REPORT: BSO PUBLIC CORRUPTION UNIT INVESTIGATING HALLANDALE BEACH MESS

In a bombshell report earlier this week, WSVN (FOX MIAMI) reported Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking into possible corruption in Hallandale Beach government. Reporter Brian Entin said, “BSO tells 7News its corruption unit ‘is conducting an investigation involving the Hallandale Beach City Commission,’ but they will not confirm any other details. WSVN asked Hallandale Beach Commissioners about the BSO probe.

Mayor Joy Cooper seemed surprised by the news when Entin asked if she was aware of the probe. “Not until you mentioned it to me, no,” Cooper said. Commissioner Anthony Sanders, a Cooper ally, said, “I don’t know anything in detail.” But Cooper and Sanders’ opponents on the Hallandale Beach dais seemed better prepared to answer questions about the BSO investigation.

According to the WSVN report, Commissioner Michele Lazarow said. “You would have to talk to my attorney.” Commissioner Anabelle Taub told WSVN,  “You’d have to call my attorney.” WSVN said their lawyers did not respond to phone calls.

Who are the lawyers for Lazarow, Taub and Vice Mayor Keith London?

DAVID DI PIETRO & HIS LEGAL DREAM TEAM

Last December, REDBROWARD revealed controversial political consultant Evan Ross orchestrated the October 2016 “illegal surveillance” press conference featuring Hallandale Beach Commissioners and their lawyers, Brian Silber, Jay Spechler and David Di Pietro.

On a Sunday afternoon, Evan 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.

In late October, just two weeks before the Hallandale Beach election, Commissioners Keith London, Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub claimed they found GPS tracking devices underneath their personal cars.

As REDBROWARD previously reported, Michele Lazarow’s attorney Brian Silber did not mince words. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” said attorney Brian Sibler. “To tell me it isn’t the political opponent of these people, you’re going to have to tell me that it’s a coincidence that Commissioner Lazarow, Commissioner London, and Anabelle Taub all got GPS trackers on their cars ‘by accident.’ What a coincidence that is.”

Brian Silber and Jay Spechler were members of David Di Pietro’s “legal dream team” when he sued Florida Governor Rick Scott. The Governor removed Di Pietro as the chairman of Broward Health for interfering with a State investigation into corruption at the North Broward Hospital District.

Last year, 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 a child sexual abuse case.

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.

Why is David Di Pietro mentioned in so many controversial matters?

Luckily, it appears the right people are seeking answers.

Young At Art Website Deletes Board Member Who Questioned Whether 17 Year Old Student Is Truly “Victim” Of Sexual Assault By Teacher

It is almost always the cover-up rather than the event that causes trouble.“–Howard Baker

On Monday, the Young At Art (YAA) Children’s Museum website deleted any mention of a board member after REDBROWARD started asking questions about a controversial Facebook post.  In a March 2017 Facebook post, Young At Art Board member Brian Silber questioned whether a seventeen year old Texas student could truly be the victim of his twenty-seven year old teacher. Sarah Fowlkes, a Lockhart High School science teacher, was arrested for having an improper sexual relationship with the student. Fowlkes became an instant internet sensation when her smiling mugshot was posted online.

On March 22, Silber posted a link to a Huffington Post story about Fowlkes’ smiling mugshot. Silber added the caption, “The ‘victim’ is 17,” with the word victim in quotation remarks. In response to a comment from a Facebook friend, Silber wrote, “In less than a year he can be sent to die for this country. 17 year old male is hard argument for victimization (unless its unconsensual).”

A Miami Herald story responded to those who questioned whether the teenaged male could truly be a “victim”–

Grown women chasing after pubescent boys is a difficult and disturbing scene to imagine, but just as troubling are the comments from the flakes who think that a young boy’s sexual initiation by a female teacher is something to be envied. It’s not. This is victimization. This is abuse. This is rape. And it is particularly unnerving when the horror is committed by the very people trusted by parents to guide their children. Preying on someone who is young and vulnerable is never, ever right, regardless of age, gender or circumstance.

In 2009, a TIME magazine investigation showed how rampant the problem of female teachers preying on students had become across Florida. In response, then Congressman Adam Putnam pushed for the passage of the Student Protection Act. Putnam said, “Let’s call these cases what they are: sexual assaults.” Currently the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Putnam is running to be the next Governor of Florida.

As a criminal defense lawyer, Brian Silber should be well versed in Florida’s consent laws. As the operator of police blotter blog, its natural for Silber to discuss titilating cases and trials. But it’s troubling that a board member of a taxpayer-supported children’s museum could be so nonchalant about the sexual assault of teenagers.

The Young At Art website and social media accounts boast how local teenagers work at the museum. Teens are recruited to be museum volunteers and summer camp counselors.

It’s safe to assume most parents believe Young At Art will protect their children while visiting or volunteering at the museum. Many parents would agree that any minor is the “victim” if they are sexually involved with any adult or authority figure.

DEAFENING SILENCE FROM YAA BOARD

REDBROWARD tried to discuss this matter with members of the Young At Art. Messages asking for comment were left for eleven board members. An attorney for one board member stated there would be no comment.

A voicemail left for Brian Silber asked for an explantation of his Facebook comments as well as information regarding the two YAA lawsuits filed against Broward County.

On Monday afternoon, the rarely camera-shy attorney sent a brief reply via email.

Silber wrote, “You are mistaken–I am not a member of the YAA board. As for whatever lawsuits you mentioned regarding the Spechlers, I have no knowledge and therefore cannot comment.”

REDBROWARD informed Silber that a screenshot of the YAA website taken on Monday morning showed his name on the list of YAA board members. By Monday evening, the YAA website deleted Silber’s name.

