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Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Paid Big Bucks By Developer-Backed PACs To Push For New Projects In Miami-Dade

Campaign records show the company owned by Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London received thousands of dollars in consulting fees from political action committees funded by Miami-Dade “mega developers.” In 2015, developer Sandor Sher spent $70 million buying a large parcel of land in North Miami Beach. The Miami New Times reported Sher planned “to build high-end retail shops, to renovate and expand an art deco hotel, and to demolish several oceanfront properties…all to make way for a 70-unit luxury condo tower, where properties will go for millions each.

Sher’s plan to demolish historic buildings lead one preservationist to call the plan destruction of North Beach. “This is almost annihilation and total replacement,” Daniel Ciraldo, a preservationist with the Miami Design Preservation League, told The Miami Herald. “It’s like, ‘Bam, it’s done.’ It’s symptomatic of what’s going on in our city right now.

But Sher had an even bigger problem. Laws called for Miami Beach voters to approve his massive project. His solution? Spend more money.

According to the Miami New Times, Sher “sunk $300,000 into the campaign, hiring one ex-mayor and [Mayor Phillip Levine’s] powerful campaign manager, blanketing doors and storefronts with slick ads and handbills, and wrangling the backing of the Beach’s top elected officials.”

The Miami Herald reported that Sher created the “A Better North Beach” political committee to push his massive development project.

In October 2015, campaign records show A Better North Beach paid Keith London, Inc. $10,000 for consulting services. State corporation records show Keith S. London is the president of Keith London Inc. According to State and local property records, this business is located at the home owned by Mayor Keith London.

Two years later, another political committee pushing development in Miami-Dade hired Keith London, Inc.

Campaign records for the “Building A Stronger Beach” paid Keith London, Inc twice in November 2017.

On November 3, 2017, Keith London, Inc. received a $456 payment for “parking, supplies and shipping.” One the same date, Keith London, Inc. received a $7,500 payment for “campaign consulting.”

The “Vote North Beach” Facebook page is filled with pictures of Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London. While wearing a “Vote Yes On #82” shirt and hat, Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London posed with voters and politicians.

The page even features well wishes from Mayor London’s wife as well as Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow wearing campaign shirts.

HALLANDALE BEACH: HAVEN FOR DEVELOPERS?

Keith London became mayor after the January 2018 arrest of then-Mayor Joy Cooper. An FBI sting caught Cooper “to have solicited and accepted $5,000 in political campaign contributions from them that were funneled to her” by a lawyer representing an alleged developer. Cooper was removed from office by Governor Rick Scott. Last week, Cooper pleaded not guilty to the corruption charges.

In 2016, REDBROWARD revealed Hallandale Beach candidates received contributions from shadowy political committees funding by gaming and casino interests.

According to April 2016 campaign treasurer reports, Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow received $3,000 from the Village At Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park and Orchid Concessions. In October 2016 , Michele Lazarow recorded large contributions from out of state gaming interests such as Xpress Bet, Oregon Racing, Amtote of Maryland, and Monarch Content Management.

Just days before the November election, Michele Lazarow received maximum contributions of $1,000 from political committees created by lobbyist Evan Ross.

On October 31, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from each of the following committees: Good Government, Public Service, and Progressive Principles.

Lazarow also received $1,000 each from the Ethics Matter political committee. This committee was funded by gambling interests.

Last week, REDBROWARD exposed one of Evan Ross’ political committees received money from a Hallandale Beach developer earmarked for Mayor Keith London’s re-election campaign.

In a telephone interview with REDBROWARD, Claudia Penas of CBV LLC said her company gave $5,000 to the “Good Government” Committee to help London.

When asked why they gave to Good Government, Penas said, “For Keith London’s campaign.” Penas became apprehensive when asked who requested the contribution. REDBROWARD asked if Keith London made the request.

“My attorney told us to make the contribution,” Penas said.

When asked for the name of her attorney, Penas said she did not feel comfortable discussing on the phone. She requested REDBROWARD come to her office before hanging up the phone.

Records show Evan Ross’ committee paid disgraced former Broward County Commissioner Scott Cowan $3,000 for consulting. Hallandale Beach records indicate Cowan is the registered lobbyist for Gold Coast Companies. One Hallandale Beach insider tells REDBROWARD that Cowan is a regular fixture at City Hall.

In November 2000, Scott Cowan plead guilty to misuse of campaign funds. The plea came just before Cowan’s trial was set to begin. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Cowan admitted to making phony campaign expenditures.

[Cowan] pleaded guilty to three counts that he wrote $5,000 in campaign checks to Seymour Tobin, Bertram Nesky, John Hendrikson and Martin Harvatt — nonexistent campaign workers.”

