Bethune Cookman University alumni could end up filing a lawsuit to force the college to conduct a forensic audit. The core issue is a contract to build new dorms at the school and an unaccounted for $5.6 million.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who shot and killed Corey Jones on an I-95 off ramp last month, has been fired. Raja was hired last April and had not completed his probationary period. City Manager Ron Ferris and Police Chief Stephen Stepp approved his termination from city employment. The shooting, which remains under investigation, occurred while Jones was waiting for a tow truck to arrive.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that key pieces of evidence in a fatal shooting by one of its deputies, are missing. In May 2012, Sgt. Michael Custer shot and killed Seth Adams outside Adams’ family-owned nursery in Loxahatchee Groves. Custer was in plain clothes as he sat in the parking lot of the family’s business. He said he identified himself, but Adams grabbed him around the throat. The family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit and Custer’s cell phone and the hard drive from a laptop computer he was using the day of the shooting are now missing.
McCarthy Gabriel, 19, is charged with attempted murder on a law enforcement officer after authorities say he opened fire of officers at Chillingworth Park. Police had chased the stolen SUV that was reportedly driven by Russ Marc Beauvoir, and when it stopped in the park, a shootout with the suspects unfolded. Gabriel was the passenger. Beauvoir is facing auto theft and other charges.
FIRE MARSHAL GUILTY
City of West Palm Beach Fire Marshall Derrick Daniels has been found guilty of abusing his position and unjustly enriching himself. Daniels was arrested in 2013 after an investigation found he solicited city businesses to hire him to oversee fire safety during their events. He is also accused of shaking down businesses in order for them to pass his inspections. Daniels faces up to 40 years in prison at his sentencing.
Phoebee Francois, a Court General Magistrate and Donald Gelin, an attorney in the Broward Sheriff’s General Counsel’s Office are among the 31 applicants seeking appointment to the bench in Broward. Both are of Haitian descent. There are two openings as a result of Laura Watson’s removal and Lynn Rosenthal’s resignation, pending a threat of removal by the Florida Supreme Court.
New foreclosure cases in Florida were up in October by 13 percent. Thirty-three other states also saw double digit foreclosure increases. It could be a sign that the economy is about to go south once again.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office is criticizing the Broward School District’s facilities department over continued mismanagement. The former chief building official for the district, Ronald Morgan, was charged in 2010 with signing certificates of occupancies without the required licenses to do so. A grand jury investigated a $500,000 demolition project Morgan oversaw and found numerous ‘issues’ but no criminal wrongdoing. Four years later, many of the same problems in the department still exist.
7-Eleven has acquired 88 additional locations in South Florida. The stores also sell gas and will give 7-Eleven a huge presence in the region. Thirty-six of the locations are in Miami-Dade County, 32 locations are in Broward County and 20 locations are in Palm Beach County. The stations all sell Mobil fuel, but that could change.
North Bay Village Commissioner Wendy Duvall has announced her resignation. She said her schedule is too hectic and did not offer any other specifics. She has one year left of her four-year term. The Village is accepting applications and must appoint someone to fill the seat within 30 days.
The City of Opa-locka let go Deputy City Attorney Michael Pizzi. Pizzi, who is also the Mayor of neighboring Miami Lakes, has not explained his departure. Opa-locka City Manager Steve Shiver has announced the city is in trouble, has not been able to pay its bills and is dealing with an $8 million budget deficit. Then there is the criminal investigation into the city’s finances and no one is talking. Internal documents have turned up proof thatcity officials were made aware the owners of the Opa-locka Flea Market had not paid water bills for several decades and owed millions. One city department head was suspended as a result, but the suspension was immediately reversed.
Ocwen Loan Servicing and Nationstar Mortgage have reached a $217 million settlement over the companies’ forced insurance placed on homeowners. The class-action lawsuit covers more than 1 million homeowners. The lawsuit alleged insurance companies were allowed to access homeowners’ accounts and place coverage on them at extreme rates and cost. The settlement is a blow to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office has allowed banks and other creditors to run amuck over consumers.
Timothy Thomas, 25, is facing several charges, including attempted murder for shooting Deputy Josh Gordon in the chest while fleeing a burglary scene. His attorneys filed a motion to disqualify Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones from the case because Jones is reportedly friends with the burglary victim and his family. Jones has stepped down from the case.
Steve Kipp, 59, a shipmate working aboard a dive boat off Key Largo, died while offering aid to four other divers who were too weak to swim back to the boat. Kipp threw them a line and then jumped into the water to assist. He became unresponsive himself and was brought back on board. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.