Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deerfield Beach Housing Authority Defended

Tom Connick to the Housing Authority Board

The history and success of the Housing Authority during the past 21 years is the result of the talent, hard work, and integrity of its Executive Director, Pamela Davis.

In 1989, over 21 years ago, the Housing Authority was in a shambles:

o The Broward County Health Department had violations against the Housing Authority for rat and insect infestation
o The City had health and safety issues concerning the Housing Authority
o The residents of Stanley Terrace were on a rent strike
o The Housing Authority could not pay its current bills
o The Housing Authority had no credit
o The Housing Authority had no reserves
o The Housing Authority was over $30,000 in indebtedness to Internal Revenue for non payment of withholding taxes and Social Security taxes
o The renovation at Stanley Terrace was being mis-managed
o The Housing Authority only had 50 Section 8 vouchers
o The Housing Authority had no resident initiatives

In 1989, the City Mayor was Jean Robb. She and the then existing City Commission had a genuine concern about the Housing Authority. So that you will have an understanding of the legal structure of the Housing Authority, it is a housing authority established under Chapter 421, Florida Statutes. By statute, the City Commission has only limited authority or power concerning the Housing Authority. The City Mayor, with the concurrence of the City Commission, has a right to name or remove members of the Housing Authority Board. Other than that, the City Commission has no other legal authority over the Housing Authority or the management or operation of the Housing Authority.

In 1989, the Mayor and City Commission requested that I become involved with the Housing Authority in order to attempt to correct its then existing disastrous condition. It became immediately apparent that the only way to save the Housing Authority would be to find an unique and immensely talented, hard working, and honest Executive Director. Do you have any idea how difficult it was to find such a shining star? The one person who fit that was Pamela Davis. She had a background in working with the Broward County Legal Aid Society and was then the property manager with the Boca Raton Housing Authority. I recruited Pam to become the Executive Director and save the Housing Authority. Pam had an awareness of the daunting task facing anyone who would become Executive Director. More than the horrific condition of the Housing Authority was Pam’s concern that politics rather than performance would determine her destiny and reputation as Executive Director. Those of you who are familiar with housing authorities know that the destructive hand of politics threatens the quality of housing authorities. I promised Pam that she would always be judged by her performance and that her career and reputation would not be sullied by politicians hanging her out.

In June 1989, Pam accepted the job as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority. The shambles could not be corrected overnight. But, through the talent, hard work, and integrity of Pamela Davis, who is justifiably a role model for young women and the African American community, the Housing Authority has blossomed into a wonderful Housing Authority. Among her accomplishments, and therefore among the accomplishments of the Housing Authority:

o The violations of the Broward County Health Department against the Housing Authority for rat and insect infestation were rectified
o The health and safety issues of the City with the Housing Authority were rectified
o The rent strike of the residents of Stanley Terrace was resolved and the underlining issues which caused the strike were resolved
o The Housing Authority was able to pay its current bills
o The Housing Authority established credit
o The Housing Authority has built up healthy financial reserves
o The Housing Authority indebtedness to Internal Revenue for non payment of withholding taxes and Social Security taxes was paid off many years ago and payments of Internal Revenue obligations have been made on a timely basis since
o The mis-managed renovation at Stanley Terrace after much effort was resolved and those renovations were completed. Additionally, over the years that Pamela Davis has been the Executive Director, there have been a number of capital improvements and renovations to Housing Authority properties.
o The Housing Authority increased the small number of 50 Section 8 vouchers to 482 Section 8 vouchers, which is an increase of almost 1,000%
o The Housing Authority has resident initiatives
o The Housing Authority built the Business Skills Center
o The Housing Authority, through innovative financing, added 56 affordable housing units in the development known as The Palms of Deerfield Townhomes

The Housing Authority has accomplished its success as a housing authority over the past 21 years because of the tremendous talent, hard work, and integrity of Pamela Davis. Pamela Davis has never had the luxury of being able to sufficiently staff the administration of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority and has taken on job duties that in larger housing authorities would be able to be delegated to others. In her job as Executive Director, she wears many hats and has to perform many functions that other more bureaucratized housing authorities have specialists for that job task. In addition to being the chief administrator as Executive Director, Pam has to be the Human Resources Director, the Grants seeker and administrator, the Procurement Chief, and many other hats. Pam has always acted with fiscal responsibility, good faith and in what was in the best interest of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. Because she is human and not infallible, she has, from time to time, made some minor administrative mistakes, which mistakes pale in significance to her monumental accomplishments.

