The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to investigate the matter involving tracking devices found on vehicles owned by Hallandale Beach city commissioners. An FDLE spokesperson told REDBROWARD the matter should be resolved in the next couple of weeks. In late October, just two weeks before the Hallandale Beach election, Commissioners Keith London, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub claimed they found GPS tracking devices underneath their personal cars.
At the time, Commissioner Keith London claimed he was being followed by private investigators. He provided WPLG Local 10 News with a cellphone video he shot of a private investigator in a parking lot. “It has become pathetic that the opposition can’t stand on a record,” said London, “and all they are trying to do is play dirty politics.” Lazarow was just as upset as her political ally, London. “I’m furious,” said Lazarow. “To me, it reeks of desperation, political desperation.”
According to Channel 10, London and Lazarow “have publicly accused Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper of being involved in the espionage, but Cooper, when reached on the phone, said she had nothing to with it.”
As REDBROWARD previously reported, Michele Lazarow’s attorney Brian Silber did not mince words. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” said attorney Brian Sibler. “To tell me it isn’t the political opponent of these people, you’re going to have to tell me that it’s a coincidence that Commissioner Lazarow, Commissioner London, and Anabelle Taub all got GPS trackers on their cars ‘by accident.’ What a coincidence that is.”
Silber denied the GPS press conference was a political stunt. “A crime has been reported,” Brian Silber said. “Evidence has been disclosed and they are reviewing this matter to determine if a violation of criminal law has occurred and who committed the crime.”
SILBER BLOGS ABOUT HALLANDALE BEACH CASE
Brian Silber blogged about the Hallandale Beach case on his personal vanity website. In a November post, Silber asked, “Corruption in Hallandale Beach: Are GPS Trackers Illegal?” Silber made the case that Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper was behind the trackers. Silber wrote, “The mayor is running around town spreading false rumors that her political opponents, Commissioner London and Commissioner Lazarow, are having an affair and acting immorally.” Silber wrote that “hate ads” aired on television “that depict covert surveillance footage of her walking next to Commissioner London and sitting in a car with him have aired on television.” Silber claimed the ads implied London and Lazarow were “having sex.”
Silber wrote that the GPS trackers were discovered around the same time as the ads were shown on television. Silber said, “Research into the finance reports filed by the mayor, vice mayor, and two political actions committees revealed that some of the people and corporations who contributed to the mayor and vice mayor’s campaigns for re-election are the same people and corporations who funded a political action committee that funded a second political action committee responsible for publishing the hate ad.”
Silber asked his readers to, “Read that last part again. It gets complicated – purposefully.”
To give a better perspective into the use of GPS tracking devices, attorney Brian Silber interviewed a local private investigator.
THE PRIVATE EYE
“For legitimate and lawful uses of GPS trackers for surveillance, we will be speaking with private investigator Rich Allen, of McGarry and Associates, a Fort Lauderdale private investigations firm,” Silber wrote.
Silber said Allen had over 35 years of experience as a police detective and private investigator. He said Allen had to turn away clients who wanted to use GPS trackers for “illicit and unlawful purposes.”
Sibler wrote, “I can only imagine what that might entail – my guess is it includes husbands who want to track their wive’s boyfriends, business owners who want to track their partners, and people hell bent on revenge, blackmail, or political gain.”
According to Allen, the GPS trackers on London and Lazarow’s cars were not police trackers. “They are consistent with the cheapo trackers some low level private investigators use. Having looked at them myself, I agree,” Silber wrote.
PRO- LAZAROW POLITICAL COMMITTEE PAID PRIVATE EYE FIRM
Recall that attorney Brian Silber wrote, “Research into the finance reports filed by the mayor, vice mayor, and two political actions committees revealed that some of the people and corporations who contributed to the mayor and vice mayor’s campaigns for re-election are the same people and corporations who funded a political action committee….”
Research by REDBROWARD revealed that some of the people and corporations who contributed to Commissoner Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub’s campaigns are the same people and corporations who funded a political action committee that attacked their opponents.
In December, REDBROWARD revealed Evan Ross, the controversial lobbyist behind several gaming industry-funded political committees orchestrated the October 2016 “illegal surveillance” press conference featuring Hallandale Beach Commissioners and their lawyers, Brian Silber, Jay Spechler and David Di Pietro. Evan Ross of Public Communicators Group issued a press release announcing the October 24, 2016 press conference. Ross wrote, “Hallandale Beach Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow as well as commission candidate Anabelle Taub will discuss illegal activity involving tracking devices placed on their vehicles. All three have been subjected to unlawful surveillance.” Ross claimed the matter was tied to Vice Mayor Bill Julian’s “admissions…he solicited and agreed to accept possibly illegal benefits from the developer of The Diplomat Golf and Tennis Club.”
Ross announced documents and video evidence would be provided at the press conference. At no time did Evan Ross mention he operated political committees funded by Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino, a inter-city rival of The Diplomat Golf and Tennis Club.
REDBROWARD previously revealed the big contributions from gaming interests to Hallandale Beach Commissioners Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub. According to April 2016 campaign treasurer reports, Lazarow received $3,000 from the Village At Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park and Orchid Concessions. Taub received the same exact contributions in September 2016.
Just days before the November election, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub received maximum contributions of $1,000 from political committees created by Evan Ross.
On October 31, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from each of the following committees: Good Government, Public Service, and Progressive Principles.
On November 3, Anabelle Taub received $1,000 contributions from Good Government, Public Service, Progressive Principles.
Lazarow and Taub also received $1,000 each from the Ethics Matter political committee. This committee was funded by gambling interests.
