Valerie Saffran is the latest write-in candidate to bring controversy to a Broward County Commission race. On Sunday, BrowardBeat.com reported Jeff Marano, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Society(BCPBA) was playing a role in the race to replace the term-limited Sue Gunzburger. Two Democrats, Hollywood City Commissioner Beam Furr and State Rep. Joseph Gibbons will face off in the August 26 primary. Saffran’s presence as a write-in candidate closes to the primary to all non-Democrat voters.The BCPBA newsletter made it clear Marano was seeking political payback on Furr. “Commissioner Furr has been a long time adversary anti-police anti-Public Safety. And he if elected will double his pension which I really believe is why he’s in it,” e-mailed Jeff Marano.
Marano’s BCPBA newsletter addressed the write-in candidate issue. According to BrowardBeat, under “How and why is it closed?” Marano wrote, “Answer: a write in candidate for the same seat qualified. Her last name is Saffran…common spelling. She lives in the district however her home address is exempt from 119.” It does appear Valerie Saffran, an American Airlines flight attendant, actually lives in District 6.
Last week, RED BROWARD reported Tyron Francois, a District 2 write-in candidate did not live in the district. RED BROWARD also revealed Ronald L. Bray, the Florida House District 96 write-in candidate and former Kristin Jacobs campaign staffer, did not live in the district. According to Florida Statute 99.0615 states, “At the time of qualification, all write-in candidates must reside within the district represented by the office sought.”
It is unclear why Marano mentions the exemption issue. Marano is referring to the Florida Statue which covers public records. Information regarding home addresses for police officers is exempted from disclosure in public records. However, Saffran listed her address on her campaign documents filed with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office. Why would Marano mention a police officer exemption for a flight attendant? Valerie Saffran is married to Michael F. Saffran, a retired Hollywood police detective.
Michael Saffran is no stranger to Jeff Marano. In July 1989, the Broward State Attorney and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated links between Hollywood police officers and Tammy McGovern, the “Hollywood Madam.” According to the Sun-Sentinel, “During an undercover investigation, Hollywood Vice Detective David Graziadei went to McGovern`s house posing as a customer seeking sexual services. Before Graziadei could complete a transaction, McGovern received a telephone call, police reports said.” Following the phone, McGovern told Graziadei to leave. “There was a high probability (the caller) would be a cop,“ Hollywood Police Chief Richard Witt said.
After arresting McGovern, police recovered four address books. “Witt confirmed that the books included the names and phone numbers of police Detective Mike Saffran and Sgt. Jeff Marano. He said that McGovern had worked as a confidential informant for Saffran since 1979 and described Marano’s relationship with McGovern as casual.” Police received information that McGovern bragged the Hollywood police protected her.
Four months later, Chief Richard Witt announced Marano and Saffran had been suspended from duty “pending a grand jury inquiry into allegations of police corruption and the officers’ connections to a woman sentenced for operating a brothel.” Witt told the Sun-Sentinel, “During the briefing, I heard items that caused me sufficient enough alarm that I have taken steps to relieve of duty Sgt. Jeff Marano, Detective Mike Saffran and Detective Shawn O`Connor. (The case) really deals with the allegations of wrongdoing by members of the Hollywood Police Department and their relationships with Tammy McGovern.” As part of a plea deal, “McGovern agreed to cooperate with the FDLE investigation and pleaded no contest to charges of operating a house of ill repute and possession of marijuana. She was sentenced to 18 months of probation on Oct. 16, and will have no police record if she complies with terms of the probation.”
Days later, the grand jury failed to indict Marano or Saffran. “I am thoroughly confused,” Police Chief Richard Witt said after the Broward grand jury chose not to indict burglary Detective Mike Saffran. “It may be that (the prosecutor) was undermined by some very blatant perjury.” The Broward State Attorney “sought to indict Saffran… on two counts of resisting arrest without violence, two counts of disclosing confidential information, two counts of being an accessory to a crime after the fact and one count of misbehavior in public office.”
Records show Michael Saffran retired in November 2005.
Marano is backing Gibbons by placing signs all over Hollywood. In the July 3 BCPBA newsletter, Marano writes, “In driving through Hollywood Hills last evening and putting up Joe Gibbons signs I discovered the existence of only one, lonely ole Beam Furr sign.”