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Delray Beach CRA audit sparks tensions between new mayor and Sen. Abruzzo

by Dara Kam | April 4th, 2013

An audit into the Delray Beach CRA’s spending has erupted into a face-off between new Mayor Cary Glickstein and state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington.

Abruzzo is chairman of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, which unanimously ordered the review on Monday after a request from Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. The request for the audit comes in part over concerns about more than $300,000 spent on the Arts Garage.

At his first city commission meeting the following day since being elected after a bitter battle against incumbent Tom Carney, Glickstein lashed back at Abruzzo.

“I find the timing of this audit suspect and politically motivated,” Glickstein said Tuesday night.

He accused Abruzzo, a lobbyist for the law firm of Weiss, Handler & Cornwell, of a conflict of interest because, he said, the law firm also represents the city.

“Further I find it curious that notwithstanding a $65 million no-bid contract to a trash hauler which ran directly counter to our county director inspector general’s directive to bid the contract there was silence from Sen. Abruzzo but when spurious e-mails rife with innuendo are sent, Sen. Abruzzo jumps into action,” he went on. “Perhaps Sen. Abruzzo’s audit committee should expand its audit to include the waste management debacle if it’s genuinely interested in how Delray Beach conducts business.”

Glickstein told City Attorney Brian Shutt he wants details on the contract with the law firm before the next commission meeting.

And he ordered a public records request of both Clemens and Abruzzo “so we can determine…why Abruzzo and Clemens are now so interested in our CRA.”

The commission backed Glickstein on the request after City Attorney Brian Shutt told Glickstein he could not independently seek the records without the support of the commission.

Abruzzo fired back at Glickstein Wednesday night, saying his law firm does not lobby for the city but a separate entity, All Florida Solutions, created by the law firm’s partners does.

“I welcome all public records requests from Mayor Glickstein. Any legislator at any time can request an audit of a governmental entity for any reason,” Abruzzo said in a telephone interview. “The mayor’s comments about the Weiss, Handler & Cornwell law firm and my lobbying and lawmaking activity are wrong and inaccurate. I have never been a lobbyist for the city of Delray Beach. I am also prohibited by my job as a senator to lobby for any city to the state. In addition, the law firm Weiss, Handler & Cornwell for which I am employed is not the lobbyist for Delray Beach. I will not be deterred from doing my job by comments aimed at hurting me financially even if they are false. I would resign my private sector work and reduce my income before I would let it be used as pressure. Mayor Glickstein needs to learn about checking information before making comments. I would prefer to attribute it to his lack of experience in holding public office rather than negative, willful intent. I look forward to the completion of the audit.”

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14 Responses to “Delray Beach CRA audit sparks tensions between new mayor and Sen. Abruzzo”

  1. PBC 2013 Says:

    Go Joe Go! This Mayor is crazy! Abruzzo also got the IG on the county health board for more government oversight! Great moves Sen. Abruzzo!

  2. Searcher1 Says:

    Delray is trying to UPSTAGE Lake Worth and Boynton as the CRAZIEST CITY in the County!

  3. DavidW Says:

    Cary Glickstein is right. Thank you Mayor Glickstein for standing up to corruption

  4. Watching Says:

    Anytime you have a Mayor getting upset about an audit, it is suspect. We should all wait for the audit to come out. Nothing wrong with a little look under the hood.

  5. Ann Brown Says:

    Because Abruzzo and Clemens suddenly became so interested in Delray Beach CRA’s affairs, I’d like to know why? They don’t represent Delray Beach and they weren’t interested in contracts issues by the previous Mayor without due process, but now, out of the blue, they’re interested in what’s going on with CRA and ArtsGarage – the incredible successful Arts Organization. I’d like to know why. I’d like to know who are their friends in Delray Beach who instigated this. I want the complete investigation into their affairs. They opened the can of worms. I am thankful to a new Mayor of Delray Beach for standing for the city and for requesting the inside information of these two obviously corrupt “Senators”.

  6. Time will tell. Says:

    Why all the hostility? Lets see what the audit shows! It will ether be valid or not. As for the Senators, I agree, nothing wrong with looking into things going on in the city. The new mayor seems disturbed and trying to change the subject, not a good indication of things to come. What investigation into the Senators? A public records request? Anyone can ask for that, it’s nothing.

  7. Irony Says:

    It’s ironic that Jeff Clemens, who misused so many tax dollars as mayor of Lake Worth, and Joe Abruzzo who never saw a lobbying dollar he wouldn’t take, are so interested in Delray’s issues.

  8. Pondering Says:

    I wonder if the law firm that wants the space that the Art’s Garage occupies has their little fingers in this. This very soon after it was decided to let the Art’s Garage stay there. Hmmm

  9. OK, So What Says:

    @Pondering, Bingo! We have a winner!

  10. VIC Says:

    Well, well, well. Ugly situation. Maybe Abruzzo better understand the workings of Weiss, Handler before he opens his mouth.

    Henry Handler, a partner in Weiss Handler, does in fact lobby for the City of Delray Beach.

    Ken Pruitt also lobbys for the City of Delray Beach, although he is no longer showing under the Weiss Handler umbrella, Pruitt and the Law Firm share “like” clients. THAT in itself should speak volumes.

    You can go here to check on registered lobbyists and who they represent.

    Abruzzo better not be lobbying for clients before the State or Federal Level. That’s a no-no.

    Can you spell C-O-R-R-U-P-T?

  11. VIC Says:

    You might also find this tidbit from Weiss Handler to be an eyeopener.


  12. Jerry Frinke Says:

    Abruzzo’s crew sure got quiet after that Weiss&Handler info was posted. Senator Sachs, where are you? I sure hope the Ethics Commission doesn’t get scared, we need them to fight back on this.

  13. DavidW Says:

    Abruzzo is now and always has been a Mary McCarty stooge…

    “McCarty, a Republican Palm Beach County commissioner and former county GOP chairwoman, said last week she’s bucking her party and backing Democrat Abruzzo in the mid-county state House District 85 race against Republican attorney Howard Coates.”

  14. Can you snort valium Says:

    fsrysqptupoqpmjujdt/dpn, Social anxiety disorder and valium, xBozbqv.

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