The robocall which allegedly caught Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian admitting misdeeds may have come from the man behind shadowy pro-gaming political committees. In August, WPLG Local 10 reported Julian “accidentally left a recording of a private conversation on a voice message after apparently failing to hang up the phone.” According to the report, a “mysterious robocall” had attacked Julian for his support of developers tied to the Diplomat Hotel. Julian called the number for the robocall. Reporter Bob Norman stated, “On one of Julian’s calls, he apparently failed to hang up his phone and inadvertently left behind an audio recording of a private conversation.”
Following the report, the Broward State Attorney launched an investigation into Bill Julian’s actions. “We received a complaint. We’ll review that. We’ll investigate it,” said assistant state attorney Tim Donnelly.
Last November, Anabelle Taub, a close ally of Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow, defeated Bill Julian.
In her final campaign treasurer’s report, Anabelle Taub lists a November 4, 2016 in-kind contribution from Public Communicators Group for $200 worth of robocalls. According to State of Florida records, Public Communicators Group is managed by Evan Ross of North Miami Beach. REDBROWARD previously exposed Ross’ role in shadowy political committees funded by gaming interests in Hallandale Beach.
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.
In October, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub recorded large contributions from out of state gaming interests.
Just days before the November election, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub received maximum contributions of $1,000 from several 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.
ROSS’ ROLE IN LAZAROW & TAUB CAMPAIGNS
Evan Ross appears to have played a significant role in Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub’s campaigns. In a November 5, 2016 “Dirtiest Election In Broward County“ editorial, the Sun-Sentinel noted the gaming interests’ role in the Hallandale Beach elections. The editors said the Diplomat Hotel and Gulfstream had competing interests in the city. While the newspaper noted the large contributions to the Diplomat-backed committee, they never mentioned the political committees controlled by Evan Ross. But the Sun-Sentinel did quote Ross in the same editorial.
“’If the city wants to take that land from them, Gulfstream could potentially have damages that could exceed $60 million because you have the value of the barns, the cost to rebuild them, the cost of the land they would have to put them on, the jockey housing, then the disruption to their business,’ says communications consultant Evan Ross, who’s had conversations with Gulfstream officials and is a friend of London and Lazarow.”
Evan Ross told the Sun-Sentinel that Gulfstream wanted to work with Hallandale Beach. “[T]hey just don’t want to be strong-armed into giving it away or pressured into getting a deal done in an unreasonable amount of time,” Ross said. He declared a deal could be reached within 12 months if Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub won the election.
ROSS ORCHESTRATED HALLANDALE BEACH PRESS CONFERENCE
Last December, REDBROWARD revealed Evan Ross orchestrated the October 2016 “illegal surveillance” press conference featuring Hallandale Beach Commissioners and their lawyers, Brian Silber, Jay Spechler and David Di Pietro.
On a Sunday afternoon, 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.
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.”
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.
MCGARRY & ASSOCIATES
“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.
ROSS’ POLITICAL COMMITTEES PAID MCGARRY & ASSOCIATES
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 on the secret recordings of Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian.
REDBROWARD asked Richard Lee Allen if he performed any work in Hallandale Beach. Allen said, “no comment.” REDBROWARD asked Richard Lee Allen if he performed any work for Keith London, Anabelle Taub, Michele Lazarow or their lawyers. Allen replied, “no comment.”
REDBROWARD tried to get answers from Brian Silber. At first, Silber denied even knowing Richard Lee Allen. Silber admitted to knowing McGarry & Associates but he did not want to answer any questions. “Can you leave me alone,” Silber said.
In a Facebook post last October, Commissioner Michele Lazarow wrote, “If Anabelle Taub and I are elected, the culture of corruption will quickly become a thing of the past.” Since the election, secret recordings led to the firing of the Hallandale Beach city attorney and the city manager was fired. The city manager is suing the city for wrongful termination.
Residents of Hallandale Beach who believed Lazarow deserve answers regarding her ties to Evan Ross, shadowy political committees and the gaming industry. Are these gaming interests behind the firings of the city attorney and city manager?
Why did Evan Ross’ political committees hiring the McGarry & Associates private investigation firm? Did McGarry & Associates perform any work for hid committees in Hallandale Beach?
Was Anabelle Taub’s robocall the source of the Bill Julian audio? What is the source of the City Attorney secret audio?
Did the lawyers for Hallandale Beach Commissioners Keith London, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub employ McGarry & Associates to work on their behalf?
Why are so many political committees and private investigators involved in Hallandale Beach politics?
Residents deserve answers.
On Wednesday, an FDLE spokesperson told REDBROWARD their investigation into the Hallandale Beach is ongoing.