elgin_jones_web_13.jpgElgin Jones EJones@sfltimes.com

As if the mortgage mess is not bad enough, a new scam targets homeowners. Authentic-looking letters are landing in mailboxes claiming the homeowner’s mortgage has been sold. The letters direct the homeowner to begin sending mortgage payments to the new company. In some case, these letters are frauds and homeowners are urged to contact their lenders for verification of the information. The Better Business Bureau is offering to assist homeowners if they need to confirm the status of their mortgage.

Palm Beach County

Dr. Robert Berman of Jupiter has been working on a cure for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for more than a decade and now his salve is set to undergo human clinical trials. MRSA is a type of infection that deteriorates (eats) the skin and organs. It is highly contagious and drug-resistant. Berman’s drug is called Vancogel and is reported to have stopped the progression of MRSA in laboratory trials. Vancogel is a gel that is applied directly on the wound. Success in the human trials could speed up FDA approval.

Boynton Beach Police Officer David Britto was a role model, mentor, and a pillar of the community. He taught at the teen police academy and was named officer of the year in 2010. Now he is facing life in prison if convicted on drug-trafficking charges. Britto was indicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, for allegedly dealing drugs from 2009 to 2011. He joined the Boynton Beach police department in 2007 and it is unclear how the investigation into his activities began. Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler said an internal affairs investigation into the matter is ongoing.

Ronald Rohde, 52, of Boynton Beach was late paying his rent, so his roommate set him on fire. Jonathan Steinberg, 58, argued about the late rent payment and then doused Rohde with rubbing alcohol and set him on fire, police allege. Rohde’s boxer shorts caught fire and he suffered only minor burns. Steinberg was charged with aggravated battery.

Broward County

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti will preside over a ceremony during which several deputies will be promoted. Lamberti is on pace to promote more blacks than any of his predecessors and several black employees will be promoted this time. Even so, black employees remain disenchanted with Lamberti, though not over promotions. They are alleging widespread mistreatment of minority employees and a lack of attention to their concerns. Whether the allegations prove true remains to be seen, but the black employees are putting forth some compelling examples to support their claims. Stay tuned.


Cory Daniels, 27, of Miami, has been charged in the home invasion robbery of a Miramar family last week.  Police allege he was one of three armed suspects who robbed a family at their home in the 3300 block of Java Plum Drive. Daniels was captured shortly after the 4 a.m. robbery, police said, and two other suspects remain at large. Book ’em Danno!

Torey Alston, chief of staff for Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, is considering a run for the Broward School Board. Alston is setting his sights on the seat currently held by retiring member Ben Williams. Candidates in the race so far are Christopher C. Hugley and Ruth Lynch.


Deerfield Beach City Manager Burgess Hanson was set to lay off more employees if they did not approve the union contract last month. The layoffs were avoided after workers overwhelmingly approved the contract, which included wage concessions and buyouts. There is now concern over the cost of the buyouts and the city is holding up the agreement.  Apparently, no thorough cost analysis was conducted prior to the negotiations with the unions and the vote by workers, which is ridiculous. The measures approved in the contract are now on hold until the cost can be determined. If the implementation continues to be delayed, yet another mismanagement mess could unfold in that dysfunctional municipality.

Talk about strange. Rhonda Hollander, a traffic magistrate judge at the Broward County West Regional Courthouse, was arrested for allegedly taking pictures of men inside a courthouse restroom. According to the arrest report, Hollander, 47, used her cell phone to take pictures of a man named Willie Jackson Jr. as he was standing at a urinal in the men’s restroom and another man as that man entered the restroom. Hollander was arrested in her chamber after struggling with an officer.


Keeping his word to re-tool the administration, recently hired Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman has appointed Stanley Hawthorne and Susanne Torriente as his assistant managers. Hawthorne served as Lauderdale Lakes city manager and also as assistant city manager of Lakeland.

Miami-Dade County

North Miami Beach City Manager Lyndon Bonner has delayed a city council vote to declare a financial emergency. North Miami Beach has a $7.8 million shortfall in its $44 million budget. Making the declaration would allow city officials to modify or suspend labor contracts, among other things, to balance its budget.

Elton Paul Carter, 27, of Miami has been arrested on charges related to alleged tampering with gas pumps at several stations in St. Lucie County. Police say Carter would pry open access panels on the pumps and jerry rig the mechanisms so they pumped fuel without money being paid. He would then alert people he knew so they could fill up for free, police said. It is unclear if he collected money for his alleged action but thousands of dollars’ worth of fuel was stolen from stations in St. Lucie County and the investigation is continuing.

Miami-Dade County attorney R. A. Cuevas Jr. is reviewing a discrimination complaint filed by former county employee Lois Jones, who worked for County Commissioner Lynda Bell. Details of the complaint have not been disclosed. Jones was a longtime friend and Bell supporter, but the relationship has soured. According to sources, Cuevas will seek to have the complaint rejected because Jones was a political appointee.

Photo: Elgin Jones