“Acquaintance” Of Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Paid For Robo-Call Attack On Vice Mayor Bill Julian

As REDBROWARD previously reported, sworn testimony shows a March 2016 robo-call attacking Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian was orchestrated by Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London and lobbyist Evan Ross. Both men revealed their roles in testimony to David Schulson of the Broward State Attorney’s Office. In February 2017, London appears to claim the vote over the Diplomat development project at the heart of the robo-call was politically motivated.

London said, “So that was a setup. I set [Julian] up and he took the bait, and hopefully he goes down with it.” It did bring down Bill Julian. He lost the November 2016 election to Anabelle Taub. In his sworn testimony, Evan Ross stated Keith London was her campaign manager.

Even though the Broward State Attorney cleared Bill Julian last year, many of the facts surrounding the scandal remain hidden.

Last week, REDBROWARD revealed the mystery woman who recorded the call was Marna Winter, the mother of lobbyist Evan Ross. Keith London said she had a “good voice.” Many political insiders believed Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow, a close ally of London, made the call.

In her story, Dirty Cowardly Lobbyist Tricks Part 5: Shameless skullduggery on full display, Stephanie Kienzle wonders who paid for the robo-call. Kienzle has written extensively on Evan Ross’ dealings in Miami-Dade politics.

On February 7, 2017, (two weeks before Keith London testified under oath) REDBROWARD reported Anabelle Taub’s final campaign treasurer’s report listed 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. Was this the Julian robo-call? Perhaps, not.

On February 20, 2017, Assistant State Attorney David Schulson asked Keith London who paid for the robo-call attacking Bill Julian. London said, “That’s a question for Evan.”

Two weeks later, Evan Ross answered Schulson’s questions

ACQUAINTANCE OF COMMISSIONER LONDON

Ross testified he had access to a system “through a vendor” to make robo-calls to residents. Ross said he paid by the minute. Schulson asked Ross if he paid for the call.

Ross testified, “I didn’t pay personally, no. That call was paid for by a gentleman by the name of Sam Dan.”

Schulson asked who is Sam Dan. Ross said, “He is an acquaintance of Commissioner London.” Ross said he had no idea what Dan did for a living but “I believe he used to live in Hallandale and now lives out of state.”

Ross said Dan paid $50 the call. Schulson asked, “So he paid you?” Ross said, “No. He paid another company that then paid me.”

Schulson said, “Oh, the money was filtered? Transferred to you?” Ross answered, “The money went to somebody else, and then I was subcontracted effectively to do it.” Ross never identified the alleged middle-man.

SAM DAN, MYSTERY MAN?

In a telephone interview, Samuel Dan told REDBROWARD the $50 payment was an “innocent contribution.” Dan said Keith London asked him to be involved in the call. Dan said he’s been friends with London for twenty-five years.

In fact, Dan said he was living with London when he mailed the check to Evan Ross.

He said he met Ross through London. Dan said he could not remember who the check was made payable to.

Why did Keith London tell Schulson the identity of Sam Dan was a question for Evan Ross? Did London forget his friend of twenty-five years?

Who was Dan’s check made payable to? If payment was made to a company then to Ross, why did Sam Dan mail the check to Evan Ross?

Hallandale Beach deserve answers, right?

Is Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Obsessed With Lobbyist Judy Stern?

Was mere mention of lobbyist Judy Stern enough to get Hallandale Beach Keith London to attack the credibility of Assistant State Attorney David Schulson? During his February 21, 2017 sworn testimony, Keith London was asked to identify an e-mail. The August 2016 e-mail attacked Vice Mayor Bill Julian over remarks made on a tape London and lobbyist Evan Ross leaked to WPLG Local 10 reporter Bob Norman.

Schulson told London, “I have an e-mail from you to Judy Stern.” London shot back, “I don’t write e-mails to Judy Stern. This is my e-mail blast that goes out to a few thousand people. That didn’t go to Judy Stern, this went to thousands of people.”

Schulson said, “this says ‘from Keith London. The exhibit says from your e-mail to her e-mail.”

London replied, “I find it interesting I’m sitting here with you, and I’m talking about Bill Julian, and the only e-mail you produced, or an e-mail address is from Judy Stern.”

Schulson said her did not get e-mail from Judy Stern. London said, “No. I assume you got it from the Diplomat.” Assistant State Attorney Schulson said he did not get it from the Diplomat developers and he did not have to tell London where he got the e-mail.

