Tag Archives: corruption

Who Hired Private Eyes To Ambush Reporter At Broward Judicial Ceremony?

Just an hour after REDBROWARD published our story on private investigators intimidating local politicians and reporters, two private eyes conducted an ambush interview of this reporter at the Broward Judicial Robing Ceremony in Fort Lauderdale. Nationally known bounty hunter William “Cobra” Staubs approached REDBROWARD under the guise of representing “a concerned citizens group.” A fellow private investigator was recording the conversation on a cellphone and video camera.

Several of Staubs’ questions mentioned local beekeeper and consultant Dan Lewis. Cobra asked if REDBROWARD had filed an “anonymous criminal complaint” against Lewis. Staubs referred To REDBROWARD as Lewis’ “competitor.”

Staubs refused to say who paid him to attend the event. He refused to identify the group of “concerned citizens.”

As REDBROWARD previously reported, this is just the latest example of private investigators being used to intimidate Broward politicians and reporters.

Hopefully, FDLE will get to the bottom of this mess.

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Developer Gave $50K For Pet Project Plus Campaign Cash To Hallandale Beach Commissioner Days After Mega-Project Vote

Michele Lazarow Asked Developer For $50,000 For Two Additional Bus Shelters

Throughout the last election, City 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. 

Commissioner Michele Lazarow received campaign contributions from Greenspoon Marder political committees while one of their lawyers, Steve Geller, represented the developers of the massive three building “Oasis” project next to the Gulstream Race Track and Casino. On May 4, 2016, Lazarow voted to approve the $250 million dollar development.

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.

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

Lazarow: We Need A Lot Of Bus Shelters

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 discussions with City Manager Daniel Rosemond determined one bus stop would cost $25,000 to build. He 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.”

After Commissioner Anthony Sanders asked about a $25,000 contribution to the “Hallandale Scholarship Fund,” Geller pleaded, “Can we vote now, please. This is getting very expensive.”

The Hallandale Beach City Commission voted 5-0 to approve the Oasis project.

Developer Funds Lazarow Campaign

Just days after she voted to approved the “Oasis” mega-project, Commissioner Michele Lazarow received two large campaign contributions from the companies behind the controversial development. On May 31, 2016, Lazarow received a $1,000 contribution from Romagnole Investments Properties located at 1130 East Hallandale Beach Boulevard. Lazarow received another $1,000 contribution from Romagnole Productos Electricos at the same Hallandale Beach address.

State records show these companies are owned by Giuseppe Iadisernia of Hallandale Beach. According to published reports, Iadisernia is a successful horse trainer. In 2007, The Washington Post reported Iadisernia gained famed with two surprise wins at Gulfstream Park Race Track. At the May 18th commission meeting, Steve Geller stated Iadisernia has 50 horses at Gulfstream Park.

Corruption Fighter?

It’s easy to say this is how politics works in 2016 Broward. Developers fund candidates and their pet projects in the hopes of getting projects approved by local government. Slick lobbyists like Steve Geller know how to play the game. But Michele Lazarow painted herself as the second coming of Trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt. She promised to fight for the little guy against the big bad developers. She told anybody who would listen that the Diplomat Hotel would fail at its $125,000 bid to beat her at the polls. Her lawyers told the media that her political enemies spied on Lazarow, Anabelle Taub and fellow Commissioner Keith London. Lazarow attorney Brian Silber said the GPS tracking device allegedly placed on Lazarow’s car was no “coincidence.”

Does a corruption-fighting politician shakedown developers to fund pet projects? 

Does a muckraking pol take campaign contributions from developers and special interests while claiming to be the victim of political opponents funded by different developers and special interests?

Michele Lazarow was right, Hallandale Beach voters do deserve honesty. 

They deserve answers too. 

