Records for a mysterious South Florida political committee show close ties between Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief and several high-powered Democrat lobbyists. Active for less than a year, the “Friends For A Better Broward, Inc.” committee spent more than $36,000 during the 2014/2015 election cycle. Most of the committee’s money went to those who worked on Commissioner Sharief’s 2014 campaign.
During her bitter 2014 campaign against Miramar Commissioner Alexandra Davis, Sharief employed Rosa Mendoza as her “director of campaign operations.” Mendoza was paid nearly $14,000 for her work on the Sharief campaign.
Sharief paid nearly $30,000 to Mercury Affairs of New York for “mailers.” While Sharief listed the Mercury Affairs New York office on her campaign financial reports, she made no mention of Ashley Walker, the managing director of Mercury’s Fort Lauderdale office. Published reports stated Walker, a former Obama campaign official, was running Sharief’s campaign.
Commissioner Sharief paid $4,690.94 to Brian Goldmeier’s BYG Strategies of Miami. Goldmeier is a former fundraiser for failed gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink. According to Saint PetersBlog, Goldmeier is currently raising money for a committee backing Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Last June, the Florida Bulldog reported Goldmeier, “expanded into heavily-Democratic Broward County where he’s in charge of enlisting political donors to show up at County Mayor Barbara Sharief’s upcoming $1,000-a-pop fundraiser….”
POLITICAL COMMITTEE PAID SHARIEF’S POLITICAL TEAM
Campaign financial reports show The Friends For A Better Broward, Inc. paid all three members of Sharief’s political team.
Rosa Mendoza was paid $5,000 for “field assistance.” BYG Strategies was paid $1,100 for “professional services.” A payment to Walker’s Mercury Public Affairs isn’t clear to a casual reader.
In July 2014, Friends For A Better Broward reported a $5,500 to “Mercy Public Affairs” for “consulting/professional services.” It lists Mercy’s address as “250 GreenWhich Street” in New York City. New York business records show no “Mercy Public Affairs” in NYC.
However, the Mercury Public Affairs website lists a New York City office located at 7 World Trade Center 250 Greenwich Street.”
TIES TO EVEN MORE LOBBYISTS
According to its website, Mercury Public Affairs’ Fort Lauderdale office is located at 1512 East Broward Blvd, Suite 101.
In January 2014, this reporter revealed several local lobbyists were sharing office space located at 1512 East Broward Blvd. Floridian Partners is located at the same address as Mercury Public Affairs. Lobbyist Russ Klenet, husband of Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter used the same office space as well.
Ritter’s 2012 financial disclosure form, filed June 24, 2013, was notarized by Samantha Senne, a lobbyist with the Floridian Partners.
According to Broward County employment records, Senne served as Ritter’s aide from December of 2008 until January of 2010. Campaign treasurer reports show Ritter paid Senne nearly $9,000 for “professional services” during her 2012 campaign.
According to State of Florida records, Friends For A Better Broward, Inc. filed corporation paperwork in March 2014. The official paperwork was notarized by Samantha Senne.