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Former Margate Commissioner David McLean Convicted of Public Corruption Charges
Fort Lauderdale Florida-On Monday February 04, jurors in Broward County found former Margate commissioner David McLean guilty on one count of bribery by a public servant, two counts of unlawful compensation, three counts of official misconduct and one count of theft.
He was accused of accepting $1,000 in cash and an $8,000 release of back rent in May 2012 in exchange for his influence in the awarding of a city occupational license, along with his influence in the awarding of a grant from the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency Board.
According to the original arrest affidavit, the former commissioner had contacted “Kris” Singh (“Singh”) Lutchman, about a vacancy at the strip shopping center in Margate that he owned. He had had a number of run-ins with the City of Margate concerning code enforcement and other legal issues.
They could not agree on a rent so Singh declined. Shortly thereafter, Margate City Commissioner Joe Varsallone came by and told Singh that things would go much easier for him if he rented to McLean.
Remember that name; Margate City Commissioner Joe Varsallone.
Based on this, Singh rented a space to McLean on August 1, 2011. Almost immediately, Singh’s problems with the City of Margate went away.
McLean opened Dave’s Tiki Bar in the space he rented from Singh. McLean approached Singh about making improvements to the property, and told Singh that as a member of the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency (“MCRA”), he (McLean) could control which projects got funded.
He explained that the MCRA provided matching funds for property improvement projects. McLean said that if they could find a contractor to provide an inflated estimate, they could use the MCRA’s 50% to pay for the entire project. Later, the two discussed inflating the estimate to the point that there would be money left over for them to split.
McLean, however, was not paying any rent to Singh. Sometimes he did not pay the power or garbage bills for his business.
When Singh complained, McLean told him that it was better for him (Singh) that McLean remained as a tenant.
Facing this dilemma, Singh reached out to an attorney, who then contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) on his behalf. Singh agreed to cooperate with the FBI and record conversations with McLean.
When Singh complained, McLean told him that it was better for him (Singh) that McLean remained as a tenant. Facing this dilemma,
Singh reached out to an attorney, who then contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) on his behalf. Singh agreed to cooperate with the FBI and record conversations with McLean.
He was caught on tape not only accepting a cash bribe in exchange for political favors from an FBI informant, he continually bought and sold alcoholic beverages illegally at numerous establishments in the City, and defrauded Margate residents, subcontractors and trustees out of tens of thousands of dollars.
You can read and download the entire arrest affidavit below.
Margate City Commissioner Joe Varsallone, that is mentioned in the arrest report as the one who came by and told Singh that things would go much easier for him if he rented to McLean, abruptly retired in 2013 right before all this started.
The former commissioner seems to have been involved, but to date no charges have been filed against him.
Now convicted, not withstanding any appeals, the former commissioner is facing possible decades in prison. He had been exonerated on federal charges in 2013, these state charges mirror those federal charges.
Sentencing is set for March 12, 2019.