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Florida Rep. Dan Daley rips North Springs water district for its “flat out disregard for the law”

Days after the Florida Auditor General found the North Springs Improvement District had violated state laws and stymied competition while it handed out millions in public contracts, Florida Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) has slammed the district for what he called “commonplace” disregard for the law. 

Daley excoriated NSID management for failing to obtain building permits for construction projects in Coral Springs, where, along with Parkland, the district supplies about 40,000 residents with water and sewer service. 

“It has come to our office’s attention that NSID is once again flagrantly disregarding state and local law,” Daley wrote in the letter addressed to board president Vincent Moretti. “This time in the context of local state building and permitting requirements. I would be shocked if this sort of behavior was not already so commonplace in the district.” 

In the letter, Daley cited 2020 correspondence from Coral Springs City Attorney John Hearn complaining to NSID District Manager Rod Colon about four unpermitted building projects in the city. Hearn refuted claims by Colon that the agency wasn’t required to obtain permits and should be allowed to “self-regulate” its own projects. 

Hearn wrote that Colon was in the wrong and the district was subject to fees and inspection like everyone else. Hearn further noted the Florida Attorney General’s Office had determined special districts like NSID were subject to local permitting laws.

“NSID’s position with regard to its ability to ‘self-regulate’ is simply not supported by law,” Hearn wrote. 

Colon continues to dig in his heels and resist permitting for NSID’s building projects. He supplied the Trident with a recent legal opinion commissioned by NSID claiming again the district isn’t subject to permitting requirements. 

“The Coral Springs attorney and our attorney will be meeting next week,” Colon said in a text to the Trident. “Let the attorneys determine what needs to be permitted and what doesn’t.” 

If the city doesn’t accede to his wishes, Colon said it will be up to the NSID board to decide what to do, with the counsel of NSID attorneys. 

Daley called the legal opinion commissioned by NSID “garbage” and called it another example of the agency using hired lawyers to try to “justify their actions.”  

When Daley requested the state audit of NSID earlier this year, he cited a Florida Center for Government Accountability investigative series that found Colon had personally profited from his work as a public official, including the awarding of $16 million in NSID contracts to a company Colon had started in his Plantation home. Colon also collected a $240,000 commission on the sale of a piece of district-owned land. 

Colon has used a loophole in Florida ethics law to justify the self-dealing – a loophole that Daley and fellow state Rep. Christine Hunchofsky (D-Parkland) have attempted to close via legislation.   

“The lack of permitting just shows a pattern about this guy not giving a shit about the law and just wanting to do it the way he wants to do it,” Daley told the Florida Trident. “Time and time again all he does is show he’s not a good manager and these board members let him get away with it.” 

In the letter Daley called on the elected NSID board, which he said Colon has controlled for years, to clean up the district. He said the ideal solution would be Colon’s resignation, though he doesn’t expect that to happen. When asked about that possibility, Colon called the question “unfair.” 

“I eagerly await the board’s response to yet another example of their management’s flat-out disregard for the law,” wrote Daley. “The fiefdom must end.”

About the Author: Bob Norman is an award-winning investigative reporter who serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Florida Trident and journalism program director for the Florida Center for Government Accountability. He can be reached via email at