Best Local Girl Gone Bad - 2011
People know Beverly Stracher's name these days as a key cooperating witness for the state in what is perhaps the biggest corruption cases in Broward County history. Or they know her as the husband of Les Stracher, who was a key partner of notorious Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. But before the notoriety and political shenanigans, Beverly Stracher was just a Piper High grad and Broward Community College student who made her mark as a mediocre reporter for the mediocre Sun-Sentinel before becoming a government flack and, shortly thereafter, a Lauderhill city commissioner. She didn't last long in elected office, but she stayed in politics, becoming one of those shady behind-the-scenes "operatives." For years, she operated in relative obscurity before she struck a deal with Prestige Homes, owned by developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, to help them get influence with politicians with whom she worked — including Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman and then-Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco. She took money from both sides — the influence peddlers and the politicians for whom she campaigned — in what was a sleazy arrangement. Now several of those politicians are awaiting trial, the Chaits have already pleaded guilty to bribery, and Stracher has become one of the county's chief canaries, giving one sworn statement after another to implicate her former friends. On top of that, her husband has filed for divorce. Don't cry too hard for Stracher, though; she's got a cush job at the county now, courtesy of Lieberman.