In the 2017 Loxahatchee Groves town council election campaign, candidate Dave Demarois was sharply critical of Underwood Management Services Group leadership at the town as town management.
Demarois wanted to implement the OIG’s recommendations to the town council, especially moving away from the risky and unusual structure of having all town management functions (manager, clerk, accounting/financial, code enforcement) in a single company. Demarois also wants the town council to provide constructive oversight of town management operations, as recommended in the OIG report.
Demarois wishes to implement all recommendations from the Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General.
Relative to the finances of Demarois’ campaign, with the upcoming Big Dog Ranch Rescue site plan approval by the council, ethics becomes an issue.
Contributors to Dave Demarois’ election campaign included: $500 from Lauree Simmons of Palm Beach Gardens, $500 from a trust from Jupiter, Fla., and $500 from Strategic Site Development LLC of Jupiter, Fla. The registered agent for Strategic Site Development LLC is Lauree Simmons. Lauree Simmons is president of Big Dog.
Councilman Demarois, in closing out his campaign, made a donation to charity, as allowed, in the amount of $1,801.00 to Big Dog.
Hopefully, Councilman Demarois will recuse himself from participating in the Big Dog site plan discussion. Palm Beach County ethics prohibits participating in the discussion and the privilege of voting.
But the freshman councilman’s troubles continue…
In three council sessions since the election, Demarois read from notes as if it were the first time he had read them. Councilman Demarois’ letter to the Florida League of Cities exhibits his willingness to insert libelous allegations against Underwood Management and staff in order to promote a political agenda. Demarois used his position as an elected official of the town and included an allegation that the failure of Underwood to make the demand resulted from the support of Councilman [Todd] McLendon on the Underwood contract with the town.
Further, Councilman Demarois indicated that the OIG had referenced this failure with the 2016 audit report. As you are all aware, the 2016 audit report did not address the McLendon case. Finally, Councilman Demarois’ letter to the Florida League of Cities was done outside his authority, as the town council did not authorize him to act on its behalf.
Additionally, I believe that Mr. Demarois used his position as town councilman in an attempt to not only harm Underwood’s relationship with the FLC, but also attempted to defame Councilman McLendon, while at the same time distorting the OIG audit report in an attempt to justify his defamation…
Councilman Demarois fails to acquire facts in matters before making false inflammatory statements that have no basis in reality. Councilman Demarois has used his position as an elected official, and twice used the town council meeting to attempt to disqualify a resident’s candidacy for a seat on another governing body within the town.
The activities undertaken by Councilman Demarois since his election in March could have been answered without significant cost to Palm Beach County taxpayers by using the OIG as a political instrument. State of Florida taxpayers by causing the Florida League of Cities attorney to respond to a matter that has already been settled, and, closer to home, the Loxahatchee Groves taxpayers that have been required without their consent to the expenditure of their tax dollars so that Councilman Demarois could pursue his political agenda.
With respect to the OIG, the OIG also failed the community as they should have advised Councilman Demarois that they had previously reviewed a response from the town on the McLendon case more than a year ago, but instead pursued the question proffered by the councilman directly to the Florida League of Cities. The answer they received was the same as what was provided to them over a year ago.
What was accomplished by all the attacks was a gross waste of public funds, improper conduct and a gross neglect of duty on the part of Councilman Demarois.
Keith Harris, Loxahatchee Groves