A Broward Circuit Court judge has rejected a motion by city of Fort Lauderdale lawyers to throw out a lawsuit over deadly toxins found in the predominantly black Durrs neighborhood. The conditions there came to public light last year after this newspaper reported details of a joint study by state and federal agencies that warned residents in that area not to eat vegetables, come into contact with soil, or breathe while outdoors. The case currently has more than 100 plaintiffs, and that number is expected to increase. Plaintiff’s attorney Louise Caro of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc. said it means the case will move forward. Legal Aid continues to take video depositions of those impacted by the toxins.
In private life, Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner Hazelle Rogers is a Realtor and mortgage broker. On her business website and emails, she uses the words “Commissioner” Hazelle Rogers. It is unclear whether this violates any statutes, but it sure is not smart, and it is only a matter of time before someone files some type of a complaint over it. Just this past week, Luis Andre Gazitua, a full-time senior advisor to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, came under fire for doing something similar. In any event, it raises questions about Rogers’ ethics. She should stop using her public title for private, personal business. It just does not look right.
Thomas Destasio, 51, of Fort Lauderdale; Paul Stanley, 32, of Lake Worth; Stephen Delong, 39, of North Lauderdale; and James Augello, 53, of Coconut Creek; have all been sentenced to prison ranging from two to five years, related to a million-dollar investment scam. An investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Attorney General’s Office that began in 2001 found that the men operated a con in which hundreds of people paid $5,000 to $10,000 each to invest in foreign currency options. As it turned out, the convicts laundered the money through foreign banks, and told the customers their options had expired. Book’em, Dano!
Nikitress Lewis of Deerfield Beach will soon be releasing the next volume of her magazine, Nikitress, which features black-owned beauty, health and personal care salons in South Florida. The previous editions were impressive, and no less is expected of this one. I offered to be one of the models, but for some strange reason, she turned me down.
Wiley Thompson, a candidate for Broward sheriff, has confirmed he will participate in the special meeting being called by local religious leaders to address the outrageous crime ravaging black neighborhoods in Deerfield Beach. Everyone is urged to attend this meeting, which will take place Tuesday, July 1, from
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 262 S.W. 10th Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-421-4879.
Brainely Morelus, 18, has been charged with second-degree murder and attempted robbery related to a violent incident that took place at a Winn-Dixie supermarket in Miami this past March. A security guard was shot, but survived. Morelus’ accomplice, Jermaine Cobb, 19, was shot and killed by that security guard, and Morelus is charged with his death. Morelus has also been charged with escape after he attempted to run away from Miami-Dade police headquarters.
Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Carlton Moore has received two more traffic tickets, but more on that later. Right now, Moore has submitted his resignation from the city commission, as required by state law, effective Nov. 4. That’s because he is running for the District 7 Broward County commission seat. John Rodstrom is the incumbent in that race. Moore joins Davie Town Councilman Bryan Caletka and contractor Robert McKinzie in the crowded field of challengers seeking to oust Rodstrom.
ALLEGED BABY MOLESTER
Parents, and everyone else, beware of the sick people prowling and preying on children, because they are out in full force. Luis Manuel Marrero, 49, of Davie has been arrested and charged with sexually molesting two girls since they were 8 and 9 years old. The girls are now ages 14 and 15. Then we have
33-year-old James Bivens of Homestead, who is in custody, charged with molesting a 10-year-old girl inside a grocery store bathroom, while her mother waited just outside the door. The mother rushed in and caught him in the act after hearing her daughter screaming for help.
NOW, TAKE THAT!
Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion is being challenged for his district 9 seat by Lauderdale Lakes Commissioner John Billingsley and Alan B. Jackson. This week, Eggelletion filed complaints with the Florida Elections Commission against Jackson, alleging he broke campaign rules. At issue is Jackson’s failure to include the word “for’’ before the words “county commission’’ on his website and in campaign literature. Non-incumbent candidates are required to include the word “for’’ in front of the position they seek so voters will not think they are the incumbents. Nevertheless, it is unusual for a veteran politician to file complaints on the issue, and it shows Eggelletion is serious about his challengers, who also include Lauderhill Commissioner Dale Holness.
Jean Carlos Vargas, 25, of Margate, bonded out of jail after being arrested over threats he posted on MySpace.com against the Coral Springs Police Department. He is even seen in a video pointing a gun at the camera, threatening to shoot up the station. Also, Calin Chi Wong, 20, of Homestead, agreed to a plea bargain over federal weapons violations and other charges related to threats he made earlier this year over the Internet to carry out a Virginia Tech-style massacre. He will serve five years probation. The nut cases are out in full force over the Internet, and it will only get worse.
The partially decomposed body of an unidentified male was found behind a rooming house located in the 2800 block of Northwest Sixth Court near Fort Lauderdale, the Broward Sheriff’s Office has confirmed. BSO is in the process of trying to identify the man and to determine if foul play was involved.
At the Florida Democrat Party’s annual convention in Hollywood this past weekend, talk of change was the scuttlebutt. It was not Sen. Barack Obama or pocket change, however, but rather a coalition that is seeking to oust Mitch Caesar as chair of the Broward Democratic Party. This has happened before, but this current effort is better organized, and it may have legs. Caesar, who is an attorney and lobbyist, will attempt to fend off the group that will attack him as an insider who is too cozy with local governments that give him lobbying contracts.
The Palm Beach County School District has fired teacher Natalie Fraxedas, 23, who taught Spanish at Santaluces High School in Lantana, over her admitted sexual relations with an 18-year-old student. Because the student was 18 and the encounters were consensual, no criminal proceedings will occur.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
The Miami Herald announced it will cut 17 percent of its workforce, or more than 250 jobs. About 60 of those positions could be from the newsroom, which means less news gathering in South Florida.