City Takes Firm Stand On Rundown Properties

Photo by Carina Mask.

“My personal opinion is this was greed and not trying to do the right thing.” Wilton Manors Mayor Scott Newton was not in the mood for excuses, obfuscation, or evasion. Neither were his fellow commissioners.

During their meeting on April 9, property management company Wilton West LLC asked commissioners to lower fines after being cited for myriad code violations on three different properties. A special magistrate had already cut the fines in half, and the owners were asking for further relief.

The citations go back several years, and representatives for the owner bounced from one excuse to the next: COVID caused cash flow issues because tenants weren’t paying, COVID caused supply chain problems, delays in getting permits and more.

They also described their apartments as “affordable,” saying a one-bedroom apartment is $1,600 per month and also implied they didn’t do evictions during the pandemic. Commissioners had little sympathy and lots of questions.

Wilton West’s representatives brought no documentation to show delays in permits or supplies. The record shows that more than a year went by from the time of the first citations until there was documented action.

Further questions forced Wilton West to admit there were evictions during COVID, but they worked with tenants on paperwork.

The commission isn’t bound by the special magistrate’s decision. When a person or business chooses to appeal further, the panel can give additional or total relief, keep fines the same, or raise them back up.

Commissioner Chris Caputo pointed this out and suggested raising the fines 10%. That’s when the fireworks began.

Newton took the procedural, and highly unusual, step of passing the gavel to Vice Mayor Mike Bracchi in order to make a motion: raise it back up to 75% of the original total.

“To not have any information or back up, shame on you,” Newton said. The motion passed unanimously and Wilton West LLC has 60 days to pay up, or it goes back to 100% of the original total.

Wilton West’s representative didn’t go quietly. As he was leaving the podium, he said he was speechless, but still managed to verbally express his incredulity. “I cannot believe, you say you’re business people.”

Newton reclaimed the gavel and told him to leave, saying it should have been 100%. When the man continued to complain, WMPD Chief Gary Blocker gently escorted him out of the room.

“This commission will reduce things for people who have legitimate reasons why they couldn’t [address] code violations. That was a disgrace to have someone come in here with nothing in hand except for [excuses],” Newton said afterward.


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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