REDBROWARD asked Silber to explain the sudden disappearance. He has not responded.


This is just the latest troubling incident of Young At Art and hyper-sexualized topics. Last year, REDBROWARD reported how the Young At Art sponsored “Naughty By Nature” exhibit in Fort Lauderdale exposed children to nude peep shows, vagina-shaped sculptures and other exhibits of a highly sexualized nature. REDBROWARD showed how YAA curator Zack Spechler created a PEN15 (Penis) Club and his sister painted a self-portrait of herself laying nude across her father’s lap. The Spechler’s parents are Young At Art CEO Mindy Shrago and her husband Jay Spechler.

Former Judge Jay Spechler and Brian Silber represented YAA Board Chairman David Di Pietro in his lawsuit against Florida Governor Rick Scott. Di Pietro dubbed them his legal dream team.

If Young At Art will delete a board member over a Facebook post, what else would they be willing to hide from Broward taxpayers?

Broward voters deserve answers before giving Young At Art another public dime.

Brian Silber, right, with former Judge Jay Spechler

Michele Meltdown: Hallandale Beach Commissioner Calls Lobbyist “Fat Cow” After Losing Plantation City Council Vote

MICHELE LAZAROW CLAIMS “FIX WAS IN,” CALLS RESIDENTS “LOSERS.”


Controversial Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow suffered a very public meltdown on social media following a defeat at the Plantation City Council. On Wednesday evening, the Plantation City Council voted to “grandfather” a single local pet store under its anti-puppy mill ordinance. Since the ordinance was passed, the Petland store has been fined daily for selling animals. In order to avoid a costly legal battle over the fines, four council members voted to grandfather the store since it was doing business in the city before the ordinance was passed.

Even though Plantation is nearly twenty miles away, Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Keith London and Commissioner Michele Lazarow attended the meeting. Lazarow and her “Sick Puppies” allies travel to many cities hoping to exert their will on other communities. Lazarow is also a strong proponent of banning plastic grocery bags. On Wednesday evening it was clear Michele Lazarow was in charge of the protests.

Lazarow repeatedly signed people up to speak before the Plantation City Council. Lazarow fielded phone calls and text messages from late-arriving supporters. Vice Mayor London even told the City Council that Lazarow was the brains behind the movement.

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.

This may have contributed to Lazarow’s late night Facebook meltdown.

FACEBOOK MELTDOWN

Just after midnight Thursday, 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 Lazarow’s nemesis, Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper.

Shockingly, 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?”

Should an elected official act this way? Do Hallandale Beach residents approve of their officials berating private citizens? Michele Lazarow has a history of attacking her opponents.

Last December, REDBROWARD exposed Michele Lazarow’s hypocrisy in Hallandale Beach politics.

Commissioner Michele Lazarow promised to bring “honesty” back to Hallandale Beach government. Following her victory on November 8, Lazarow said, “Tonight, we turned the page to a new chapter….After the ugliest election cycle in our city’s history, I am grateful that the residents of Hallandale Beach continue to have faith in me to fight for their interests.” But as REDBROWARD revealed, Lazarow appears to fight real hard for the interests of developers and gaming interests. Lazarow received campaign contributions from Greenspoon Marder political committees while Steve Geller represented the developers of the massive “Hallandale Oasis” Development next to the Gulstream Race Track and Casino. On May 4, 2016, Commissioner Lazarow voted to approve the $250 million dollar development. The Sun-Sentinel reported the massive project on Hallandale Beach Boulevard would include two 26 story condominium buildings, a 19 story hotel bulding and a 10 story office building.

Geller, an attorney with Greenspoon Marder, is a registered lobbyist for the Hallandale Oasis development. Geller himself presented the project details to the commission.

Less than one month earlier, Michele Lazarow received campaign contributions from the Greenspoon Marder Law Firm and the GM Citizens For A Smarter Florida political committee. According to her campaign treasurer reports, the $500 contributions were made on April 7,2016. One day earlier, Lazarow received $1,000 contributions from three different entities associated with Gulfstream Race Track. She received money from The Village At Gulfstream Park, Orchid Concessions and Gulfstream Park.

Geller, Greenspoon Marder and the gaming industry funded the shadowy “Public Service” political committee which backed Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub in the November election. REDBROWARD revealed Public Service chairperson Evan Ross helped orchestrate a press conference which painted Lazarow and Taub as victims of spying by their political opponents.

Campaign mailers stated Lazarow and Taub wanted to bring back “honesty” to the Hallandale Beach City Commission. Lazarow railed against the Diplomat Hotel for funding her opponent’s campaign. She said, “The Diplomat is funding a 125k PAC to run me out of office. It isn’t going to help and they are going to lose 125k.”

On May 18, 2016 the “Oasis” project came before the Hallandale Beach Commission for another vote. Once again, lobbyist Steve Geller presentedthe details to the commission. Commissioner Lazarow impatiently asked several times to speak about the “DA” (Developer Agreement).

When it was her chance to discuss the agenda item, Lazarow stated she wanted the developers to pay for two additional bus shelters. Mayor Joy Cooper stated the project already called for one new bus stop, but Lazarow said, “We need a lot!”

Steve Geller said the developer agreed to contribute $50,000 for two bus shelters. After some discussion regarding where to build the stops, Geller said it was not an issue as long as it was near the project.

Lazarow told her fellow commissioners, “We’re getting $50,000 for bus shelters, period. It doesn’t matter where.”

When REDBROWARD asked if any developer or lobbyist contributed funding to her anti-puppy crusade, Lazarow said, “No.”