Michael Steele, the elected head of the Republican National Committee (RNC), recently apologized to radio personality Rush Limbaugh after accurately pointing out that he – not Limbaugh – is the head of the Republican Party. Limbaugh criticized Steele on his radio program over the remarks. Instead of being a statesman, Steele appears to have taken the hint that he should know his place, and that he should stand back. Apologizing for making factual statements made him look weak. If anyone believed that Steele, who is black, is the Republicans’ answer to President Barack Obama, you can now stop kidding yourself.
On Tuesday, March 3, felony charges were filed against Belkis Gonzalez, 43, the former owner of the A GYN Diagnostic Center at 3671 West 16th Avenue in Hialeah. The charges were filed over a botched abortion on July 20, 2006. The case involves a woman who went to the clinic for the second part of a late-term abortion, but ended up giving birth in the clinic’s waiting room. Prosecutors with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office allege that Gonzalez, who is not licensed, cut the umbilical cord, swept the live fetus into a bio-hazard waste bag, and threw the bag onto the roof top. Gonzalez is already on probation for practicing healthcare without a license in Broward. She was not charged with homicide in this case because neo-natal experts determined that the fetus was too young to survive, and that the abortion would have otherwise been legal. The clinic has since been shut down, and Gonzalez is now charged anew with practicing healthcare without a license and tampering with evidence.
An investigation is underway into the death of 23-year-old Anayency Velasquez, who died from injuries she suffered after officers with the Miami-Dade Police Department hit her car during a high-speed chase on Saturday, Feb. 28. Officers Frank Rivera and Liam Angelini had been pursuing a car, which reportedly reached speeds over 100 mph, when they hit Velasquez’s car, causing it to crash into a house. The officers were not harmed, and no one in the home was injured.
Broward Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry this week declared a mistrial in the case involving suspended Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman. The move on Tuesday, March 3 came after a juror brought a dictionary into the deliberations to look up the meaning of the word ‘imminent.’ Jurors are prohibited from bringing materials into deliberations. Salesman is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pulling a gun on a shopper following a verbal confrontation in a crowded supermarket during the Thanksgiving Day weekend of 2007. His defense is that he was in danger, and that he pulled the gun to protect himself, even though video appears to show him pursuing the other shopper.
Crooked and disgraced former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne is not entitled to, and will not get, his $125,000-a-year pension, administrative law Judge J.D. Parrish ruled Tuesday, March 3 in Tallahassee. Jenne resigned as sheriff in September 2007, and pleaded guilty to several federal crimes. He admitted taking tens of thousands of dollars from vendors doing business with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and lying on his income tax returns. He served nearly a year in federal prison before he was released in 2008. The state Division of Retirement revoked Jenne's retirement benefits in January 2008, citing his guilty plea. Jenne appealed. Although this week’s ruling was not in his favor, his attorneys are considering filing a lawsuit over the issue.
The tug-o-war between Beverly Ingram and Broward County over three coveted parcels of land in northwest Fort Lauderdale has taken yet another turn. At a mediation hearing this week, former Broward Circuit Court Judge and now mediator Miette K. Burnstein ruled that Broward County is the rightful owner of two of the parcels, and that Ingram can keep the other one. The land with two buildings on it is on the southwest corner of Northwest 21st Avenue and 26th Street, directly across from Osswald Park in Fort Lauderdale. Ingram purchased the properties in 1983. She has title insurance and other documents that show she is the rightful owner. The properties are listed in her name in the official county records and at the Property Appraiser’s Office. Both sides have competing documents and deeds, and this one will get down and dirty, so stay tuned.
Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion postponed re-appointing civic advocate Roland Foulkes to the county’s Diversity Committee on Tuesday, March 3, after fellow commissioners griped. Citing comments attributed to Foulkes while he served on the Broward County School District’s tumultuous Diversity Committee, openly gay commissioner Ken Keechl objected to Foulkes’ reappointment. In 2005, as a member of the school district’s Diversity Committee, Foulkes opposed allowing video and other curriculum from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSN), which he called a “homosexual advocacy group” into schools. Eggelletion indicated he would reconsider the appointment after listening to recordings from those meetings.
Palm Beach County
SUSPECTED RAPIST RENEGES
Jakaris Taylor, now 17, was one of the suspects in the sickening and brutal rape of a woman in her apartment at the Dunbar Village public housing complex in West Palm Beach in June 2007. The woman reported to police that 10 or more masked teenagers beat, raped, and sodomized her, and forced her and her 12-year-old son to have sex with one another. The suspects then poured household cleaners over the mother and son in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence. Others charged in the crime so far are Tommy Lee Poindexter, 20; Nathan Walker Jr., 18; and 15-year-old Avion Lawson. All are scheduled to go on trial in May on sexual battery, kidnapping and burglary charges, and they face potential life sentences if they are convicted. Taylor had reached a plea agreement to serve 20 years in prison in exchange for his testimony against the other suspects. Prosecutors now say he is refusing to cooperate or answer any questions, and that as a result, they have filed a motion to have the court vacate his plea agreement. Judge Krista Marx has set a hearing for March 27, and if the motion is approved, Taylor will stand trial with the other teens.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Addie Greene, 66, is considering stepping down from her position due to health concerns. Greene was first elected to the county commission in 2000. She recently won reelection to a third term last November, and was a college professor who served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before she was elected to the county commission. She also served on the Mangonia Park Town Council and became the town’s first black mayor in 1991.
Wesley Jarbath, 51, was arrested Monday, March 2 after DNA tests confirmed he is the father of a 15-year-old girl’s child. The child was born in December 2008. In September 2008, the victim told counselors at a teen center that Jarbath was the father of the child she was carrying. She also alleged that Jarbath had been molesting her since she was 8 years old. The girl’s mother died in January 2008, and after investigators from the state Department of Children and Families visited Jarbath about the allegations, he allegedly told the girl she would be dead from voodoo witchcraft, just like her mother, if investigators returned to his home. They did return, and he is now being held without bail in the Palm Beach County Jail on rape charges, as well as charges of lewd and lascivious molestation.