According to multiple sources, James Fondo will be the latest Democrat challenger to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. These sources tell REDBROWARD Fondo, a retired Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) employee, will file for the race within the next week. Unlike previous challengers, Fondo’s campaign will be aided by a shadowy political committee, Citizens Over Public Safety (COPS).
In January 2013, Fondo, one of many “high ranking pals” of former Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, received a “sick payout” before Scott Israel took control of BSO. According to Bob Norman of WPLG Local 10, Lamberti paid $142, 956 to Fondo. On Facebook, Fondo states he current works for SIG 9, a Sunrise private investigation firm.
In 1990, Fondo made headlines for his actions on the FOX television program COPS. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Fondo’s mishandling of a bag of cocaine forced the Broward State Attorney to drop charges against Dania Beach drug dealers. A Broward judge stated videotape from an episode of COPS contradicted Fondo’s sworn testimony.
“Fondo took the stand on Friday and testified that he saw four men, including Ford, 19, huddled around a bench at Modello Park in Dania. He stopped his car and watched them cutting up cocaine, he said. As he got out of the car, he saw Ford drop a plastic bag near the bench, he said.” A cameraman for the program testified Ford was not seen dropping the bag. Fondo claimed television producers asked him to re-enact the dropping of the bag. “Cops producer John Langley released a statement in November saying that the TV show does not air re-enactments and that the show`s crews are advised of this before they go into the field.”
Fondo is a close friend of Louis Granteed, Sheriff Israel’s Democrat challenger in 2012. Fondo’s Facebook page is filled with pictures of him and Granteed attending family events. But Granteed is not Fondo’s biggest backer in local politics.
Sources say James Chinn, a former BSO official, is funding the Citizens Over Public Safety political committee. Two sources claim the committee will launch direct attacks on Sheriff Israel. The committee will allow fondo to stay above the fray.
These sources claim Chinn met with local Democrat consultant Dan Lewis about running the anti-Israel campaign.