HONORING CHURCH FIRST LADIES
The Identify, Connect, and Activate the Black Accomplished (ICABA) company is seeking nominations for its “Salute to South Florida’s Leading First Ladies of Worship” initiative. The project will recognize the work and community contributions of the wives of church pastors, ICABA President and CEO Jerome Hutchinson announced this week. The eventual honorees will receive a private reception at Macy’s and a shopping spree. They will also be the guests of honor at a brunch, featured in a profile in the ICABA directory, and more. Nominations may be made at the organization’s website: www.ICABAWorld.com. The deadline to submit a nomination is Tuesday, March 30. For additional information, call 954-456-2966.
A 2008 federal law that removed the statute of limitations to collect debts owed the government is wreaking havoc on the poor, and particularly senior citizens, in today’s economy. Collection agencies working on behalf of the government are garnishing wages, including Social Security and disability payments, at a feverish rate. Not only does this include traditional collections, such as taxes and student loans, but also dishonored grants, unpaid small business loans and even disaster relief funds that were paid in error. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner supported the bailout of his Wall Street, but his agency is garnishing over $3.1 million each month from the checks of Social Security recipients, including those with disabilities.
Peter Parkin is the director of the city of Deerfield Beach’s Community Development Department. The department administers state and federal grants to non-profit and community organizations. The department is undergoing an audit, and it doesn’t look good. The problem appears to center on staff being directed by politicians to circumvent guidelines and other protocol when awarding funds to certain groups. One of the groups is the Haitian American Consortium, headed by city employee Eddy Sarazin. The group has limited documentation concerning where the funds went. Sadly, this is the case for many of the organizations that received funds from the department, and this may get ugly.
HE’S AT IT AGAIN
Joe Major, the Lauderhill community activist, has been quiet for the past few years. But this week, he sent out numerous emails criticizing various public officials. Among his targets is West Park City Attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks, who is also serving as that city’s acting city manager until a permanent manager is hired. Major is questioning whether the dual role is legally sound, and he wants an investigation.
GALLAGHER IS GUILTY
Former Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher, 51, resigned her seat and pleaded guilty to one count of bribery on Wednesday, March 17 in federal court. Gallagher was arrested in December after taking $12,500 in bribes. The payments came from undercover FBI agents who posed as crooked developers seeking contracts with the school district. In exchange, she voted to award them contracts, and also received over $1,000 in trips, meals and other perks to work behind the scenes, influencing the school district’s contracting processes in their favor. Gallagher is singing like a choir, and a lot of people in the school district should be worried.
NO WAY, NOT AT ALL
Former Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne is appealing a decision of the state pension board to revoke his pension, even though he pleaded guilty to several crimes that he committed while still in office. Jenne, 63, was released after serving 10 months in federal prison for one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of filing false tax returns. He was released in September 2008, and now wants the state appeals court to have taxpayers give him a $134,500-a-year state pension. Jenne betrayed the public’s trust, and thousands of lower-level public workers have lost their livelihoods and pensions for doing much less.
Gina Marie Marks, a 37-year-old psychic, was arrested on Thursday, March 11 and charged with cheating a client out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and other valuables. Marks allegedly collected over $300,000 from a woman by tricking her into believing she could stop the woman’s father from having a pending heart attack. In addition to taking cash from her, Marks is accused of telling the client to buy her expensive gifts and engage in odd rituals. Amazingly, this nonsense went on for nearly two years, dating back to 2008.
At Miami City Manager Carlos Migoya’s request, Police Chief Miguel A. Exposito’s department is investigating who erased data from a city computer. They are seeking to determine who deleted files and financial records from the computer of the city’s former budget director, Michael Boudreaux, on Sunday, March 7, the night before he was fired. The records are at the center of an ongoing federal probe into the city’s current financial crisis. Boudreaux was fired on Monday, March 8 over his alleged transfer of millions of dollars in impact fees to the general fund to balance the city’s budget in 2007 and 2008. Miami is facing a financial collapse, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Miami misled bond investors about its financial health.
Shedrick Copeland, a 29-year-old social studies teacher at Robert Morgan Educational Center in Miami, was arrested Wednesday, March 17 over his alleged sexual activity with a student. He is charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and one count of engaging in a sexual act with a familial or custodial child. The second charge indicates that the unnamed 17-year-old girl may be a family member, but police have not disclosed that information. Robert Morgan is a magnet vocational and adult education center operated by the Miami-Dade County public school system. Officials have placed Copeland, who has taught at the school for four years, on alternative assignment and away from students.