Tag Archives: berger singerman

Mitchell Berger and Others Involved In Broward Health Legal Drama Keep Funding Judge Nina Di Pietro


The major players in the ongoing Broward Health legal drama continue to fund the re-election campaign of Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro. In March, her husband, former Broward Chairman David Di Pietro, was removed from his post by Governor Rick Scott after the Chief Inspector General claimed he was interfering in the Broward Health investigation. Last week, REDBROWARD revealed her husband’s legal team and the law firm he hired to oversee the State investigation into Broward Health contributed to her re-election campaign.

Two weeks ago, REDBROWARD exposed the close ties between Chip La Marca and Mitchell Berger. La Marca is a close friend of David and Nina Di Pietro.

BIG DEMOCRAT FUNDRAISER KEEPS FUNDING DI PIETRO

In March, the Broward Health board fired the Berger Singerman law firm after Florida Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel accused Berger Singerman of interfering with her review and recommended the suspensions of David Di Pietro, the former chairman, and Commissioner Darryl Wright. Gov. Scott suspended both men for “malfeasance” within hours of that recommendation on March 18.

In June, LaMarca co-hosted a political fundraiser with Mitch Berger  at his Berger Singerman firm for Fort Lauderdale Commission candidate Ben Sorenson. Chip LaMarca was the second name listed on the Sorenson invitation. Politcial insiders wonder why LaMarca, the former chairman of the Broward Republican Party is so chummy with a big Democrat fundraiser like Berger.

Earlier this month, Broward Health debated whether to pay $200,000 in legal fees to Berger Singerman. According to POLITICO, new chairman Rocky Rodriguez said it wasn’t the “right time” to discuss the bill, and said he needed to get some answers “here and there” regarding the fees.

In September 2015, months before he was hired by Broward Health, Mitchell Berger gave a $500 contribution to Republican appointee Nina Di Pietro. Last week, Mitchell Berger gave Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro another $500 contribution.

LEGAL DREAM TEAM AND YOUNG AT ART STILL GIVING BIG BUCKS TO JUDGE NINA

After being removed from his post, David Di Pietro sued Governor Rick Scott in Broward County Court. Members of Di Pietro’s legal “dream team” also supported Judge Nina. REDBROWARD reported Judge Nina received large contributions from lawyers Bruce Green, Brian Silber and Jay Spechler.  Like Berger Singerman, all three lawyers want Broward taxpayers to pay their hefty legal fees for representing David Di Pietro.

Judge Nina also received money from Spechler’s wife, Mindy Shrago, the controversial executive director of the Young At Art Children’s Museum in Davie. After the August 30th primary, Spechler and Shrago each gave Judge Nina another $1,000 contribution.

David Di Pietro is the current chairman of the Young At Art board.

Players In Broward Health Drama Funding Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro’s Re-Election Campaign

Majors players in the legal drama surrounding the ongoing Broward Health investigation have funded the re-election campaign of Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro. Appointed last year by Governor Rick Scott, Nina Weatherly Di Pietro is married to former Broward Chairman David Di Pietro. In March, Governor Scott removed David Di Pietro from his position after the Chief Inspector General claimed he was interfering in the Broward Health investigation.

It should come as no surprise that Di Pietro is receiving campaign contributions from her husband. Broward elections records show Di Pietro has received $2,000 from her husband and his law firm.

What is surprising is the amount of money Nina Di Pietro received from Zimmerman Advertising. The Fort Lauderdale firm’s contract negotiations with Broward Health are at the center of the State investigation.

ZIMMERMAN FUNDRAISER FOR DI PIETRO

In February, published reports exposed a lavish fundraiser at Zimmerman’s new offices in Fort Lauderdale. According to The Florida Bulldog, the event was held just seven weeks after Broward Health gave Zimmerman a $2.1 million dollar contract, the first part of the proposed $71 million dollar deal. “Broward County Court Judge Nina Di Pietro…raised almost $22,000, nearly all of it from lawyers, auto dealers and other non-healthcare companies, campaign records say.”

David Di Pietro told the Florida Bulldog that Zimmerman’s support of his wife played no role in the contract. “I don’t run Nina’s campaign. I don’t directly solicit money. I haven’t since she started her campaign,” Di Pietro said. “We had horrible advertising…a football player. I want a marketing strategy so the public knows about the healthcare our doctors and staff provide. Even if it’s not Zimmerman we need a marketing plan.”