Keith London’s attorney David Di Pietro wisely told his client, “Just answer.”

JUDY STERN IN A CAMPAIGN T-SHIRT?

One of the key allegations in the Bob Norman story was whether the Diplomat developers would supply 300 volunteers for Bill Julian’s re-election campaign. In his sworn testimony, lobbyist Evan Ross identified Keith London as the campaign manger for Bill Julian’s opponent. Schulson asked Keith London if he had personal knowledge that developers paid for 300 volunteers to work for Julian.

London said, “I did see Judy Stern out there handing things to volunteers. I have pictures of Judy Stern handing stuff out to the volunteers.” Schulson asked what was Judy Stern’s relationship to the Diplomat developers. London said, “I don’t know. You’re handing me something [e-mail exhibit] that has Judy Stern right here, so obviously Judy Stern has a relationship with the developers.”

Later, London admitted he had no personal knowledge of developers hiring Julian volunteers or whether Judy Stern had any relationship to the developers.

In his March 2017 sworn testimony, lobbyist Evan Ross testified Judy Stern was mentioned in one of the ten recordings he leaked to reporter Bob Norman.

As REDBROWARD reported, Ross stated Bill Julian left ten recordings on his system. The night the robo-call went out, Ross noticed a voicemail in “the system.” When he listened to the call, Ross “quickly identified it was Bill Julian’s voice talking to someone.” The following day, Ross claimed he found more voicemails. He testified there were ten recordings.

Evan Ross stated he told Commissioner Keith London about the Julian recordings the same day he discovered them.

When asked about the eight recordings not featured in stories by Bob Norman, Ross testified, “The only thing that I recall being noteworthy were a reference to a conversation that Bill Julian had with Joy Cooper, saying that Joy Cooper wanted him to call her campaign person, Judy Stern.”

MICHELE LAZAROW SOCIAL MEDIA MELTDOWN

Keith London is not the only member of the Hallandale Beach Commissioner with a unhealthy dislike of Judy Stern. Just days after London and Ross testified under oath, REDBROWARD covered London and Lazarow’s appearance at a Plantation City Council meeting. Lazarow was spearheading efforts to ban pet stores in Plantation.

During the meeting, Michele Lazarow expressed her anger over the presence of a local lobbyist. Lazarow told two supporters, ” Fucking Judy Stern is here in the front row.”

With a long list of speakers, (many of whom did not live in Plantation) the meeting ran very late which may have contributed to Lazarow’s late night Facebook meltdown.

Just after midnight, Michele Lazarow incorrectly informed her Facebook friends the ordinance had been repealed. Around 2AM, 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.

LONDON UNHAPPY

Before the March 2017 Plantation City Council meeting, REDBROWARD asked Keith London about an investigation surrounding GPS trackers. London could not recall whether he hired private investigators to help him find a GPS tracking devices on vehicles belonging to him, Commissioner Lazarow and Anabelle Taub. Lazarow refused to answer any questions.

In October 2016 Keith London and Michele Lazarow held a press conference to discuss the discovery of GPS tracking devices on their vehicles. A week earlier, in front of WPLG Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman’s camera, London took GPS devices off vehicles owned by himself, Lazarow and candidate Annabelle Taub. London turned the devices to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

In March 2017, Keith London was not interested in divulging information regarding the FDLE case. 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 (who was later charged with illegal tracking).

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.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the FDLE told REDBROWARD the Hallandale Beach GPS case remains open.

Did his recent sworn testimony in front of an Assistant State Attorney have Keith London on edge that evening?

Were London and Lazarow upset they had to share the same air with Judy Stern that night?

Do Hallandale Beach residents deserve better?

More to come…

Faux Outrage? Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London Knew About City Attorney Recording For Eight Months Before Calling “Emergency” Meeting For Her Removal

On November 1, 2016 WPLG Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman dropped another political bombshell on the City Of Hallandale Beach. The story, “Secret Audio Implicates Hallandale Beach City Attorney In Alleged Improper Conduct,” detailed a conversation between then-Vice Mayor Bill Julian and City Attorney V. Lynn Whitfield. The conversation surrounded a March 2016 robo-call attacking Julian. A recording left by Julian related to the robo-call was the subject of Bob Norman story in August 2016.

In his November 2016 story, Bob Norman said he, “obtained an audiotape of an inadvertently recorded conversation [Whitfield] had with Bill Julian, in which she clearly provided Julian campaign advice and guidance.” Norman stated Whitfield’s actions could be a violation of the law which prohibits public officials from “using their authority to interfere with elections in their own cities.”

