On August 2, 2017 the State of Florida Commission on Ethics dismissed a complaint filed against Broward County Clerk of the Courts Brenda D. Forman. The complaint alleged Forman violated the law during a foreclosure proceeding against her in Broward County court. The Commission ruled the complaint failed to “indicate a possible violation of…Florida Statutes” by Forman. Brenda Forman was elected in 2016 after her husband, Howard Forman, decided not to seek re-election as the Clerk. The Forman’s are currently going through a bitter divorce.
According to an October 11, 2017 Daily Business Review (DBR) article, the complaint was filed in July 2017 by Christine Rodriguez, “a former Broward resident.” Rodriguez told DBR she wanted someone “strong” as the new Clerk of the Courts. “I just didn’t think she had the capability. I’m happy for her family…but that doesn’t mean i think she’s right for the job,” Rodriguez said.
Upon hearing of the dismissal, Rodriguez told DBR she would file a second complaint. She said, “It’s not really to nitpick, but to make sure that everyone is on the up-and-up.”
Why would a “former Broward resident” be so interested in the Broward Clerk of Courts office? The motivation behind the complaint is never explored. While the surprise divorce of Howard and Brenda Forman shocked Browad political insiders, it has hardly been a big issue for the general public.
REDBROWARD decided to ask Christine Rodriguez about her complaint.
In telephone interview with REDBROWARD, Christine Rodriguez, she said she was born and raised in Broward. While she currently lives in the Keys, Rodriguez said her entire family still lives in Broward. She said she “keeps close tabs on things” in Broward.
Rodriguez said she was “upset” that Brenda Forman won the 2016 election. “[Forman] won under her last name and not so much, uh, for her qualifications and education,” Rodriguez said. One of the reasons she filed the complaint was to keep politicians honest.
Her in complaint, Rodriguez alleged Brenda Forman used her maiden name, Jenkins, in a foreclosure case. REDBROWARD asked Rodriguez how she learned this information.
“I just happened to be looking online, looking for someone with the last name ‘Jenkins’ and came across it. I spend hours looking at things.” Rodriguez said.
Christine Rodriguez said she was “shocked” by her discovery. She said, “Wait a minute that is so wrong.”
When asked if Rodriguez was specifically looking for Brenda Jenkins or anyone named Jenkins, she said she stumbled across the information. “I’m a Broward girl. I do it for a living. I was just fiddling around in my pajamas and came across it,” she told REDBROWARD.
Christine Rodriguez said, “Politicians should always be on the up-and-up and should always divulge everything so that we can be assured that there’s nothing going on and all the rules are followed.”
When REDBROWARD asked Rodriguez if she had any family members working at the Clerk of Courts office she responded, “nope.”
FAMILY TIES TO BROWARD CLERK OF THE COURTS OFFICE
In spirit of divulging everything, REDBROWARD asked why she did not divulge fact that she is the daughter of Iris Siple, the longtime Chief Administrator for the Broward Clerk of Courts Office under Howard Forman? Even though she left her position at the Clerks office in late 2016, Siple is currently a Pembroke Pines commissioner.
“She doesn’t work there anymore. You asked if I had family who ‘work’ there,” Rodriguez said.
At first, Rodriguez claimed Iris Siple was unaware of her discovery and subsequent ethics complaint. Then she admitted she had discussed the matter with Siple. Rodriguez said, “She knew I was looking into filing a complaint.”
Later on, Rodriguez said “talked to” Siple about matter, “but she didn’t know what exactly I was doing.”
When asked if she ever told anyone about her mother, Rodriguez said it was not a requirement of the ethics complaint. She told the Daily Business Review reporter she had family that worked for Howard Forman. “But she never asked a specific name like you did,” Rodriguez said.
So this was all a simple coincidence? The daughter of Howard Forman’s former chief administrator just happens to stumble across this information? Anyone who has ever used the Clerk’s website knows it is less than user-friendly. It’s highly unlikely you could find anything by happenstance.
So why would the family of Iris Siple be digging up dirt on Brenda Forman?