Palm Beach County
State Rep. Jeff Clemens has emerged the winner of the Democratic primary for the District 27 state Senate race. He bested state Rep. Mack Bernard by just 17 votes after a recount.
According to arrest reports, 51-year-old Belinda Wright Johnson of Delray Beach allowed her ex-husband Jerome Juan Johnson, 44, of Boca Raton to use the family’s restaurant to peddle drugs. Tom's Place World Famous Barbecue, now located in Boynton Beach, had been a fixture in Boca Raton for more than 25 years until it closed in 2004. Tom’s Place barbeque sauce is sold in stores throughout Florida and other states. Belinda Johnson reopened the business at its Boynton Beach location. Police are accusing Jerome Johnson of heading up a drug-trafficking ring that operated out of the business with Belinda Johnson’s knowledge and participation. They were two of 12 people arrested in "Operation Keystone Express," a multi-agency drug sting.
Delray Beach Police Officer David Chin, 36, has been charged with lying and falsifying reports. Chin is accused of having an affair with a woman he arrested, falsifying police reports and deleting text messages from his cell phone to conceal the prohibited relationship. He is charged with perjury and official misconduct. According to the arrest affidavit, Natalie Jerue was a friend of a police informant. Chin began exchanging romantic texts with her. He then arrested her and falsified some aspects of the report which stated she was trafficking in Oxycodone. In an effort to help her, he later sent a letter to prosecutors that supposedly came from a co-worker, which falsely claimed she assisted police and her information led to several arrests in which drugs, weapons and cash were confiscated.
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters has implemented a “slum hotline” to field complaints about dilapidated housing and neighborhoods. It was started to address blight and slum in the troubled Stonybrook projects which suffers from problems such as leaking roofs and mold. Masters says the efforts won’t be limited to Stonybrook, however. The number to call about unsafe or unsanitary conditions is 561-845-4181.
Attorney Roshawn Banks is a former assistant Broward County attorney, assistant public defender and law professor. She has served on the boards of several organizations such as Legal Aid. Even though Banks was outspent in the recent primary election, she is in a runoff for County Court judge against incumbent Robert Diaz. More on this race later. Another notable judicial contest to watch is between Assistant Public Defender Olga Levine and attorney Robert “Bob” Nichols.
Fort Lauderdale city commissioners are considering borrowing $300 million to fund pension obligations. The move is intended to avoid using money from the operating budget to meet those obligations.
INVESTIGATE INTERNAL AFFAIRS
Current and former employees of the Broward Sheriff’s Office have repeatedly complained about unfairness in the Internal Affairs Division. Former employee Chandra Jefferson alleged that the division fabricated evidence and falsified information against her about the amount of time she had accumulated in order to deny her family sick leave. Also, former lieutenant James Murray was fired after alleged false information and unverified rumors were included in an Internal Affairs report about him. And Anthony Vincent, a Community Service aide, has been suspended pending a termination recommendation over his releasing a recording of a traffic stop dispute. There are just too many allegations against the division not to take notice. BSO’s Internal Affairs requires, at the very least, a complete review of its processes and a shakeup of its personnel.
Miami-Dade Public Safety Director James Loftus has announced his retirement. The move came just days after his boss, Carlos Giminez, won re-election to another term as Miami-Dade County mayor. Loftus said he wants to spend time with his family. The department will be overseen by assistant police directors Naim Erched and J.D. Patterson until a national search for Loftus’ replacement is completed.
Pierre Mizidor, 58, fell into a cement silo after the roof collapsed at the Titan America manufacturing plant in western Miami-Dade County. Mizidor was taking cement level measurements at the time. His body had yet to be recovered as of deadline.
STRIP CLUB PLANS
Edmund Ansin is the billionaire CEO of Sunbeam Television which owns WSVN Channel 7. A sister company, Sunbeam Properties, is seeking to foreclose on a 3.3-acre property adjacent to the television station in North Bay Village which was sold to Isle of Dreams LLC. The site was the old home of radio station WIOD but the company had planned to build a strip club, restaurant and hotel on the property. Isle of Dreams LLC is suing over the city’s rejection of the project, claiming zoning laws against strip clubs violate its First Amendment rights.
Miami-Dade County Schools janitor Samuel Woodside was taken into custody at a bus stop where he believed he was meeting a child from Louisiana for sex. Police say Woodside used the Internet to lure what he thought was a 14-year-old girl to South Florida to become a prostitute. He purchased a bus ticket for her and, at the time of his arrest, Woodside had a candy bar, soft drink and condoms inside his truck, police said. He is charged with human trafficking, traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sex, luring and enticing a minor to commit an unlawful act, interfering with custody and sending harmful materials to a minor. He also faces similar charges in Louisiana. If convicted, he faces life in prison.