Mysterious Letter !

      I got a mysterious letter in the mail today.

      Now when I first ran for public office in 1997, Cindy and I came home to find an anonymous blackmail letter attached to our front door. The blackmail letter ordered me to get out of the race for Commissioner, or be destroyed!

       Fortunately for me, I didn’t have any tax problems, and I did have my act together, but the blackmailer didn’t have his act together !

     Needless to say, I didn’t get out, but went to the authorities, and the sitting Commissioner at the time was arrested for felony extortion. I won the race.

So when this funny looking letter came in the mailbox today, I reflected back –


       No return address …..   West Virginia stamp ……  and the addressee label was cut and pasted like a ransom note!

      I opened it with concern …..

      But it wasn’t another blackmail letter, not a ransom note, but this somewhat odd letter –


         The letter, like the envelope, doesn’t say who it’s from, but it clearly wants Cindy and I to help oppose a 60- unit townhouse project proposed for a 4 acre parcel in the South Middle River neighborhood.

         The parcel now houses a weak Catholic Church, and the Diocese wants it sold. The developers will need a zoning change to do the deal, and this group is calling for help to stop that. The neighborhood association opposes the project, but there is also plenty of support.

        I’ll keep you posted –  Tim

31 Replies to “Mysterious Letter !”

  1. That is just scary, Tim. Would you be kind enough to email me a copy of that letter so I can post it to the FB page? Is the Planning and Zoning meeting held at the Main Library?

  2. GFL

    if location location location drives buyer interest and demand, wonder what transformation is coming to this part of the city

    and what kind of funding they have in hand for the market price point they are targeting

  3. Tim, it appears some people are getting nervous about the support the developers are getting.. The association told Dean Trantalis that they oppose the density, but the surrounding 4.4 acres has the same density that they are proposing.. Get this the main opposers live in the tennis club where they have many times more per residential buildings that the townhomes will have..There’s a huge opportunity for this crime ridden community to move forward and the developers are determined to work with the community, but the president has said NO WAY!! We don’t trust you or anything you build.. Go to Poinsettia Landings and you can see what they do!!

  4. But if people do support it they really need to show up…. at the meetings.. which I assume is at City Hall.

  5. Dear All:

    First of all, I am saddened to see such “low-blow” tactics from certain residents or supposed leaders of the South Middle River (SMRCA) neighborhood. The lack of a common goal or goals, without the selfish need to do what only serves themselves is APPALING. The real heroes of the neighborhood are those that don’t just talk the talk, but “WALK THE WALK, They pick up trash, report crime and code violations, attend city meetings, speak with city officials and bring to the attention pertinent issues to help improve the “every-day” quality of life.

    This attempt to hide anonymously and bring about opposition is a cowardly thing to do. Additionally, the letter was written in a very sophomoric way. The accusations,(which I would say border on slander) are contrived and without factual representation. Fear mongering is not appropriate in this situation, at all.

    Moreover, I have been studying, reading the posts, letters, etc…. and offering my own personal comments to both supporters and opponents of this project.

    As a past SMRCA resident and President, I care deeply for the many friends and neighbors that I still hold close to my heart.

    Let me say, I am the first to support open green space, however, I am not sure the majority of the tax payers would support the cost of constant maintenance of more parks. You mention “half way” houses. You think that they are bad?… Try a public park without 24 hour attention, maintenance and lack of patrol services …and you want the city to foot a Million dollars for THAT? Who is going to pick up the trash, the needles, the bottles, the cans, etc. since very few of the board members, (if any) do that now at the current “COMMUNITY GARDEN”.

    I think that the residents would be better served to have a new development that is a “market-rate” FOR SALE Product. The only suggestions that I would ask of the developer is to better depict the final product in their renderings. At first glance, I was not overly enthusiastic with the video presentation, but I understand that the architectural components are not fully represented in the aerial view. I do think that SMRCA deserves a bit more attention to architectural detail.

    Having been an integral part of the Venice Cove development discussion back in 2000, I would also want to insure that the project remains a FOR SALE product. However, to insinuate otherwise with such acerbic accusations serves only to divide your neighborhood.

    I look forward to hearing from my friends and neighbors from SMR and attending the meeting on Wednesday, May 21, at 6:30 to offer my support of the development.

