Broward Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Brenda Snipes may be clueless, but Congressman Alcee Hastings and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel touted the political activities of Snipes’ “right-hand lawyer” Burnadette Norris Weeks. At a Broward County Commission workshop this week, Snipes admitted she did not know Norris Weeks gave money to candidates with legal matters involving SOE. County Commissoner Mark Bogen has proposed a resolution requiring SOE lawyers to recuse themselves from matters involving candidates they have endorsed or supported. The resolution will be discussed at the June 9th County Commission meeting.
REDBROWARD reported Bogen questioned Norris Weeks’ role in last year’s District 2 election. Norris Weeks fought to keep write-in candidate Tyron Francois on the ballot even though he admitted to living outside District 2. In court, Francois admitted to a close relationship with the daughter of controversial County Commissioner Dale Holness.
REDBROWARD reported Norris Weeks was a staunch supporter of Holness. Just weeks before the court hearing, Norris Weeks attended a minority business conference in Denver. REDBROWARD obtained pictures of Norris Weeks and Holness dancing at the convention. Norris Weeks has a concession contract with the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
THE BULLY DEFENSE
Burnadette Norris Weeks launched a defense of Snipes on Facebook. She pulled the same “bully” card Snipes used against Bogen. Norris Weeks wrote, “As the attorney for the Supervisor of Elections Office for more than a decade, I have seen Republicans, Democrats and Independents all try to bully Dr. Brenda Snipes at one time or another on a myriad of issues.” She claimed the complaints stem from “people who feel that they cannot control this constitutional office are seeking to destroy it.”
POLITICAL OPERATIVE OR IMPARTIAL LAWYER?
Even though Snipes claimed ignorance of Norris Weeks’ political forays, Congressman Alcee Hastings boasted of her work. In an October 2012 Westside Gazette article, Hastings wrote, “I tried to get a current list of all of the African American organizations in Broward County. Nobody, I mean nobody, is working from a list that has all the names and leaders of every organization in Broward. That’s ridiculous people.”
Hastings continued, “Enter Step Up to the Polls, the brainchild of Burnadette Norris-Weeks and her law partner. They have pulled together what I believe will be the most effective effort of an African American led effort this election season. I am following their leadership, and I encourage you to do the same.”
One week later, Sun-Sentinel Editorial Writer Douglas Lyons praised Norris Weeks’ work to get President Obama re-elected. Lyons wrote, “Even better, other black professionals and organizations have organized similar efforts. Take today’s early morning “Steps to the Polls,” a march from downtown Fort Lauderdale to one of the early voting polling sites at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center…spearheaded by prominent attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks, is just one of several last-minute attempts to rally the faithful to take advantage of early voting and tip the scales of a razor-thin race in Florida to the president’s advantage.”
Shouldn’t the “right-hand lawyer” for the Broward Supervisor Of Elections Office be above politics? Should the SOE private contract lawyer play any role in partisan politics?
Shouldn’t Supervisor Of Elections Brenda Snipes be asking these questions?