When Wissam El Ghoul got back to his apartment after a New York business trip, he did not expect to be greeted with the smell of a “dead person.”

El Ghoul spoke during public comment at the July 26 city commission meeting about an issue in Tower A of his apartment building. El Ghoul said that sewage backed up into a line in his bathtub and filled up while he was out of town on a business trip.

El Ghoul said he contacted the management company and board of directors before arriving at the meeting. He also said that three other neighbors experienced the same issue.

“They basically are just like flipping me away and not trying to help. They didn’t reach out to us, they didn’t instruct us how to clean the toxic sewage that backed up in our apartments and basically, they told me, and I have all the emails and correspondences, anything behind your wall limits is your responsibility,” he said.

He called the issue “nonstop” and noted that if he was in town when it happened, he could have salvaged the situation.

“I came in the next day in the afternoon without anybody notifying me about the situation, without anybody telling me what I’m walking into — the toxicity in my home,” El Ghoul said. “I felt like there was a dead person in my home and they didn’t care.”

He said his neighbors are ready to give sworn statements on the incident. 

Youth

City Commission honored the late former Mayor Justin Flippen by awarding Florida Atlantic University graduate Luke Turner a scholarship in his name. This is the second annual Justin Flippen Memorial Scholarship awarded and is a $1,000 reward.

“As someone who came out around the time I started college, it was this city that ultimately opened up my eyes to being proud of who I am,” Turner said.

Turned described the late mayor as an “inspiration” and promised to uphold his legacy.

Fort Lauderdale High School Coach Richard Dunbar III spoke about the FLHS football team and their goal to introduce the team to careers. He asked Wilton Manors for volunteers from various job paths to connect with the team to inspire thinking about the possible occupations after graduating college or high school.

If you are interested in connecting with the team to expose them to the pre-professional world, contact Dunbar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Around Town

Gary Blocker, Wilton Manors Chief of Police, promoted the August 2 National Night Out. National Night Out is an event for the community to engage with and meet their patrolling officers.

Finalizing their discussion of the Town Crier, city commission will keep with their last voted-upon quarterly publication and change printing to an “opt-out” for receiving print copies instead of their “opt-in” plan currently in place.

Scott Ballina, Robert Hadley and Marc Marois got appointed to the Community Affairs Advisory Board. 

Ordinances

Following Paul Kuta’s critique of the ordinance to ban smoking in Wilton Manors parks, city commission agreed to lower the proposed fines to equal the fines for smoking marijuana. The edited ordinance passed unanimously with a fine of $25 for each smoking offense and a section that allows the magistrate to fine up to $2000 for excessive instances.

An ordinance that allows the mayor or city manager to declare a state of emergency also passed unanimously. 

City Commission Salaries

The first reading of the city commission salary raise ordinance will be at the next city commission meeting Aug. 26. The Aug. 9 meeting is canceled due to summer recess.


The Gazette launched a Wilton Manors focused newsletter. Sign up today! You can also visit Facebook.com/groups/WMGazette to join the Gazette’s community Facebook page.