For years, Keith London told supporters he wanted to clean up the corruption at Hallandale Beach City Hall. He criticized Mayor Joy Cooper for her cozy relationship with developers and their lobbyists like Judy Stern.

Now, even some longtime supporters of London have begun to question his behavior and motives.

Last week, David Smith of the Hallandale Beach Blog wrote, “[M]any longtime Hallandale Beach civic activists, friends of mine and past supporters of new Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London and Comm. Michele Lazarow are DISMAYED and EMBARRASSED about what has been taking place at HB City Hall these days with them in the majority, where personal and political expediency seem to keep trumping common sense and rational public idiscourse regarding many different issues, large and small, including eliminating one of the city’s few common sense procedures.”

Why did Miami-Dade developers hire Keith London to push a pro-developer ballot measure? Does Keith London work for any other Miami-Dade developers? Was Vice Mayor Michele Lazarow compensated for her support of the North Beach ballot measure? Do these same developers have projects in Hallandale Beach?

Hallandale Beach voters deserve answers.

LONDON GOES BERSERK! Hallandale Vice-Mayor Attacks Citizen In Bizarre Road Rage Scene

In May, Hallandale Vice-Mayor Keith London was caught on video hurling vicious, homophobic slurs at an African-American resident. London’s bizarre, profane diatribe was posted Von Thomas, a City of Hallandale Beach employee, on his Facebook page two weeks ago. Last week, WSVN Channel 7 included snippets of London’s disgusting performance in a bombshell report that revealed Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators were looking into Hallandale Beach corruption.

In the full video, Keith London exits his Honda Element while recording the encounter Clearly upset, the unidentified citizen calls London  “prejudiced” and “the biggest clown in town.” Instead of trying to calm things down, Keith London goes on the attack.

London makes references to drug dealing and prison terms. “How many times did you go to prison,” London asked. Then, London launched into homophobic slurs.

Did you like prison,” London asked. “Did you suck d*ck? Or did you take it in the a**?

For the next two minutes, an unidentified construction worker attempts to calm the situtation. Keith London continues to taunt the citizen on a public street.

Why is Vice-Mayor Keith London repeatedly asking a citizen if he engaged in homosexual acts?

WHY IS KEITH LONDON SO ANGRY?

Last March, REDBROWARD got a taste of Keith London’s anger at a Plantation City Council meeting. In a brief video interview with REDBROWARD,  London could not recall whether he hired private investigators to help him find a GPS tracking device. London and fellow Commissioner Michele Lazarow, a very close ally, attended the Plantation City Council meeting.

London complained REDBROWARD and our “ilk” accused him of committing perjury. REDBROWARD never accused London of anything. At the time, REDBROWARD reported there was no reason to doubt Commissioner Keith London was being followed. He shot video of one man who WPLG later identified as a local private investigator. London and Lazarow were attacked by their opponents who dominated Hallandale Beach City Hall.

London seemed more concerned with why REDBROWARD was interested in Hallandale Beach.

When asked how he knew to check underneath his car for a GPS tracking device, London said,”numerous people told me you might want to look under your car.” When asked who these “numerous people” were, London said he could not recall. When asked if he hired McGarry and Associates, a private investigation firm, London said he could not recall.

When asked if he could recall hiring any private investigator, Commissioner Michele Lazarow tried to interupt the interview. She refused to answer any questions about private investigators.

Keith London asked REDBROWARD if we had any evidence he hired McGarry and Associates. When pressed, London said he could not “remember” if he hired any private investigator.

CONTROVERSIAL LOBBYIST STAGED HALLANDALE BEACH PRESS CONFERENCE

Perhaps Keith London and Michele Lazarow were upset with our coverage of their October 2016 press conference. In December, REDBROWARD reported Evan Ross, the young man behind several gaming industry-funded political committees orchestrated the October 2016 “illegal surveillance” press conference featuring Hallandale Beach Commissioners and their lawyers. 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.

Ross announced that Anabelle Taub would be represented by her lawyer, Brian Silber. He said Commissioner Michele Lazarow would be represented by her lawyer, Jay Spechler. Ross stated that Vice Mayor Keith London would be represented by his lawyer David Di Pietro.

As REDBROWARD reported last week, David Di Pietro is no stranger to Broward controversies. Last year, Di Pietro, the husband of Broward County Judge Nina Di Pietro, sued Florida Governor Rick Scott after he was removed as the chairman of Broward Health. State Investigators claimed Di Pietro and a fellow Broward Health Commissioner were interfering with their investigation into corruption at the North Broward Hospital District.

Brian Silber and Jay Spechler were members of David Di Pietro’s “legal dream team” when he sued Florida Governor Rick Scott.

