elgin_jones_web_13.jpgYear In Review 2012

Once again as we approach the New Year, it’s time to recap some of the events that took place during 2012. We laughed, we cried and we pondered. Through it all we have completed another year. May you, your family and loved ones experience another year of prosperity, happiness in good health. Happy New Year!


Corey Graham Jr., 19, is arrested and charged in the murder of professional bass fisherman Jimmy McMillan.


Lantana police arrested DeJean Myrtil, 27, of Greenacres and charged him with having sex with a teenage student at South Tech Academy, a Boynton Beach charter school where he is a dean’s assistant. Carrie Smith, 51, is shot and killed while standing on a Florida City sidewalk. Former Belle Glade city councilwoman and community leader Dorothy Mae Walker is disbarred from law practice.

The popular Donnie’s Place restaurant in Delray Beach is gutted by fire. Attorney W. George Allen sends a cease-and-desist letter to blogger Timothy “Chaz” Stevens over emails he circulated about Allen’s son, Lauderdale Lakes City Manager Jonathan Allen. Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Michael Hennessey resigned after pleading guilty to falsifying records. State Rep. Richard Steinberg resigns after sending harassing text messages to Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, a federal prosecutor. Deerfield Beach resident Hezekiah Jones accuses Deerfield Beach city officials of operating a water-billing and debt-collection scheme.


Juan D’Arce, a teacher at West Miami Middle School, is honored as the Minority Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of The Year. Miguel Gomez Miranda, 51, and Sandra Peralta, 35, of Lake Worth are charged with operating a prostitution business from a home. New Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent E. Wayne Gent is faced with a projected $31.7 million budget shortfall. Kenwood Deveaux, 26, of Hallandale Beach, is arrested on child pornography charges. Steven Mulhall, 21, is charged with stealing the nameplate from the door of Broward Circuit Court Judge Michael Orlando’s office. A judge dismisses murder charges against Lineten Belizaire who was accused in the murder of two women and a 6-month-old boy in the Somerset Apartments in Lauderdale Lakes. Miami-Dade College student Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. pleads not guilty to threatening President Barack Obama on Facebook.

Kyra Alejandro, a 27-year-old student at Palm Beach State College, reaches a settlement with the school over her use of a service dog on campus. Tamika Jasper-Barbary, a former employee with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is accused of drug trafficking and leaking secret grand jury information.


Former Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is investigated in a telecommunications bribery and kickback scheme. Charles J. Hurley, chief of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Police Department, is the subject of several harassment and discrimination complaints from police officers. Kit Durant, 16, confesses to killing his mother in their North Miami Beach apartment. 

South Florida Times Circulation Coordinator Robert Beatty II completes another expansion of the newspaper’s distribution, into Walgreens Pharmacy and Dollar Tree stores. Lee Ann Kennedy, 45, of Wellington is charged with posing as a state food inspector and steering the owners of businesses she inspected to a local pest control company. Chandra Jefferson, a former Broward Sheriff’s deputy who was fired after falling ill and taking time off from work, is granted a second right-to-sue notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Rev. Dr. Dennis Grant, author and founder of the Restoration Ministries church in Margate, retires. Thomas Hilgner, 45, of Cooper City is charged with DUI manslaughter in the death of his wife, who is a passenger on his motorcycle. 


North Miami Beach officials field complaints about brawls involving students at the Maverick High charter school.
Lois Jones, a board member of the Homestead Housing Authority, files a discrimination complaint against the agency over its hiring practices. Polo magnate John Goodman is sentenced to 16 years in a DUI manslaughter conviction. City of Miami sanitation workers Robert Anderson, 29, and Lawrence Clarke, 51, are arrested on bribery charges. Nicolas Estrella, the founder of the Estrella insurance empire, is accused of insurance fraud.

The University of Miami lays off 800 workers at its Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Mayor James DuBois announces a $500,000 budget shortfall. Luc Jean Baptiste, 48, of Belle Glade is arrested on animal cruelty charges after cutting off his dog’s leg with a hacksaw. Former Lake Worth city manager Susan Stanton is hired as an accountant by the city of Fort Lauderdale.


The federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice investigate bias claims within the Davie Fire Department. Oscar Luis Franco Padron, owner of several medical clinics, is sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for running a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance fraud scheme.

Reggie McClover, 32, of Fort Lauderdale is shot and killed. A Miami police officer kills Rudy Eugene after he was found nude, fighting with another man and biting flesh from the man’s face. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announces budget cuts and the closure of both mail processing centers in Broward County. Steve MacNamara, the lobbyist who was hired as Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff, resigns.


A federal magistrate ruled that Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw cannot threaten nurses with arrest for refusing to draw blood from DUI suspects.  West Palm Beach hires Vince Demasi as its new police chief. Roosevelt Mondesir, 52, is charged with murder after setting his former girlfriend on fire in Boynton Beach. Floyd T. Johnson, director of Pompano Beach’s controversial Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), is hired as city manager of Port Arthur, Texas. Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Christian Benenati is arrested on soliciting prostitution and Deputy James Ottinger is arrested on DUI hit-and-run charges.


Ryan Agnew, 34, and his girlfriend Stephanie Beine, 31, are arrested on child neglect and sexual battery charges. Former state Sen. Mandy Dawson is sentenced to six months in prison for income tax evasion.  Wilson Lau, 75, of Coral Springs and his wife Kate Yuee Lau, 54, who operated check cashing stores, are charged in a counterfeit income tax check scheme.

