Sign Honoring Fallen Sheriff Replaced With Garish Tribute To Current Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony

A tribute to fallen Broward Sheriff Ron Cochran was replaced with a garish tribute to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. In 1997, the new headquarters of the Broward Sheriff’s Office was named in honor of the late Ron Cochran. A large monument sign on the corner of Broward Boulevard and NW 27th Avenue marked the entrance of the Ron Cochran Public Safety Building in Fort Lauderdale. Now, the tribute to Cochran is gone.

Ron Cochran was elected Broward Sheriff in 1992. Cochran was the longtime Fort Lauderdale Police Chief. In September 1997, after a long battle with brain and lung cancer, Cochran died in office. Published reports hailed Cochran as the “modern architect” of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

While battling cancer, Cochran faced enormous pressure to resign. Former Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth visited Cochran to deliver news that then Governor Lawton Chiles would not force him from office. Butterworth told the Sun-Sentinel, “More than anything, Ron Cochran loved being a cop. His last wish was that he be given the chance to die with his boots on.”

“Florida lost a wonderful, competent, professional law enforcement officer who I think ran a very fine department,” Governor Chiles said. “I think we also lost a great humanitarian. He believed in very strict law enforcement, but he also believed very strongly in prevention.”

Two months later, the Broward County Commission honored Ron Cochran by naming the public safety building after him. The Sun-Sentinel reported the very humble Cochran did not want such honors.

“Susan McCampbell, acting Broward County sheriff, said Cochran told her during his last days that he didn’t want his name going on any public buildings, parks , ‘not even a parking space.’”

“’He was a very humble man, that was part of his charm,’ she said. ‘That’s why it took the County Commission about 30 seconds to rename the building after him.’”

While Cochran’s name may still be on the building, the large sign on the busy intersection is no more. It’s been replaced with a digital marquee sign with an oddly painted surround. One Monday morning, the marquee read “Sheriff Gregory Tony.” The sign features the Broward County logo as well as the BSO logo.

While there’s room for Cochran’s name, only the building address remains on the sign.

Nobody would ever mistake Sheriff Gregory Tony as a humble man. Whether it’s embellishments of his football career at Florida State University, vanity podcasts or appearing on swinger websites in a Speedo, Gregory Tony is no stranger to self-promotion.

One thing Tony does not promote is the ongoing legal inquiry into his tenure at BSO. In an exclusive report last week, REDBROWARD revealed the Tony legal inquiry was moved to the office of the State Attorney of 20th Judicial Circuit in southwest Florida.

Wonder if State Attorney Amira Fox and her investigators are big fans of Gregory Tony’s self-promotion?

The only signage mentioning Ron Cochran is located near the back entrance of the Ron Cochran Public Safety Complex. There is no signage on the front of the main building.

Who decided to insult the legacy of Ron Cochran? How long before the sign near the back door is replaced with another bit of Gregory Tony self promotion?

New sign at BSO HQ

Legal Inquiry Into Sheriff Gregory Tony Inquiry Moved Out Of Broward County

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony

The legal inquiry into Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony was moved out of Broward County, sources tell REDBROWARD. According to one source, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis authorized the move from Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor’s office in the 17th Judicial Circuit to State Attorney Amira Fox of the 20th Judicial Circuit. Fox’s office covers Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. REDBROWARD was told most special prosecutions are conducted from the Fort Myers office.

For months, sources told REDBROWARD that new Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor appeared disinclined to consider serious charges in the Tony matter.

In March, REDBROWARD was first to report a Federal grand jury in Miami heard evidence on matters related to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony and others in Broward County.

In April, The Florida Bulldog confirmed a Federal investigation into matters surrounding Sheriff Tony. The website reported the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) was investigating bid rigging allegations involving a contract between BSO and North American Rescue.

REDBROWARD revealed concerns of a “turf war” grew strong when news broke of an inquiry into North American Rescue CEO Bob Castellani. In 2019, the South Carolina-based sold “bleed kits” to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Castellani was a key supporter of Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s re-election.

REDBROWARD was told the inquiry sent to the State Attorneys Office of the 20th Judicial Circuit does not include the bleed kit matter.

Elberg Mike Gelin Says His Paycheck From Insurance Benefits Company Grew Nearly 400% Since Getting Elected To Tamarac Commission

Income from Elberg Mike Gelin’s insurance benefits company increased nearly four hundred percent since becoming a Tamarac Commissioner three years ago, official disclosure forms show. Last month, REDBROWARD reported City of Tamarac lawyers were so concerned over ethical issues raised by the business relationship between Gelin Benefits Group, Inc. and the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), that it asked the State of Florida Commission On Ethics for guidance. On November 27, 2018, Gelin took the oath of office as a Tamarac Commissioner. One week later, Tamarac city attorney Sam Goren asked the Florida Commission On Ethics if a prohibited conflict of interest was created by a company owned by Elberg Mike Gelin having an existing business relationship with BSO. The City of Tamarac has a contract with BSO to provide law enforcement services.

