Most public servants are good people, even in South Florida. Most commissioners and school board members take sacred the public trust. At least during the holiday season, we try to tell ourselves that. But clearly, especially around these parts, not all our politicians are nice. And when they're naughty, they're really naughty. Like taking-cash-home-in-a-doggy-bag naughty. Or father-holding-a-gun-to-his-daughter's-head naughty.
So for this week, we've assembled five local officials who should be expecting coal in their stocking (or jail cell) this week.
The worst school board member of the year was defnitely Ms. Gallagher. Prosecutors allege took a doggy bag full of cash from an undercover agent to whom she promised to steer a $71 million construction project. The price of the integrity of her office: Feds say it was $12,500.
The former county commissioner pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering. Prosecutors alleged Eggelletion helped move millions through the Bahamas to an account in St. Croix and took cash kickbacks stuffed into his golf bag in the middle of the golf course.
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During the same federal investigation that got Gallagher and Eggelletion, they also busted former commissioner Fitzroy Salesman. He's accussed of openly soliciting bribes from FBI agents posing as businessmen looking for no-bid contracts. As you may remember, Salesman has a naughty history that includes waving a gun around a Winn-Dixie.
Palm Beach was certainly not without its corruption this year. County Commissioner Mary McCarty has already had plenty of gifts. Some of them have come from companies with business before the county. Some of them came in the way of deals with companies paying her husband upward of $20,000 a year. She pleaded guilty in June and will be receiving her holiday cards in prison this year.
Ed Portner (Stacy Ritter's father)
In a year full of politicians doing crazy, ridiculous things, nobody tops former Tamarac Commissioner Ed Portner, who also happens to be the father of Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter. He apparently pointed a weapon at Ritter's head for a bit. She escaped when she told him she was getting a drink of water and ran out the garage. Pointing a gun at your daughter's head definitely gets you on the naughty list.