In an apparent violation of Florida elections law, Broward County Judges are receiving campaign solicitations from a candidate for Broward County Circuit Court. At least two sitting judges received wordy emails urging them to contribute to the campaign of Doreen Turner Inkeles. Florida Statute 106.15(4) states, “No person shall make and no person shall solicit or knowingly accept any political contribution in a building owned by a governmental entity.”
Inkeles’ email urging up to $1,000 contributions went sent to the judges’ official email accounts. The Broward County Courthouse is owned by a government entity. Florida Statute 106.15(5) states, “Any person violating the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.”
The Inkeles email is signed by 7 lawyers: Steven Berzner, Deborah Ann Byles, Nancy Brodzki, Mark Abzug, Doreen Yaffa, Joel Feldman and Scott J. Brook. (Yesterday, REDBROWARD reported Brook was all smiles with Lea Krauss, another candidate for Broward County Circuit Court. Brook faced ethics charges for failing to report a free yacht trip provided by the corrupt developers, Shawn and Bruce Chait.)
The long, wordy-email states:
To contribute to her campaign, you can make your check payable to the Doreen Turner Inkeles Campaign(maximum of $1,000.00 per person and/or entity) and send it to the address above. You can also contact Doreendirectly on her mobile phone at 954-729-7890 or by email to ElectDoreenTurnerInkeles@OurFloridaCourts.org. Doreen will be happy to talk with you. Of course, you can also contact any one of us directly anytime to discuss her campaign as well.
Last year, the issue of sending campaign emails to government buildings was raised during the Jacksonville Mayoral race. In February 2014, Mayor Alvin Brown emailed campaign solicitations to government employees and leaders. Jacksonville.com reported Brown’s campaign emailed an urgent fundraising appeal to thousands of people, asking them to “stand with me” by donating “$50, $35 or $10 to my campaign today.”
The emails forced Jerry Holland, the Jacksonville Supervisor of Elections, to investigate the matter. According to Holland, his consultations with the Florida Division of Elections determined email solicitations were illegal.
State law prohibits campaign fundraising on government property, and that would include fundraising sent to government email accounts, Holland said.
Holland said of the Brown campaign’s emails. “It’s a matter of them doing their due diligence and removing the government addresses.”
City Councilman Bill Bishop told Jacksonville.com, “[I]t’s ‘campaign literature 101’ to not send fundraising letters to government email accounts.”
Besides the possible illegality of the campaign contribution solicitation, the email shows TEAM Inkeles may be avid REDBROWARD readers.
NAME GAME NO MORE?
In September, REDBROWARD exposed Inkeles’ attempt to play the name game.
Even though she’s practiced law for years under the name Inkeles, she filed for the Circuit 17 Group 24 seat under the name “Doreen Carol Turner.” Inkeles divorced Dr. Paul Martin Inkeles in 2000.
Since the divorce, she has continued to use the name Inkeles. The Florida Bar lists her license under the name “Doreen Turner Inkeles.” The Bar lists her place of employment as “Beiner Inkeles & Horvitz PA” in Boca Raton. Internet domain records show her website,InkelesLaw.com, was created in 2007, seven years after her divorce.
Property records show Doreen Turner Inkeles purchased a Coconut Creek home in February 2010. The Broward Clerk of Courts lists Doreen Turner Inkeles as representing clients in 2015. The State of Florida says Doreen C. Inkeles is registered to vote in Broward County at her Coconut Creek address.
Even her Facebook page is listed under “Doreen Turner Inkeles.”
In an interview with REDBROWARD last month, Inkeles claimed the name change was meant to help voters. She said voters had a hard time remembering the name “Inkeles.”
Two weeks later, her email blast lists her as “Doreen Turner Inkeles.”
BROWARD FINALLY GETS A SHOUT-OUT FROM CONSULTANT?
Inkeles’ email was crafted by Strategic Technologies & Research, Inc. When readers click “powered by JNAC” at the bottom of the email, they are redirected to the JNACOnline website. The bottom of the JNAC website states “Copyright (c) 2015-2019 – Strategic Technologies & Research, Inc.”
Also, the campaign solicitation lists Inkeles email as”ElectDoreenTurnerInkeles@OurFloridaCourts.org.” Domain records show “OurFloridaCourts.org” is owned by Strategic Technologies & Research, Inc.
According to State of Florida records, the Fort Lauderdale company is owned by consultant Dan Lewis.
In November, JNACOnline and “OurFloridaCourts.org” appeared on emails sent on behalf of Broward County Court candidate Rhoda Sokoloff, Broward Circuit Court Judge Hope Tieman-Bristol and Broward County Judge John “Jay” Hurley.
REDBROWARD reported the Hurley email forgot an important word in his disclaimer: “Broward.”
Sure, the word “Broward” appeared a few times in Hurley’s email solicitation. But in the all important disclaimer, Hurley used “county judge” not “Broward County Judge.”
Perhaps Hurley thought voters don’t need to have simple things spelled out for them, LIKE THE NAME OF THE OFFICE YOU’RE SEEKING!
The disclaimers from Judge Hope Tieman-Bristol and Rhoda Sokolff also lack the word “Broward” in their disclaimers.
Looks like Lewis learned something since our Hurley story. In the Inkeles email, the disclaimer reads, “Political advertisement paid for and approved by Doreen Turner Inkles for Broward Circuit Judge Gr. 24, Non-Partisan.”
At the time of publication, Inkeles and Lewis had not responded to requests for comment.