FORT LAUDERDALE — The former treasurer of an influential political organization who admitted writing checks to himself has now retained a prominent South Florida defense attorney.
Percy Johnson, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, is the immediate past treasurer of the Broward County Democratic Party’s Council of Club Presidents. Sources close to the situation allege Johnson wrote numerous unauthorized checks to himself and made regular cash withdrawals from the council’s bank account.
He is being accused of taking just under $2,200 over the last three years. Johnson reportedly wrote checks to his sister as well.
Members of the organization’s board had been in talks with Johnson to reach a resolution. Those discussions reportedly broke down; prompting Johnson to retain Johnny L. McCray Jr., an attorney who has defended a number of high-profile clients.
McCray has represented several political figures, including former Broward County commissioner Josephus Eggelletion and former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner Carlton Moore. He currently represents former Deerfield Beach city commissioner Sylvia Poitier.
Johnson could not be reached this week, but during a previous interview, he acknowledged writing the checks to himself and making cash withdrawals. He said at the time that he believed the money was used for official council business. Johnson made an initial $140 good faith payment reimbursement and expressed interest in resolving the situation by repaying any funds that were in question.
Johnson was treasurer of the Council of Club Presidents for the past eight years and did not seek re-election in last April’s election. During the transition, the newly elected officers requested the financial records. Johnson was slow to turn over those records until the group threatened legal action. At that time, he acknowledged they would find some “discrepancies” in the financial books.
The Council of Club Presidents is a political organization comprised of more than 30 top officials of Democratic Party clubs and caucuses in Broward County.
“We will make our report to the members at the August meeting,” said Bernie Parness, president of the Council of Club Presidents. “How we proceed is up to the members.”
At the group’s July 9 meeting, a committee was formed to examine those records. Their final report has been completed. A meeting with Johnson was scheduled to take place this week to go over the findings.
“The meeting wasn’t cancelled. It was postponed, because I advised them I did not have an opportunity to review the file,” McCray confirmed. “We are amenable to resolving this. I would hope that we could put aside any political or personal agendas and bring closure as soon as possible.”
A report will be issued at the organization’s next meeting where a decision will be made on any action to be taken. Some members of the organization are describing Johnson’s action as “theft.”
However, Lori Glasser, the immediate past president of the Council expressed a different view.
“No one has bothered to ask me what took place. Percy had authorization to reimburse himself for money he spent out of his own pocket,” Glasser said. “This seems like a lynch mob acting without ever trying find out the facts.”
***Pictured above is Percy Johnson, R, and his attorney Johnny L. McCray, Jr.