On the audiotape, Whitfield allegedly told Julian, “I can’t advise you on personal stuff and definitely I can’t advise you on election stuff, ok?” But later in the three minute recording, Whitfield said, “When they do stuff to you, my advice, personally, is to plan….Plan out, list out, ‘this is how they are going to come after me.'”

According to Bob Norman, Commissioner Keith London was “livid” after listening to the audiotape. He said Whitfield “doesn’t know the basics of the city charter that says you work for the City. It doesn’t say you work for Bill Julian.”

London said, “She gave personal and campaign advice to Bill Julian, she’s got to go.”

Four weeks later, Keith London called for an “emergency” meeting to fire Whitfield. According to a WPLG story, London used the audiotape as a cause to fire her. Bob Norman said Keith London “is now the City’s de facto leader.”

Whitfield was fired.

Once again, an outraged Commissioner Keith London portrayed himself to the local media as the corruption fighter at Hallandale Beach City Hall.

However, sworn testimony given to the Broward State Attorney’s Office shows Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow knew about Whitfield’s action for eight months and never said anything.

LOBBYIST EVAN ROSS PLAYED WHITFIELD TAPE FOR KEITH LONDON

As REDBROWARD reported, lobbyist Evan Ross, a close ally of Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London, gave sworn testimony to the Broward State Attorney (SAO) in March 2017. The Broward SAO was investigating whether Bill Julian accepted bribes as alleged in an August 2016 report by Bob Norman. A recording of Julian was provided to Norman by Ross after Keith London gave him the “green light.” Even though the recording was made in March 2016, Keith London testified they kept the tape under wraps until August 2016 for “politically expedient”reasons. London was the campaign manger for Julian’s opponent in the November 2016 election.

In his sworn testimony, Evan Ross stated Bill Julian left ten recordings on his system. The night the robo-call went out, Ross noticed a voicemail in “the system.” When he listened to the call, Ross “quickly identified it was Bill Julian’s voice talking to someone.” The following day, Ross claimed he found more voicemails. He testified there were ten recordings, including the Whitfield tape.

Evan Ross stated he told Commissioner Keith London about the Julian recordings the same day he discovered them.

Ross testified he “advised Commissioner London and Commissioner Lazarow…to come to my home and told them that I felt it was of great importance.” Both Commissioners came to Ross’ house. Once there, he played ten recordings of Bill Julian.

Ross said three agreed not to do anything with the recordings. Ross stated, “[W]e all agreed that we should not make a decision on what to do with it sight unseen. And that we should take a little time.”

Ross said the recordings contained, “conversations with people who I believe to be city employees, some of them I could identify potentially.”

Ross told Assistant State Attorney David Schulson he still had all ten recordings. Schulson asked if he gave all ten to Bob Norman.

Ross said, “At a later time, I gave [Bob Norman] the remainder of them, one which he used in a story, which was between Vice Mayor Julian and the city attorney.”

Ross described the contents of that recording in political terms. He said, “The city attorney was on that tape giving him political advice and saying less than flattering things about some of the other commissioners, most notably, Commissioner London.

ANOTHER POLITICAL DIRTY TRICK?

Keith London has a well documented adversarial relationship with Lynn Whitfield. In February 2015, a special counsel was hired to investigate Whitfield’s allegations of racial discrimination against Keith London.

In February 2016, London was cleared of charges of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “While investigators cleared London, they took him to task for rubbing people the wrong way. They quoted his critics, who accused him of being aggressive, intimidating and rude.”

The meeting of two sitting Hallandale Beach Commissioners at the home of a lobbyist occurred on or about March 3, 2016. Just one month after London had been cleared.

But they took no action when they heard the Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor talk about a potential crime.

They took no action when they heard the city attorney possibly commit a violation of law.

They waited. They waited for the election to be closer. As Keith London testified, he did not want the news to get “buried.”

Did London and Lazarow ever document the March 2016 meeting with lobbyist Evan Ross?

Did London ever document his numerous conversations with Ross about the release of the Julian tape?

Did London and Lazarow document discussions with Ross about the Whitfield tape?

Did London and Lazarow document their discussions about Lynn Whitfield? The Florida Sunshine Law covers discussions between elected officials about matters that may come before them for a vote.

Didn’t Keith London and Michele Lazarow vote to fire Lynn Whitfield in November 2016?

More to come…