The only contributor to the Save Our Beach Committee (the pro-referendum PAC) named in papers filed with the Deerfield Beach City Clerk's office by the PAC organizer is Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, a Fort Lauderdale law firm.
Attorney Dennis D. Mele, a member of the Ruden, McClosky law firm, represented Groupe Lepine in its attempt to develop the main beach parking lot into a hotel and commercial venture in 1998. It was Lepine's proposal that led to the charter amendment limiting the city commission's power to give away or otherwise transfer public lands to private persons without voter approval.
William E. Bucknam, whose office is at 201 N. Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach (the MWI Corporation), organized the Save Our Beach Committee. He is listed as Chairman and Treasurer. Bucknam is a graduate of Georgetown University Law School and a member of the Virginia Bar. He is not a member of the Florida Bar and devotes all or a greater part of his time to the affairs of a single client.
MWI Corporation is owned by the Eller family. David Eller has been named in newspaper reports as the major benefactor of the proposed plaza and the person who first conceived of the commercial aspect.
Eller and Bucknam , respectively, are the Publisher and Associate Publisher of the Observer newspaper. The Observer editorially supports passage of the referendum.
SOURCES: Statement of Organization of Political Committee recorded in the City Clerk's Office, August 15, 2000; the Sun-Sentinel; Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell, P.A.; Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory; MWI Corporation; the Observer.