Michael Crews has resigned his post as secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections effective Nov. 30. Gov Rick Scott appointed Crews to the job more than two years ago amid scandal, corruption and inmate deaths. Those issues continues to plague the department, but Crews made the mistake of pushing for pay raises for corrections officers in his department.
Palm Beach County
Mark Englander, 67, of Boynton Beach is accused of arguing with his new wife about his not receiving a wedding gift from a friend, according to an arrest report. He is accused of battery, and allegedly stating that he would kill her, but he would never get away with it. He was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. Some marriage and honeymoon.
Burt Reynolds, 78, is auctioning off some of his art, movie memorabilia, Emmys and other possessions. Reynolds, a graduate of Palm Beach High School, ran into financial trouble in 2011, when his Jupiter mansion went into foreclosure. That seven-bedroom home is now on the market for $4.5 million, but was originally listed for $9 million.
Don Cooper, worked 20 years as Port St. Lucie’s city manager before leaving in 2010. He is now the new city manager in Delray Beach. He replaces Louie Chapman, who resigned under fire over a $60,000 trash bin contract and was accused of misleading commissioners about it. Mayor Cary Glickstein, Commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jordan Jarjura voted for Cooper. Commissioners Adam Frankel and Al Jacquet did not. Cooper helped bring Digital Domain’s animation studio to Port St. Lucie and was heavily criticized when the company went bankrupt, leaving the city holding a $40 million tab for the facilities that housed the company. Cooper beat out interim City Manager Terry Stewart, Boca Raton Assistant City Manager Michael Woika, Broward County Deputy Administrator Roberto Hernandez and Lancaster County, Penn., Chief Clerk Andrea McCue.
The compact the state has with the Seminole Indian Tribe rakes in more than $116 million in annual revenue. Former Gov. Charlie Crist negotiated the deal in 2009, but it is scheduled to expire next summer. It allows the tribe to have the exclusive right to hold blackjack and other card games at its casinos in exchange for a percentage of revenues paid to the state. Gov. Rick Scott will sign a new compact, but the state Legislature may not support it. Instead, some have expressed interest in opening up competition and allowing the other casinos to hold the games as well.
State Rep. Hazelle P. Rogers, (D-Lauderdale Lakes) has been cleared in a long-running bribery investigation into allegations she accepted a bribe for her 2007 vote as Lauderdale Lakes city commissioner serving on the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board, in support of a Dwight Stephenson Construction (DSC) contract to build a library. It involved a verbal agreement between attorney Earl Hall and Rogers where she would be paid a percentage of his $100,000 fee to lobby for Gulf Construction and Dwight Stephenson Construction to land a contract to build a City of Miramar project. In exchange, Rogers would lobby Miramar city officials directly, due her relationship with them. Rogers later revealed a possible conflict when an unrelated DSC contract came before the Lauderdale Lakes CRA to build the library, but went ahead with her vote for the company. The next day she received a $2,000 check from the company but Rogers and DSC owner Dwight Stephenson says it was for the Miramar project, not her CRA vote. The case was originally investigated by the FBI, which referred it to the Broward State Attorney’s Office. Asst. State Attorney Catherine Maus wrote in a memo that, “In light of the lack of evidence that the June 2007 payment was for the Lauderdale Lakes library, this investigation is closed. There is insufficient evidence with which to sustain a charge of unlawful compensation.”
Octavia Jones, 37, was shot multiple times and killed by two masked men who burst into the home she shared with a boyfriend in Northwest Miami-Dade. The gunmen did not make any demands and took nothing from the home. Jones’ boyfriend left the crime scene unharmed. Jones’ family and Crime Stoppers are offering rewards for information. The number to call is 305-471-8477.
Leon Marcel Atkinson, 29, of Miami is in jail after being pulled over in Ft. Myers on a traffic stop. Police smelled marijuana and conducted a search of his vehicle where they found dozens of counterfeit credit and gift cards scattered throughout the vehicle. The cards were valued at $170,000 contained information obtained via skimming devices. Atkinson is being held in the Lee County Jail as the investigation continues and expands to Miami-Dade County into the fraud and identity theft by skimming devices.
Federal regulators with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has fined Miami Gardens-based North Dade Community Development Federal Credit Union $300,000 for admittedly violating bank secrecy act and opening up the U.S. financial system to potential money laundering and terrorist activity. The tiny institution has a net worth of $616,641, but conducted over $2 billion dollars in wire transfers from all over world and $14 million in cash transaction over the past few years. The investigations are continuing, but expect this credit union to be shut down.
Miami attorney Kenneth Kukec, 61, is back in jail. In July he was charged with possession of cocaine, multiple counts of prescription drug and paraphernalia possession, and resisting arrest after allegedly being caught snorting cocaine inside a Plantation Key convenience store. Kukec was released on bond and was on probation. He tested positive for drug and surrendered for violating the terms of his pre-trial release.
Brian Sheppard, 23, of Cudjoe Key was on probation and performing his court-ordered community service work at the Vineyard Community Church as part of his driving with a suspended license punishment. The church pastor noticed computer equipment, an air compressor, Nintendo video game controllers and two archery bows missing. His son checked and found them at a pawn shop on Deer Key. The items were traced to Sheppard, who has been arrested.