Here is what money can do in a local race. Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward lost the August Democratic primary to Catherine Vogel.
In 2008 Ward ran against incumbent Mark Kohl on a promise to clean up public corruption and he kept that promise. He established a public corruption unit and successfully brought charges against several high-profile people.
They included Randy Acevedo, the Monroe County schools superintendent and his wife, who were convicted on three felonies for stealing from the school district. Vogel was once Kohl’s top assistant prosecutor and she was also Acevedo’s attorney.
Ironically, she will now face Kohl, a Republican, in the general election. Ward contends that big money influence led to his defeat due to his prosecution of well-connected people. He has now switched his party affiliation to Republican because, he says, he does not want to belong to a party that turns a blind eye to corruption. He is not supporting Vogel or Kohl, however.
Palm Beach County
HIGH COURT HEARING
The case of Fane Lozman, a civic watchdog and self-proclaimed public corruption fighter, against the city of Riviera Beach, was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The city cited Lozman for living aboard his boat, which officials deemed a “vessel.” Lozman contends it was a houseboat on which he paid property taxes and it was not subject to federal maritime laws. In 2009, the city obtained a court order to tow the boat from the city’s marina and later destroyed it. Lozman says city officials targeted him because of his opposition to redevelopment plans for the marina. The court’s ruling, which is expected next spring, could impact issues such as property taxes, code enforcement, foreclosure and employment law.
FORMER JUDGE CONVICTED
Attorney Maurice Hall, a former judge, was convicted of money laun-
dering and misusing his client’s funds. Hall left the bench in the 1990s and returned to his law practice. He admitted in court to taking more than $100, 000 from trust accounts belonging to his clients. The money was used for personal items to run his law office. Under a plea deal, he has escaped jail time but must serve two years of probation. He was disbarred several years ago.
Target employees Kayla Thomas, 18, and Rebecca Joassaint, 20, are facing theft charges. A security guard at a Target store at 1200 West Linton Blvd., Delray Beach, uncovered as scheme in which the women allegedly helped each other steal merchandise worth hundreds of dollars. According to the charges, one of the women would take a shopping cart full of merchandise to the register where the other was working. At the register, only one of the items would be rung up and paid for and the rest were wheeled out of the store without payment. Police said they were caught after the guard reviewed surveillance video of the transactions.
Irma Velasquez traveled to Mexico to be reunited with her 4-year-old daughter Jazmin who had allegedly been abducted from her Boynton Beach home by her father nine months earlier. Police said Feliz De La Cruz Lopez would pick up the girl on occasion for visits after he and Velasquez’ relationship soured. Lopez picked up Jazmin last December and never returned. He was found in Veracruz, Mexico, where he turned the child over to Velasquez. He will be prosecuted if he returns to the U.S.
Lake Okeechobee is at its highest levels in years and the Army Corps of Engineers is considering dumping millions of gallons of water into the ocean. Hurricane Isaac left Palm Beach County with 15 inches of rainfall which has led to the lake’s rise in water levels.
FOCUS ON OBAMACARE
A discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act — the so-called Obamacare — will take place at 1 p.m. at the African American Research Library on Saturday, Oct. 6. Panelists will include the Rev. Dr. O’Neal Dozier, who will also discuss his book, Who’s Politically On the Lord’s Side; Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, and state Sen. Chris Smith. The library is located at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For more information call 954-357-6282.
The "Sacred Yoruba Bata Dance and Drumming Workshop Series" continues. Prince Emmanuel Aderele, Community Builders HDC, and Osun Dara Yoruba Dance Theater will present a tribute to Nigeria on the country’s 55 years of independence. The next installment in the form of dance, art and drumming will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Serenity Room, 221 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach. For more informtion call 786-344-1153.
Deerfield Beach Human Resources Director Mike Malinowski has been captured on video in a confrontation with the city’s former Mayor Jean Robb. The embarrassing exchange occurred while Malinowski was overseeing a physical endurance test being administered to a black female applicant. Robb insisted the test was not required and was just intended to embarrass the college-educated woman. Robb has announced her intention to run against incumbent Mayor Peggy Noland next March and she says if she wins Malinowski has to go. Stay tuned for more details and the video.
According to police, Kimberly Lopez kidnapped 5-year-old Jayda Velazquez from her North Miami home last week. Lopez is now under arrest and charged with kidnapping and interfering with parental custody. The child was unharmed. Investigators said Lopez did not know the child or her family and was visiting them with friends when she allegedly kidnapped her. The child was found a day later, after a search, at an apartment a mile away.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is praising the Department of Homeland Security for granting an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the United States. The reprieve will take effect on Jan. 22, 2013. Wilson commended Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for taking the action. Haitian immigrants were being deported to a ravaged homeland that is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left millions homeless and without food, water and medical services. Wilson pushed for the reprieve, hand-delivering a request to the White House that was signed by 50 other members of Congress.