On July 26, 2016, State campaign records show Evan Ross’ Public Service paid $500 to McGarry & Associates, Inc for “consulting” work. This is same firm that employs Brian Silber’s GPS expert Richard Lee Allen.
One month later, WPLG Local 10 reported Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian was recorded on audio discussing acceptance of bribes. The Channel 10 story claimed the recording was made when Julian mistakenly called the number of a robocall ad.
THE GPS DEFENSE TEAM?
As REDBROWARD reported last October, Brian Silber and his legal allies appear to be well-versed in GPS law. In April 2016, former Broward Health chairman David Di Pietro claimed he found a GPS tracking device on his car. Like Commissioner Keith London, Di Pietro claimed he was being followed prior to finding the device. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Di Pietro found the device, removed it and placed it on his washing machine.
“And then, in another twist, he said it appeared to have been stolen. He said most likely the person who snatched it gained entrance with a key hidden near a door to the garage. But he said he did not file a police report.”
After he was removed as chairman of Broward Health, David Di Pietro sued Florida Governor Rick Scott. Di Pietro’s “Legal Dream Team” for his lawsuit against Governor Scott included Brian Silber and Jay Spechler. Both men appeared with the Hallandale Beach commissioners at Monday’s press conference. Di Pietro has advised London on political matters in the past.
WHO IS SPYING ON BROWARD HEALTH?
On July 27, 2016 POLITICO reported on alleged spying involving the new chairman of Broward Health. Reporter Christine Sexton wrote Broward Heath board members wanted to know, “Who authorized a private investigator to delve into an alleged ethics violation against Rocky Rodriguez, the chairman of the board that oversees Broward Health?” Broward Health Commissioner Brian Ure told POLITICO he ordered staff to find out who approved the hiring of McGarry and Associates, Inc.
“We have policies and procedures and processes in place for how allegations or complaints or alleged ethics violations are supposed to be investigated,” said Ure, who himself was recently cleared of an anonymous wrongdoing allegation. “But I have very little confidence that whatever policies we put in place are actually followed.”
According to POLITICO, Frank McGarry refused to say who hired his firm and whether he was paid. POLITICO obtained a document entitled “surveillance team report,” which detailed surveillance of Chairman Rodriguez’ son, Brandon Rodriguez. The document included photographs and video of Brandon Rodriguez.
In March, another private investigator hired by Broward Health revealed information regarding other surveillance. Former FBI Agent Wayne Black told Broward Health Board members he had been working with Broward Health CEO Nabil El-Sanadi on corruption issues. In an email to the board, Black said he met El-Sanadi at local restaurants because he feared his Broward Health office was “bugged.”
“Nabil and I met several times at his home or at a local restaurant to discuss my findings as he felt his office was bugged,” Black wrote in his email. “We used Nabil’s wife’s email to communicate most of the time because we didn’t know who would have access to sensitive emails.”
Dr. Nabil El-Sanadi committed suicide in January 2016.
INTIMIDATION GAME PART DEUX?
In September, REDBROWARD revealed intimidation tactics used against this reporter to stop stories regarding the Young At Art children’s museum in Davie. On September 6, attorney Bruce Green sent a preservation letter to Broward Health Commissioner Sheela Van Hoose regarding REDBROWARD.com. Green is one of the lawyers who sued Florida Governor Rick Scott after David Di Pietro was removed as chairman of Broward Health. Jay Spechler, another one of Di Pietro’s lawyers, is married to Mindy Shrago, the executive director of Young At Art.
In August, Spechler was enraged after REDBROWARD asked about a item related to the museum.
Green’s letter arrived two weeks after Spechler became angry about our line of questioning. Days later, a Spechler emissary tried to broker a “truce.” The emissary was told Spechler should contact REDBROWARD directly. The next day, an anonymous post on the JAABLaw courthouse blog featured a photograph of this reporter’s family including two minor children.
One could reasonably take the legal action and family picture as a threat.
David Di Pietro and his legal dream team have a history of attempting to silence online critics.
In March 2016, Brian Silber, brought legal action against JAABlaw website operator William Gelin. Silber wanted Gelin to reveal information about an anonymous reader who posted comments about former Sunrise City Commissioner Sheila Alu. Silber’s “Jane Doe” lawsuit wanted identifying information, including IP addresses, about the person who made comments about Alu. Silber was seeking $15,000 in damages.
In May, Judge Michael Gates agreed with Gelin’s argument that Citizens United and other case law gave First Amendment protection to anonymous political speech.
In July, Di Pietro filed a “John Doe” lawsuit on behalf of two doctors affiliated with Broward Health. Jean-Jacques and Juliana Rajter are suing Vitals.com, a medical professional rating website. The lawsuit alleges an anonymous reviewer gave Rajter a one star rating on the website. The lawsuit wants Vitals.com to reveal identifying information about the anonymous reviewer. Di Pietro’s complaint asks for $10,000 in damages.
According to Broward Health magazine, Jean-Jacques Rajter served as the “Chief Medical Information Officer for Broward Health.”
On Friday, November 25, 2016 police were called to a party at private home near Fort Lauderdale. Guests and neighbors called police to report a suspicious vehicle repeatedly driving by the home. Witnesses said the vehicle would slow down and take pictures of guests in the yard. This reporter witnessed the car drive by the home.
Police were able to locate the vehicle. When the police officer asked the driver why he was taking pictures, he identified himself as a private investigator. The officer told REDBROWARD the driver said, “Lawyers and politicians don’t like their pictures being taken.” While the middle-age male passenger was not identified, the driver was positively identified as Richard Lee Allen, private investigator with McGarry & Associates, Inc.