A Miami-Dade police officer shoots and kills Timmie Williams because he refused to put down a knife. Civic activist and government watchdog Helen Ferris dies. Dan Rotta, a millionaire importer of Seiko watches, is charged after allowing his teenage son to elope with his housekeeper’s daughter. Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Gerald Wengert, who starred in the Unleashed: K-9 Broward County reality TV show, is arrested on misconduct charges. Brandin Gonsalves, 23, is arrested by Sweetwater police in the death of his brother, which occurred in West Palm Beach. Deleon St. Pierre, 20, an employee of a Boynton Beach McDonald’s, is charged with installing a credit card reading device on cash registers. Pompano Beach firefighters Lewis Stouffer and Craig Turturo are arrested for operating illegal pain clinics. James Kauff, 60, and his wife Ruth Kauff, 52, are arrested after using fake media passes to enter a Miami Heat championship game.


Alexander Petersmarck, 32, of Palm Beach Gardens, is held in relation to a $15 million kidnapping scheme. Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein calls for an investigation into abuse allegations at Pembroke Pines-based Thompson Academy, a juvenile detention center. Paul “P.J.” Royal, an 18-year-old star linebacker at Miami Carol City High School in Miami Gardens, is shot and killed. Suzy Alexis, 23, of Lake Worth is charged after being accused of beating her son with a belt and causing cuts.

Sharon Robinson Stevens, the 66-year-old principal of Palm Beach Public School, is arrested in Palm Beach on a DUI charge. During a recent trip to the West County Detention Center in Belle Glade to visit her son, Katherine Trigg, 55, is arrested for allegedly trying to sneak contraband into the facility.


Several members of the town of Palm Beach Police Department accuse supervisors of discrimination, disgusting incidents of sexual harassment and worse. Mayor Gail Coniglio says the town will defend itself but would not comment further. The FBI Public Corruption Task Force strikes again: Steve Loleski, a 35-year-old Fort Lauderdale firefighter, is arrested on extortion and wiretapping charges. Loleski is accused of secretly recording a conversation with Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Jeffrey Justinak and union president William Humphrey. Miami Beach Community Health Center, a nonprofit medical services organization, fires CEO Kathryn Abbate amid allegations that she stole more than $7 million over four years.

Abbate is not commenting, the FBI is investigating. Scott A. Blake, the 47-year-old principal of Polo Park Middle School in Wellington, is arrested after allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to whom he thought was an underage boy. Former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jefferson Alvarez is convicted of falsifying a report and perjury. The Sacred Yoruba Bata Dance and Drumming Workshop Series by Prince Emmanuel Aderele begins. David William DeFrancesco, an engineer at Florida Power and Light’s Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Homestead, is arrested on shoplifting charges.


Camille Brown, of Plantation, is arrested on extortion charges after she tried to blackmail Rowland Schaefer, founder of the Pembroke Pines-based Claire’s outlet jewelry stores. City of Fort Lauderdale employees learn their health insurance cost will triple. Florida Gaming Corp., owner of Miami Jai-Alai, is in foreclosure and placed in receivership. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi reaches an agreement with state legislators on how to use a $300 million mortgage settlement. Ramos S. Pedro, 23, of Boynton Beach confessed to inappropriately touching a 3-year-old boy. Percy Johnson, political consultant, pleads guilty to stealing from the Democratic Party’s Council of Club Presidents, where he was treasurer. Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley implements an intensive crime crackdown along the Sistrunk Boulevard corridor which is undergoing redevelopment. Fane Lozman, a civic watchdog and self-proclaimed public corruption fighter, has his dispute with Riviera Beach over a houseboat heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Deerfield Beach

Human Resources Director Mike Malinowski is captured on video in a confrontation with former Mayor Jean Robb. Marcus Pittman, 32, of Fort Lauderdale is charged in the 2009 murder of Willard McCleary, a 69-year-old Lauderhill man.


Delray Beach Police Officer Frank Umbriac is placed on administrative leave after being accused of having sex while on duty with an intoxicated woman whom he was investigating. Two teens are shot and killed at the Newcomb Hall municipal center located at the Riviera Beach Marina.

Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace and city commissioners begin the approval process for a racetrack and casino in the city. Miami-Dade County Commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Lynda Bell are elected chairwoman and vice-chairwoman, respectively, of the Board of County Commissioners. Attorney W. George Allen announces his retirement. President Barack Obama is re-elected. A judge dismisses the wrongful termination case of former Homestead Deputy City Manager Johanna Faddis.


The Broward State Attorney’s Office opens an investigation into Fort Lauderdale police officers Sgt. Gayle “Dean” Schoen and Kimberly DiCristofalo over a complaint of falsifying a police report. Six jurors find the Palm Beach County School Board negligent in the 2010 bus beating of an autistic boy. Sunrise City Commissioner Joey Scuotto proposes a ban on food trucks.

Miami Beach commissioners award exclusive towing contracts to two companies. Bank of America lays off 312 workers in South Florida at its Fort Lauderdale office. Bartholomew Caso, 60, of Wellington, is charged with defrauding investors in a telecommunications scheme. Attorney Johnny McCray Jr. threatens a slander lawsuit against Blanche Ely High Principal Karlton Johnson.

The city of Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), headed by Al Battle, and developer Maria Freeman are named in a $2.56 million foreclosure lawsuit. Diego Tobias Matrajt, a Miami-area photographer, is sentenced to 10 years for distributing child pornography. Artavious B. Malone, a 16-year-old Wellington High School student, is charged in the attempted murder of his father. Riviera Beach City Councilman Shelby L. Lowe proposes an afterschool program for youth that would be based on chess.