In the mid 1840's there was a popular writer by the name of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1846, he wrote a short story that is still read today. The name of that short story is “The Birthmark”. It is a story of a brilliant scientist who marries a woman who is beautiful both internally and externally. After the marriage, this scientist- husband discovers a small blemish on his beautiful wife’s face. He obsesses over this minor birthmark and seeks to have it removed. And, he is successful in removing this tiny birthmark, but its removal kills this beautiful woman. An false illusion has been attempted to be created by Mr. Stevens which attempts to have the public focus on a tiny technical blemish concerning procurement instead of observing the full functioning of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority in an effort to damage the reputation of Pamela Davis, the Executive Director. Tonight you will be hearing the truth concerning Mr. Stevens’ attempted smears. Mr. Stevens, like the brilliant scientist in The Birthmark, would rather you kill the internally and externally beautiful woman by focusing on a tiny technical blemish.

Martin Luther King stated the truth when he said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. The Housing Authority faces a time of moral crisis because of the false accusations that are being made or intimated. Let’s discuss the truth as to why the Housing Authority, which arose from the ashes in 1989 as a result of the talents, efforts, and integrity of your current Executive Director Pamela Davis is in danger of being damaged and that the reputation of this fine woman is in danger of being trashed.

This moral crisis is the result of ignorance and of intimidation by the destructive Mr. Stevens.

The fact is that most people are in ignorance of exactly what comprises this independent Housing Authority. The Housing Authority is actively involved in operating Stanley Terrace, The Palms, and The Palms of Deerfield Townhouses as well as administering Section 8 housing. In its operation, there are different rules or guidelines depending upon the funding sources.

o Public housing
o Section 8 housing
o Town homes
o HUD HOME guidelines
o SHIP funding
o Foundation grants, such as the Broward Community Foundation, or the A.D. Henderson Foundation
o CDBG
o CSC

There are different policies that must be considered in the operation of the Housing Authority:

o Personnel policies
o Admission and occupancy policies
o Administrative plans for Section 8
o Procurement policies

Importantly, the Housing Authority is a separate and independent entity in and of itself. Mr. Stevens has craftily tried to lump the Housing Authority with organizations that the Housing Authority is in no way, manner or form a part of. Let us be clear: the Housing Authority is not part of the City administration in any way, manner, or form. The Community Development Division is under the authority and control of the City and has nothing to do with the Housing Authority. Likewise, the Housing Authority is not in any way, manner, or form a part of the City. The Housing Authority is not under the authority or control of the City except for the power of the City Mayor and Commissioners concerning the appointment and removal of members of the Housing Authority Board.

There have been some recent issues concerning the West Side Businessman’s Association and the City’s Community Development Division, both of which have nothing to do with the Housing Authority. In his malicious effort to malign the Housing Authority, Mr. Stevens has lumped the Housing Authority with those other totally separate and distinct entities.

The City Mayor and Commission have been suckered and intimidated into appointing the mentally deranged Timothy R. “Chaz” Stevens as a member of the Housing Authority Board.

Mr. Stevens is totally unfit to serve on any board in the City. What responsible City Commission would appoint to a Board a mentally ill person who is so degradingly abusive to woman? Mr. Stevens has repeatedly sent emails that are part of the public record that reference the City Mayor as “Peggy The Twat Noland” and “Twatster Nolan”. As we all know, the word twat is a vulgar slang for a woman’s vulva, which is a woman’s exterior genitalia. Mr. Stevens is not a 14 year old adolescent snickering by using vulgar slang for the first time, but is instead a 45 year old man who, obviously, manifests profound sexual degradation and abuse issues towards women. Mr. Stevens uses words like a bloody sword to wound, intimidate and destroy. Mr. Stevens’ disgusting behavior in emails which have been disseminated widely and which are public records that the City Mayor and Commissioners are aware of would be sufficient with any responsible City governing body to disqualify Mr. Stevens from being on a city board.

