The Dirty Dozen of 2008

If only we could fit all the bums in...

Florida Voters We're seriously impressed that Florida voters managed to vote in a presidential election without mortifying backwater snafus like hanging chads or a Brooks Brothers riot. Swell, folks. Real swell. We're equally stoked that the voting public distanced Florida from the state's Jim Crow days by backing a man of color. Florida hadn't stood behind a Democratic nominee for president since Bill Clinton. But, people, we're still stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to civil liberties. Or the lack thereof. The bigots and Grinches among us voted in favor of Proposition 2, which defines marriage as the "legal union of only one man and one woman," a thinly veiled institutionalization of homophobia. It's mean-spirited and possibly unconstitutional. Florida's marriage amendment comes with troubling collateral damage: The new legal language leaves domestic partners of the opposite sex — as in one man and woman — in limbo when it comes to health care and other basic rights enjoyed by married couples. The Sunshine State, winging its way confidently toward the 1950s! Dirty Meter reading: 8 (Spitefulness is so unattractive.)

Kimbo Slice His name is Kevin Ferguson, but you know him as Kimbo or, maybe, Mr. Slice. Turns out, the backyard brawling phenom's fighting skills don't quite match the scariness of his tough-guy mug. That much is clear after the over-hyped former porn shoot bouncer tumbled at the feet of a much smaller, smoothie-barista with pink hair. The entire thing took place in front of a hometown South Florida crowd, and it was over in 14 seconds. The Florida State Athletic Commission launched an investigation into EliteXC, the fly-by-night company that paraded him in mixed martial arts circles before disappearing from the scene. After our paper called him a sissy, Kimbo personally threatened a member of the New Times staff in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard. You might think that Kimbo took a dive in that momentous fight. Or you may believe that he merely got unlucky against a scrawny opponent. Many diehard mixed martial arts fans assert that his skills never merited time in the ring anyhow. Whatever your view, we can all celebrate the end of the national man-crush on Mr. Kimbo Slice. Dirty Meter reading: 7 (He might not be a scam artist, but he's certainly a sissy.)

Miles Austin Forman This wealthy Broward power player triggered the biggest mass eviction in the county's history this year when he told more than 900 families to move out of a trailer park he owns in Davie. Some Palma Nova residents had been in the park for decades. Amid the panic, Forman offered to "help" his tenants by giving them $1,000 to $1,500 for each trailer that left the premises in a timely manner. At first, park managers said this "generous" deal would only be good for a few weeks. The promise of a small payout created a frenzy. There was just one catch: Those taking the cash had to sign waivers saying they, and their descendants, would never sue Forman. We should mention that Forman also owns Ferncrest, a small utility that provides the park with "potable" water. Ferncrest drinking water was found in 2004 to have exceeded legal limits for cancer-causing chemicals by nearly threefold. The contamination dates back several decades. And, yes, Forman knew all that time that the Ferncrest water wasn't pure. Residents got their first official warning from the utility in June 2006. Some blame Ferncrest water for their ailments; almost all fear health problems down the road. Dirty Meter reading: 10 (A healthy body is priceless. When you're poor, it's all you've got.)

Harry Sargeant What could be worse than growing up to become a war profiteer? This Delray Beach entrepreneur, a fraternity brother of Governor Crist, contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the oil-friendliest congressmen in the nation. Then, in 2004, he formed the International Oil Trading Company. As "luck" would have it, Sargeant's new company won an $80-million contract from the Pentagon to ship oil to the military in Iraq. It won an additional $900 million in U.S. military business in 2007. Republicans were rolling in political contributions, and Sargeant was raking in cash. But the dirty underbelly of this deal was about to be exposed. In April, a brother-in-law of Jordan's King Abdullah sued Sargeant in West Palm Beach for allegedly failing to pay a $13 million bribe... er, we mean, debt. Mohammed Al-Saleh claims to have brokered a deal with the Jordanian government that ensured, in essence, that Sargeant's company would be the only firm eligible to transport fuel to Iraq via Jordan. Shortly after learning of Al-Saleh's allegations, Congressman Henry Waxman, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, verbally flayed Sargeant for engaging in "a reprehensible form of war profiteering" at a taxpayer expense of approximately $180 million. A Sargeant competitor has since filed a RICO federal suit, accusing Sargeant's company of a bribery scheme. Dirty Meter reading: 9 (It doesn't get much greasier than this.)

Tim Mahoney When Congressman Mark Foley was busted in 2006 for being a dirty old man and sending sexual messages to underage boys, it was career suicide for him. And a door-opener for Tim Mahoney. Since Foley's disgraced name remained on the ballot, voters were expected to choose whoever challenged him. Sure enough, Mahoney — then an unknown computer-guy-turned-venture-capitalist — slid right into office. Fast forward to 2008, when Mahoney gets caught up in a sex scandal of his own. All right, Mahoney cheated on his wife, as some men do. We can live with that. But Mahoney cheated on his wife during "multiple" affairs, got involved in a messy sexual exploitation deal, and paid a mistress $121,000 for her silence. This was the Democratic Mr. Clean? His defeat in a Republican-leaning district was assured. You'd think that Mahoney would have had the decency to step out of the running so that another Democrat could have a shot in a year when liberal-minded voters came out en masse to vote for Barack Obama. Nope. The delusional douchebag remained on the ticket, clearing the way for Republican Tom Rooney to snag a coveted spot in the House of Representatives. Sometime thereafter, Mahoney filed court documents to stall his wife's divorce action. Dirty Meter reading: 7 (Mahoney knows no bounds.)

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