South Florida LGBT Community Reacts to Protest Against Management of Wilton Manors Condo
It used to be a divisive issue, commenters questioning SFGN's ethics, journalism, and stake in a year-old investigation into a local Ponzi scheme that rocked a gay community - it all started with a story in February 2012.
The scheme exposed by SFGN's investigation revealed that local socialite Jim Ellis was a front and decoy for George Elia, enticing Wilton Station residents with promises of riches and fortune in exchange for their investments. Courting prospective targets at local gay bars and in lavish parties at the condo complex, Ellis repeatedly proffered to others that he himself had invested his own money and inheritance as part of the lure. In fact, prosecutors charging Ellis revealed he had no inheritances, and was simply acting fraudulently as a front for Elia, who's now in jail and facing up to 180 years in jail. Ellis pleaded guilty on Feb. 1 and awaits an April sentencing.
But it was the story of an alleged victim of the scheme, Michal Nunnenkamp, that set the community on full comment-rage. He protested the scheme in front of Wilton Station on the morning of Feb. 19, calling Jim Ellis and his daughter Janet (a property manager at Wilton Station) thieves. After the story was published online, Wilton Station's board president, Peggy Kennedy, called SFGN's CEO and threatened to sue the paper.
We've compiled some of those trigger-happy comments:
"Someone here predicted months ago that others have been involved besides Jim and George. So far things are progressing in this direction.
The BOD's should all be accountable, previous administration and current.
Janet has known all along what has been happening and she could only care about one person, EVIL JANET!!
I wish I had never purchased a home here."
"You are all so heartless. Bt the time this is resolved, Janet won't be able to find a job changing beds in a dementia's hospice."
"RUN, JANET, RUN!!!"
From Former Resident of WS
"I left Wilton station because of the terrible management or lack there of that Janet Ellis "provided." The security team she hired was horrendous as well. The board of three people that were all good friends of the Ellis's most likely provided her "in" there and are the reason why she was never removed from her job even with 90% of its occupants always talking about what a terrible job she did.
and with regards to the parties I've been to a few of them and they were always set up/ thrown by Janet and her father would proceed to go around marketing their schemes. I mean really now the woman is driving around in and m3 BMW on a property management salary.
it's sad because the grounds and amenities themselves are nice and it could be a really nice place to live, but while corruption lives and Janet with her continental management team is still in power nothing will change."
"I knew both Janet and Jim for a period of time. I had been to some of the parties at Jim's home for the holidays. He was always a giving person. I do think he did know that he was doing something wrong. He had also asked me to invest money with him and at almost 20% return sounded great but seemed so odd that he wa the only one to get 20% and no other investments could even come close to that. Also, I was like what if George dies? Then what happens to my money? Jim guaranteed it but I still felt strange on it. Luckily I didn't lose like a lot of his former friends did from Wilton station. If something is too good to be true it probably is though. I feel sorry for the people that lost out. Janet on the other hand I had never heard say anything about investing with her father. She would never have parties at her home. Only her doggies and her I had ever ear of being there. Janet had won awards through the Wilton station company and was always worried about what was goin on there. She may have known her father was doing something wrong but in my own opinion I don't believe she was involved in the scam. Anytime something was organized was drinks after work or dinner with friends. Not these so called parties you guys are saying. It was just friends meeting up and having drinks and then eventually Jim would propose the idea to some and if teh were interested he asked the to meet with George I believe it was. Leave Janet out of it. She has lost a lot from what her father did. Going from somebody to nobody in town has to be hard for her. They were quite involved in the gay community. From him owning clubs up north once upon a time to donating to many charities in the south. Things happen and people need to pay closer attention around them. If you're gonna be giving away 1,000s of dollars you better be sure of it. Unfortunately it's been a lesson learned."