REDBROWARD obtained an invitation to an upcoming fundraiser for Democrat Lois Frankel showing the host committee includes one of the campaign treasurers for Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. Local businessman Dev Motwani, a LaMarca co-tresurer, is hosting the October 13th event at Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach. The rest of the host committee includes prominent local Democrat politicians, activists and even controversial lobbyist Judy Stern. Frankel faces Republican Paul Spain on the November ballot for the District 22 seat.
In May 2013, REDBROWARD broke the news LaMarca enlisted Motwani’s help for his re-election campaign against former Broward Mayor Ken Keechl. Motwani and his mother Ramola, are well-known Democrat fundraisers. During the 2012 election, Motwani raised thousands of dollars for Patrick Murphy in his bid to unseat Congressman Allen West.
Since our initial report, Dev Motwani has continued raising money for Democrats. He gave $2,000 to the Alex Sink campaign, $2,050 to the Gwen Graham campaign and even $500 to the Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) Victory Fund.
In May, REDBROWARD revealed Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief and Chip LaMarca attended a lavish gala with Motwani who needed their votes on a crucial project. Published reports claimed Commissioners at the May 13, 2014 meeting would “decide fate of three projects” including the Chieftain Pembroke project in Pembroke Pines. Motwani, the developer behind Chieftain Pembroke, needs a zoning change to construct 262 residences on 10.5 acres at the southeast corner of University Drive. The property is currently zoned for office use. Sharief, LaMarca and the seven other commissioners voted to approve the Chieftain Pembroke agenda item. None of the commissioners mentioned any possibility of a conflict of interest before voting.
Mayor Sharief and Commissioner LaMarca never mentioned they sat with Dev Motwani at the April 16, 2014 Excellence In Education Gala in Fort Lauderdale. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association(FRLA) event at the Hilton Marina honors local culinary students and teachers. Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie was the main speaker and helped hand out nearly $17,000 in scholarships to Broward students. One of the event’s sponsors was Merrimac Ventures. State of Florida corporate records indicate Merrimac Ventures is owned by Dev Motwani.
Will Chip LaMarca, the former Chairman of the Broward Republican Party, ever explain why he has a big Democrat supporter on his campaign team?