Former Plantation Mayor Lynn Stoner wrote an official letter with false information that helped a developer in the city secure $102 million in loans, according to new documents from the county’s inspector general.
Stoner in 2020 used the city’s letterhead to tell Strata Group, LLC’s lenders that the company had resolved $181,000 worth of city code enforcement fines, according to a 42-page preliminary report from the Broward County Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The OIG report adds further details to the four charges, including one felony charge, that Stoner is expected to be arraigned for Monday morning. She is expected to plead not guilty to charges that she falsified a record, engaged in official misconduct and illegally influenced a building official, according to State Attorney Harold Pryor’s Office.
These charges carry a maximum of eight years in prison. Stoner’s current batch of legal woes come on the heels of another 238-page report from the OIG, out in February, detailing campaign report violations. She was fined $1,200 for those issues, which she chalked up to sloppy bookkeeping.
Stoner’s defense attorney, Larry Davis, declined to discuss the latest from the OIG, noting that 30 days are allowed for a response. But he did reiterate earlier comments that Plantation has a strong-Mayor form of government.
“Mayor Stoner was exercising her administrative authority pursuant to the city’s charter,” Davis said.
The OIG report notes that the developer had been a donor to Stoner’s 2018 campaign and a political committee that had produced materials that benefited her campaign — a total of $26,000 between Stoner’s personal account and the committee. Stoner, first elected to the City Council in 2011 and then as Mayor in 2018, ran for re-election in 2022 as well, but was defeated in a challenge from City Council member Nick Sortal.
Much of the report focuses on Stoner’s conflict with a city building official who was fired later and issues involving the developer, which is building a multiphase development in the city currently.
“The building official told her he would not waive the violations because the developer had still not corrected the violations,” the report reads. “He also told her he would not write the letter because it would be illegal. Mayor Stoner replied that she would write the letter and then hung up on him.”
Days after Stoner’s letter reached the lender, Strata and the lender were able to close on a loan, the report says.
Sortal declined to comment on the situation or say how this might impact city issues.
The question of whether Stoner’s photograph should remain among a gallery of Plantation Mayors’ pictures came up at the last City Council meeting June 7. Sortal told the assembled that he had taken Stoner’s image down at the request of city employees.
“They were quite animated and very upset,” Sortal said, explaining why he took it down. “They feel like this room should inspire people.”
But the other City Council members want it back up — even if the outcome of Stoner’s current troubles results in her conviction.
“This wall, the Mayor wall, that’s a document of history,” said City Council member Timothy Fadgen.
Stoner is facing charges of official misconduct, a third-degree felony; falsifying an official record, a first-degree misdemeanor; and two counts of influencing a building official, a misdemeanor.