Add Judge John "Jay" Hurley to the list of people pissed at political operative Jack Shifrel.
The judge left a message on Shifrel's Facebook page late last night that made a spat between them very public. Hurley, who gets boatloads of TV time for serving as the judge who handles first appearances in Broward County, wrote that he needed to address claims Shifrel had been
making on Facebook.
Shifrel had claimed Hurley hadn't paid him for work the operative had done on the judge's reelection campaign. Hurley claimed Shifrel had been "given several notices" to submit invoices but didn't do so before Hurley had to close his campaign account. "You knew this, but still failed to submit invoices."
It's rare in politics to see a spat turn so public. Shifrel's Facebook page has liberal privacy settings, meaning the judge's comments are open for anyone to see. It's perhaps a sign of the times that such an argument isn't settled over cocktails at the Tower Club but on Facebook walls.
But what isn't uncommon about this spat is that Shifrel has faced accusations of misdeeds for years. His problems began in 1984, when he pleaded no contest to grand theft and obtaining property in return for a worthless check, according to a Miami Herald article from the time; he served two years on probation for the charges.
In 1994, then-State House candidate Jim Waldman threatened to sue Shifrel after Shifrel failed to produce $3,000 in campaign paraphernalia that Waldman had ordered from the consultant. Waldman told the Sentinel it was a plot Shifrel had cooked up to help Waldman's opponent. That dispute hasn't ended for the two, with Waldman telling New Times in 2006 that Shifrel was still upset over it.
Shifrel didn't return a phone call from the Pulp.
Update: Shifrel called to say he missed the message yesterday from the Pulp. In response to the spat with Hurley, he said it was a misunderstanding. "I don't want to drag this out. This is much ado about nothing."
He said he's an infrequent Facebook user and didn't know he was posting a note on Hurley's wall instead of sending him a private message.
"The biggest gripe I have is about cowards who write things anonymously and make things up about me," he said. "I say, say it to my face rather than write things anonymously saying this or that."
Hurley's office directed calls to his campaign treasurer, Ed McGee, who said he met with Shifrel and explained that all he had to do to get paid was submit an invoice.
"He could have walked into my lobby and written it on a piece of paper," McGee said. "I'm at a loss. To put the judge in the middle of this is unfair."
It's also not the first time Hurley has found himself on the south side of politics. Hurley was tied to Scott Rothstein because the Ponzi schemer gave money to the Republican Party days before then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Hurley to the bench. There's no proof that Hurley's appointment came as a payback, but the accusation haunted Hurley during his reelection.
Hurley also took criticism in 2009 when he got upset over a comment on the JAABlog that revealed the location of the judge's wedding. The judge called the blog to try to learn the identity of the commenter. When that didn't work, Hurley phoned the Broward Sheriff's Office to see if there was a way for him to learn the commenter's identity.
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The judge's full comment on Shifrel's Facebook wall is copied here below. But to see the original comment, click here. Unlike Shifrel, Hurley has kept his Facebook settings on a more private setting, so if you visit the judge's page, all you'll find is a fine photo of the judge from earlier days, long before he found himself in such nasty politics.
Jack: I feel the need to address you publicly on FB. You have made several thinly veiled allegations on FB alluding to your position that either me or my campaign owes you money. You are wrong. You were given several notices to submit invoices and you failed to do so in a timely manner. In fact, my campaign Treasurer indicates that you were paid in full regarding all invoices submitted. By law, my campaign account had to be closed by a certain date and that no further payments could be paid thereafter. You knew this, but still failed to submit invoices. It would be illegal to satisfy any invoices AFTER the closing of my campaign account. Hopefully, this clarifies the issue and you will refrain from future comments.