HOMESTEAD MLK DAY
Robert G. Beatty, publisher of the South Florida Times, will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annual breakfast in Homestead. The event will take place at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15 at the Phicol Williams Community Center, 951 SW 4th St. in Homestead. To RSVP or for additional information, call 305-242-7146.
CRACKDOWN ON CROOKS
John Gillies assumed the helm of the South Florida field office of the FBI in October, and that is not good news for public-sector crooks. Gillies has made public corruption a priority, and there should now be a lot of worried people in St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Gillies is adding agents who are feverishly working dozens of cases. We welcome this effort.
Based on the information he is giving up to state and federal authorities, former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion could be mistaken for an opera singer. Friends, foes, allies and even family members should be concerned, because he is talking, but not about child support. In 2006, I wrote articles about several children Eggelletion allegedly fathered outside of his marriage, and about two women who had sued him for child support. In reaction to the articles, several people called with new information about at least six other children Eggelletion may have fathered. In an attempt to get a response from him, I sent him an email with the names of those children, and the names of their mothers, asking him if he was the father. Of course, he never responded. One of these women may be preparing to file child-support claims against him, and some of the related allegations are astounding. They may get the attention of state and federal prosecutors. Stay tuned.
MUCH OF NOTHING
Since many members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department worked “details,” or off-duty hours for attorney Scott Rothstein, the entire department is under suspicion. Normal activities are now being questioned. Fort Lauderdale city commissioners Bruce Roberts and Charlotte Rodstrom have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the relationship between Police Chief Frank Adderley and Rothstein. Fine, but why? At present, countless federal agencies, including the FBI and IRS, are combing through anything and everything related to Rothstein. This includes Adderley, Gov. Charlie Crist, Sen. John McCain, and numerous other people. In short, Rothstein conned everyone, and any outside investigation into Adderley or other members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is unnecessary, particularly since there are no allegations of criminal activity, only curiosity. City commissioners should be concerned with the city’s policies on off-duty police officers who work for private companies. More on that later, but keep an eye on the “detail” practices. That’s where the real problems rest.
ANOTHER NOT GUILTY PLEA
Suspended Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher, 51, pleaded not guilty to extortion, bribery and fraud charges in federal court on Monday, Dec. 20. Gallagher was arrested in September by FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking construction contracts. Investigators say Gallagher voted for and supported those contracts in exchange for $12,500 in bribes. Former Miramar City Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman was also arrested the same day in a separate kick-back scheme. When leaving the courthouse on Monday, Gallagher smiled and waved at people she knew. Salesman also has a habit of grinning for the cameras. This tooth baring is odd, considering what they are accused of, and shows no sign of contrition.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY?
Michael Walker of Sunrise has had his troubles. He has been in and out of jail for years. Several of his jail stints were for failing to pay child support for a daughter, whom DNA tests confirmed he didn’t father. Today he is a business owner and productive citizen who has turned his life around. He continues the fight to have his name cleared for the child support arrests. When he was originally ordered to pay support in 1994, he attended the hearing without an attorney. He said a court magistrate ordered him to pay support, even though no DNA testing was ordered. After being jailed on and off for non-payment, until the daughter reached 18, he wants restitution from the state. Sadly, several attorneys have refused to take his case, explaining the odds of success are not very much in his favor. Walker joins many other men who have been ordered to pay child support for children they never fathered. Just like prison inmates who are wrongly convicted, men jailed after improperly being ordered to pay child support should have the ability to get their cases reviewed, as well.
Palm Beach County
CELL PHONE LAWSUIT
On Monday, Dec. 20, Palm Beach Gardens attorney Ted Leopold filed a lawsuit against AT&T, alleging that the company has been illegally charging cell phone customers municipal and state taxes when they access the Internet. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, contends that the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which became law in 2003, bars state and local governments from levying taxes on cell phone Internet access. Leopold suspects that the companies may also have been keeping much of the proceeds. Duplicate lawsuits are being filed around the country, seeking potentially tens of millions of dollars in refunds for customers.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?
David Gunter is a former UPS driver who has a pending lawsuit against NFL Hall of Fame inductee Joe Namath. Gunter alleges that the former NFL star’s three dogs attacked him in 2007 while he was making a delivery at Namath’s Tequesta home. The case is moving forward, and a municipal magistrate has upheld two of three citations issued by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control officers, designating two of the dogs as dangerous.
FADDIS IS FIRED
Homestead Assistant City Manager Johanna Faddis has been fired. Faddis was one of several city staffers targeted in an ongoing city hall shake-up that began after the Nov. 4 municipal elections, when voters ousted four incumbents led by former Mayor Lynda Bell. Several other department heads are under review, but no additional terminations are immediately expected.
Chesterfield, Missouri-based TLC Vision specializes in laser vision correction and has 790 employees at 75 vision centers around the nation. This includes locations in Weston and Coral Gables. TLC Vision and two of its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and that could mean job losses for employees at South Florida and other locations.