Chip La Marca and another ousted Broward Health Commissioner, Darryl Wright, attended Nina Di Pietro’s fundraiser.

Questions have been raised about pressure applied by former Zimmerman employee (and Broward County Commissioner) Chip LaMarca on Broward Health employees to sign off on the huge $71 million dollar deal.

LaMarca met the late Dr. Nabil El Sanadi and Doris Peek, a Broward Health senior vice president to discuss the Zimmerman Advertising contract. According to a report, Peek claims LaMarca threatened El Sanadi. Peek stated the purpose of the meeting “was to discuss Zimmerman’s desire to epand its contract with the District and Mr. LaMarca carried the conversation.”

This information was contained in a report submitted by the Berger Singerman law firm. Before he was removed by the Governor, David Di Pietro hired Berger Singerman to run its own investigation of Broward Health. The head of the firm is Mitchell Berger, a prominent Democrat Party fundraiser.

Last week, REDBROWARD exposed the close ties between Chip La Marca and Mitchell Berger.

In June, LaMarca co-hosted a political fundraiser with Mitch Berger  at his Berger Singerman firm for Fort Lauderdale Commission candidate Ben Sorenson. Chip LaMarca was the second name listed on the Sorenson invitation.

In March, the Broward Health board fired Berger Singerman. Florida Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel accused Berger Singerman of interfering with her review and recommended the suspensions of David Di Pietro, the former chairman, and Commissioner Darryl Wright. Gov. Scott suspended both men for “malfeasance” within hours of that recommendation on March 18.

Earlier this month, Broward Health debated whether to pay $200,000 in legal fees to Berger Singerman. According to POLITICO, new chairman Rocky Rodriguez said it wasn’t the “right time” to discuss the bill, and said he needed to get some answers “here and there” regarding the fees.

ZIMMERMAN AND DI PIETRO “DREAM TEAM” GIVE TO JUDGE NINA

In September 2015, months before he was hired by Broward Health, Mitchell Berger gave a $500 contribution to Republican appointee Nina Di Pietro. Did Berger Singerman host a fundraiser for Judge Nina? That’s unclear, but it does raise more questions about the relationship between Berger and David Di Pietro, a staunch of Donald Trump.

After being removed from his post, David Di Pietro sued Governor Rick Scott in Broward County Court. Members of Di Pietro’s legal “dream team” also supported Judge Nina.

In June 2015, attorney Bruce Green gave $500 to Judge Nina. Brian Silber gave $1000 to her campaign. Jay Spechler has given Judge Nina $2000 through his office. His wife, Mindy Shrago, the controversial director of the Young At Art children’s museum also gave $2,000 to Judge Nina.

Like Berger Singerman, all three lawyers want Broward taxpayers to pay their hefty legal fees for representing David Di Pietro.

FDLE Investigation Exposed Chip LaMarca Close Ties To Another Broward Health Commissioner

  The drama swirling around Broward Health is not the first time County Commissioner Chip LaMarca has been front and center in a Florida Department Of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation. According to numerous published reports, the FBI, FDLE and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) are looking into various contracts at Broward Health including a $71 million dollar deal with Zimmerman Advertising. Until last week, LaMarca was the vice president of community relations for Zimmerman Advertising.  As REDBROWARD reported yesterday, lawyers hired by Broward Health believed LaMarca to be the leading advocate for the massive multi-million dollar deal.

But in 2006, FDLE investigated Chip LaMarca’s role at a local electrical construction firm. The FDLE report exposes close ties between Chip LaMarca and the family of Broward Health Commissioner Maureen Spieker Canada.

On November 1, 2006, FDLE Special Agent Joseph Demma and Special Agent Supervisor Dan Cerione met with Robert Morgan, CEO of MGI Morgan General Mechanical Group and Wiliam Buckham of MWI Moving Water Industries to discuss “The unlawful and fraudulent use of Mr. Brown’s company name and Contractor License…by a former employee, Charles ‘Chip’ John LaMarca.” The FDLE agents were told LaMarca used Brown’s information to obtain notarized electrical permits from the City of Riviera Beach. Morgan provided a proposal document, on MGI letterehead, to Transparent Protection Systems. The proposal was signed by J. Charlie French of Transparent and LaMarca. When Morgan spoke with French, he told Morgan, “Mr. LaMarca stated to just write the check out to me, it will be cheaper for you.” French followed LaMarca’s instructions.

