2010 IN REVIEW
As yet another year comes to a close, we revisit some of the events that shaped the news in 2010. At the same time we reflect on the past, let’s look forward to a prosperous, healthy and safe 2011. Happy New Year, everybody.
Deerfield Beach City Manager Mike Mahaney is fired. Stacye Lynn Griffin, an employee in Riviera Beach’s Finance Department, is arrested for stealing. Former Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Phillip Davis is sentenced to 20 years for stealing from a charity he founded. Gale Martin, daughter of Walter “Mickey” Hilton and Joanne Hinton is laid to rest after succumbing to cancer. Martin was believed to have contracted the disease from toxins in the contaminated Durrs neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, where she was raised.
Miami-Dade County releases a scathing audit of Homestead’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s operations. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Sarah Ann Thompson is charged with buying pain killers from an informant. Community advocate Chaz Stevens succeeds in getting Deerfield Beach commissioners to hire forensic auditing firm Kessler International to probe several city operations. Miami officials announce the city is nearly bankrupt. Gov. Charlie Crist appoints Clarence V. McKee to the board of the North Broward Hospital District.
Pompano Beach’s first black mayor, E. Pat Larkins, is honored with a post office being named after him. The Jackson Health System lays off 548 employees. Broward School Board Member Beverly Gallagher pleads guilty to bribery charges.
Vicente Thrower, former Pompano Beach advisory board member, is charged with soliciting bribes. Former Commissioner Bobbie Grace wins election to the Dania Beach city commission after a hiatus of many years. Blanche Ely High School teachers Djuna Robinson and Leslie Rainer are accused of sprinkling holy water on Schandra Rodriguez-Conti, an atheist colleague. Levi G. Williams, an attorney, announces his resignation from the Broward College board of directors.
The FBI opens an investigation into allegations that city of Fort Pierce Human Resources Director Mazella D. Smith attempted to bribe former City Commissioner Tom Perona. Coconut Grove Elementary School Principal Eva N. Ravelo is suspended for sending an insulting e-mail about a parent group. Marvin Johnson, 30, was arrested in North Lauderdale on May 11 and charged with the murder of 79-year-old Samuel McWhorter, a Pompano Beach resident.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds former Lauderhill Police Officer Theresa Williams was fired for filing a gender discrimination complaint against Police Chief Ken Pachnek. Miami-Dade School Board Chairman Solomon Stinson retires after more than 50 years in education as an employee and elected board member. Bryan Finnie, former president of the scandal-plagued Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust, is removed from consideration for Homestead’s Community Redevelopment Agency director post.
Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas’ tenure ends after commissioners decline to renew his contract. Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin resigns and is arrested on seven counts of corruption. Former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Gerome Wright is cleared of allegations he forced prostitutes to perform sex acts on him at gun point. Deerfield Beach City Manager Burgess Hanson surprises 106 employees when they report to work by laying them off without notice. Miller Dawkins, a former Miami city commissioner, who went to jail on corruption charges, dies at 85.
Amanda Inman, a van driver at Katie's Kids Learning Center in Delray Beach, is arrested after a toddler left inside the van dies. Three of Broward County’s five black judges – Circuit Court Judges Ken Gillespie and Elijah Williams and County Court Judge Mary Rudd Robinson – are re-elected. Gov. Charlie Crist appoints Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael A. Robinson to a Circuit Court judgeship. Homestead City Manager Sergio Purrinos resigns after City Council members indicate they will fire him.
Suspecting they were criminals, Hallandale Beach police pull over City Commissioner Anthony Sanders and his passengers and hold them at gunpoint. Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti lays off 247 jail deputies who would not accept demotions. Homestead’s Energy Services Department fails to collect more than $11 million in outstanding electricity bills owed the city by residents and businesses.
Oakland Park attorney Kenneth Trent files one of the first lawsuits alleging fraud committed by the banking industry’s Mortgage Electronic Registering System in their foreclosure practices. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development audit concludes Deerfield Beach City Commissioner Sylvia Poitier and former Commissioner Gloria Battle had conflicts of interest when they voted to award HUD funds to several organizations they were affiliated with. Former Palm Beach County Sheriff Ed Bielich dies. A jury convicts Broward Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Charles Edward Floyd of kidnapping and raping an inmate.
Jennifer Carroll becomes the state’s first black lieutinent governor as running mate of Republican Rick Scott. Former Tamarac Deputy Mayor Marc Sultanof, 89, is charged with accepting bribes from developers. Wilton Manors Police Chief Richard E. Perez is forced to resign over his circulation of offensive e-mails from the police department. Former Homestead Mayor Lynda Bell pulls an upset and defeats Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn for the Miami-Dade County District 8 commission seat. South Palm Beach Mayor Marty Millar is fined $3,000 by the Florida Commission on Ethics for misuse of his official position during an altercation at a strip club. The Vanda Rosemary Fuller orchid is named in honor of South Dade activist Rosemary Fuller. Morikami Park Elementary School treasurer Rovielle Elmond is fired by the Palm Beach County school district for stealing.
Che Beckford, a 21-year-old Nova Southeastern student, who was reported missing, is found safe in Macon, Ga. Elliot Gordon and Anthony Merola, employees of Memorial Healthcare System, are charged with taking kickback from vendors. Tony Crapp Jr. becomes the second black city manager in Miami’s history. The Broward State Attorney’s Office investigates the Broward Sheriff’s Office off-duty work program. Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein holds on to the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.