    Doug Blevins

  6. thats a good one tim!! brings back a lot of memories. i had a similar letter in Manila, and i recognized the cutout type on the front….it was all from mail stolen from my box! turns out, it was a mistress of the man who shared a PO box with me (yes, PO boxes were hard to obtain, and many times random people teamed up). She got jealous of me for no apparent reason, and wanted to send me a warning. i am very reluctant to tell you this, but i also think you will be both amused and repulsed like i was: it contained a card warning me, with her pubic hairs inside!!! eeewwww.

    thanks for keeping emails interesting!

  7. Doug, couldn’t agree with you more. As it is now the SMR park that is a little lot has an overwhelming amount of abuse and destruction to the property. With some of the highest crime stats in the city, why would anyone want to leave a property of 4,4 acres vacant and block re zoning? Another developer will never come in if it fails. That’s the plan of a few. As past president, I agree this is border line slander. Sal

  8. Hey Tim- Let me begin by saying I am a longtime resident of MRT, from the 90’s, and proudly served my neighborhood through many positive changes, and WAS proud to call this place my home.

    I agree with Doug- it appears that some neighborhood leaders only use their positions in self- serving ways, and God forbid if your opinion differs from theirs, as is the case in MRT.

    I stopped getting involved a couple of years back, as I was put off by the tyranical tactics that began with the Dixie highway issue. The leaders were hell bent on showing pretty pictures, not mentioning the extremely dangerous narrow traffic lanes.Folks that tried to voice their concerns were berated, and deemed trouble-makers.
    I have heard about you being locked out of a board meeting when you were a member, and the incident when you tried to attend a public monthly meeting, and one of the board members got 2 inches from your face and screamed that you were a piece of s##t, and you were told you couldn’t be there. These tactics should not be tolerated, and the city should not recognize associations that allow such behavior.

    It pretty much boils down to a power play, not serving for altruistic reasons,and maybe too much power is put into the wrong hands with neighborhood associations- or should i say cliques?…

  9. Tim, I get these type of letters pasted like that all the time. Its more from people who are scared to come forward. Alot of its this one doing this and that(shady). Also they want to bring to my attention illegal action taken place. From the tramp staying at the Sea Club(remember) to her taken off to Morrocco and Chief adderley’ involvement(he knew her-burns my ass him stated to me he didn’t know her-(you did know her). Also people who lie to this commission -the Hindu goddess herself Ramola Matwani, and her side kick lobbyist Chuck Malcus. Oh yeah they lied to the comm. by never acknowledging that bozo was her paid lobbyist while they both served on the beach advisory bd. Both of them should have been ashamed of themselves. Yes, letter in the mail to me, just like what you received informing me. You are a pillar in the community. You have alot of influence over our comm. Dean trantalis as well. I am anxiously awaiting for the state att. off. to arrest the former boy toy for voting in the last district election(richard smith). I proved beyound a shadow of a doubt that he lived in Dean’ home. He will be arrested. If there is one, there is ten, and if there is ten , there is 19.(what Mrs.rodstrom lost by). Wait, wait he will be arrested. So take these letters seriously Tim. People come to you because you get results(like me). Maybe its time for you to run again Tim….

  10. Dear Steve,

    I hope I am not out of line responding to your post. My name is Jay Clark and I am one of the developers for the Church of the Intercession property. Since you rightly suspect of letter you posted, I hope you will be open to my response. I believe that much of the absurdity in the letter makes it fairly easy to see through. I don’t really want to get in a spitting contest with these people but I would like to share our intentions. If people agree, great. If not, that’s fine too. However their decisions should be based on facts not innuendos and misrepresentations such as those in the letter.

    In meeting with the president of SMRCA, he told me in no uncertain terms, that he could not allow this gem in East Fort Lauderdale to be developed. It was too important because of the community garden, the Guinea hens, and the feral cats. He told me privately and publicly that he would be glad to show me other sites we could develop in the neighborhood, but not this one.

    We have submitted for rezoning from RDS-15 to RC-15. RDS-15 is single family, 15 units per acre. RC-15 is the same except for allowing townhouses. We are businessmen, we want this to be successful and make a living. In looking at the market several things are obvious to most people. The market is still strong. This area is east and close to downtown Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors and Oakland Park. It is the lowest priced area compared to anything around it. It is starting to move up. People are buying houses and condos and fixing them up.

