In September, Steve Bousquet and his Sun-Sentinel Opinion Makers™️ dubbed John Herbst as the candidate with the “once-in-a-lifetime chance” to reshape the City of Fort Lauderdale. Herbst is no newcomer to city government. Seven months earlier, Herbst, the longtime city auditor, was fired by Mayor Dean Trantalis and the current city commission.
Claiming he is armed with “a fine-tuned BS detector,” Bousquet and his Opinion Makers™️ said Herbst “soundly rejects the status quo, which is just what this city needs.”
Bousquet and Co. wrote how Herbst recognized the danger posed by lobbyists at City Hall. “We need to recognize the influence of lobbyists who push bad projects on our neighborhoods,” Herbst told the Sun-Sentinel.
Despite the myriad of lobbyists working in Fort Lauderdale, Herbst and Bousquet singled out land use attorney Stephanie Toothaker. Herbst said Toothaker “has her thumb on the scale,” a saying used to described cheating. The Sun-Sentinel even asked Herbst’s opponent, Ken Keechl for his opinion on Toothaker.
One lobbyist never mentioned in the endorsement is Judy Stern. The controversial Stern has been a fixture in Fort Lauderdale for decades. Stern is listed a registered lobbyist in the City of Fort Lauderdale for four companies: Suntex Marinas, The Corradino Group, Skanska USA and Garth Business Solutions.
In addition to her lobbyist role, Stern is campaign manager/consultant.
In fact, despite his alleged dislike of lobbyists, John Herbst is using Judy Stern to run his campaign. Herbst told REDBROWARD that he has known Stern for many years.
But Judy is not the only Stern in Herbst‘s corner. In April 2022, the lawyer for John Herbst wrote a letter to Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Alain Boileau seeking to settle matters surrounding his dismissal. John Herbst’s lawyer is Barbra Stern, daughter of Judy Stern.
So why didn’t Steve Bousquet and his Opinion Makers™️ ask John Herbst about Judy Stern?
Last week, Bousquet penned another story about John Herbst. It was more love letter than news report.
Bousquet wrote, “While other candidates rely on canned, phony text messages that could have come from a car dealer, or slick direct-mail attacks that are half-true at best and usually end up in the trash, Herbst is out there in the flesh with his dog Chester, walking Bayview Drive and tweeting about it.” Judy Stern couldn’t have said it better herself.
According to political insiders, Bousquet and Stern are friends.
Does Steve Bousquet have a duty to disclose ties to a campaign consultant before endorsing her candidate?
Did Steve Bousquet use the Sun-Sentinel to target a youthful competitor of Judy Stern?
Does Tallahassee resident Bousquet really think Stephanie Toothaker is the only land use lawyer working in Fort Lauderdale?
Do candidates using Judy Stern get preferential treatment by the Sun-Sentinel?
REDBROWARD reached out to Steve Bousquet for comment. As of publication, he has not responded.
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