By Bryan Boggiano
The Turtle Run Community Development District board members are speaking out amid a contentious election cycle that includes accusations of dirty politics, Sunshine Law violations — even assault.
Tensions came to a peak at the board’s Oct. 10 meeting. After public comment, board members argued. After 14 minutes, they adjourned the meeting, despite agenda items remaining unaddressed.
The district’s purpose is to finance, plan, construct, operate, and maintain infrastructure in an area covering 550 acres of land northwest of Sample Road and U.S. 441. and does meet again until Monday, Nov. 14.
“I have never seen in my life that a meeting of board people who are supposed to be representatives to the people shut down public comment because they didn’t want to hear more,” said Seat 1 Assistant Secretary Chris Kapish.
The situation began after Lynn Kapish spoke out about the negativity and alleged dishonesty surrounding the Seat 1 election. Her husband is running against James “Rob” Shipe for Seat 1.
Lynn told the board that comments were made about Chris in an alleged effort to unseat him. Allegations include nearly bankrupting the district, buying votes, wanting to raise taxes, and being evil.
“Campaign on substance. Stop talking about people behind their backs,” she told the board.
After public comment closed, Chris Kapish and Seat 2 Assistant Secretary Lance Morgan discussed the accusations, alleging Chairman Eugene “Skip” Carney helped spread them.
In response, Carney said it was not the forum. Morgan stated it was and accused Turtle Run board members of alleged Sunshine Law violations.
Subsequently, Carney motioned to adjourn the meeting based on Morgan’s past behavior and because multiple board members felt threatened.
He also stated that Morgan, a former BSO deputy, may have been carrying a firearm.
“Regardless of our feelings for each other, we have to take care of people’s business,” Morgan said.
The Police Report
Shipe alleges Morgan shouted, “Mr. Shipe, you are a piece of s—! Yeah, motherf—er, I’m right here. What are you going to do about it?”
He claims Morgan also verbally assaulted him in the parking lot. Shipe said Morgan lunged at him with his chest. In response, he called Sunrise Police.
While Turtle Run’s special district is in Coral Springs, the board holds meetings in Sunrise at the Governmental Management Services office at 5385 N. Nob Hill Road.
The board believes moving the meetings to Coral Springs would increase attendance and transparency.
According to the police report, Shipe stated he wanted to press charges of assault.
Morgan largely refuted Shipe’s account. He said he shouted at Shipe for perceived meeting disruptions but denied lunging.
Carney further stated the alleged threatening behavior is inexcusable, saying the alleged actions justified his reason to adjourn.
Seat 1 and Seat 3 Elections
Chris Kapish served as chairman until Oct. 2021 and has been on the board for about 20 years. He also heads his homeowner’s association.
He stated Carney is behind Shipe’s campaign to unseat him from the board.
Shipe denied this, stating, “I and my supporters have been going out into the neighborhood to let people know about the election. We are talking about what we would like to do and how we would like to control spending to keep our tax bills low.”
Kapish stated that whatever Carney wants to be done, he “dictates” and Karnegis and Hohl to go along. He accused Carney of spreading messages that Kapish nearly bankrupted Turtle Run’s special district.
“That’s a pretty big charge and a stupid charge,” he said.
Carney refuted Kapish’s accusations, saying Kapish expected the people he appointed to follow his direction.
“The current board [members] are independent thinkers and vote their conscience,” Carney said, using Seat 3 Assistant Secretary Zaida Karnegis, whom Kapish appointed, as an example.
She stated that in past meetings, Kapish reminded her he appointed her, which she sees as intimidation.
“I’m gonna do what’s right for the community, not what’s right for Chris Kapish and Lance Morgan,” she said.
At the previous meeting, Karnegis also said Morgan yelled at her and threatened to report her to her job. He allegedly did this three times.
On one of those occasions, Morgan reported Karnegis for allegedly violating the Hatch Act. The complaint stated that Karnegis works for the federal government, is running for an elected position, and is registered with a political party.
In an Aug. 23 letter, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel cleared her.
Due to Morgan’s alleged actions, Karnegis said she feels the election has changed.
“My opponent is not Patricia Morgan,” she said. “It’s Lance Morgan.”
Karnegis and Carney stated that Kapish and Morgan exhibited this intimidating behavior to Turtle Run residents, ranging from inconsistent political sign approvals to excess HOA citations.
Kapish and Morgan denied this, with both labeling the accusations as distractions.
Sunshine Law Accusations
The Sunshine Law accusations stem from multiple incidents that Morgan stated he is willing to confirm with a sworn statement.
Morgan stated board members allegedly met with Signarama owner Susan Bogen privately to discuss updating signage in Turtle Run in August, September, and October 2021.
The item ultimately came up for a vote in November.
Bogen said she could not discuss the alleged meetings over the phone and wanted permission from her clients and the board before answering questions.
On another occasion, Morgan alleged Carney texted the board to vote down a proposal for new flagpoles in Cypress Pointe.
Morgan provided screenshots showing the alleged messages.
The item in the alleged messages came up for a vote on July 11.
Morgan also alleged Carney met him and other board members to discuss voting Kapish off as chairman before voting in Carney as the new chair.
Hohl and Karnegis denied all allegations.
In response to all Sunshine Law allegations, Carney did not give a definitive response but said there was no basis or merit to any of the claims.
He further alleged Morgan and Kapish reached out to the media as a way to spread political rhetoric.
In response to the Sunshine Law accusations, Coral Springs Talk reached out to the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Paula McMahon, Broward State Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer, said the office had not received any formal complaint. A representative from the Florida Commission on Ethics said there was no public complaint but stated once something is deemed to have probable or no probable cause, it becomes public.
- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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