Tag Archives: mindy shrago

Why Is Steve Geller Appointing Young At Art Board Member To Broward Cultural Council?

According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller (D-Tallahassee) will appoint a Young At Art (YAA) board member to the Broward Cultural Council. Agenda Item 77 states Geller wants Rebecca Bratter to be his representative on the Council. Bratter, an attorney with Greenspoon Marder, has been a YAA board member since December 2014.

As a Young At Art board member, Rebecca Bratter must be fully aware of the 2016 lawsuit filed against Broward County.

Last October, REDBROWARD reported how County Commissioners blasted Young At Art Board Chairman David Di Pietro for filing a lawsuit against the County while trying to negotiate another deal for the troubled taxpayer-funded kids museum in Davie. County Attorney Joni Coffey called it “ridiculous” while Commissioner Mark Bogen signaled the County was ready to “go to war” if YAA did not come back to the table in good faith.

David Di Pietro, husband of Judge Nina Di Pietro,  claimed the museum had no choice because the County was ready to take control of Young At Art. However, REDBROWARD showed YAA insiders laid the groundwork for the lawsuit in 2015

Earlier this year, it appeared there would be no new deal between YAA and Broward County. REDBROWARD reported  Broward County lawyers asked a judge to dismiss most of the claims made in a lawsuit filed by the taxpayer-supported children’s museum in Davie.  In February, YAA asked a Broward County Judge to stay the proceedings for another ninety days. Judge William Haury gave them just forty-five days to finalize a deal. The stay was set to expire on March 23rd.

On that very day, Broward County lawyers filed a motion to dimiss three key counts of the YAA complaint.

In April, key representatives from Young At Art visited Broward County Commissioners to discuss the matter. Representatives included museum CEO Mindy Shrago, David Di Pietro, YAA finance director Dana McLean and attorney Bruce Green. It’s unclear if Shrago’s spouse, the tempermental former judge Jay Spechler is active in negotiations.

Did David Di Pietro and the YAA legal team discuss the lawsuits with Rebecca Bratter? According to one published report, Bratter is a “rising star” in the South Florida legal world. She is the youngest shareholder in Greenspoon Marder history. The Daily Business Review, “[Bratter] became the firm’s litigation manager in 2014, is managing shareholder of the business development group and is a member of the diversity, charitable foundation and executive litigation committees.”

Seems like a no brainer that David Di Pietro and company would ask Bratter for her take on the whole matter, right?

(Over the last few weeks, REDBROWARD tried to reach Bratter for comment via telephone and email. She has not responded.)

As a former member of the Greenspoon Marder team, Geller is well acquainted with Bratter’s legal resume. She was Geller’s lawyer when he sued the Democratic National Committee in 2008.

One may ask why it matters if Rebecca Bratter is appointed to the Broward Cultural Council. It’s just another do-nothing government committee filled with flunkies and cronies, right?

Stay tuned for part two…

David Di Pietro, chairman of Young At Art board

Broward County Wants Judge To Dismiss New Legal Claims By Young At Art Museum

Broward County lawyers want a judge to dismiss new claims brought by the troubled Young At Art (YAA) children’s museum. Last month, REDBROWARD reported the County moved to have Judge William Haury dismiss several counts in the original YAA lawsuit. Last October, the museum filed a lawsuit fearing an imminent takeover by Broward County government.

After the lawsuit was filed, County officials and YAA officials tried to negotiate a new deal. The motion to dismiss and new libel and slander lawsuit filed against the County seemed to signal the end of negotiations.

Two weeks ago, REDBROWARD reported former Judge Jay Spechler filed a libel and slander lawsuit on behalf of his wife, Mindy Shrago and his son Zack Spechler. Shrago is the CEO of Young At Art. Zack Spechler is a YAA curator. The lawsuit alleges eight counts of libel and slander against Broward County, ArtsMarket, Inc and its owner Louise Stevens. Lawsuit claims Broward County Commissioners and the independent consultant made numerous false statements about Shrago, Spechler and YAA.

On the same day, libel and slander claims were added to the original lawsuit against Broward County, Artsmarket and Louise Stevens.

On Tuesday, Broward County lawyers stated Young At Art made “fatal” mistakes in their original lawsuit.

In its motion, Broward County stated it made “numerous attempts to help YAA while YAA has been unable to sustain itself financially.” County lawyers stated the lawsuit was “hastily” filed while the County negotiated with YAA for a new deal.

The motion states, “In YAA’s haste, however, YAA failed to follow basic Florida statutory notice requirements for suing a political subdivision of the sate in tort. Such failure is fatal to YAA’s tort claims. In an attempt to ‘remedy’ this default found in the initial complaint, YAA amended its complaint. However, the Amended Complaint still fails to comply with the law regarding statutory notice, and to alleges, because it cannot allege, such compliance. Thus, the Couty must dimiss all of YAA’s tort counts.

As to the new counts, Broward County lawyers stated County Commissioners enjoy “absolute immunity” from libel and slander causes of actions. The new claims mirror the claims made in the suit brought by Shrago and Spechler. They claim comments made at government meetings by Commissioners Sue Gunzburger, Tim Ryan and Dale Holness were defamatory. The County told the Court, “The reason for this immunity is clear. Public officials must be able to offer ‘free and open explanations of their actions.”