John Morrison of Fort Lauderdale received a $4,955 check in the mail from the L. I. Insurance Company. It was the first payment from a $350 million benefit he supposedly inherited. He was instructed to deposit the check and – after it cleared his bank – wire $3,995 of it to the bank account of a “revenue agency” to pay for processing the claim. Morrison recognized it as a scam, and did not deposit the check, but many people do not. In time, it would have been discovered, and the funds would have been withdrawn from his account, leaving him out of the $3,995 he wired to the revenue agency. There are no free lunches, so be watchful.
The trial in the wrongful prosecution lawsuit filed by former Broward Sheriff’s Office detention Deputy Raymond Hicks against the agency is scheduled to begin on Friday, April 27. Hicks sat in a federal prison on drug trafficking charges for more than a year. The evidence is questionable, and after a month-long trial, he was acquitted in minutes. He says he was targeted by BSO, which led the investigation, after he challenged brutality against inmates in the county jails where he worked. During his stay in prison, he lost his home to foreclosure and his family went hungry. After his acquittal, BSO refused to rehire him, but he is now working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a detention deputy along with some of the same guards who watched over him while he was in federal prison. This ordeal is a movie waiting to happen, and clearly the lawyers are advising BSO on this case. Sheriff Al Lamberti should demonstrate leadership and end this mess.
WET IN WEST PARK
James Sparks and numerous other West Park residents are up in arms over skyrocketing water bills, which have doubled and even tripled, in some instances. Sparks’ monthly bill went from just over $40 in February to more than $140 this month. County officials are blaming the situation on increased usage. Residents deny this, and are seeking an investigation. Good, because I smell a rat.
SPEED TRAP 101
A speed trap along the east/west stretch of Northwest 44th St. that connects Northwest 31st Avenue to State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes had few speed limit signs, and drivers were being issued $250 tickets at a brisk pace. After we exposed this, Andrew G. Sebo, the operations engineer with Broward County’s Traffic Engineering Division, said he would look into it, but I have not heard back from him. Crews have installed the signs, but they are located behind trees and might not be seen by some drivers. Stay tuned.
FEDERAL DRUG RAIDS
Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are continuing their drug raids throughout the county. On Monday, April 6, several locations in Pembroke Park were targeted. It’s good to have the feds in Broward. Now we need them to create a task force to address the out-of-control public corruption in Broward County. A similar undertaking is underway in Palm Beach County, and has resulted in numerous prosecutions of public crooks.
Magdalene Lewis became the first African-American woman to ever serve on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission when she was appointed to the District 3 seat in November. After she served five months and lost in the February 2009 primary election, the city renamed a street in honor of her historic service. Northwest 16th Street in her neighborhood is now Magdalene Lewis Street.
Authorities are looking for three masked men who robbed and then shot to death Gregory Smith, a 16-year-old Boyd H. Anderson High School student, in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, April 4 in Lauderdale Lakes. After attending a talent show at the school, Smith and a group of friends were waiting in front of the high school, in the 4100 block of Northwest 29th Avenue, for a ride home. That’s when three armed men jumped out of a dark-colored Ford Mustang, robbed them, and killed Smith, even though he gave them his valuables and pleaded for his life
Sid Rosenberg, the foul-mouthed host, has been let go from the WAXY-790 AM radio station for unknown reasons. It was Rosenberg who laughed with Don Imus on that program when the Rutgers University women’s basketball players were called “nappy-headed hos.’’ He also said tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams had a better chance of being in National Geographic than in Playboy. His other verbal atrocities included a sickening remark about singer Kylie Minogue, who was being treated for breast cancer: “She ain't gonna be so beautiful when the [expletive] got bald head and one titty.” Rosenberg has a history of making racially tinged insults, like this one about Palestinians: “They're all brainwashed, though. That’s what it is. And they're stupid to begin with, but they're brainwashed now. Stinking animals. They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill ‘em all right now.” Rosenberg is rumored to be in talks with several South Florida stations about a job, but they should think long and hard, because Rosenberg’s antics have grown tiresome.
The Rev. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, was one of a select group of Republicans who met with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Monday, April 6 in Miami. Steele was in town for fundraising and to reenergize the party’s base. He told the party faithful to go out and step up grassroots organizing, and to reach out to blacks and Hispanics.
Florida state Sen. Dan Gelber, (D-Miami Beach) is running for the U.S. Senate. He has spouted ridiculous rhetoric on this year’s record tax and fee increases. Gelber says the nearly $1 billion in increases are fees, while opponents call them taxes. No matter what they are called, this is an example of politicians once again lifting money from our pockets.
Palm Beach County
CENTURY VILLAGE RUMOR
Emails and Internet postings about rising AIDS cases in the Century Village retirement community in Boca Raton have persisted for months. Officials with the Palm Beach County Health Department say it is an exaggeration at best. Palm Beach County has about 7,000 AIDS cases, with 6 percent of those among people over 60, and they are countywide, not concentrated in any one area, according to the health officials.
THIEVES PLEAD GUILT
Brittany Johnson, 22; and Allen Graham, 28; are both from West Palm Beach. Andrew R. Wilson, 28, who is also known by his alias, Marius Tyree Harden, is from Tamarac. All of them pleaded guilty on Friday, April 3 in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. Johnson was a cashier in the Best Buy electronics store at 1880 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. in West Palm Beach. She stole the identities and credit card information of more than 4,000 unsuspecting customers last November and December. Harden gave Johnson a credit card skimming device, which collected the information and created new cards for sale. Book’em, Dano!