Broward officials defend $140 million COVID relief hotel

BROWARD COUNTY, Florida. – Some Republicans have found it egregious that $140 million in federal aid was used for a 29-story luxury hotel.

Funds for the 800-room hotel at the county-owned Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center come from the $350 billion U.S. bailout, also known as the COVID-19 stimulus package.

“It’s hard to imagine how a four-star hotel helps fund the pain of COVID,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, recently, who wanted to set more limits on how plan money was spent. .

Broward County commissioners found a way to legalize the COVID relief hotel and responded to criticism with a statement on Friday. Monica Cepero, the county administrator and not an elected official, released the county defense.

Cepero said the hotel project “clearly” meets these guidelines: A recipient of American Rescue Plan Act federal funds can provide assistance for “a planned expansion or upgrade of tourism, travel, and hospitality facilities.” ‘reception delayed due to the pandemic’.

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The hotel was among projects the Associated Press identified as “spending disasters” due to “permissive” Treasury Department rules.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois told The Associated Press that the funds are intended to help local governments “recover from financial distress” and “carry out their own strategies to restore jobs.”

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Read Wednesday’s story: Pandemic relief money spent on hotel, ballpark and ski slopes

Watch Thursday’s report

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Broward County officials have allocated about $140 million in COVID relief funds to build a new hotel at the convention center.

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