Any public official of decency would not want someone who has so publicly verbally abused women the way that Mr. Stevens has to be on a board making policy for their daughters, sisters, or wives. But, the City Mayor joined by two City Commissioners decided to appoint this vicious person to the Board of the Housing Authority. While you collectively as a Board are obligated to have him as a member, you are not obligated to give him what he publicly declared in his application which is to be “Emperor” of the Housing Authority Board. Mr. Stevens is just 1 member of this Board of 7, and your Board collectively makes decisions, not just Emperor Stevens.

Let us also acknowledge another fundamental truth: Timothy R. “Chaz” Stevens comes to this Board with a more than a predisposition to destroy the reputation of Pamela Davis and bring down the Housing Authority. He comes to this Board with the fervent purpose of destroying Pamela Davis and bringing down the Housing Authority. Let’s look at proof:

o On February 19, 2010, Mr. Stevens posted in the New Times, a statement which said in pertinent part, “Today, I broke a HUGE story about possible fraud, collusion and corruption at the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. Got dates, names, facts, and dollars. You want to see how you rock the fucking boat? Let me show you how it’s done old school...”
o February 22, 2010, Mr. Stevens in an email to the Broward County State Attorney in which he copies “Peggy The Twat Noland” and other City Commissioners, states that, “... it is my hope that the City will move to audit and inspect the DBHA evidence I have uncovered last week (as referenced in the above article). Assuming that the City does move to investigate the DBHA and uncovers ‘questionable’ activity, please be advised I will immediately file a complaint with your office and the appropriate Federal agencies, including the HUD Office of Inspector General and FBI.”
o On April 8, 2010, Mr. Stevens emails the Housing Authority attorney as says, “Enjoy the Forensic Audit.”
o On April 9, 2010, in an email in which Mr. Stevens references the Mayor as “Twatster Noland”, he states “Attention will quickly be turning to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority (DBHA) with hopefully a forensic audit of their procurement policies. Policies that appear to be, at best, really improper. With my upcoming appointment to the board, (and I’ll be bringing 2-3 other folks along for the ride), it will be high time that finally a klieg light of inspection is blasted into that organization.” Mr. Stevens also advises that he (Mr. Stevens) is “a *highly influential* individual... You best keep that in mind. I have the juice. Care to see how much?”

Mr. Stevens “application for appointment” to the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority indicates in the appointment of your choice section, the word “Emperor”. For his qualifications, he indicates that he is “responsible for exposing cronyism, fraud, theft, and corruption.”

Mr. Stevens massive ego feeds off destroying, and it is now Pamela Davis that is his target for destruction. Mr. Stevens has a sick emotional investment in the destruction of Pamela Davis’ reputation. The clever way in which he is attempting to do this is through a “forensic auditing” of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority. Mr. Stevens may be mentally deranged, but he is not stupid. It is naive to think that this 45 year old viciously destructive man will someone magically transform into a responsible board member.

Carl Nixon marched in protest rallies with Martin Luther King in Selma, Alabama, and Atlanta in the early 1960s. Carl was a personal friend of mine. He is now deceased. He was a school teacher and former City Commissioner. Carl personally told me a story about human nature by telling the story of the poisonous snake, of which there are a number of versions, but Carl’s version is as follows. A person is walking along a forest path on a chilly morning, and in the middle of the road is a poisonous snake that looks like it has frozen to death. The person picks up this poisonous snake and holds it close to her heart to warm the snake up. After a time, the poisonous snake is warmed by the person’s beating chest. Then, the poisonous snake bites the person in the heart. As the person is dying, the person says with a pained expression, “I don’t understand. I saw you in the road, and you looked like you were frozen to death. I took you and held you next to my heart to warm you, and I brought you back to life. Why did you bite me and kill me?” The poisonous snake said, “Because I am a poisonous snake.” Can anyone in good conscience say that this poisonous snake Stevens will act in any way different that he has acted his entire poisonous 45 years? Of course, he will not. And, shamefully, the City Mayor and Commission instead of taking this poisonous snake to its heart, has mandated that the Housing Authority Board take this poisonous snake to its heart, so he can attempt to bite and kill the reputation of its wonderful Executive Director, Pamela Davis.

