HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Controversy is brewing in the City of Hallandale Beach involving the vice mayor and a voicemail that may have gotten him in big trouble.
Allegations that Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian is heard accepting favors for votes has led to a tense atmosphere at City Hall.
Wednesday afternoon, commissioners were having trouble ending a meeting in which they were scheduled to address affordable housing, but that discussion was preceded by a lot of bickering.
When Commissioner Michele Lazarow felt Hallandale Mayor Joy Cooper was talking over her, she said, “Excuse me, I have my hand up.”
“I know, but I’m still the chair, and I’m addressing Commissioner [Anthony] Sanders’ concern, and you will be recognized next,” replied Moore.
At issue is the reported accidental voicemail containing Julian’s alleged admission. The vice mayor is heard saying in the recording, “What I did was I voted against an extra $25,000. We are already gonna get $25,000. I didn’t want to [inaudible] for more because what they don’t know is, they’re buying the food bank a new van, but I couldn’t tell everybody.”
Things got even more heated at a meeting earlier this month when Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow were escorted out.
City leaders resorted to name calling. “Stick a sock in it!” Julian told Lazarow.
“Stick a sock in it?” she replied. “You should have done that. You should have done that.”
In front of news cameras, the city officials regained their composure but remained tight-lipped about the investigation. “I’m ordered not to make comments right now,” said Julian.
“Anything that happens in my city is of great concern. Anything that’s good or anything, that’s bad,” said Cooper.
But London wants the gloves all the way off, and he’s asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to investigate his colleague. “I can’t help that. If we are the minority, and we’re trying to clean this disaster up of corruption, I can’t help that the leadership here just wants to sweep it under the rug and say it’s OK,” he said.
For now, it’s all they can do to get through these meetings. “And if anybody thinks that you’re not part of that laughingstock, that it’s just the vice mayor, no. It’s all of us inclusive,” Commissioner Anthony Sanders told his colleagues at Wednesday’s meeting. “Because we can’t even be adult enough to conduct city business.”
A spokesperson for the Governor’s Office said they are aware of the accusations against Julian, and they are looking into them. Meanwhile, a public hearing on the matter has been scheduled for next Wednesday night.
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