The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on June 8, 1990 · Page 37
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 37

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, June 8, 1990
Page 37
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HikiMuii uLnviiruoi rniLMi, juivc o, iyu S Blaze causes $50,000 damage to Mar-A-Lago wing By RON KOZLOWSKI Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PALM BEACH - While Donald Trump tended his reportedly crumbling financial empire, groundskeepers at his mansion retreat Thursday morning found Mar-A-Lago burning. Firefighters who entered the southern servants' wing were greeted by smoke shortly after 8. They doused a bedroom fire quickly, but fire and heavy smoke damaged much of the ground floor of that wing, said Palm Beach Fire-Rescue spokesman Craig Stanfield. Smoke also damaged a guest bedroom upstairs. "The first crew in was confronted by heavy smoke," Stanfield said. "They had a tough time locating the fire." None of the Trump family was home, Stanfield said, and even the servants' wing was mostly deserted because the season has ended. There were no injuries. Investigators said faulty wiring started the fire, which they estimate caused at least $50,000 in damage. "It was electrical," Stanfield said. "There was a lot of different wiring in the area where it started. It's not suspicious." Most of the damage was to ceilings, walls and furniture, investigators said. Valuable art works are not kept in that part of the mansion. A Trump spokesman in New York would not comment. Not on the fire, not on anything. "We have no comment for Florida," she said. "We just aren't interested in talking to the press right now." The media-friendly billionaire has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. His marriage troubles are still prominently displayed in the New York tabloids, and newspapers nationwide this week reported on cashflow problems in the Trump empire. Trump bought the 64-year-old Mar-a-Lago in 1985 for $7 million, and reports Wednesday suggested he may be considering selling the mansion. Trump 1 .'-' '" m. k-A Election '90 PBCC teacher seeks School Board seat Palm Beach Community College instructor Mitchell Kass has filed for the District 6 seat on the Palm Beach County School Board. The Sept. 4 non-partisan election is Kass' first run for political office, he said. The seat is held by Arthur Anderson. Kass, 39, teaches social sciences and sociology at the college and is an adjunct instructor of education at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, teaching multi-cultural and multi-ethnic schooling systems. Kass, a Brooklyn native, said he has taught college classes for 10 years, including at St. John's University and Queens College in New York. He also has a private practice in family divorce mediation. Kass was an investigator for the Kings County District Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, he said. Kass said he plans to explore the issue of juvenile delinquency and disintegrating families, two of the biggest reasons Florida has the highest dropout rate of any state, he said. Kass and his wife live in Boca Raton. In Brief Hearing on Boca commerce center delayed BOCA RATON Planning and zoning commissioners on Thursday delayed a public hearing until June 21 on a proposed two-year extension on the start of the Knight Commerce Centre. Developer Bill Knight said he wants the extension because the state Department of Transportation has fallen behind on building an Interstate 95 interchange and parking lot for the project. Knight had asked for a delay in the public hearing to give the city time to review traffic information submitted last week. Police: Delray minister had sex with teen WEST PALM BEACH - A blind minister was charged Thursday with having sex with a teenage girl for two years. The Rev. Charles Brown of the Church of the Living God in Delray Beach was arrested May 16 after a 17-year-old girl said he began fondling her when she was 14 and began having sex with her in November 1986. Brown, 38, of 111 S.W. Seventh Court in Delray Beach, was released on $3,000 bond. The State Attorney's Office charged Brown on Thursday with four counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of lewd assault. Brown denied having sex with the girl but failed a polygraph test, a police report said. He will be arraigned June 22. Nova to offer business degree in Boynton BOYNTON BEACH Nova University, a private college based - in Fort Lauderdale, will expand its services in Palm Beach County with the addition of a graduate business program in Boynton Beach this fall.. i A master's degree in business administration program will begin in October after the university completes a survey of area residents . to determine demand, said Lee Krosser, director of administration ; at Nova's Friedt School of Business. The classes, which will last 21 months and are limited to 25 people, will be