Recently, in an amazingly bizarre act which reflects how Mr. Stevens has the City Commission dancing on the wire of his Internet cable, the City Commission ordered a forensic audit of the Housing Authority by Kessler. This is a bizarre act for a number of reasons:

o First, the City Commission has no legal authority to order such a thing. It has no more authority to order a forensic audit of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority than it has to order a forensic audit of the Davenport, Iowa Housing Authority. In these difficult financial times when the City faces difficult budget issues and where every expenditure in one area can force a cut in funds in another area, the City Commission without the legal power to do so authorized spending City taxpayer money on a forensic audit of a separate and independent Housing Authority.
o Second, you need to understand the meaning of a forensic audit. A forensic audit is an audit done when there are grounds to believe there is criminality, illegality, embezzlement, or theft. There is not basis for any such belief concerning the Housing Authority. Because of Mr. Stevens’ clever deception of lumping the Housing Authority with other entities which the Housing Authority has nothing to do with, the City Commission has taken a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude towards the independent Housing Authority. Well, you as a Board have the obligation to do what is best for the Housing Authority and act in a responsible manner and refuse this forensic audit for which there is no basis.
o Third, pursuant to Florida Statute 421.091, a complete and full financial accounting and audit in accordance with Federal audit standards of public housing agencies is done by a certified public accountant. If you have not already reviewed it, tonight you will be provided with a copy of the most recently completed certified audit of the Housing Authority. Further, the current audit of the Housing Authority is anticipated to be completed in June 2010. Mr. Stevens knows that the Housing Authority has audits done each fiscal year, but he deliberately concealed that information from the City Commission.

It is up to you, the Housing Authority Board to do what is best for the Housing Authority. You already have an audit that is in the process of being completed by a certified public accountant. If someone wants to come forward with sufficient credible evidence of criminality, fraud, illegality, or embezzlement, let them come forward. Otherwise, there is no basis for a forensic audit and the demand for a criminal audit is an insult to Pamela Davis, the Executive Director.

I want to address the issue of Kessler. If there were a need for a forensic audit, which there is not a need, Kessler has permanently disqualified itself to do such an audit because of its actions. The most important quality of an auditor is independence. Kessler’s report concerning the Community Development Division inappropriately gives a shout out on page 5 of the report to Mr. Stevens where it references “the blog published by investigative journalist and community activist, Chaz Stevens”. Kessler obviously knows how to stroke the massive deranged ego of Mr. Stevens and its shout out in that Kessler Report accomplished that purpose. However, in Kessler doing so, Kessler destroyed its independence, particularly in light of Mr. Stevens’ accusations against the Housing Authority. It should also be noted that Michael G. Kessler, whose office is in Miami-Dade County, is not a certified public accountant and the only known state license in Florida that I am aware of that Mr. Kessler has is his private investigator license. There is a reason that Chapter 421, Florida Statutes requires that an audit be done by a certified public accountant, that reason being that certified public accountants are required to go through rigorous training and examination, are governed by specific professional rules and are regulated by the State of Florida. In fact, the person in the process of finalizing his audit for the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority is a certified public accountant, which is a requirement under audits mandated by Chapter 421, Florida Statutes.

56 years ago, in our Nation’s Capitol, there was a destructive man by the name of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was terrorizing Washington, DC, with exaggeration, misinformation, and lies by throwing out the accusation “communist”. In Deerfield Beach in 2010, we have a destructive person throwing out the accusation of “fraud and corruption.” Our Nation’s Capitol was terrorized by Senator McCarthy because no one wanted their reputation ruined by his accusations. Deerfield Beach in 2010, is terrorized by a cyber character assassin and no one wants to stand up to him because of the fear of what he will say about them.

