Gov. Rick Scott and state legislators have quietly formed a task force to examine state law enforcement operations. The move is intended to streamline services by eliminating waste consolidating functions. The panel will recommend ending any duplication of services, use of equipment and facilities among the state’s eleven agencies that provide law enforcement services. Sen. Jack Latvala, a Republican from Clearwater, introduced a bill authorizing the task force, which Scott has signed into law.
Palm Beach County
State Attorney Michael McAuliffe has announced the conviction of Larry Douglas, 39, for having sex with a minor. Douglas pretended to be a 19-year-old to seduce a 16-year-old girl over the internet. Jones eventually met the victim on weekends to engage in sex. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
72-year-old Robert Warn, of Riviera Beach, was arrested after allegedly using racial slurs and pulling a gun on an employee at a pharmacy. According to police, Warn was engaged in a dispute with the employee when the incident occurred. When police arrived, he had hidden the weapon on a store shelf but eventually showed them where the gun was located. Warn is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evidencing prejudice while committing a crime. Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Ted Booras set his bail at $150,000 and ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Giancarlo Anthony Cameron, 20, and Anthony Olan Wint Jr., 20, have been convicted in a brutal 2009 home invasion robbery. The men, along with Nelson Baptiste and an unidentified suspect, wore masks while bursting into a West Palm Beach apartment to rob six victims. They also beat and pistol whipped the victims and repeatedly raped one woman. Baptiste pleaded guilty in June and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Cameron and Wint now face life in prison.
The luxurious Bonaventure Country Club, with its two scenic golf courses and lakes, is in foreclosure. Spread over more than 233 acres with a 27,000 square foot clubhouse, Bonaventure opened in 1969 in what today is the city of Weston. Textron Financial filed the foreclosure lawsuit, claiming owner Tavor Holdings, LLC failed to pay its 2010 real estate taxes and is behind on its $6.3 million mortgage.
Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, a Democrat, is running to unseat U.S. Rep. Allen West, (R-Plantation). Frankel is seizing on West’s recent e-mail tirade against U.S. Rep. and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Weston). Frankel has set up the WestHatesWomen.com website and is calling on West to apologize for his e-mail rant. West says he will not. Frankel has a history of bare-knuckle political maneuvers. In 1992, she lost a bitter, insult-filled Democratic primary runoff for Congress to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings. Frankel and Hastings have long since buried the hatchet, but it will be interesting to see how much enthusiasm Hastings has for her campaign.
It’s better late then never. Broward County’s public corruption hotline is up and running. Hope the hotline can handle the load of calls because Broward County is the corruption capital of the state. Broward Inspector General John Scott and his team of investigators are taking tips via phone and by e-mail. The e-mail address is InspectorGeneral@broward.org and the hotline number is 954-357-8477.
Attorney Johnny McCray Jr. has filed a motion on behalf of his client, former Deerfield Beach city commissioner Sylvia Poitier, seeking to have four of the five criminal charges against her dismissed. Poitier, 75, pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts of falsifying conflict-of-interest forms and one count of lying, which caused records to be falsified. The charges are related to Poitier’s commission votes and abstentions concerning the Westside Deerfield Businessmen Association. She and her family members were involved in the non-profit affordable housing organization. Prosecutors say she failed to disclose details about the conflict even when she did abstain from voting. If convicted, she faces a $1,000 fine and one year in jail on each of the five counts.
Ruth Rodriguez Liverpool has been charged with operating a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Authorities say she paid people to recruit other investors in an import/export business by telling them their funds were insured and guaranteed. Prosecutors say she allegedly recruited investors through churches and would hold recruiting gatherings at local hotels. Her bookkeeper told investigators the company’s only revenue came from new investors. There have been 38 victims identified so far and some of them reportedly paid Liverpool over $200,000. Liverpool has been the subject of fraud allegations in the past associated with other companies she owned. She is listed on numerous consumer websites as someone who may be engaged in questionable business practices.
Recently elected Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is proposing to undue and rollback tax increases implemented under his predecessor Carlos Alvarez. Gimenez also wants to void contracts with various labor unions, which granted pay raises in a poor economy. In addition, 1300 jobs will be cut and employees will be asked to pay an additional five percent of their salaries toward healthcare. Alvarez was recalled from office over the tax increase and labor contracts. Gimenez won a special election to replace him.
The owners of the majestic El Palacio Miami Sports Hotel, located near the Calder racetrack in Miami Gardens, have filed for personal bankruptcy. The hotel itself is not in bankruptcy but owners Gerald D. Ross and his wife, Frances M. Ross listed their Tamarac home as collateral in a mortgage extension on El Palacio. They purchased the former Holiday Inn in 2004 for $4.6 million. In court filings, the Rosses listed debt of $10 to $50 million. It is unclear what will eventually happen with the hotel.
Frank Nero, head of the Beacon Council, is seeking ways to keep Boston Scientific Corp. from closing its manufacturing facility in Doral. The company manufactures medical devices and says it may lay off 167 employees at the location in Doral. The Natick, Mass.-based company announced any job cuts would likely come by October. Company officials say its Doral operations may be closed in order to streamline operations and improve efficiency.