OIG & Elliot (Scott) Cohen

Residents question why Mayor Muoio continued to defend Elliot Cohen after he posted thousands of e-mails on the city web site endangering police officers, confidential informants and others.

The old saying “No good deed goes unpunished” certainty applies here. If the mayor had fired Mr. Cohen when the story was first reported there would be no investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The OIG is currently investigating Mr. Cohen’s releasing records and equally important his involvement with Kim Briesemeister owner of RMA (Redevelopment Management Associates) where Mr. Cohen reportedly is earning $175.00/ hour as a consultant for her company. City Statues forbid city employees from working with city contractors, and Mr. Cohen tried to hide his actions by using his middle name, Scott.

When the city’s power’s to be (former Commissioner Mitchell and Materio) decided to outsource the CRA I sat and listened to 3 companies make a presentation to the City Commission and  it was obvious the decision was already made to hire RMA which was a done deal as Ms. Briesemeister told her employees, and later denied the statement to the Palm Beach Post when questioned.

Residents were upset and vocal with the city’s decision and the PB Post were writing articles and questioning Ms. Briesemeister. After the questions started, Ms. Briesemeister reported to police had a home invasion and her computer and briefcase with the pertinent information were stolen from her home.

The following week another home invasion and her second computer was stolen. All evidence gone. What a coincidence.

Now is the time to remind residents that Ms. Briesemeister brought John Textor’s Digital Domain to WPB, and gave them two million dollars and a piece of city land worth 10 million.

She then accompanied former City Commissioner Kim Mitchell and former City Attorney Claudia McKenna to a meeting at Mr. Textor’s home the night before he declared bankruptcy. The city lost the 2 million but we reclaimed the land through a lawsuit.

There has been much speculation as to why the city didn’t sue Digital Domain to reclaim taxpayer’s 2 million dollar’s, but it was assumed a lawsuit would have revealed facts the city didn’t want exposed. Now it has come to light that Mr. Cohen was on RMA’s payroll.

As he has been described as one of the mayor’s closest confidantes, one has to wonder how much influence Mr. Cohen had on the decision to outsource to RMA, a company he was working with while receiving a salary.

The city hands over millions of taxpayer dollars to the CRA every year and I am not aware of an audit ever being done on RMA, and I question accountability of taxpayer’s dollars, or lack of.

City directors and managers “clock in” with the use of their ID badges. Director’s and managers are not required to “clock out”. So Mr. Cohen can show up at 8:00 AM and leave the building at 8:05. If he’s needed calls are made to his cell phone, and he could just as easily be sitting in Kim Briesemeister’s office or tending to his private business.

Mr. Cohen has a designated parking spot, and how hard would it be to pull his records from the parking garage which would show his entering and leaving city hall and comparing it to his “time card” records.

City Administrator, Rick Green has stated Mr. Cohen is allowed to work flexible hours. Just how flexible are they when RMA is paying Mr. Cohen $175.00 /hour?

The OIG received complaints when the story broke and an ongoing investigation begun.

The city received questions from the OIG with a request to respond within 30 day’s.

Mr. Green sent a response 2 day’s late which to me shows the contempt and lack of respect for the office of the Inspector General, and should help explain why the city of West Palm Beach initiated the lawsuit to cripple the OIG budget.

The City Commissioners can stop this frivolous lawsuit by simply adding the cost of our share to the city’s budget to pay for the OIG but have refused to do so. This story is a good example of why.

Please take the time to read the questions from the OIG to the city, and the city’s response to those questions. Click HERE.