elgin_jones_web_13.jpgA CURB KICKING
It’s been nine months since Gov. Rick Scott used former Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s past consulting work with a veterans group, whose operators were later arrested on fraud-related charges, as an excuse to fire her.

It was a modern-day curb kicking. Scott finally has a short list of candidates under consideration for the position, but none of them are black or Hispanic. Carroll helped Scott get elected, but according to sources, he had little use for her afterwards. Some of this was also alleged in court records in the criminal wiretapping case of Carroll’s former aide Carletha Cole. Now Hispanic groups and some black Republicans are holding out hope that Scott will select a minority, but don’t count on it.

Republicans in Congress refused to extend emergency payments to people who have exhausted their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. It means people will go hungry due to a scheme to restrict the economy leading up to next year’s midterm elections. House Speaker John Boehner and his minions will ‘Pay at the Polls’ for this callous disregard for those who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor, Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters and NAACP president Lia Gaines are among those calling for a disparity study to determine if minorities are getting fair portions of the county’s vendor and contracting opportunities or just the leftover table scraps. There should also be an immediate push to revamp the county’s procurement processes.

The state’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and state Sen. Jeremy Ring, (D-Margate) are among those who submitted applications for the Florida Atlantic University president position by Monday’s deadline. If Atwater – who as a former community college president is the favorite – gets the job, it will set off a frenzy of political jockeying once the chief financial officer’s post opens up.

Broward County

Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness recently presented a proclamation to Dillard High School’s Christopher Dorsey, the renowned director of Jazz Studies and Orchestra Director for Dillard Center For The Arts. Dorsey has transformed the school’s jazz music programs into one of the most elite ensembles in the country. Since 2004, he and the school’s jazz band has won numerous awards and recognitions as the top high school  jazz band in North America.

Nicole Grier, 19, was shot and killed in front a Lauderhill home located in the 3300 block of Northwest 18th Street. According to police, she was picking up her 11-month-old son when a dark-colored sedan with tinted windows pulled up and fired numerous shots, killing Grier.  Her son was not hit by the gunfire, but the car sped off. There is a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477. To make a donation towards Grier’s burial, contact Roy Mizell and Kurtz Funeral Home at 1305 N.W Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale or call 954-476-3426.

Keith Wasserstrom, a former Hollywood commissioner, was convicted in 2007 on charges he tried to hide a conflict  involving his law firm’s consulting contract with a sludge company that won an $18 million contract with the city. He has appealed the conviction on the basis that he completed the required forms and checked the box declaring he had a conflict. Wasserstrom didn’t vote on the contract and declared a conflict, but prosecutors argued successfully before jurors that Wasserstrom never revealed that his firm would earn a profit if other cities piggybacked on the contract. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and four years probation.

Miami-Dade County

A complaint has been lodged with Henry Crespo, president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, over recent appointments to the organization’s board. The complaint involves the Recording Secretary position and also raises questions about the loyalties of some board member over their support of then-Republican Charlie Crist. This latest controversy in the organization could get interesting as the Democrats gear up for the mid-term elections with ‘Get Out The Vote’ (GOTV) funds and political consulting jobs.

The Miami Jai-Alai will be auctioned off in bankruptcy court on March 25. Miami-based company Florida Gaming filed bankruptcy in 2013 and now more than 500 jobs could be at stake. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert A. Mark approved debtors’ motions to sell the company at auction. Miami Jai-Alai has 1,000 slot machines in a casino that was constructed in 2012.

Miami Heat assistant coach and former player Juwan Howard has purchased a 5,409-square-foot home in Coral Gables home for $3.4 million in cash. Howard is a former member of the University of Michigan’s elite Fab Five basketball team. It consisted of Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson and Howard, considered the greatest recruiting class in history. It was the first time in NCAA history that a Division I team started all freshmen. They made it to the NCAA finals two consecutive years, but never won the big game. All played in the NBA, but Howard is the only one to play on an NBA championship team; two with the Miami Heat.

Monroe County

The death of a Dennis C. Gillette, 74, of Fort Lauderdale, in the Florida Keys has been determined to be accidental. Gillette was in an inflatable dinghy helping his wife move their belongings to a larger boat. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, that’s when his wife turned around and spotted him floating face-down in the water a short distance away. She and others jumped in the water and swam over to assist him. He was brought to shore, where efforts to revive him failed.

Amaury Medero, 40, Leandry Parada-Martinez, 20, and Manuel Parada, 40, all of Miami-Dade County, are charged with stealing data from an Advance Auto Parts store in Key Largo. Employees discovered men using a “purple box” to tamper with a store computer. They fled to an awaiting car and one employee was nearly run over as the car sped away. Sheriff’s deputies pulled them over several miles away and found fake credit cards inside the vehicle. A search turned up the purple box on the side of the roadway several miles away.