The man dubbed Broward’s “political pimp” wants Pompano Beach taxpayers to pick up his nearly $500,000 legal tab. In March, the Pompano Beach Communinty Redevelopment Agency (CRA) filed suit against Vicente Thrower, the former vice chair of the Northwest CRA. Thrower is seeking $483,778.00 in legal fees stemming from his April 2010 arrest on bribery and unlawful compensation charges.
According to the Pompano Beach CRA’s lawsuit, Thrower “served as a compensated consultant to several of the development firms who appeared before the CRA.” The suit states Thrower admitted under oath he received money before and after companies appeared before the CRA. The Pompano Beach CRA claims Thrower never disclosed his business relationship with developers.
Late last year, a Broward jury found Thrower not guilty on three of the charges.
THROWER DEFENSE: NOT A PUBLIC OFFICIAL UNDER THE LAW
During the trial, attorney Michael Hursey argued Thrower was not a public official under Florida law. “Is he quote unquote a public figure? Count one to three opening the State questioned is it ok to be an advisory committee member and a paid consultant to developers who were looking for zoning changes and changing single family to multi-unit town homes?” said Hursey. “This statute argued very hard that an advisory committee member did not make a public figure. The Northwest CRA Advisory Committee are volunteers who only make recommendations to the CRA Board. They have no authority nor are their decisions binding. They have little or no power, no salary, get zero benefit not even gas money to come to meetings.”
According to the Westside Gazette’s coverage of the Thrower trial, the jury was asked to “decide if Thrower was a public figure who accepted unlawful compensation?” The Westside Gazette reported the jury asked if NW CRA Advisory Committee members “were paid consultants.”
Now, Thrower wants the Pompano Beach CRA to pay his legal fees he incurred while serving on the NW CRA.
In the lawsuit, the Pompano Beach CRA states Thrower’s actions “did not serve a public purpose.” The suit claims the Thrower’s legal fees came as a “result of certain specific admitted conduct undertaken by Thrower while he served as a board member on the NW CRA.” Thrower’s attorney no longer claims he is not a public official.
In a letter to the Pompano Beach commission, attorney Hursey paints Thrower as a victim of false criminal charges. He writes, “Thrower just completed a very difficult 4 1/2 year journey, living under the shadow of charges which were ultimately proved false.” Hursey boasts of his own legal skills, writing, ” the legal team engaged in a tremendous court battle to obtain this great result.” He says Pompano Beach paying for the legal fees will “put Mr. Thrower on the road to restoring the enormous loss he suffered when fighting these unfounded charges.”
THROWER’S VOLUNTARY STATEMENT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
Even though a Broward jury failed to convict him, Thrower admitted many of the details in a February 2010 sworn statement to the Broward State Attorney.
Thrower admitted working for developers with business before Pompano Beach. These developers,which included Cornerstone, Habitat For Humanity, Pompano Beach Living LLC, and Lavish Homes, paid thousands of dollars to Thrower. He never disclosed his contractual relationships.
Thrower also admitted speaking with the FBI regarding his dealings with notorious developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.
When asked if he knew the Chaits, Thrower responded, “Yes I do. That’s an ongoing investigation with the FBI. And I don’t feel comfortable answering that question right now.” After a brief recess, Thrower became more comfortable.
Thrower told prosecutor David Schulson he was introduced to the Chaits by consultant Beverly Stracher. She explained the Chaits were having difficulty setting up a meeting with former Broward County Commissioner Joe Eggelletion. Stracher wanted Thrower to arrange a meeting with Eggelletion.
Thrower received $8000 in cash to arrange a meeting between Chait and Eggelletion at the Broward County Government Center. In total, Thrower admitted to receiving $15,000 from the Chaits.
Eggelletion would later serve prison time after pleading guilty to charges related to his dealings with the Chaits.
In addition to Eggelletion, Thrower admitted to introducing Shawn Chait to former State Sen. Joe Gibbons, former Lauderdale Lakes commissioner Leyvoyd Williams and Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher.
THROWER WORRIED ABOUT BURDEN ON POMPANO BEACH TAXPAYERS
Stunningly, the man who wants Pompano Beach taxpayers to pay his half million dollar legal bill told Broward lawmakers he was worried about Pompano Beach taxpayers. At a May 6th Broward Legislative Town Hall on Police Body Cameras, Thrower lectured State Sen. Chris Smith about forcing taxpayers to pay for body cameras. Thrower claimed he was concerned about “unfunded mandates” which taxpayers would have to “suck up and pay” as part of the city’s contract with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
LIVING THE HIGH LIFE
Even though his attorney claims Pompano Beach needs to pay his legal bills to help turn his life around, it appears Thrower is already living the high life. On social media, Thrower posts pictures of his fancy watches and his Rolls Royce Bentley.