe that he has always attempted to act in the best interest of the residents of Cooper City in his capacity as an elected official."
They've Done It Again
Well, well, well, here we go again. A DUI and the "Universal Sign of Brotherhood" flashed at the police and the media by another one of our illustrious commissioners, Bart "The Finger" Roper. Who, by the way, was slumped over drunk at an intersection. That's the first response isn't it? Well, it is if you are an elected offical who is seemingly above the law in Cooper City.
When asked about this our shameless mayor said, "It's a personal matter." Not anymore Ms. Mayor. Not when the police charge you with a crime. Not when you flip them off. And not when you respond, "It's only once. They (the citizens the don't like the fact that commissioner Bart Roper was charged with DUI) can move." Can you believe that he (Commissioner Roper) said that? How much longer will we, the people allow them to get away with this travesty?
They have thumbed their noses at us, the residents, Governor Bush, the media and a myriad of other people. It's time for action. While the investigation [is still moving forward] with the "drinks and dinner" debacle, Commissioner Roper has clearly broken the law. There are several possible actions that can be taken. I am awaiting a call from the city clerk to determine what the legal remedies are for us as citizens. I don't know about other residents, but I for one am outraged that they have turned our "Someplace Special" into something else.
Cooper City Commissioner Charged With DUI
POSTED: Wednesday, November 29, 2006
UPDATED: 12:53 pm EST November 29, 2006
DAVIE, Fla. -- A Cooper City commissioner is charged with driving under the influence.
Bart Roper was arrested Tuesday by Davie police.
Police said they found Roper, 69, sleeping behind the wheel of a pickup truck in a turn lane at about 11:30 p.m.
According to the police report, Roper was rousted "by knocking on the driver's door window. When he saw paramedics, he smiled and gave them the finger."
The police report stated Roper's eyes were "bloodshot and glassy" and that he had a "very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage" coming from his face.
When Roper got out of the truck, "he staggered and fell against the door frame," the police report claims. He also admitted he had "a few drinks in Cooper City," the police report said.
Police said Roper failed numerous field sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer.
Roper was released from jail Wednesday on $500 bond. When asked about the arrest, Roper said, "It's only one. You can move."
He has been on the Cooper City commission since 2002.