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
Broward Sheriff's Office detective Lisa McElhaney is embarrassed, and Undercurrents knows why. To hide her identity, the undercover deputy testified in a black hood last week in the failed attempt to prosecute the owners of Trapeze II for allowing sex acts. As we've reported, no one was offended by the consensual sex that took place in the club (except for McElhaney), and the raid was obviously a publicity stunt for the always-running-for-office Ken Jenne.
Here's what happened inside the club that caused McElhaney to turn red with shame, and it was caused by one of Jenne's own:
On the night of February 6, 1999, McElhaney and Det. Edward Domako went into Trapeze II on Commercial Boulevard, and before entering the back room, both had to strip naked. Wrapped in towels, the pair entered the dimly lit confines of the sex den and sat down on a couch 15 feet from a "black male also clad in a towel," according to BSO reports.
McElhaney tried not to look at him too hard: She recognized the balding, big-gutted man from somewhere, but couldn't place him. Wait a minute he was jail deputy Rory Middleton, a 12-year veteran of her own department. BSO had found the enemy -- and it was BSO!
Regardless of McElhaney's attempts at discretion, she would soon see plenty of Middleton. "It appeared that Middleton was staring at Detective McElhaney's buttocks while he continued to masturbate," according to Domako. Middleton then asked McElhaney if she would mind if he sat down beside her, an offer the demure McElhaney declined. Middleton didn't bother the undercover detectives again, but they soon bothered Middleton in a big way -- when the bust went down.
Although charges against Middleton were dismissed, he was quickly fired. "At least now I don't have BSO standing over me worrying about which way I sneeze," he says. "That whole raid was just one big blunder." And an embarrassment.
Talk about bait and switch. First the Sun-Sentinel fires freelancer Paul Scott Abbott for daring to go public about his battle to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter Ashleigh, who's been held in an emergency shelter by the Department of Children and Families for two years, ( "Take the Child and Run," Emma Trelles, February 24). Yet now the Sentinel seems more than willing to feature Abbott's photo and his tale in last week's Local section.
But here's an angle they missed: Bipartisan feuding over the case is costing taxpayers. The paper made much mention of long-time child advocate Karen Gievers' federal class-action lawsuit against the DCF but failed to note that Florida GOP chairman Alex Cardenas' firm had just gone toe-to-toe in civil court with Gievers, who also happens to have been last election's Democratic candidate for secretary of state.
Why is Cardenas getting the job of defending DCF against records requests when there's a whole bunch of attorneys sitting around the A.G.'s office? Political payback.
Gievers had filed suit against DCF officials on behalf of Ashleigh Abbott. After repeated and ignored requests for Ashleigh's records, Gievers had her day in court against Cardenas' attorneys, and she got 'em. Gievers told New Times that, if she attempted to retrieve any of her other clients' records anywhere around the state, she'd be duking it out with the GOP chairman each time from now on. Got a tip? Call 954-233-1581, fax 954-233-1571, or e-mail email@example.com.