While the Commission On Ethics stated the Gelin Benefits Group’s deal with BSO posed no conflict of interest because it was signed before he was elected, it did highlight the problems faced when an elected official solicits business for a personally owned company from other municipalities and government entities.

The problem becomes even more complicated when an elected official fails to fully disclose business dealings with other government officials.

FULL DISCLOSURE?

Commissioner Elberg Mike Gelin appears to have a problem disclosing his business dealings to Tamarac voters. In June, REDBROWARD reported Gelin failed to disclose all of his government contracts on his required financial forms. Form 1 consists of three parts. Elected officials are required to disclose primary sources of income, secondary sources of income and real property.

Under secondary sources of income, officials are told to include “Major customers, clients and other sources of income to businesses owned by the reporting person.”

Under secondary sources of income on his 2018 Form 1, Commissioner Gelin wrote “N/A” which is shorthand for “not applicable.”

REDBROWARD asked Gelin to clarify why his contract with BSO between February 2018 and February 2019 was “not applicable.” Gelin did not respond.

On his Form 1 for 2019, Gelin listed contracts with the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes and Broward Health (North Broward Health District). Still no mention of a contract with BSO.

Even though he listed just three government agencies on his 2019 Form 1, documents show Gelin Benefits Group previously touted contracts with multiple government agencies.

On January 10, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a proposal to the City of Lauderdale Lakes. In the proposal, Gelin Benefits Group states it provides services to the City of Miramar and the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).

On August 22, 2019, Gelin Benefits Group submitted a controversial proposal to the City of North Miami. Gelin Benefits Group stated its clients included the City of Miramar, the City of Lauderdale Lakes, Broward Health, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and Broward County Government.

Under “notable client experience,” Gelin listed the City of Miramar, the City of Coconut Creek and the Broward Clerk of Courts.

Under “references,” Gelin Benefits Group listed Miramar, BSO, and Broward County Government.

Last week, Elberg Mike Gelin submitted his 2020 Financial Disclosure Form 1. Once again, Gelin only listed Miramar, Lauderdale Lakes and Broward Health.

Did Gelin Benefits Group lose deals with BSO, the Clerk of Courts and others entities?

While Gelin continues to list the same three clients on his disclosure form, another legally required form appears to show being a Tamarac Commissioner has been very good to Elberg Mike Gelin’s bottom line.

400 PERCENT?

Along with the financial disclosure forms, elected officials are required to reveal any outside or concurrent employment to residents. Since his election in 2018, Elberg Mike Gelin has disclosed outside/concurrent employment for the years 2018, 2019, and 2020. All three forms list Gelin Benefits Group Inc for outside employment.

In addition to the name of employer, the form asks for “remuneration received for the covered year.” For our readers in Margate, this means “how much were you paid during the covered year.” The official simply checks off a range of how much he received from the outside employment.

In 2018, Gelin declared he received between $25,001 and $50,000 from Gelin Benefits Group. Not bad for a company formed just three years earlier.

In 2019, Gelin stated his pay nearly doubled in a year. He declared receiving between $50,001 and $100,000 from Gelin Benefits Group.

Last week, Elberg Mike Gelin filed his 2020 outside/concurrent employment form. While the COVID-19 pandemic hurt numerous small businesses across Broward, things were booming over at Gelin Benefits Group. Now, Gelin claims his remuneration from Gelin Benefits Group exceeds $100,001.

That is a 400 percent pay increase for Elberg Mike Gelin since taking office in Tamarac just three years ago.

Guess the lockdown doesn’t hurt your business when most of your big clients are local governments.

But, if Elberg Mike Gelin received more than $100,000 last year, why did Gelin Benefits Group apply for a PPP loan for its two employees? Records show Gelin Benefits Group received a $34,000 PPP loan in April 2020. These records show $34,370 of the loan was forgiven.

Also, the contracts between local municipalities and Gelin Benefits Group are funded with Broward taxpayers’ hard earned money. Even Gelin Benefits Group’s newest deal with the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office is funded with public dollars.

And Elberg Mike Gelin still picks up a paycheck as a Tamarac Commission. Who pays Gelin’s salary? Yep, Broward taxpayers.

But Elberg Mike Gelin is not the only Broward official getting fat eating off the Broward taxpayer trough….