By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
In addition to the presence of Jenne and other powerful friends, Allsworth also included his own allegedly failing health in his defense, complaining that he had prostate cancer. His wife couldn't be there, he explained, because she had suffered what was described as a massive heart attack. They would be destined -- prison or no -- to live out their lives in disgrace and ill health. As for his wrongdoing, Allsworth intimated that it wasn't really a crime -- just bad thinking.
"What I did was more out of stupidity than malice," he said. "I will tell the court that it was stupidity. It was not greed."
Moreno seemed to buy it. The judge sentenced Allsworth to a paltry six months in jail -- a fraction of the five years prosecutor Bondi recommended or the ten-year maximum the judge could have handed down. Moreno also sentenced Allsworth to 1000 hours of community service, five years' probation, and a $250,000 fine, which was estimated to have been the amount of money he had made working for the Kramer ring. This past June, against Bondi's stringent objection, Allsworth was reinstated by the Florida Bar.
Bondi claimed in a detailed report to the bar that Allsworth lied and misrepresented his crimes in his bid for reinstatement. Allsworth was accepted by the bar anyway, after a glowing report by Larry Seidlin, a Broward County judge and the bar's referee in the case.
"The court firmly believes the petitioner will never stray from the law, quite oppositely; he will live as a child of God helping those people less fortunate than himself," Seidlin wrote.
Allsworth now consults various municipalities on land-use issues and is busy practicing law. He was able to retain a sizable nest egg that annually produces roughly $100,000 in interest and dividends, and he doesn't have cancer any more -- in fact, he reported that, despite their dire health outlooks on the day of sentencing, both he and his wife are now in wonderful health.
Allsworth surely wouldn't have been able to pull off the magic trick in federal court without his friends in high places, like Jenne.
"I've known Ken for many years," Allsworth said in a telephone interview in his law office before complaining that he's a busy attorney and has more important things to do than discuss what he calls "ancient history."
"I asked him and many others to give me a recommendation, and they did," he concluded.
Allsworth hasn't forgotten the favor -- he personally contributed $125 to Jenne's successful 1995 run for the senate and his law firm contributed $150 in October to Jenne's campaign for sheriff.
William Sorrells was having a rough time of it. The year was 1981, and the Broward transit official was then the county's taxi examiner in charge of enforcing the transportation ordinances. There was only "one dance in town" when it came to taxis at the time, Sorrells recalls, and the dancer's name was Jesse P. Gaddis.
Sorrells says that he and Gaddis battled over county ordinances all the time and that he got used to being cursed and yelled at by the taxi baron. During one of their extended disputes, Sorrells says he looked up from his desk one day to see a surprise visitor.
It was state senator Ken Jenne. Sorrells knew Jenne from Jenne's days as a county commissioner. Jenne was there on a mission, Sorrells remembers, a mission for Jesse P. Gaddis.
"He told me to leave Mr. Gaddis alone," Sorrells says. "He wanted me to cooperate with Mr. Gaddis, and I explained to him why I wasn't able to do more than what I had done. And then he went to see my boss. The senator was not happy with me."
After Sorrells rebuffed him, Jenne met with the executive director of the transportation department at the time, Don Monroe. Sorrells says Monroe called him in after the unhappy senator left, and they decided they were right in denying Gaddis any special favors.
It was just one aspect of a frustrating and tragic year for Gaddis. It was in March 1981 that the decomposed body of his brother -- who was also his business partner -- was found in a shallow grave in the Everglades. Donald Gaddis, who founded the taxi business, seemingly vanished in Fort Myers in April 1978. It was later learned that Donald Gaddis was an aspiring drug smuggler who had, along with two other associates, been tortured and executed with a shotgun by drug runners who suspected Gaddis and his partners had stolen a boatload of marijuana.
"It turns out that they may have thought that my brother was involved in [the theft]. Turns out [he was] not," explains Jesse Gaddis, who says he learned of the details from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) as the years went by.
Jesse Gaddis came under investigation not only because his brother/partner was involved but also because it was determined that the boat Donald Gaddis had bought for his part in the smuggling operation was paid for with a $75,000 check from Jesse Gaddis. Gaddis says the money was simply a debt he owed his brother from past business dealings.