Despite being dubbed as corruption-busting reform candidates, several Hallandale Beach candidates were backed by shadowy political committees funded by local and out of state gaming interests. In the final weeks of the November campaign, Commissioner Michele Lazarow railed against the Diplomat Hotel for spending money to defeat her. On Facebook, Lazarow said, “The Diplomat is funding a 125k PAC to run me out of office. It isn’t going to help and they are going to lose 125k.” But campaign financial reports show Lazarow and her ally Anabelle Taub received money from groups associated with the Gulfstream Park racetrack and casino.
According to April 2016 campaign treasurer reports, Lazarow received $3,000 from the following Gulfstream Park entities: Village At Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park and Orchid Concessions. Taub received the same exact contributions in September 2016.
In May, Lazarow received $2,000 from West Virginia groups doing business as the Mardi Gras casino.
In late October, Lazarow and Taub received big contributions from other gaming interests such as Xpress Bet, Oregon Racing, Amtote of Maryland, and Monarch Content Management.
Less than a week before the November election, Lazarow and Taub received maximum contributions of $1,000 from four shadowy political committees.
On October 31, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from each of the following committees: Good Government, Public Service, and Progressive Principles. On November 2, Lazarow received $1,000 from the Ethics Matter political committee.
On November 3, Anabelle Taub received $1,000 contributions from Good Government, Public Service, Progressive Principles and Ethics Matter.
COMMITTEES FUNDED BY GAMBLING INDUSTRY
Most of the contributions to these political committees were made by gambling businesses and associated interests. The contributions came from Wildfire Amusements, Pacific Racing Association, Maryland Jockey Club, Prince Georges Racing, the Village At Gulstream Park, Orchid Concessions and the Gulfstream Park Racing Association.
The Public Service committee made several large contributions to the other committees. On August 25, 2016, Public Service gave $10,000 to the Progressive Principles committee. On August 30, 2016, Public Service gave $75,000 to the Good Government political committee.
The Public Service, Good Government and Progressive Principles political committees were formed by Evan Ross of Miami.
Is taking money from Gulfstream Park and other gaming interests better than taking money from the Diplomat Hotel?
Lazarow and Taub said the wanted to bring back “honesty” to the Hallandale Beach City Commission. Is taking money from shadowy political committees their definition of “honesty?”