ALLEGED SHOOTER CHARGED
Sabian Thomas Godfrey, 18, of North Miami, has been charged in the Friday, Oct. 2 incident in which shots were fired at police officers as they made a traffic stop, police said. No one was injured, but police mounted a massive dragnet in their search for the shooter. They ended up at Godfrey’s home in the 1100 block of 199th Street. His car was covered under a tarpaulin, but police say the license plate matched the one witnesses provided at the scene for the getaway car. Spent shell casings matching the type of bullets fired at the officers were also found on the hood of his car, according to police.
Sunrise City Commissioner Sheila Alu is getting mixed reactions to her admitted participation in an ongoing FBI investigation into public corruption in Broward County. It is said that her actions might make elected officials and others who meet with her for legitimate business reasons nervous. Alu is a publicly elected official, and it is her duty to serve that public, even in criminal investigations. Other public employees, appointees and politicians should take heed, and learn from her example. Hopefully, we will see more public figures with integrity who have simply had enough with the blatant corruption that plagues Broward County. It is good to see someone stepping up and actually doing something about it.
Deputy Manuel Silva, 34, was a highly regarded pillar of the Broward Sheriff’s Office until his arrest on extortion, armed burglary and drug possession charges on Monday, Oct. 5, according to investigators. The nine-year veteran is accused of demanding money from a drug suspect in exchange for not arresting him, and providing information about those who reported the drug dealer’s activities, according to authorities. Book’em, Dano!
Former Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner Levoyd Williams is a neighbor of suspended Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion. The two are longtime friends and political allies. Eggelletion was recently indicted on money-laundering charges, leading Gov. Charlie Crist to suspend him from office. He is also the target of several other ongoing state and federal criminal investigations. As other politicos distance themselves from Eggelletion, Williams is standing by his friend. At a meeting last weekend, Williams reportedly urged attendees to support Eggelletion, whether he is right or wrong.
PUBLIC SAFETY MERGER
Led by Mayor Judy Paul, town of Davie officials agreed to consider merging the fire and police departments with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in a cost-saving move. Police and fire services account for 70 percent of the town's total budget. No final decision has been made, and union leaders are taking a wait-and-see approach before supporting or opposing any mergers.
A number of people have submitted applications to Gov. Charlie Crist, seeking appointment to the District 9 Broward County Commission seat that is now vacant as a result of Josephus Eggelletion’s suspension from office. One of those people is Lauderhill City Commissioner Margaret Bates, who has a healthy contingent of support from numerous backers, and is considered a top contender. But this week, Lauderhill resident and community advocate Joe Major may have thrown a wrench into Bates’ chances of getting the nod. Bates is also president of the Black Elected Officials of Broward, Inc., a non-profit organization that was mired in controversy over how it spent money donated for scholarships in 2007. Then-Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner Levoyd Williams was president of the organization. At the time, the group refused to accept white elected officials as members. Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner David Shomers repeatedly asked to join, but was ignored. In an email sent to Crist on Sunday, Oct. 4, Major requested a determination after Bates checked “no” on her appointment application to the question of whether she belonged to any organization that has discriminated. The governor’s office has not said how it is handling the request. But if this does knock Bates out of the running, several other members of the group could be hindered from future consideration for appointments.
Bruce Tumin, 51, served on the North Lauderdale City Council from 2002 to 2006, and is running for mayor against incumbent Jack Brady in the upcoming Nov. 3 election. He was arrested Thursday, Oct. 1 and was charged with disorderly intoxication, resisting an officer without violence, and trespassing after refusing to leave the scene of his neighbor’s party. According to the police report, Tumin was upset over noise from a gathering at a nearby neighbor’s home, and he confronted party goers. He refused to leave despite being asked to do so several times by deputies who arrived on the scene. Tumin denies this and says his arrest is politically motivated.
A man whose identity police have not released was shot when he opened the front door of his home for a man dressed in a suit and tie on the morning of Tuesday, Oct 6 in the 100 block of Northwest 13th Avenue in Dania Beach. The two men got into a struggle. The homeowner was shot, and the assailant fled. The victim was rushed to the hospital, but his condition was not immediately known. No description of the suspect has been released, and the investigation continues.
Palm Beach County
Weitz & Luxenberg, the noted New York law firm affiliated with nationally known environmental activist Erin Brockovich, announced that its testing in the Acreage community of Palm Beach County has found high levels of radiation in the area. The law firm hired an environmental firm that conducted testing in September after several people reported to health officials that they have family members there who are afflicted with brain tumors and cancerous conditions. Tests conducted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection also found elevated levels of radioactive particles in wells in the community, and additional testing is continuing.
The Public Service Commission met on Tuesday, Oct. 6 to vote on Florida Power & Light’s proposal to build a $1.588 billion natural-gas pipeline. The pipeline will wind through 14 counties, and is expected to provide gas to the company’s plants in Brevard and Palm Beach counties. When completed, the 30-inch diameter steel pipe will span 300 miles, and will be buried underground. It is expected to create hundreds of jobs, for about a year, but there is opposition over environmental concerns. The project will also require more than a quarter mile swath of easement and land on which to build it. Adding to the confusion, PSC staff members made conflicting recommendations for and against the proposal. Commissioner Nathan Skop is now calling for an inspector general investigation into rumors that staff may have been pressured into making those recommendations.