Independent U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Charlie Crist backed away from evangelicals and conservatives this week by hinting he is willing to let the courts decide the gay adoption issue. Florida law, which prohibited the practice and a judge’s ruling in 2008, struck down the law and the state is appealing. Crist has expressed opposition to gay marriages and adoptions in the past. He is trailing Republican nominee Marco Rubio in the polls and his campaign appears to give up on conservatives. He is now setting his sights on independents and is looking to peel off Democratic voters from the Democratic nominee, Congressman Kendrick Meek.
Palm Beach County
Chapin Emil Rajman, 19, of Coconut Creek was arrested and charged with robbery, grand theft and conspiracy in connection with a robbery at a Subway restaurant on July 6. Rajman was an employee at the eatery located in the 11000 block of Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton, who left the back door unlocked, police alleged. An armed man burst in, ordered employees to the floor and then instructed them to fill a bag with money. Without being asked, Rajman opened the safe and gave the man more money, the other employees alleged to police. Police said they searched his text messages and they implicated him in the caper. Other suspects remained on the loose.
Albert Minion, 64, was charged on Sept. 12 after Delray Police said he engaged in sex with a 13-year-old girl. The victim told police Minion forced himself on her while she was sleeping in his house. Minion denied the accusation but was taken into custody and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bond.
HIP HOP VIDEO STARS
Some parents would not approve of their children appearing in a hip hop video but tell that to the Broward School District. Rapper Flo Rida performed at Blanche Ely High for students last April. Several students were onstage while he performed, engaging in suggestive and raunchy dancing. The school’s Television Production department videotaped the event, as did several students. Now those raunchy videos have begun showing up on the Internet. Flo Rida’s manager, Freezy, said the artist was asked to perform at the school and they had no control over students. School principal Karlton O. Johnson did not respond to calls, but perhaps he should.
BIG TIME FRAUD?
The city of Pompano Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency will soon be the focus of yet more investigations involving allegations that include fraud and cronyism. Based on information flowing out of City Hall, it will be difficult to make a case for not shutting the agency down. City commissioners suspected something was awry in the CRA last year and hired Kessler International, a New York-based firm, to conduct an audit, which is ongoing. Recipients of grants from the agency are said to be “running scared” as auditors seek documents and information to support the aid they received. Floyd T. Johnson is the current CRA director but these events occurred prior to his being hired. Even so, it’s bad, really bad.
MISSING SCHOOL PROPERTY
School Superintendent Jim Notter must hold someone accountable, sooner or later. An annual audit has found hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers, golf carts and other equipment missing or unaccounted for in the Broward County School District. More than $633,000 worth of equipment and supplies could not be located and no one is being held accountable.
HOMESTEAD IN THE DARK
It’s not a movie, but a dark situation in Homestead. The city has its own power company and will begin cutting off electricity to the more than 6,000 businesses and residents who are behind in their payments. The Energy Services Department operates the power plants but billing is done by the General Services Department under director Jerry Estrada. No delinquent accounts have been turned off in nearly a year and Estrada is not talking. The scuttlebutt has it that then City Manager Sergio Purrinos issued a memo to Estrada directing him to stop cutting off the power to those accounts that could not pay. Purrinos told me this week that he is unaware of any such memo. More than $11 million is outstanding and no one in city hall is accepting responsibility.
EVIRONMENTALIST TO SPEAK
Award-winning environmentalist and author Audrey Peterman will give the keynote address at Operation Green Leaves’ 20th anniversary gala on Friday, Sept. 24. Peterman and her husband Frank are environmental advocates who once lived in Broward County. Operation Green Leaves is an environmental advocacy organization. The event will take place at the Solare Garden, resort, 3635 NW 78th Ave., Doral. Mrs. Peterman will sign copies of her new book, Legacy on the
Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care. For more information, call 786-331-7776.
Former Wackenhut supervisor Elijah G. Pendleton was arrested Sept. 14 and charged with one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The charges stem from his alleged role in overseeing at least $76,000 in fraudulent bills submitted to the Miami-Dade Transit system. Pendleton allegedly would submit invoices even though he was not assigning guards at the stations. Four other Wackenhut security guard supervisors, Robert Alvarado, William J. Acosta, Roberto Pereira and Nathan Holmes, were charged last month.
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@sfltimes.com.