New reports are surfacing that Elvin Villalobos, Tamarac’s Vice Mayor, had the best opportunity to stamp out corruption in Tamarac but refused to act in the resident’s best interest. Elected in November 2020, Villalobos narrowly defeated incumbent Commissioner Julie Fishman by just over 100 votes. Records show that Commissioner Marlon Bolton, who is said to have raised thousands of dollars for Villalobos, was a staunch supporter of Villalobos during the 2020 campaigns.
Bolton is a champion for a good government who publicly declared war against the Tamarac City Manager insisting the Manager was corrupt early on. Bolton joined in residents’ complaints who were most concerned with the City’s mismanagement of the Colony West project after the City Manager asked the Commission to approve more than $3,000,000 additionally to fund the project, but Commissioners Bolton and Gelin both said, under sunshine, the deal was sketchy. Residents allegedly forwarded the complaints to the Broward County Inspector General’s office.
Cernech will face charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering and is charged with being a co-conspirator to the father and son duo Bruce and Shawn Chait in the extortion scheme against 13th Floor Investments, whose plans will come before the Tamarac City Commission later this year on October 20th.
“The defendant [Cernech] conspired with convicted felons, using his position of authority to relay false information to the highest levels of city government to further this multimillion-dollar extortion scheme—disgraceful. My Statewide Prosecutors, working with FDLE investigators, have exposed the corruption and now the defendant and his co-conspirators will have to answer for their crimes,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
“The victim, in this case, was constantly harassed and his business and livelihood threatened by the Chaits and their accomplice Michael Cernech. Their actions were both frightening and appalling. I appreciate the dedication of our FDLE agents in Miami and the Office of Statewide Prosecution in unraveling this brazen fraud,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
According to the Probable cause affidavit, both Cernech and Mayor Michelle J. Gomez were named in the illegal scheme in March 2021 (after Villalobos was elected). Multiple residents asked Villalobos to fire Cernech while he was “the third vote” but he failed to act, and now Tamarac Taxpayers may have to pay for his failed leadership.
Villalobos could have acted in securing an attorney who would continue to probe and give a close watch on possible mishandling of City finances, instead, he opted to hire John Herin. Mr. Herin from Fox Rothschild LLP allegedly has ties with a disgraced politician who was part of the biggest corruption scandal in Tamarac which resulted in the former Mayor being arrested. Back in 2011, the politician was involved in the corruption scandal with her good friend, Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco who was arrested following her involvement in a previous Chait scandal.
Is this how Elvin Villalobos wants to begin his term in office by not acting wisely and associating with Mr. Herin who has ties to dirty politicians? Is there any difference between Elvin Villalobos and his predecessor? Who is advising Elvin Villalobos and is a third party the conduit breaking sunshine laws between Villalobos and Gomez? Tamarac Residents deserve to know, right?