Dem Run Ft. Lauderdale Burns Taxpayer Money on Free Concert

Fort Lauderdale hosted its annual Summer Jamz end-of-summer concert this August after its 2020 COVID hiatus, but while it may have been the same event, its price was unrecognizable.

This year’s August 19 free admission event cost taxpayers $432,000. This amount did not include the required police and fire teams on standby.

City Manager Greg Chavarria told the Commission in a public hearing that the run-away cost of the event can be traced back to Commissioner McKinzie, whose office pressured city management staff to approve the supersized budget. Chavarria said that events like these are typically planned by city managers with no input from commission offices on choosing the talent line-up nor changing it last minute.

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Chavarria said that this is precisely what McKinzie had done, based on a string of city emails. McKinzie did not attend the meeting.

Commissioner Steve Glassman was one of the first to look into the high spending and was one of the most active questioners of Chaviarra. When told what McKinzie’s office had apparently done, Glassman said, “That’s a clear violation of the city charter and a clear mishandling of taxpayer dollars,”

According to the Sun Sentinel, before Glassman looked into the issue, most of the Commission had no idea what McKenzie’s office had been up to.

“Summer Jamz 2022 was Summer Scamz, it was a total abuse of the system and an abuse of the taxpayer. Everyone should be outraged by this.”

Mayor Dean Trantalis agreed, saying that spending that kind of money, especially with most of the board none the wiser, was scandalous.

“We should never ever spend that kind of money for one event,”

Broward County, where Fort Lauderdale is located, is deeply blue, with nearly 50% of voters registered as Democrat, roughly 30% Independent, and only 21% Republican.

Chavarria promised the Commission that he’d ask the city auditor to look further into the issue. McKinzie was not present at the meeting and was could not be reached for comment by the Sun Sentinel.

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