The Republican Party of Florida gave former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux $150,000 consulting contracts in 2008 and 2009. Former chairman Jim Greer says LeMieux did not do any work for the money. It was prior to his being appointed to the Senate by then Gov. Charlie Crist. LeMieux says he worked on “minority outreach” to blacks and Hispanics. With all the black and Hispanics being turned away for work and consulting contracts, why would they pay LeMieux to perform this task? LeMieux is running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination and he needs to address this because his story is laughable.
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County Inspector General Sheryl Steckler is conducting an investigation into a multimillion-dollar contract for a new police and fire radio system. The Open Sky radio system is the subject of a wide-ranging audit of a multicity police radio system intended to be used by several municipalities, even though there are concerns about its performance. West Palm Beach has contributed more than $5 million towards the system and several million more is needed for it to be put into operation. City officials in West Palm Beach are considering dropping Open Sky because it reportedly does not work in densely populated areas or around tall buildings.
FAKE DRUG ARRESTS
Monica Lee, 37, owner of the Hidden Treasure Smoke Shop near West Palm Beach, and an employee, Hope Shipley, 27, have been arrested for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana. Palm Beach County Sheriff's detectives said they entered the shop in the 4400 block of Purdy Lane and purchased the drug substitutes over the past three months. The sale, purchase, and possession of chemical concoctions of so-called synthetic marijuana were banned by the Legislature in March.
CHILD ABUSE 101
Broward Sheriff’s Office attorney Mila Schwartzreich has filed motions seeking a protective order for Art Santucci, director of External Affairs, and media relations specialist Mike Jachles. BSO does not want them to testify in cases involving Dep. Andrea Penoyer, one of the stars of the TLC Network’s Police Women of Broward County. It’s an understandable move, because a trap has been set for them. Several current and retired BSO employees who worked on the production are contradicting statements made about the show, particularly overtime pay, meetings held about contracts, video outtakes, and producers giving direction to deputies on the scene.
A Fort Lauderdale fire lieutenant got into a physical altercation with his girlfriend in the parking lot of a Winn Dixie store over a Miami Dolphins loss. Store employees witnessed the fight and called 911. Lt. David Beckwith told police his girlfriend was upset because the Dolphins had lost another game. The girlfriend, Eve Carollo, told police Beckwith hit her in the left eye. She said she reacted by pepper-spraying Beckwith in the face and did not want to pursue the case because Beckwith could lose his job. Beckwith was not charged and it was Carollo who was taken into custody on domestic battery charges.
Bernadette Norris-Weeks’ employment contract was terminated as general counsel for the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County and she has issued a complaint alleging she was undermined doing her job. The public agency provides school readiness programs and services to children. The complaint accuses board chairman Jeffrey Dwyer of allegedly acting without authority in awarding contracts to law firms and paying them more than was paid to Norris-Weeks for legal services. Dwyer has not responded to questions but it’s a nasty fight.
AFTER 20 YEARS
Groundbreaking for the Shoppes on Arts Avenue has taken place, marking the end of more than 20 years of infighting and broken redevelopment promises made to area residents. The complex, when completed, will include a Save-A-Lot grocery store, Family Dollar and a Bank of America branch, among other businesses. For more than two decades since the development was first approved, developer Milton Jones has had to overcome opposition from then-City Commissioner Carlton Moore and the incompetence of the city of Fort Lauderdale’s Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as its hapless Economic Development Department. The 35,190-square-foot complex is being constructed on the southeast corner of Sistrunk Boulevard and Northwest Seventh Avenue. Completion is scheduled for May 2012. Good.
Recall efforts against Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell are slated to begin on Nov. 11, according to sources. The so-called 11-11-11 campaign — named after the date of its launch — is a takeoff on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan. Organizers have not said exactly why they want to recall Bell but the group is chock full of political activists who have opposed her for years.
A TROOPER’S JOB
State trooper D.J. Watts has been issuing traffic citations to people caught speeding, including police officers. This past weekend, she pulled over a Miami police cruiser for traveling 120 miles per hour and weaving in traffic on the Florida’s Turnpike in Broward County. Watts turned on her lights but the squad car didn’t stop. She chased the cruiser for several miles and when it did pull over, she approached it with her firearm drawn. Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez was the driver and he said he was on his way to a second job. Lopez was handcuffed and issued a ticket, but released at the scene. Lopez should have been taken into custody for causing the chase and endangering lives. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the incident is under review.
Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is accused of attacking a man who admits he has been defacing the commissioner’s campaign re-election signs. Reid Welch, 57, told police he was removing a sign from Sarnoff’s front yard when the commissioner ran outside and attacked him in front of several witnesses. Welch admits spray-painting Sarnoff’s signs as well.
Photo: Elgin Jones