held in the Lakeside Commons office building in ; Quantum Corporate Park, 110 S.E. Sixth St.. Two classes will be offered each term, she said. Nova's program, which will be taught on Friday evenings and ! Saturdays, is geared toward working adults. For more information, call (305) 476-1948. FAU names Hispanic as general counsel : BOCA RATON A Cuban-born attorney Thursday became the '. first Hispanic to be named the chief legal counsel at a state university when she was named general counsel for Florida Atlantic University, school officials said. The appointment of Ondina Felipe, who spent three months as acting general counsel, is effective today. ; . Felipe, 39, joined FAU as associate general counsel in July 1986. - She replaces Leonard Klatt, who left the school for Eastern '. Washington University in Spokane. Felipe was chosen from a pool of 28 applicants. Felipe is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. '. She earned a master's degree in inter-American studies and ; bachelor's degrees in history and Spanish literature at UM. Director named for FAU's northern center BOCA RATON An administrator from the National Science Foundation has been named director of the Florida Atlantic University Northern Palm Beach Center in Palm Beach Gardens. Jaime D. Villa, associate program director of science and engineering education at the foundation, will begin the $70,000-a-year job next month. Villa will have teaching, research and public service responsibilities and will handle administrative affairs at the north center, located at Palm Beach Community College's north campus. The FAU north center, which offers courses in education, business, social science and nursing, has an enrollment of more than 750 students. Integration study to get $175,000 gift WEST PALM BEACH - An effort to find Jbetter ways to integrate Palm Beach County schools and neighborhoods will receive a $175,000 gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Project Mosaic, sponsored by the Economic Council of Palm Beach County Inc., the Education Foundation and the county school system, will receive $75,000 the first year. The remaining $100,000 must be matched by project sponsors and will be awarded during the next two years. The money will pay for an executive director, secretary and consultants. PBCC opens negotiations with teachers LAKE WORTH Palm Beach Community College teachers and administrators began contract negotiations Wednesday but post poned discussion of salary increases until they receive budget information from this year's legislative session. College officials and representatives of the United Faculty of PBCC need to know how much money will be available from the state before they can determine salary increase proposals, said Jesse Hogg, chief negotiator for the administration. Both sides exchanged proposals on the academic calendar, scheduling, paid holidays and establishing a sick-leave pool. leacners will likely oppose the administrations proposal to schedule next year's spring break from April 13-17 because it gives students only two weeks to prepare for final exams after vacation, said Elizabeth Allred, a member of the faculty's negotiating team. Traditionally, spring break is intended to give students a rest in the middle of the semester, rather than at the end, she said. " .i i n Boynton Redevelopment Tour Boynton Beach city leaders on Thursday night took a bus tour of the aging downtown and a blighted neighborhood they are working to revitalize. Johnnetta Broomfield, director of the Community Improvement Department, passes LYNNE SLADKYStaff Photographer out aerial photos. After the tour, the group tried to settle a dispute over whether the Community Redevelopment Agency has authority to spend money. No action was taken at the workshop. Broker surrenders on fraud charges Mortgage firm chief vows to fight allegations he skimmed $5.5 million By EMILY J. MINOR Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH A 44-year-old mortgage broker who investigators say skimmed $5.5 million from Kuwaiti lenders to cover business costs and gambling debts surrendered to state authorities Thursday on nine fraud and racketeering charges. William "Ben" Pace, the chief operating officer of Congress Mortgage Corp., has been facing financial collapse since the state Office of Comptroller seized his mortgage company in July and confiscated records, changed the business locks and put his company into receivership. Comptroller investigators and the State Attorney's Office said Pace "played a shell game" with millions of dollars loaned to him for mortgage deals. "When the court-appointed receiver went in, we found on the premises markers from Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City," said Ray Lemme, a financial investigator with the comptroller's office. "He appar ently was well noted as a gambler." Comptroller investigators accuse Pace of diverting residential house payments made to