|Posted by Anne Siren on December 22, 2012 at 2:25 PM|
By Judy Wilson
Deerfield Beach – City Commissioners were not swayed Tuesday by arguments that they had shown favoritism when selecting the restaurant operator for the fishing pier.
Attorney Michael Weiner, representing Two Together, LLC doing business as Burgerfi, also argued the commission failed to follow procedures set by city code when selecting another vendor, FlashBack Diner.
Weiner said the request for proposal [RFP] established the criteria for the bidders, and his client fulfilled that criteria. Mayor Peggy Noland’s stated preference for a traditional breakfast menu was her “personal preference,” not a criterion of the RFP, Weiner said. The commission, Weiner argued, “strayed from the criteria and distrusted the local committee [recommendation] based on emotion.”
He also questioned the fact that Commissioner Marty Popelsky, absent due to illness, had not reviewed the bid materials as required by code if the commission sits as the ranking committee. Any leasing decision made by the commission in regards to the pier restaurant also requires a super majority, 4 out of 5, vote.
Under the ranking procedure used by the commission, however, only a vote to accept the top-ranked bidder, FlashBack, was taken and it was unanimous.
Weiner asked the commission to place faith in the original selection committee and accept their recommendation in which his client was ranked first or prepare another RFP which states clearly that breakfast “is everything.”
The issue has drawn considerable public comment via email. One resident in particular, John Grassi, has sent commissioners and the press health inspection reports which show FlashBack Diner with a number of violations at its Davie and Hallandale locations.
Addressing the matter, Vice Mayor Bill Ganz said he investigated the inspection reports of two other local diner-style restaurants and found violations that exceeded those incurred by FlashBack. Although there were a high number of ‘critical’ violations cited, and on two occasions, a stop-sell order put in on a food item, Ganz said his research showed even more serious complaints from health officials at the two local diners. Ganz noted some of the infractions incurred by FlashBack were “pretty minute . . . I don’t believe the state would allow them to operate [if the diner did not meet the standards]. Maybe we don’t see the whole story.”
The Burgerfi owners are currently engaged in a lawsuit charging a business partner with operating a criminal enterprise that committed theft, bribery, fraud, thefts and extortion.
A fast-growing franchise company, Burgerfi claims it will soon have 250 locations. A new one opened recently in Coral Springs.