Broward Elections Lawyer Hosted Candidate Forums

Burnadette Norris-Weeks, the private contract attorney for Broward Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Brenda Snipes, has been hosting candidate forums since at least 2006. Snipes and Norris-Weeks have come under fire for her political activities while serving as the Elections Office chief legal adviser. Snipes rebuffed requests from Broward County Commissioners to keep her employees and vendors from dealing with elections issues involving candidates they have supported and/or endorsed.

REDBROWARD revealed Burnadette Norris-Weeks operated “The Right Group” political committee from 2003 to 2013. Her committee gave campaign contributions to many local politicians including Joe Eggelletion and Brenda Snipes. REDBROWARD reported the treasurer of Norris-Weeks’ committee is the wife of former South Florida Sun-Sentinel senior editorial writer Douglas C. Lyons.

In March 2006, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel announced a forum for Fort Lauderdale City Commission candidates at the African American Research Library. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “The Council of Civic Associations, which sponsored an earlier forum, is also sponsoring this one. This time, the forum is co-sponsored by The Right Group, a nonprofit political committee formed to educate and empower African-American voters in Broward County.” All political committees are “non-profit.”

Days later, the Sun-Sentinel reported how organizers were upset some candidates skipped the forum. “City Commission candidate Charlotte Rodstrom shunned the only official citywide election forum Thursday, one specifically aimed at black voters,” the newspaper reported. “At the forum, candidates were to take turns responding to questions, including one about whether Sistrunk Boulevard should be narrowed to two lanes. That plan is stalled, because Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom, the candidate’s husband, has blocked it.”

Did Norris-Weeks support the Sistrunk Boulevard plan? Did she oppose Charlotte Rodstrom’s candidacy? The newspaper never mentioned Norris-Weeks’ involvement with “The Right Group.”

In 2012, The Sun-Sentinel announced another Right Group sponsored candidate forum, “Candidates Forum,6 p.m. at 2520 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale. Free. Call 954-345-7745.” This number is connected to a business owned by Burnadette Norris-Weeks. No further information on the forum is available.

Another stunning example of the partisan political activities by the lawyer for Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes raises more questions:

Did Dr. Snipes know about The Right Group political committee?

Did Dr. Snipes know about the candidate forums sponsored by The Right Group?

How many candidate forums have been hosted by The Right Group?

Did any candidates who received contributions from The Right Group attend these forums?

Did The Right Group endorse any candidates?

Did the South Florida Sun-Sentinel endorse any candidates supported by The Right Group?

If so, what was the involvement of former South Florida Sun-Sentinel senior editorial writer Douglas C. Lyons?

Douglas Lyons & Burnadette Norris Weeks
Douglas Lyons & Burnadette Norris Weeks

Published by Tom Lauder

Covering South Florida Politics Since 2010...As Seen On: POLITICO, The Huffington Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, WPLG LOCAL 10 (ABC MIAMI), The New Times

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