Reach Out and Put the Touch on Someone

Broward County commissioner Lori Parrish claims she pays her cell phone bills herself. What she means is that her campaign contributors foot the bill.

Toward the end of the campaign, Parrish also decided she needed a better computer for political work, which sits in her home and which she is allowed to keep. She spent $4000 in June for a faster and more powerful hard drive and information on voters. Parrish bought the hard drive and voter information from a company owned by political consultant Dan Lewis. What makes this expenditure interesting is that Lewis had just helped to draw county commission redistricting maps that were favorable to Parrish. Lewis wasn't paid for his work and at the time publicly downplayed his close relationships with Parrish and other commissioners. Both Lewis and Parrish say the computer payments weren't quid pro quo for Lewis' work on the maps.

Parrish says all of her expenditures were essential to make sure nobody deigned to run against her. "I campaigned hard, and as a result of working hard, I have no opponent," she explains.

Her phantom opponent, Gutierrez, says he was never a threat to Parrish. He says Parrish's support among Broward's big political backers makes it impossible for an outsider like him to mount a credible campaign against her. "She has the corner on everything," he says. "With her campaign chest, it would take a miracle to beat her. It's really unfair."

Lori Parrish's incredible cell phone bills don't affect her pocketbook
Miami Herald
Lori Parrish's incredible cell phone bills don't affect her pocketbook

Such a powerful political dynasty represents quite a climb for the 52-year-old Parrish. Her first job after high school in 1966 was as an operator for the Southern Bell Telephone Company.

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