When Is A Conflict Not A Conflict?

     Next year’s Air and Sea Show plans are inching along, but a hiccup yesterday almost sent the progress in reverse… ever heard of a” waiver of a conflict of interest?” …. I’ll get to that goofy concept in a minute ….. read on

        Here’s the weird story

         

     In case you lost track of the Air Show’s unusual history, here is a brief version…

     The yearly extravaganza, that brought millions of people to the beach each May to see acts like The Thunderbirds and The Blue Angels, was side-lined, due to fiscal matters, complaints from some citizens, and the added fact that the promoter of the event, Mickey Markoff, was caught on numerous occasions peeping into woman’s bedrooms in the middle of the night !

                                              
                                             peeping Mickey                                                

     The event left town for the last few years, but this year, the City Commission, under the leadership of my friend Mayor Jack “who doesn’t love a parade ?” Seiler, the event looks to be coming back.

     In addition to Seiler, much of the success in bringing back the event is due to one beach family.

                                       
                                           the Motwanis                                         

     Romala Motwani is the matriarch of the beach hotel family. Her husband Bob (deceased) and Romola are throw backs to the old days of Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

    
The Matwanis were there in the 1980’s, when college kids were busy throwing hotel washing machines in the swimming pools, and they are there still, trying to complete a multi million dollar Trump International Hotel !

     Ramola is one of a kind. You can find her serving on State Boards with the high munkity munks, and you can find her at a Citizen Volunteer Corp. effort, kneeling in the mud pulling weeds at a City Park.

     So on to the conflict.

     Today, the City Commission is entertaining contributing $100,000 to next year’s Air Sea event by paying for a portion of the City Police and Fire that will be required to staff the event.

     Ramola, and her son Dev, who have agreed to rescue the event, serve on two city boards. Ramola serves on the Beach Redevelopment Advisory Board
, or BRAB, and Dev is the Chair of the City’s Economic Development Advisory Board ( not called the EDAB for some reason?).

     Ramola has excused herself from any discussion on the BRAB, citing a conflict of interest. But City officials say her and son Dev still have a conflict of interest according to State Statutes. 

     But, the City was prepared to grant the Motwanis a waiver of conflict of interest!
     Two former beach area presidents were aghast. Steve Glassman called the waiver an “oxymoron”, and Fred Carlson e-mailed that maybe the beach should consider taking back their support for the event.

     The Motwanis had a smarter idea. I received an e-mail last night that the Motwanis would be resigning from their respective City Boards….. 

          no conflicts  … no waiver’s needed ! … gotta love those Motwanis!