Fort Lauderdale Commissioners Collect Campaign Contributions During Coronavirus Shutdown

COVID 19 press conference 3/13/2020

On March 13th, Mayor Dean Trantalis issued the first of several emergency orders to bring the City of Fort Lauderdale into compliance with the CDC’s “social distancing” rules to combat COVID-19. This order cancelled all city events, recreational programs and sports leagues across the city. Trantalis’ initial order also cancelled “upcoming meetings of the City Commission, all boards and committees, all special magistrate hearings and all Code Enforcement Board hearings.”

Two days later, after meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis, Trantalis ordered the closure of public beaches and recreational facilities. The next day, Broward Schools were closed. On March 17th, Trantalis held a press conference in front of City Hall. He was joined by Commissioners Heather Moraitis, Steven Glassman and Ben Sorensen.

Even though the official “shelter in place” orders were still ten days away, all commerce and schooling in the City Of Fort Lauderdale was effectively shut down.

Except for raising money for re-election campaign coffers. Apparently, a global pandemic is not enough to stop Fort Lauderdale Commissioners from cashing checks from folks doing business in the “Venice of America.”

According to March campaign reports, Commissioner Robert McKinzie received no campaign contributions. Reports for Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Heather Moraitis accepted no contributions after the City shutdown.

But Commissioner Steven Glassman (D-Backbencher) continued to collect campaign contributions after the COVID-19 lockdown. Glassman received $2,500 from checks collected on March 17 and March 30, 2020. Glassman, a former Buffalo hair salon owner, is no fan on the lockdown. Last week, Glassman sent an email blasting the closure of condominium swimming pools and amenities.

Glassman’s COVID-19 campaign haul is chump change compared to Commissioner Ben Sorensen’s take.

Official campaign treasurer reports show Commissioner Sorensen accepted 19 checks after the Coronavirus lockdown. His campaign received two checks on March 16, 2020 totaling just $150 dollars.

But on March 27, 2020, the date of the Broward County order to shelter at home, Ben Sorensen’s campaign accepted 17 checks for his re-election bid. Sorensen raised $6,975 on the first day of the Coronavirus shelter in place lockdown.

Sorensen didn’t just raise money during the crisis. His campaign spent $6,865.53 during the lockdown.

One expenditure was $500 to Jennifer Lovell for “event reimbursement.” It is unclear if Lovell hosted a fundraiser for Sorensen, but a Rose Ann Lovell is listed as a contributor. Ms. Lovell was appointed to the City Of Fort Lauderdale Education Advisory Board by Sorensen.

Lovell is one of several Sorensen’s contributors with ties to environmental services firms. State records show in December 2019, Jennifer Lovell formed “Lovell Environmental Services.” On her LinkedIn page, Lovell states she is the “President and Chief Activator” at Lovell Environmental Services. Lovell wrote her new company provides “disinfecting and sanitation solutions.”

And with all the poop and Coronavirus around Fort Lauderdale, business should be booming for disinfectant services, right?

Once again, politicians will chase residents from the beaches, dog parks and waterways in the name of public safety while ignoring those very rules meant to keep us all safe.

More to come…

Trantalis COVID-19 press conference outside City Hall

Is Judy Stern Teaching Other Broward Insiders About The Meaning Of Loyalty?

Letters. We get Letters. Judy Stern, uber-lobbyist and salami sandwich doyenne, apparently sent an email to Broward insiders touting “loyalty” to her Broward county commission candidate Tim Ryan. Stern wrote “[Tim Ryan] is looking for contributions to wrap up the end of this opportunity, and as an experienced former legislator, he understands the loyalty of those who step to the plate in the beginning versus those who may wait until after election day in August for his November election cycle.” (emphasis mine)

Loyalty? Really?

Isn’t this the same Judy Stern that dumped long-time friend Charlotte Rodstrom by backing Evan Jenne? Stern was a late-comer to the Ryan campaign joining after Jenne dropped out of the race.

A trusted source says at least one Broward county lobbyist received the email.

Perhaps Mr. Ryan should tell us which lobbyists received the email.

Better yet, Mr. Ryan needs to explain the “loyalty” you get by “stepping up to the plate” in August instead of November.

Also, is Judy Stern sending similar “loyalty” letters on behalf of her other favored candidates?

Shouldn’t someone ask Ilene Liberman (D-Mango) and Julio Gonzalez?

Read the full email for yourself:

“From: “Judith Stern” <jstern@sterncnslt.com>
Date: July XX, 2012
To: “XXX XXXXXX”
Subject: Tim Ryan

Tim is the only candidate who has been actually walking and talking with the constituents in the County Commission Race District 7.  Most of you already know Tim as either the State Representative who served with Jack Seiler, or as legal counsel in either Dania Beach or Pembroke Park.  As this is coming to a close, I certainly am comfortable in reaching out to each of you for campaign contribution for Tim Ryan, Candidate for County Commission.  His opponents are Charlotte Rodstrom and Ken Keechl.  Tim is certainly outworking each one of them and has been wisely campaigning through a well thought experienced campaign plan.  He is looking for contributions to wrap up the end of this opportunity, and as an experienced former legislator, he understands the loyalty of those who step to the plate in the beginning versus those who may wait until after election day in August for his November election cycle.  If anyone wants to meet with Tim, this is the week to do so, and Donna, my secretary can schedule the meeting.

Message To State Representative Evan Jenne

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

You must read this story in the Sun-Sentinel. Apparently uber-lobbiyist and salami sandwich diva Judy Stern will spurn her BFFs, (Bonnie Prince) Johnny Rodstrom and Charlotte Rodstrom, to support State Rep Evan Jenne as he seeks a seat on the Broward County Commission. Stern is shocked(!) Rodstrom is running for the County Commission. Is Judy slipping? Every blog in town made mention that Charlotte would try for the Rodstrom seat if that pesky Supreme Court upheld the will of the people.

Could this all be for show? Stay tuned…

“Stern said she committed to Jenne months ago, when he indicated he’d run for Broward County Commission if term limits were upheld and John Rodstrom’s seat became open.

She worked on Charlotte Rodstrom’s just concluded City Commission campaign, and said she had no idea Charlotte Rodstrom would turn around and run for her husband’s seat on the County Commission. Friday, Charlotte Rodstrom opened a campaign account to run for the County Commission seat.

‘She’d told me she had no interest in the County Commission,’ Stern said. ‘I got back into town Monday. I was just, like, shocked.’

‘For as close as we are, I mean, I was surprised that she never raised it beforehand,’ Stern went on. ‘So I had no idea. … Right up to the Thursday before the election she still spoke to me about she was glad the election was winding up and she didn’t want to campaign anymore. The whole thing’s bizarre.'”