Lamar Fisher, of his family’s Fisher Auction Company, has maintained a strong foothold in Pompano, and voters have been often left without viable options to his unethical governance. As simultaneous Chairman of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, Fisher has come under unprecedented scrutiny for his abuse of power in land-grabbing, with residents calling out in unison for his resignation at public meetings.
One eminent domain case in the Pompano Beach CRA Gate scandal involves a restored historical multi-million dollar landmark property that the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency seized in its desire to demolish its buildings and resell the valuable land to unnamed developers. Under Lamar Fisher’s leadership the Pompano Beach CRA seized properties from residents, businesses, and churches for years. However, a Broward Circuit Court and Florida District Court ruling found that at the time of the eminent domain filings, the Community Redevelopment Agency wasn’t authorized to be formed, let alone seize properties through the highly regulated power of eminent domain. But this did not stop Fisher, and he is still pursuing the seizing of property for development (and many say, profit) today, when development has yet to be seen, after a decade.
Fisher was also found guilty of Florida State ethics violations in 2007 for doing business as Mayor with his own Fisher auction house, which specializes in auctions of, yes, “government surplus” and, yes, real estate. Even now Lamar Fisher, while at the same time holding office as Mayor, is currently auctioning foreclosures in Florida for the profit of his nationwide company and huge lenders. Lamar’s auction company also profited from the ponzi scheme against Floridians as his company received 10% of proceeds from auctioning off former Fort Lauderdale attorney and $1.2 billion dollar Ponzi schemer, Scott Rothstein’s office effects.
Back in 2005, Lamar Fisher was also found to have violated the Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law (or Open Meetings Law) for meeting in private with then Sheriff Ken Jenne (who would later be sentenced to a year in prison on federal racketeering corruption charges) before a vote to extend the city’s contract with Jenne’s office.
Most recently Lamar Fisher has been citing the city’s recent land use plan amendment designed to woo a state railway station (and associated funds) to the area as an accomplishment of his term in office, but many have questioned the ethics behind that massive land rezoning scheme as another reinvention to grab land under the guise of “public use.”
And yet so far, Lamar has always seemed to escape any real punishment, able to buy his way out of trouble in fines and receiving only slaps on the wrist while still remaining in office. He has ignored repeated demands for his resignation by justice groups and citizens calling for an end to government racketeering, and has stood by and watched as others close to him have been arrested through FBI stings for fraud and bribery like Vincente Thrower, an advisor to the Community Redevelopment Agency.
In an age of such tough economic times, it is hard to fathom voters reelecting a city mayor making a living from auctioning residents’ foreclosed properties, or is it? Maybe the Fisher stronghold is so strong we have yet to see real qualified options for governance in the City of Pompano Beach, and maybe that’s the real problem.