Morgan stated he fired LaMarca on September 20, 2006.

FDLE secured the assistance of the Broward State Attorney’s Office to further investigate the matter. The FDLE stated the investigated was based upon Morgan’s allegations of fraud, forgery, notary violation and possible official misconduct. In 2006, LaMarca was a City of Lighthouse Point commissioner.

On November 6, 2006, the Broward State Attorney’s Office issued two subpoenas for Chip LaMarca’s bank records. FDLE determined LaMarca paid for permits from Riviera Beach and Boca Raton with checks from his personal checking accounts. The Riviera Beach permit check was signed by LaMarca. The check for the Boca Raton permit was signed by his wife, Eileen LaMarca.

LAMARCA GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE

Following the review of personal and business banking records, FDLE decided to reach out to LaMarca’s current employers. On June 5, 2008, FDLE spoke with R.T. Armstrong, vice president of Kreg Electric, Inc. Armstrong stated LaMarca sells and installs generators. Armstrong said when the time comes to hook the generators to a transfer switch, “Kreg Electric applies for the appropriate permit and paperwork and a certified electrician completes the installation.” Armstrong had no complaints about LaMarca.

As the FDLE agent left Kreg Electric, LaMarca called the agent’s cellular telephone. LaMarca wanted to know why the FDLE was asking questions about him. LaMarca said his relationship with MGI had “deteriorated and as a result, employees of the company became bitter and provided information to the business community that was less than accurate. Mr. LaMarca attributed the situation to the failed business relationship.”

LAMARCA TALKS TO FDLE

Five days later, FDLE Special Agent James Futch interviewed Chip LaMarca. He described his role at MGI. He said he would arrange the sale and installation of residential and commercial generators. LaMarca said he was “not a licensed electrical contractor and as such could not acquire an electrical permit or conduct the electrical connections.”

LaMarca claimed his relationship with Morgan turned bitter over his compensation. He claimed Morgan owned him $72,000 he never paid. After he “pressed the issue” to avail, LaMarca claimed he quit to work for Kreg Electric, Inc. According to the FDLE report, “Mr. LaMarca indicated he considered the issue to be in the past and wanted nothing more to do with the situation.”

LaMarca denied forging signatures, denied improperly notarizing a document and stated he never worked a job under the MGI name without giving MGI monies owed them.

REPORT SHOWS LAMARCA TIES TO ANOTHER BROWARD HEALTH COMMISSIONER

More than one year later, the Broward State Attorney declined to bring charges in the matter. However, FDLE investigators discovered irregularities in a generator installation job in Lighthouse Point.

The investigators focused on generators installed at the Lighthouse home of Christian D. Spieker. Robert Morgan told special agents a generator and concrete slab had been installed at Spieker’s home. Morgan stated he had no record of the job and received no money. Morgan believed the installation would have a $12,000 price tag.

Morgan believed the Spieker installation may have been absorbed into a $250,000 installation at the Lighthouse Point marina. FDLE determined Spieker owned the marina. FDLE agents pulled the permit for the Spieker home installation.

Morgan stated the document contained his signature, but the job “was not submitted through MGI and he had no prior knowledge of this job’s existence. When presented with the permit for the Lighthouse Point Marina job, Morgan stated the signature was not his. Both permits were notarized by LaMarca.

According to State records, the Lighthouse Point Marina is owned and operated by Christian Spieker and his sister, Maureen Spieker Canada.  In 2014, Canada was appointed to the Broward Health Board of Commissioners. LaMarca was reference for Canada on her application for the position. In 2015, Chip LaMarca appointed Christian Spieker to the Broward Marine Advisory Committee.

CANADA RUNNING INTERFERENCE?

Last week, Canada urged fellow commissioners to delay naming a new board chair. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted Canada attacking Florida Inspector General Melinda Miguel over Governor Rick Scott’s removal of David DiPietro and Darryl Wright from the board. Canada said, “If she disagrees with our decision as a board, that is not a basis for the suspension of the commissioners.”