Congress Mortgage Corp. The money was supposed to be in escrow to pay property taxes and make loan payments to the Bank of Kuwait. In addition, Lemme said Pace staged fake loans often in millions of dollars then borrowed against them. Pace, who knew he was under investigation, surrendered Thursday and was released on $54,000 bond. His attorney, David Roth, said Pace will plead not guilty. Kuwaiti bankers began Pace's line of credit in 1987, eventually extending it to $14 million. By 1989, officials with the Bank of Kuwait were worried they'd made a bad choice with Pace, according to documents. Bankers confronted Pace about late payments and missing money, and Pace blamed the bookkeeping on "the volatility of the mortgage market and (the company's) inability to confirm mortgage closings." In fact, investigators said, Pace was putting money in two personal checking accounts for casino debts. Environmentalists blast Everglades plan By EMILY J. MINOR Palm Beach Post Staff Writer BOYNTON BEACH - Seven environmental groups united Thursday to criticize the proposed Everglades cleanup plan and call for sugar cane growers to give up 42,000 more acres for marshes to filter pollutants. The groups including the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Audubon Society and Friends of the Everglades said the Surface Water Improvement and Management plan "offers no hope" for the Everglades, which are starved for clean water from upstream. "This plan is a political document, not a restoration document," said Tim Searchinger, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund. "If we reorient our priorities, we will save the Everglades." That reorientation, Searchinger said, would require permits for agriculture interests to use and divert the water. The South Florida Water Management District does not use a permit system for agribusiness water use. Permitting would allow water managers to review farm irrigation systems. This plan is a political document, not a restoration document.' ATTORNEY TIM SEARCHINGER The groups also want the district to approve a drainage-filtering marsh system of 60,000 acres instead of the 18,000 acres planned. The $89.5 million marsh plan would be designed to purify runoff and divert it to the southern borders of the conservation area. But the environmentalists' proposal would require sugar cane growers to abandon 40,000 more acres than now called for, which would wipe out many farms. "We are obviously opposed to that," said Andy Rackley, vice president and general manager of the Florida Sugar Cane League. . Searchinger and others, including Paul Parks of the Florida Wildlife Federation and James D. Webb, regional director for The Wilderness Society, said they sub mitted comments to the district Thursday so the information can go to the water district board next week. Paul Whalen, Everglades SWIM project manager for the district, said late Thursday afternoon that district officials had not seen the critical report. But he said that if they get the comments before Wednesday, the report and 13 other public reports will be presented to water managers. Board members are scheduled to outline instructions for final revisions in the Everglades plan at next week's meeting, Whalen said. The environmentalists complain that the SWIM plan does not require the runoff from farm land to meet state water-quality standards and provides no long-term commitment to restore ecological balance. Other groups agreeing with Thursday's comments were the National Parks and Conservation Association and the Defenders of the Wildlife. "This plan doesn't even address water quality standards," said Parks of the wildlife federation. MDA auction set despite theft WEST PALM BEACH -Despite the theft of a truck-load of donated goods, a local real estate firm plans to go ahead with a scheduled charity auction Sunday. BK Properties will hold the auction at 1225 N. Military Trail between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. TVs, clothes, luggage and other goods were being stored in a truck when the theft occurred, auction organizer Debbie Brymer said. Replacement donations have been coming in. "We ll be glad to take anything." Brymer said. BK Properties is associated with ERA Real Estate, which frequently sponsors benefits for the MDA. To make a donation, call 471-3399. Delray landowners not liable in pollution suit against firm By JOE NEWMAN Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH - Workers at a military contractor's former plant in Delray Beach might have dumped toxic chemicals into the ground but that doesn't mean the property owners are responsible, a judge ruled Thursday. John and Lawrence Razete, owners of the property on Southwest 10th Street, are not liable in the city's $15 million lawsuit against Aero-Dri Corp., Circuit Judge Edward Rodgers ruled. Rodgers also ruled that Purvin Industries, a stockholder in Aero-Dri, is not liable for the chemicals that polluted