Broward County Judge Nina Di Pietro made a $6,501 payment to the advertising firm at the center of the Broward Health investigation. Multiple investigations are looking into Zimmerman Advertising’s attempt to land a $71 million dollar contract from Broward Health. Lawyers for Independent Review Organization (IRO) believe the controversial contract between Broward Health and Zimmerman Advertising may have violated the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The IRO report is the second fact finding body troubled by the multi-million dollar deal involving former Broward Health Chairman David Di Pietro, the late Broward Health CEO Nabil El-Sanadi and Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. Judge Di Pietro is married to David Di Pietro.
According to the IRO, just one month after becoming the new Broward Health CEO, Dr. Nabil El-Sanadi met with Jordan Zimmerman. Three months later, Broward Health paid Zimmerman Advertising $2.1 million dollars for “marketing sevices.” The report states, “Nine days after the contract was entered into, Zimmerman hired Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca as its Vice President of Community Relations.”
Based upon interviews and other sources, the report states, “[I]t appears attorney and Chair of the [Broward Health] Board of Commissioners David Di Pietro desired to increase the $2.1 million contract.” One interviewee told investigators that LaMarca was a client of Di Pietro.
Last October, REDBROWARD reported investigators were troubled by the June 2015 fundraiser for Judge Nina Di Pietro held at Zimmerman Advertising offices. “The IRO is concerned that physicians, apparently while engaged in Focus Arrangement contract or renewal negotiations with [Broward Health], were apparently donors to her campaign.” Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro is the wife of David Di Pietro.
ZIMMERMAN GAVE BIG BUCKS TO DI PIETRO CAMPAIGN
Jordan Zimmerman and his companies were some of Judge Nina Di Pietro’s biggest supporters. Campaign financial records from June 2015 show ten companies controlled by Zimmerman gave $10,000 to Judge Nina Di Pietro. On the same day, Jordan Zimmerman made a $1,000 in-kind contribution for “food and beverage” to her campaign.
In her final campaign finance report, Judge Nina Di Pietro lists a $6,501 expenditure to Jordan Zimmerman. The reason for the January 27, 2017 expenditure is “event expenses food and beverage.” It is unclear if this was for the June 2015 event at Zimmerman Advertising or another event. Most of Di Pietro’s other expenditures for events fall between $475 and $819 dollars.
Some political insiders wonder if this a refund to Jordan Zimmerman. One source claims Zimmerman is not happy with the entire Broward Health mess. Did he ask for his money back? Did Judge Di Pietro wait until after the election to make the refund? Did investigators order a refund?