Tag Archives: vicente thrower

“SHADY DEAL”: Pompano Beach Commissioner Blasts $265K Payout To Broward “Political Pimp”

Calling it “insanity” run amok, Pompano Beach Commissioner Michael Sobel blasted a deal to pay $265,000 to a city activist some call a “Political Pimp.” At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Sobel was the lone voice questioning the plan to pay the legal fees Vicente Thrower racked up following his April 2010 arrest on bribery and unlawful compensation charges.

In 2014, a Broward jury found Vincente Thrower not guilty on three of the charges. During the trial, attorney Michael Hursey argued Thrower was not a public official under Florida law. The jury bought his defense that he was a mere volunteer not a public servant capable of accepting unlawful compensation.

In March 2015, REDBROWARD reported Thrower wanted the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Association (CRA) to pay his $478,000 legal bill. In a letter to the Pompano Beach commission, his attorney Hursey painted Thrower as a victim of false criminal charges. He wrote, “Thrower just completed a very difficult 4 1/2 year journey, living under the shadow of charges which were ultimately proved false.” He said Pompano Beach paying for the legal fees would “put Mr. Thrower on the road to restoring the enormous loss he suffered when fighting these unfounded charges.”


Even though a Broward jury failed to convict him, Vicente Thrower admitted many of the details in a February 2010 sworn statement to the Broward State Attorney.

Thrower admitted working for developers with business before Pompano Beach. These developers,which included Cornerstone, Habitat For Humanity, Pompano Beach Living LLC, and Lavish Homes, paid thousands of dollars to Thrower. He never disclosed his contractual relationships.

Thrower also admitted speaking with the FBI regarding his dealings with notorious developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.


One the final items at Tuesday’s Pompano Beach City Commission meeting was the deal to pay $265,000 to Thrower for legal fees. City Manager Greg Harrison said he negotiated the deal with Thrower and his attorney in a effort to avoid more legal costs and to protect future Pompano Beach volunteers. Mayor Lamar Fisher and most Commissioners bought into Harrison’s laughable rationale.

Michael Sobel wasn’t buying it.

In a stunning ten minute presentation, Sobel said, “Off all the shenanigans that I’ve seen and heard since getting elected, this one ranks toward the top.” Echoing a sermon he heard in church, he said the deal was “one giant muddy fountain.” Sobel said by accepting the deal the Commission was “being asked to reward a local resident…for his bad and likely unethical behavior.”

Sobel said, “[Thrower] needs to be responsible for his own actions.”

Commissioner Sobel said the deal was first mentioned a week earlier as a “surprise add-on” to the CRA meeting agenda. He said the deal was not properly vetted. Sobel warned it was unclear how much of the money would actually go to Thrower himself.

Are the residents paying attention,” Sobel asked. “This is a shady deal!”

Sobel said he did not care about warnings his opposition to this deal would hurt his campaign for mayor. He said the deal shows, “Some people get special deals while the residents as a whole suffer. The leaders of the Northwest should think hard about that.”

JQC Files Formal Charges Against Broward Judge Matthew Destry For Secret Deal With Controverisal Political Activist

Judge Matt Destry , left, is all smiles with Vicente Thrower at recent community event in Pompano Beach.

Just days before the August primary, the Investigative Panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) determined Broward County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry violated numerous judicial rules by meeting with a local political activist. JAABlaw first reported the formal charges against Destry. While he was soundly defeated in the primary, the severity of charges would have likely lead to Destry’s removal from the bench. As REDBROWARD exclusively reported, Barbara Duffy was Destry’s only opponent to vigorously question his actions and demeanor on the bench. Even though voters rewarded Duffy with the most votes, the number of candidates running against Destry guaranteed a November runoff.

Last year, Destry gained international scorn for his sentencing of Herbert Smith to sixty-years in prison.

Four years ago, Herbert Smith was found guilty of seven burglaries and thefts. He served two years in prison. While serving four years of probation, police stopped Smith for driving with a suspended license. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Smith violated his probation in October by driving with a suspended license in a car with another convicted felon and an ammunition clip filled with .40-caliber bullets, the same judge who gave him a second chance in 2012 decided to send a stronger message.” The judge was Matthew Destry.

The Broward State Attorney wanted Smith to serve 13 years in prison. Destry sentenced Smith to 60 years in prison. “I think 13 is a bit much, but the law is the law,” said Smith’s attorney, Brian Greenwald. “The prosecutor was not being vindictive.”

Following the public outcry, Destry changed his mind. He suspended Smith’s sentence.“To go from 60 years in prison to being released that day — the takeaway is that justice is random in Broward County,” Howard Finkelstein of the Broward Public Defender’s Office tells New Times.“Destry did the right thing but for the wrong reasons.”


According to the JQC, Destry changed Smith’s sentence after a secret meeting at a Las Olas restaurant. One week after sentencing Smith, Destry met activist Vicente Thrower and Rev. Alan B. Jackson at Mangos. “This meeting, …took place outside the presence of the State Attorney and Defendant, and without the knowledge of either party.” When questioned by JQC investigators in August, Destry was “evasive” about Thrower. Destry admitted Thrower had his personal cell phone number. “Only when pressed did [Destry] disclose that he was a political activist who had worked to generate community support for your first judicial campaign in 2010.”

After meeting with them for an hour, “Mr. Thrower and Rev. Jackson convinced you to reopen the matter, arguing that their community had not been adequately heard on Mr. Smith’s sentencing, and they wanted a chance to speak on his behalf. You have admitted that while meeting with Mr. Thrower and Rev. Jackson you committed to setting a hearing to reconsider Mr. Smith’s sentence, and invited Mr. Thrower and Rev. Jackson to attend and be heard regarding the matter.”

According to the JQC, Destry admitted to the improper meeting at a Sun-Sentinel editorial board meeting. “You also acknowledged this meeting between yourself and Mr. Thrower and Rev. Jackson during an interview with the editorial board of the Sun Sentinel newspaper. Your comments were tape-recorded, and witnessed by other judicial candidates as well as newspaper staff. You further acknowledged to the Commission that, after this meeting, you were aware that Mr. Thrower began urging members of his community to support your current re-election campaign.”

Since prosecutors and defense lawyers were not told about the meeting, investigators determined Destry’s meeting with Thrower constituted an ex-parte meeting, a huge no-no for judges. Destry conceded it was ex parte, but tried to argue it fell under an “emergency” or “scheduling” exception.

Following the meeting, the JQC stated Destry scheduled a new hearing on his own accord to discuss his sentencing. Neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers had made a motion regarding sentencing.  JQC investigators stated Destry failed to give lawyers adequate notice, but he, “personally phoned Mr. Thrower to inform him of the date and time of the hearing, and again invited him to be present.”

Finally, the JQC stated, “Taken together, your actions create the appearance of a quid pro quo exchange of political support for favorable judicial action, and further constitutes inappropriate conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2(A), 3B(2), 3B(7), 3B(8), 3B(9), 5A(2), 5A(3), 5A(4), of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”