    This property is right on the edge of single family and multi-family. Of all the properties on the same block with the church, there are only 3 single-family houses and one of those is really an illegal duplex. Duplexes used to be allowed to be built in this area. Surrounding the church there are 26 properties on 4.4 acres with 56 units or 12.25 units per acre. We are proposing of 60 units on 4.2 acres or 14.3 units/acre. Somehow this group thinks our development will totally destroy the neighborhood and overrun it with people and cars. Single-family houses do not make financial sense on this property. Also, 2~5 years of construction? We’re building on earth not Mars. It will take over a year for platting and permitting but construction itself should be about one year. The property would be fenced and protected.

    The $300K townhouses that are referenced here are not east of Andrews Ave. In fact they are on NW 1st and 2nd Avenues and also south of 13th St. This is a rough area yet they have done well. Prices in this area are lower, not higher than the church area yet the remaining units went up to $330K. There is a big demand for new construction on the east side. Almost every area surrounding South Middle River has seen new development and it has done well. So comparisons within South Middle River for new construction other than these do not exist.

  11. (part 2)
    We are NOT proposing:
    · Rehab facility. Really? Why on earth would we want to put a rehab facility here? I don’t even know how to respond to this. It won’t happen. It makes no sense.
    · Low rent housing. The cost of paperwork is staggering. It is set up for much larger complexes. It’s not going to happen, it doesn’t work.
    · Rental units. We did look at rentals but ruled it out. First and foremost, it’s harder to get a construction loan on rentals. Also anything under 100 units is harder and more expensive to manage or resell. It’s not worth the hassles, the neighborhood doesn’t want it, nor do we. It is not a rental complex.

    The Church is going to close. The property is in decay. When you drive by, it looks like the Adams Family. It has to make one wonder why people would be so opposed to a nice clean townhouse development unless they had other motives. The city requirements for new construction far exceed anything currently in the area including parking, green space, landscaping, sidewalks, etc.

    This letter says they want a park and there is $1 mil. available from the city for a park. Totally false. The city doesn’t want new parks. We asked, they said absolutely no, even if it were donated. Then, even if it did become a park, it would have ball fields and field lighting, which would bring drinking, fights and gangs. To these people this would be better than townhomes?

    I agree with a one thing in the letter that says “Our little association is in disarray. It has only 45 members out of 2,000+ homes.” That is true and they are leading the neighborhood down a rabbit hole. The neighborhood needs improvements not a park. It needs some new construction and a facelift not a rat infested overgrown community garden.

    A rising tide raises all boats. New clean construction will help raise prices for the entire neighborhood. This group is not worried about your property values. They’re worried about the garden. If you disagree with me that’s fine but the lies and false accusations are not. If you want improvements and new development, please support us at the rezoning hearing this Wednesday May 21 at 6:30 pm at City Hall, 100 N Andrews Ave. or please send us a petition in favor of rezoning.

    Thank you for letting me post this.

  12. Jay, thank you for this post and clearing things up… I couldn’t agree with you more on all he issues.. the Church is now closed down, the old GLCC which was a Baptist Church has also now left, leaving many vacant properties in that area…The lies and scare tactics some people are presenting are scary and disturbing, needles to say anyone who voices an opinion is looked upon as a trouble maker and censored…

  13. I am sure you have feasibility studies to support your price point
    again as someone posted its location
    perceived safe haven in a desirable part of town

    whats your lender asking?
    can you actually sell to owner occupiers or are these more specs or flips?

  14. As the prez of SMR, and MRT board members are buddies ( birds of a feather)I can assume she will be present, most likely holding up the meeting,babbling about something non-related,a pet project, or just maybe she will try to pin down the developer to buy a piece of arsenic land in MRT……….
    What is the old saying? better to keep your mouth shut and keep them guessing, or open it and remove all doubt

  15. Tim — Speaking of P&Z cases, when are you going to write about how Mayor Jack and the gang stole Commissioner Trantalis’ right to appoint who he wants to the P&Z Board. Did you watch yesterday? Brad Cohen’s term was up May 31. Trantalis was going to name Steve Glassman. But Cohen lobbied his buddy the mayor and they overruled Trantalis. The mayor’s mouthpiece, the city attorney, gave the whole sordid deal her blessing. They decided years of city records were incorrect and awarded Cohen another year on P&Z over Trantalis’s objections. Heck, they even voided the resolution appointing Cohen that the mayor signed because it said Cohen’s last day is coming up in 10 days. Ever see that happen before?!?

