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State orders audit of Delray Beach CRA

by Dara Kam | April 1st, 2013

A joint legislative committee ordered the state auditor general to conduct a review of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency based on complaints questioning the CRA’s spending on the Arts Garage.

Joint Legislative Auditing Committee Chairman Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, said the audit, requested by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, should be done sometime this year and hopefully will put to rest concerns about whether the CRA is allowed to funnel money to non-profit organizations.

Abruzzo said the committee gave Auditor General David Martin broad leeway to look into how the CRA is spending their money and if there are any conflicts of interest.

Gerry Franciosa, president of an organization called Delray Citizens Coalition Board, last month asked the Delray Beach Mayor Tom Carney and other city officials mayor to find out whether the CRA is breaking the law.

The CRA budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year includes $310,735 for funding to support the operations of
the Arts Garage. The CRA spent $304,795 on the facility last year, according to a staff analysis of the audit request.

According to a 2010 opinion by former Attorney General Bill McCollum, grants to CRAs to “promote tourism and economic development, as well as to nonprofits providing socially beneficial programs, would appear outside the scope of the community redevelopment act.”

Abruzzo said that’s how he interprets the law as well, but is hoping an audit will clear things up.

“It’s all hearsay at this point until we get an exact audit. Hopefully (the auditor general) comes back and says everything’s on the up and up and there’s nothing wrong here. They’re good. That would be great. Then the concerns are washed. But if he comes back and there’s issues, then we’ll have to go from there,” Abruzzo said.

The auditor general could refer findings to prosecutors if the audit finds that laws have been broken and will report the results to Abruzzo’s committee, probably sometime next year, Abruzzo said.

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2 Responses to “State orders audit of Delray Beach CRA”

  1. Oh boy Says:

    Word is the scope of this will be expanded to cover the city’s $60 million no bid contract of Waste Management and Universal’s beach raking deal. Unintended consequences are fun don’t you think Gerry? Get back on the porch, amateur hour is over.

  2. Legal Bee Says:

    You must be on the staff of the CRA to know so much and defend CRA Executive Director Diane Colonna who gets borad members appointed to her board who don’t even live in DELRAY.

    What has happen to West Atlantic, not a thing. Thank goodness for Christ Brown’s Masterplan that was put to motion before he was forced out, (CRA’s Executive Director Diane Colonna husband Jeff Perman Mayor at the time) nothing would have got done.

    I hope the audit involves the landtrust to see how mush money was pocketed by Executive Director Diane Colonna staff member in charge. Was not her husband on the board with John Levitson, the same two who the roded over on Mary McCarty to the Fed’s and cut the deal not to be prosecuted. These are the facts!!!

    Real nepotism impropriety here, not the Perlman-Colonna noooo, CRA’s Executive Director Diane Colonna hires her number Two and wife who happen to live next door to Perlman-Colonna with a one day posting of the job. There no Urban planners on the board or Staff of The CRA with vision only ego drive staff to fund things they think is Wonderful, Old school square, $250,000 plus, Arts garage $500,000 plus, The arts whare house that They spent twice what it was worth but Jeff Perlman knew the property owner real will!!!

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