Steve Geller speaks to Hallandale Beach City Commission 5/18/2016

Shadowy Political Committee, Gaming Industry Bet Big Bucks On Broward Commissioner Steve Geller

Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller

Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller

“Public Service,” a shadowy political committee funded by local and national gaming companies, did not limit its influence to the recent Hallandale Beach city commission races. Last week, REDBROWARD exposed the role Public Service and its founder, Evan Ross played in the campaigns of Hallandale Beach Commissioners Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub. In addition to large campaign contributions, Evan Ross helped organize a press conference where lawyers for Lazarow and Taub alleged the women were the victims of private investigators hired by their political opponents. Campaign records from the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office (SOE) show Ross’ Public Service committee and its contributors were big backers of County Commissioner Steve Geller.

REDBROWARD reported Michele Lazarow and Anabelle Taub received $1,000 each from political committees operated by Evan Ross. These committees are Public Service, Good Government and Progressive Principles. On August 25, 2016, Steve Geller received a $1,000 contribution from Public Service. Lazarow, Taub, and Geller were the only candidates backed by Public Service during the 2016 election.

Since 2014, a variety of business in the gaming industry have funded Public Service. These companies include Pacific Racing Association, the Maryland Jockey Club, Orchid Concessions, the Village at Gulfstream Park, and Gulfstream Park. According to Hallandale Beach campaign reports, Michele Lazarow received $3,000 from the same Gulfstream Park entities: Village At Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park and Orchid Concessions. Anabelle Taub received the same exact contributions.

GREENSPOON ROLLS DICE ON LOCAL CANDIDATES

One of Public Service’s biggest backers appears to be the Greenspoon Marder law firm. The law firm itself gave Public Service a $10,000 contribution. Gerald Greenspoon is the chairperson of three political committees which backed Public Service. GM Citizens For A Smarter Florida gave $5,500, GM Citizens For A Better Florida Florida gave $2,000 and GM Trial Lawyers For A Better And Smarter Florida gave $1,000 to Evan Ross’ committee.

The largest contribution game from the Floridians For A Stronger Tommorrow political committee.  The group, which uses the Greenspoon Marder downtown Fort Lauderdale offices as its address, gave $12,000 to Public Service. According to records from the Florida Division of Elections, the chairperson of Floridians For A Stronger Tomorrow is Steve Geller.

In his campaign for the Broward County Commission, Steve Geller received contributions from the same Greenspoon Marder committees. Geller received $1,000 from each group as well as $500 from Greenspoon Marder.

GELLER HUGE PROPONENT OF EXPANDED GAMBLING

While it was not mentioned in his commission race, Steve Geller has long been a proponent of expanded gambling in Florida. The firm created a vanity website for its gaming work: GellerGamingLaw.com. The site boasts of Geller presenting lectures at gaming conferences sponsored by Greenspoon Marder. On the firm’s main website, the firm still lists Geller as the head of their gaming section. Greenspoon Marder states, “Our gaming team is headed by former Florida Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller, who has served as President of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) and chair of the legislative committee overseeing gambling. Geller is a frequent speaker across the country on gambling issues, including lottery, pari-mutuels, Internet gambling, Indian gaming enterprises, bingo and charitable gambling, gambling cruises to nowhere, and other gambling-related topics.”

DID ANYBODY ASK STEVE GELLER ABOUT GAMBLING?

One might think the South Florida Sun-Sentinel might have examined Steve Geller’s ties to gambling and its potential impact on Broward County. Sun-Sentinel editors were present when the former owners of the Florida Panthers were hoping to build a casino at the county-owned BB&T Center in Sunrise. Surely, the newspaper of record in Broward county is familiar with the issues surrounding the pact with the Seminole Indians which could have a major impact on the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, and other gambling facilities in Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach and Pompano Beach.

But the Sun-Sentinel never mentioned gambling in its two endorsements of Steve Geller.  The editors blathered about Geller’s experience in Tallahassee and his favorable views on climate change. Not a peep about casinos and gambling. No mention of Geller’s operation of a political committee which funded other shadowy political committees.

Yet, this does not explain Geller’s and the political committees’ interest in the City of Hallandale Beach elections. Geller represents District 5 on the County Commission. Hallandale Beach is not in his district.

More to come…