One month after filing for an election late last year, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony staged an elaborate groundbreaking ceremony for what he said would be BSO’s new training center adjacent to the sheriff’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters. Nine months later, work on the $34-million project has yet to begin, and Tony’s being sued by an electrical contractor who says the sheriff stiffed him for tens of thousands of dollars in work preparing for the groundbreaking.
The Dec. 19, 2019 groundbreaking was a big deal that Tony relentlessly hyped in advance and after the fact. “For the first time in BSO history, construction for a state-of-the-art Regional Training Center is underway which will provide for more intensive, frequent training to address today’s public safety challenges,” Tony wrote shortly after the ceremony.
The sheriff spent lavishly to ballyhoo the new training center. Paid vendor invoices obtained by Florida Bulldog show that in the days before the groundbreaking, Sheriff Tony spent thousands of dollars to purchase 50 engraved, gold-painted ceremonial shovels; 49 personalized, green “hard hats” for VIPs, and a single gold-plated hard hat for himself.