wells supplying half the city's drinking water. The remaining defendant is Aero-Dri, a division of Ohio-based Davey Compressor Co. The ruling came after city attorneys rested their case, two weeks into the expected three-week jury trial. "It means that the city failed to prove its case against my clients," said Nancy Graham, attorney for the Razetes. "We picked up our bags and walked out." The city had argued the Razetes were responsible for the pollution because they had owned the property since Aero-Dri began operations in 1980 and were its majority stockholders until 1986. Graham said her clients weren't responsible because they lived in Cincinnati and didn't oversee operations. "They assumed it was going to be done legally," Graham said. And as property owners, the brothers aren't responsible for what their tenants did, she said. In 1987, state environmental inspectors identified the Aero-Dri plant, which closed early last year, as the source of groundwater pollution. Workers there testified they routinely dumped chemicals used to clean machine parts. Delray Beach is suing for the amount it expects to spend to recover from the contamination. The city has spent more than $3 million to drill new wells and purify its drinking water. " Sewage recycling study set ; Plant's board agrees to state's demands : By KIRK BROWN ; Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DELRAY BEACH - Under pressure from state regulators, operators of a Congress Avenue sewage plant voted Thursday to start making plans to reuse treated waste water now being dumped in the ocean. The governing board of the South Central Regional Wastewater Treatment and Disposal plant agreed to investigate the cost of diverting treated sewage to the Hunter's Run golf community for; irrigation within the next year. Residents from Hunter's Run, one of 13 golf courses covering 3,800 acres within a few miles of the plant, had raised the issue of obtaining treated waste water in April. "My feeling is let's get going,"-Delray Beach Mayor Todd Lyncli said. He urged the plant's staff to: work with Boynton Beach utility officials as well as new Delray Beach City Manager David Hard-: en, who had experience with water reuse programs when he managed Winter Park. The South Central Regional: plant, which serves Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, flushes 15 million gallons of treated waste water: into the Atlantic Ocean daily from: a pipe that extends a mile offshore.- The plant board also agreed to.' update a consultant's preliminary water reuse study that was part of the facility's master plan last year. The study showed it would cost about $9.5 million to create a program in which at least 6 million gallons of treated sewage would be used for irrigation daily. Florida Department of Environmental Regulation officials had threatened Wednesday to delay a long-awaited odor abatement and expansion project at the plant unless the board agreed to take a closer look at reusing some of the water. The $10.9 million project, which is supposed to begin in September, includes lids on two outdoor tanks believed to be the source of odors that upset homeowners in the nearby Pines of Delray North development. Pump stations also will be upgraded during the 15-month pro ject. The improvements will increase the plant's maximum daily capacity from 18.1 million gallons to 24 million gallons. State inspector arrested on drug charges By JAN LINDSEY Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH - A. state Department of Natural Resources investigator is on paid administrative leave after she and a' companion tried to buy about 40 pounds of marijuana Wednesday from a Palm Beach County Sher-. iff's Office undercover agent, officials said. Camille Thompson, 26, of 1920 Cathy Lane, Juno Beach, was charged with conspiracy and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a sheriff's spokesman said. Thompson is on leave for 10 days while internal investigators complete their work. Thompson makes slightly more than $20,000 a year as a land man-' agement specialist, one of five peo-. pie in the state charged with inspecting state lands being used by -private parties to ensure they are used in compliance with state regu-' lations, said Mark Janes, opera- -tions and management consultant with the Division of State Lands. Thompson and Armand Glocker arrived in the parking lot of the . Holiday Inn at 1301 Belvedere . Road about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to complete a $20,000 drug buy with undercover agents, the sheriff's , spokesman said. Identical charges were lodged against Glocker, 43, of 4044C Palm Bay Circle, suburban West Palm . Beach. Glocker was also charged -with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Thompson was released from the Palm Beach County Stockade and Glocker was released from the . County Jail after each posted ' $3,000 bond. -.

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