56 years ago, a grizzled Boston attorney representing the United States Army at the McCarthy hearings, stood up to the McCarthy bully and said “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” I have led a life trying to protect people from bullies. I earned the Army’s combat infantryman badge in Vietnam. I have always done the best I could to represent those who were in need, and currently, I am assisting on a pro bono basis the residents in the Crystal Lake concerning their lake, and the residents in Tam O’Shanter concerning the situation involving the golf course, and for years I have represented the citizen activist organization Original Save Our Beach. I will not be intimidated. This grizzled Irish American attorney will defend this wonderful African American woman who is justifiably a role model to the women of Deerfield Beach, the African Americans of Deerfield Beach, and the entire community as a whole, from an attempted Internet reputation lynching by Mr. Stevens. I ask Mr. Stevens and request that each member of this Board ask Mr. Stevens when you listen to what he requests “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

5 comments:

  1. We all know the saying...opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. The entire problem with this sermon is that it assumes that Pamela Davis has clean hands. Maybe she does, maybe she's corrupt. I don't have that answer. I have no crystal ball, but it appears that Mr. Stevens, as much as some people may dislike him, has been spot-on in his accusations of wrongdoing thus far and the rabbit hole is getting deeper and deeper.

    The Kessler report gave him credit for bringing issues to light when the entire city comission and their internal system of lawyers with checks and balances failed to do so - even though the problems were so very glaring. Is that bias or a criticism of the comission? I would suggest the latter. You suggest he is mentally unstable multiple times - as if it's a fact. Is it? Is there a diagnosis out there or are you just taking throwing rocks out of frustration? Is a harsh tongue any more offensive than making innapropriate assumptions concerning Mr. Steven's character when it appears he is the only one trying to clean up a mess that is far more then a blemish - more like wet leprosy.

    The way I look at it, any my opinion is no more valuable than yours, if Pamela Davis is without fault, then she will be vindicated. It seems odd that so many intelligent folks on the comission feel compelled to do a very expensive audit. Is Mr. Stevens that powerful? Or is he just that smart? And if he's that smart maybe we should listen when he suggests someone is up to no good. Maybe she's scared and hopes they don't look in the sock drawer - or under the rug?

    Right now, the bulk of the information out there suggests she may need to take a long hot shower, but we'll have to wait and see. All the loveley metaphors in the world, comparisons to Hawthore stories and allegories don't change anything. I remember watching CEO's of big tobacco swear to the Senate they didn't believe tobacco was addictive. We should believe Ms. Davis is a saint for what reason? Because you say so? Do you have omnicient powers were are unaware of? Are you smarter than everyone else including the commission? I know you believe a "small" blemish shouldn't be allowed to spoil the whole. Are you admitting she did something wrong? I believe it's innapropriate to look the other way, even for small blemishes. We can, howver choose to mitigate the punishment based on her long list of good deeds...

    The ability to write a lovely article about a bad person, doesn't improve their character, it just attempts to polish a turd. The band Heart wrote a beatiful song many years ago - it was a big hit and one of their best. It was called Magic Man. Many folks don't know that it was written about Charles Manson, who many musicians he befriended at the time, including the Beach Boys, thought was getting a bum wrap. (Then again I believe he was selling them drugs and they didn't want their dealer taken out.) In any event, the evidence proved them quite wrong.


    In the bar business, when a fight ensues you throw everyone out, not just the one that started it; you clean house. If you know your history well, then it will make sense when I say "maybe we'll just have to see if this Salem witch floats or not. In either event, the town will feel more at ease when it's over."

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  2. So, Bett, what is the scoop on Stevens vacating his board seat? Is it a case of his being afraid to appear in public, as is his modus operandi along with other cowards, or is there more to it? Additionally, your link to an eyewitness accounting of the meeting doesn't result in any such thing that I can find. Just a website that seems fragmented in it's focus and long-winded in it's execution.

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  3. "Deerfield Beach in 2010, is terrorized by a cyber character assassin and no one wants to stand up to him because of the fear of what he will say about them."

    In 2011 he's met his match, I promise you that. =)

    -C

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  4. Really nice information sharing and it is just helpful for everyone. Thanks for sharing that.
    - Palm Beach County Housing

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  5. To assume innocence because Ms Davis did a few good deeds which were actually written within her job description of which she was compensated to perform is nothing short of ridiculous. Due process should be done. Mr Stevens is one vote and just one man, his influence can not be so strong that he can cause mayors, commissioners and other board members to vote in favor of audits or investigations into DBHA. Corruption on any level should be dealt with swiftly to show other social service agencies that there is zero tolerance for this type of behaviors.

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