After he was booted from Broward Health,  David Di Pietro was made chairman of the Young At Art (YAA) Children’s Museum in Davie. The controversial museum was founded by CEO Mindy Shrago, the wife of Jay Spechler. Brian Silber appears to have been a YAA board member as well. His name was removed from the museum website after REDBROWARD starting asking questions about Silber’s views on whether an underaged boy could truly be the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of his attractive female teacher.

Spechler, Shrago and Young At Art have filed two lawsuits against Broward County government.

Now, Jay Spechler is a partner with David Di Pietro and Associates.

Following our interview with London, his fellow Commissioner Michele Lazarow had a meltdown on social media. During the Plantation City Council meeting, Lazarow expressed her anger over the presence of a local lobbyist. Lazarow told two supporters, ” Fucking Judy Stern is here in the front row.”

In late night posts following the meeting, Michele Lazarow incorrectly informed her Facebook friends that the ordinance had been repealed. Two hours later Lazarow declared, “Yep. So fucking fixed.” Hours later, Lazarow was still ranting about lawyers and lobbyists. When asked why the Petland supporters got time to make their case, Lazarow said, “Because the fix was in with the lawyers and lobbyists.”

While she complained about lawyers Ron Book and Bill Laystrom, Michele Lazarow saved her anger for Judy Stern.

The cow lobbyist who ran the campaign against me took our second vote. She’s disgusting. Judy Stern should rot,” Michele Lazarow said.

Judy Stern is a close ally of London and Lazarow nemesis, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper.

And just like Keith London, Commissioner Michele Lazarow attacked private citizens.

Responding to a question about Petland employees at the meeting. Lazarow said, “Because they need their jobs. Obviously no one else would hire them.”

Lazarow told another opponent, ” I heard about you. Your are the nut case they threw out of the commission meeting in NJ.”

Then, Lazarow posted a screenshot of Plantation resident’s comment in support of the pet store. Lazarow asked, “Anyone in Plantation know this loser?”

Following the REDBROWARD report , Michele Lazarow made veiled threats on her Facebook page in another late night meltdown.

Saying she was feeling “wicked,” Michele Lazarow wrote, “So like when someone writes mean things about you, but you do some intel and find WAY more better dirt on them. Then you just wait…”

Commissioner Anabelle Taub responded with, “If those two ever fuck with you while I am around, I think my political career will be over (lol!). XOXOOXOXO”

Lazarow replied, “Oh but what I found on him tonight Mimi. He is going to be so upset. I can’t wait!”

Taub answered, “If he posts things about you and commits libel, go for it! I am so sick of JS and her fucking soldiers! I am sorry you’re going through this.”

Does “JS” stand for Judy Stern? Where did Lazarow get her “intel” from? A private investigator? Her lawyers?

INTIMIDATION GAMES?

Last year, REDBROWARD documented how David Di Pietro’s “legal dream team” were no strangers to intimidation games. After REDBROWARD began writing about these issues, associates of Keith London’s team became very interested in this website.

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.

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 a 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.

Coincidence?

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, the private investigator with McGarry & Associates, Inc. who was interviewed by attorney Brian Silber.

Coincidence?

On February 15th, 2017 an unidentified male from the Young At Art (YAA) Children’s Museum called the Davie Police Department to report, “A man out front bothering our guests, taking video.” The male told the Broward County Regional operator, “He’s not coming in, he’s not joining. He’s just out front videoing and bothering our guests during a special event and we would like to see if he would leave.” When the operator asked for a description of the man, the YAA caller said he could no longer see him. On the call, you can hear another unidentified male providing a description to the original caller.

The man outside Young At Art was this reporter.

As previously reported, REDBROWARD attempted to question former Judge Jay Spechler, the husband of YAA co-founder Mindy Shrago. Spechler was attending a $1,000 per plate luncheon at the museum. Because of the fancy luncheon, the museum was closed to Broward taxpayers.

Jay Spechler did not want to talk about his alleged remarks regarding Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. According to multiple sources, Spechler told several lawyers that “Chip LaMarca was going down.” Spechler ran from our camera instead of answering questions.

Why does Vice Mayor Keith London think it’s ok to bully private citizens on public roads? Why does Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow think it’s funny to dig up dirt and call women names on social media? Why does Hallandale Beach Commissioner think it’s ok to associate with such behavior?

More importantly, why did these online tough guy politicians clam up when WSVN asked them about the BSO investigation? Lazarow and Taub told the WSVN reporter to talk to their lawyers.

WSVN said the lawyers did not return phone calls.

Brian Silber, left, with David Di Pietro, center and Jay Spechler

(UPDATE: while the video was posted by Von Thomas, the man in video is not Thomas. An earlier version of the story identified Thomas as the target of London’s diatribe. We regret the error.)