Broward County Commission candidate Jason A. Steele does not want voters to know about his ties to Vicente Thrower, a controversial Pompano Beach community activist. Thrower, a thirty-four year old Democrat, faces a September 2014 trial on four felony counts of unlawful compensation. He was a member of the Pompano Beach Northwest Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). Thrower was arrested in April 2010 for “accepting and not officially disclosing more than $50,000 in consulting fees he received to support three separate business deals involving the city and the CRA.” Late last week, Steele entered the Commission District 4 race as an NPA (No Party Affiliation) candidate.
Steele told RED BROWARD he left the Democrat party over failed promises to his community. “I truly want to change the status quo in Broward,” Steele said, “There are too many promises and not enough action.” He said he wants to “shine a light” on local politicians so they will be accountable to the people. Steele said he no longer “fit the Democrat platform,” but could not cite a specific issue.
For the last four years, Steele has been a pharmacy technician. He is currently studying at the Sanford Brown Institute to become a dental hygienist. Steele was born and raised in Broward. He attended Pompano Beach High School.
Steele stated he has not been involved in local politics. He said he has a core group of volunteers to assist him in raising money and delivering his message to voters. Steele did not want to name any of his close advisers. When asked if Vicente Thrower was a part of his team, Steele said, “That’s something I cannot comment on.” When pressed, Steele said he “heard of the name. Let’s just say there’s a possibility, we may share mutual friends and associates.” Given Thrower’s criminal charges, Steele’s reluctance to admit ties to Thrower is understandable.
Months after his arrest on bribery charges, Thrower was arrested during a police prostitution sting for the TLC show Police Women Of Broward County. Two Broward Sheriff’s deputies were posing undercover as prostitutes on the 1400 block of Northwest 31st Avenue when, according to incident reports, they were approached by Thrower as he was driving a Cadillac. Thrower negotiated with the two undercover deputies to perform an oral sex competition for $50 and met them at a hotel room where he was arrested, investigators say. At the time of this second arrest, investigative reporter Bob Norman wrote, “[Thrower] was considered a rising political star. He showed up for all the community meetings in Pompano and was appointed to several boards. Thrower was a young soldier in the Joe Eggelletion political mob, so it’s not that surprising that he got popped last year for accepting some $50,000 in unlawful compensation from entities looking for him to use his influence on the CRA board.”
Today, Buddy Nevins of BrowardBeat.com raised questions about Steele’s finances and filing fee. Nevins wrote, “[Steele] reported a $21k negative net worth, but still produced a check for $3,683.88 to qualify for office last week. The suspicion is that Steele entered the race on June 20 just 36 minutes before filing closed to steal votes from another candidate. The suspicion is he got the money from that candidate’s campaign consultant.”
Steele will face off against either Democrat Ken Keechl or Benjamin Lap, and Republican Chip LaMarca in November.