FORT LAUDERDALE – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is investigating law enforcement credentials issued to Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti’s teenage son that allowed him to gain entry at no cost into the Super Bowl played at Sun Life Stadium on Feb. 7, 2010.
“Last week, FDLE received a request from the Broward State Attorney’s Office to investigate the credentialing of Sheriff Lamberti’s son at the Super Bowl,” Heather Smith, FDLE’s director of External Affairs, said in an e-mail responding to a query from South Florida Times. “FDLE’s inquiry will be conducted by our Office of Executive Investigations in Tallahassee.”
Gov. Rick Scott's office is aware of the credentials controversy but he did not order the investigation, Smith said.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald M. Bailey made the decision after prosecutors with the Broward State Attorney’s Office requested the probe. Lamberti has not responded to questions on the issue from South Florida Times.
In addition to hundreds of military personnel, more than 1,000 law enforcement officers from 64 local, state and federal agencies were deployed in a security blanket around the stadium in Miami Gardens for the Super Bowl. A 30-mile “no fly” zone was imposed around the sports complex and the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror threat level. Hundreds of military vehicles, ships and aircraft patrolled the immediate area and 50 miles of coastline to keep the game safe.
Although security was tight, the sheriff’s teenage son was able to enter the game with credentials reserved for law enforcement personnel.
Those credentials were obtained through an application submitted to the Miami-Dade police department, the agency that dealt with such applications as the lead law enforcement body for the Super Bowl.
The application bore the name of BSO Captain Robert Schnakenberg, head of the Criminal Investigations Division, as the person submitting the document to M-DPD on behalf of Nick Lamberti, who was then 15 years old. That application indicated the teenager was part of BSO’s contingent that provided security for the Indianapolis Colts. The document also listed a BSO employee number for Nick Lamberti as “BSO-0000.”
His father was listed as his immediate supervisor and the space for his date of birth was left blank. Miami-Dade police processed the application and forwarded it to the U.S. Secret Service, the federal agency that actually issued the credentials. Nick Lamberti received the same highest level security clearance and unrestricted access as his father, the sheriff, at no cost.
After South Florida Times broke the story some weeks ago, published reports have since quoted Lamberti and Schnakenberg as saying it was the National Football League that issued the credentials to the younger Lamberti and that law enforcement agencies involved in the security effort were aware of the teenager’s attendance.
An NFL spokesman has denied that claim, saying the league had no knowledge of or involvement in Nick Lamberti’s credentialing. The Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, Miami-Dade police, FDLE and other law enforcement agencies have also refuted the published accounts reportedly given by the sheriff and the BSO captain.
“We only processed what they provided,” Commander Nancy A. Perez, director of the Miami-Dade police department’s Media Relations Bureau, recently told South Florida Times.
“We don’t have the time or resources to check everything that’s on another agency’s applications.”
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@SFLTimes.com