Not one but two members of the Motwani family are playing important roles in Broward County Commission politics. The Daily Broward reported how Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca (R-Sigh) tapped Democrat fundraiser Dev Ramesh Motwani as one of his campaign treasurers. Dev Motwani is quite the fundraiser. In March, Motwani threw a big 30th Birthday Party/fundraiser for Congressman Patrick Murphy(D-DWS Drone) the guy who barely beat Congressman Allen West (R-Republican). For last year’s campaign Motwani gave Murphy more than $5,000. In March, Motwani gave him another $5,200. Motwani gave another Democrat, Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, $1,500 for her US Congressional bid. He gave Jacobs’ opponent, Lois Frankel, another Democrat, $1,500 too. Motwani gave local Democrats Mike Satz and Jared Moskowitz $500 each. Wait, doesn’t look like Dev gave money to any Republicans!
Ramola Motwani, part of the same Lauderdale Beach Hotel developer family, is another prolific Democrat donor. She gave money to the Obama Victory Fund, Hillary Clinton, Ron Klein, Patrick Murphy, Kristin Jacobs, Kendrick Meek, and the Democrat National Committee.
Florida Department of State records show Ramola Motwani is a director of The Friends Of Central Broward Regional Park. This non-profit corporation is the group behind the cricket stadium mess in Lauderhill. Who else is on their board? Yep, you guessed it, Broward Commissioner Dale Holness.
Last week, The Sun-Sentinel documented the colossal failure of the Friends of Central Broward Regional Park. “More than five years after Broward County opened the nation’s first internationally certified cricket stadium, promoters can count on one hand how many international matches have been held there — and still have three fingers to spare.” For the folks in Tamarac, that means there have been just 2 cricket events. Guess that $10 million dollar investment wasn’t such a great idea.
Wait there’s more from the Sun-Sentinel, “So far, the stadium has produced less than $100,000 a year in rental and parking revenues, mostly by hosting lower-level competitions, local cultural events and various sporting attractions. Tourism officials say cricket generated only $3 million last year, barely a half-percent of the county’s sports-based tourism dollars.”
When observers were asked why the park is a failure they pointed to “the lack of a stadium business plan, ignorance about how the cricket world operates, and an uncooperative cricket organization as reasons for not drawing the international matches that would fill the stadium and area hotels and restaurants.”
They mean Dale Holness and Company are clueless. Back in 2009, a cricket website trumpeted Holness’ creation of the group. “We are honored that such an eminent group has accepted my invitation to become the first members of the Broward County District 9 Commissioner Holness Cricket Committee. The committee members bring a wealth of experience which will provide valuable insight and support in the future marketing and promotion of Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium – the only International Cricket Council certified cricket facility in North America – as a prime location for international cricket and training,” said Commissioner Holness.
Uh no. The Friends of Central Broward Regional have a new website that is simply laughable. The group lists its address as Dale Holness’ real estate office on West Sunrise Blvd.
Last summer, Broward County taxpayers paid big bucks to sponsor the Digicel Cricket Series. Holness claimed it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. “Eight hundred hotel nights have already been booked and tickets aren’t available for sale yet,” said Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness. “This will also bring tremendous live worldwide coverage and exposure to Broward County. We’re working to stimulate the economy in Central Broward by including the participation of the county, businesses and civic leaders.”
Even Chip LaMarca chimed in. “This provides an opportunity to put Broward County on the map for Cricket worldwide,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
That LaMarca decision was almost as bad as the one to approve a $16,700 taxpayer bailout for another Holness connected group. Under the guise of “Haitian Cultural Heritage Month”, the County Commission gave $15,000 in cold hard cash to the Community Access Center in Miramar. Holness is vice president of the liberal leaning group which offers counseling services for food stamps and “pregnancy services”.
Stacy Ritter called it pork. Sue Gunzburger said it was Pandora’s Box. Chip LaMarca said “yes.”