  16. We have done due diligence on the site and price points. All lenders want pre-sales to secure lending. One of the reasons we want townhouses is that they fit into the first time home buyer or cash sales to snowbirds, etc. Financing for new construction in the mid to low 200’s is readily available to buyers. Every increase in price eliminates a lot of buyers which is why we don’t want to build something in the 300’s.

  17. Now Tim, you need to do a blog post on this! What is up with this board of clowns? Can Steve get any respect?

  18. One correction concerning Com.trantalis ex-lover richard smith-I should have stated I “proved beyound a shadow of a doubt that Smith did “not” live w/ Dean during this past election” for that seat. Also to “Clynton” previous comment your comments are valid however it is very apparent that this new city att. does not like Trantalis because he did not vote for her. It was obvoius by here demaenor towards Dean. Larry B. from the paper wrote about this on his blog(you should follow suit Tim as to what really went down hint- such stated subjects are not telling the truth(hmm) in regards to who knew what. This P/Z bd. must be really important to some of you to go to this degree(this is the real story).  Word to the wise Scott “scooter” Wyman (Dean present comm aide) be careful playing both sides of the fence. To close I think the City att. hates Dean for lack of his support and will do anything to make him look bad. Be careful city att. because the bitch that you are being to Dean, trust me he can and will be a bigger bitch to you..

  19. here is the charter
    Here is the P&Z page from the board members list

    MEMBERSHIP: The board shall consist of nine members, a resident, and a qualified elector of the city. Each member shall serve for a three year term. Maximum number
    of terms that can be served: two consecutive three-year terms. The board shall elect from its members a chairperson and a vice-chairperson at an annual election held
    in June of each year who shall serve for terms of one year and who shall be eligible for reelection. Except for the provisions of the charter in regard to the adoption of
    changes in the city comprehensive plan, a quorum of this board shall be five members, and a majority vote of a quorum shall be required for a decision on any
    matter before the board. If a quorum is not present no meeting shall be held and any items of business shall be continued to the next regular meeting of the board.
    PURPOSE: Act in an advisory capacity to the city commission, conduct investigations and hold public hearings upon all proposals to change zoning regulations or to
    vacate and abandon streets and alleys; study any existing city plans with the view to improve same so as to provide for development, general improvement and probable
    future growth of the city, and from time to time make recommendations to the city commission for changes in the comprehensive plan; review and recommend approval or
    disapproval all plats to be presented to the city commission; perform such other duties as may from time to time be assigned by the city commission or prescribed by
    HISTORY: City Code, Section 47-30. Ordinance C-11-18 amended Section 47-30.3 regarding membership requirements.

    appointed board and committee members serve at the pleasure of the commissioner unless it is consensus (like board of adjustment)
    trantalis and for that matter ANY elected can appoint or remove who they want when they want although its probably handled in a more PC way with the appointee “resigning”

    so trantalis was railroaded by the other 4 and the city attorney and he capitulated
    cohen probably picks up work given his stature on p&z just like the attorneys on commish do
    its free publicity, they know ethically what to do and not do and before the city fell from grace it was a plum assignment

    sun sentinel can write whatever they want but they are really writing what a the electeds want them to write

    also glassman was appointed by rodstrom to p&z about 8 years ago, then used it as a spring board to challenge her for dist 2 seat (he lost)

  20. Say yes to jobs.
    Say yes to market price homes.
    Say yes to tax paying projects.
    Say no to bad politicians.

    Lester Zalewski
    Good neighbors make Good neighborhoods

  21. The neighbors now have as strong negotiating position.

    That being said does no one understand what is their now? Start with the tennis club and several other projects in this area.

    Ask the developer back to the negotiating table. Everyone wins.

    Or it stays vacant does not pay taxes to a city short fall budget and the area becomes a blight.

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