elgin_jones_web_13.jpgMORTAGE SETTLEMENT
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has agreed to a deal with state legislators on how to use a $300 million mortgage settlement with banks.

Of that amount, $70 million will go toward the state budget and $60 million will be used to assist individuals and communities with down payment and foreclosure-related items. The $300 million is Florida’s share of a $25 billion national mortgage fraud settlement. The money should go to the victims of this fraud, not be put in the hands of bureaucrats.

A record number of voters cast ballots during the “Souls to the Polls” events which black churches organized during this election cycle’s early voting period. Gov. Rick Scott cut early voting dates in Florida almost in half and it was clearly done to suppress the black vote. Scott is preparing to run for reelection and his opponent could be former Gov. Charlie Crist or Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.  Scott is the most sued governor in Florida’s history and his poll numbers are abysmal. I predict whoever challenges him will win in a landslide.

Palm Beach County

According to Boynton Beach police, Ramos S. Pedro, 23, of Boynton Beach confessed to inappropriately touching a 3-year-old boy. The boy’s parents left the child in Pedro’s care and when they returned they noticed his pants were twisted around. They became more suspicious when the child told them Pedro had touched him. Police were called and Predro denied molesting the child but admitted touching his private parts while masturbating. He is facing molestation, lewd exhibition and lascivious conduct charges. The child was taken to a hospital for
examination and the charges may be updated based on the results. Book ’em, Danno!

Krista Germano, 34, of Boca Raton is charged with larceny and battery after, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies say, she stole 19 pairs of sunglasses worth more than $2,300 from a Nordstrom store in the Mall at Wellington Green located on Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach. A security guard reported seeing her grab the sunglasses and then run out of the store to a car that was idling outside. She is accused of biting the security guard’s hand when he was restraining her.

The body of Alex Green, 26, of Pompano Beach was found in the trunk of a car in Palm Beach Gardens. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s detectives are working with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to investigate the death which has been ruled a homicide. Green’s roommate was found murdered in their apartment last week. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-8477.

Broward County

The city of Wilton Manors has been quietly dealing with how hundreds of hours of leave time mysteriously ended up in the accounts of certain employees. One is former police officer Marina Sweat. Another is former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy and current Wilton Manors police officer Scott Jordan. A review of records documenting leave time other employees donated does not show the time came from co-workers. The mystery continues and something is clearly going on in this city.

Thomas Maffei is facing attempted murder, aggravated assault and child-abuse charges. Maffei, 45, is accused of firing numerous gunshots through the front door of his wife's Coral Springs apartment. He then allegedly held her and her father hostage before shooting them. It was all done in front of the couple’s 4-year-old child. His wife and father-in-law are in serious condition. According to police, the couple is going through a divorce.

Percy Johnson, the political consultant who was accused of pilfering cash from the Democratic Party’s Council of Club President, where he was treasurer, has pleaded guilty to a single count of misdemeanor theft. Details of the plea agreement are not known and Johnson remains active in local politics.

Several sources have confirmed that Blanche Ely High School Principal Karlton O. Johnson is in trouble. Johnson has been at the center of numerous controversies and now the Florida Department of Education is scrutinizing the school’s A-grade rating. Johnson has been found by the school district to have harassed and bullied teachers and a new investigation into alleged grade changing may be his downfall.

Miami-Dade County

Over the past three years, squatters have been living in several abandoned homes in North Miami and neighbors are concerned about noise, unsanitary conditions and lack of upkeep. City officials have been contacted but the homes are in the foreclosure process and there is little they can do. On the other hand, health officials can take action but are yet to act.

Monica Rusconi, former deputy director of the Homestead Housing Authority, has sued the agency alleging sexual harassment, retaliation and negligence. Her lawsuit alleges she was fired after filing a sexual harassment complaint against Executive Director Oscar Hentschel. According to the complaint, Hentschel called women insulting words and commented on their body parts. Rusconi was an 11-year employee before being fired in March 2011. Mayor Steven Bateman had called for Hentschel to be removed while the allegations were investigated but the housing authority’s board did not do so. This is the latest scandal to hit the agency and it’s time to clean house. Bateman should move to have this obviously dysfunctional board dissolved, and quickly.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents and Homestead police arrested three people on gambling, bookmaking and drug distribution charges. On Oct. 28, 2012, agents raided the TNT Barber Shop, 27389 S. Dixie Hwy., after receiving complaints of drug dealing at the business. During the raid, weapons, cash, drugs and betting receipts were confiscated.

Paul Lanier, 40, was charged with two counts of keeping a house for gambling and one count of bookmaking.  Lanier is the owner of the barber shop and he is also a teacher at South Dade  High School. Elias Baker, 32, has been charged with one count of possession of marijuana. Corey Wilborn, 42, was charged with possession of cocaine and Ecstasy. Jeremiah Jones, 30, was charged with possession of marijuana. All of the defendants are from Homestead.