New Year's Corruption-Busting Agenda for Palm Beach State Attorney
Palm Beach State Attorney Michael McAuliffe has attracted plenty of attention lately for his efforts to bust public corruption. He recently forced the resignation of the fourth county commissioner in four years to face criminal charges and created a Public Corruption Task Force to hound elected officials in Corruption County.
So who are his primary targets? In honor of the Jewish new year, which begins tonight, here's a suggested agenda for the coming months:
1) Finish cleaning out the Riviera Beach Police Department. Three officers have already been charged, and a fourth, Officer Nathan Gordon, was quietly fired in late August. Insiders say prosecutors' main task now is to get Detective Lee Ann Schneider, who is facing 96 counts of forgery and official misconduct, to turn on her former supervisor, Sgt. Pat Galligan. Schneider has been
charged with forging Galligan's signature on scores of arrest affidavits in child molestation and other violent crimes cases so that Galligan could put in for overtime. Galligan, who is retired from the department, has not been charged.
2) Find out what's rotten in Boynton Beach. Word came last week that Lisa Bright, executive director of Boynton's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), is under investigation by McAuliffe's office. She's already being scrutinized by Boynton city officials for her alleged ties to Joseph Ferrer, a Delray businessman who was paid to provide entertainment for the agency's holiday extravaganzas for the past three years.
Boynton's CRA has invested millions in downtown development projects in the past few years, some of which -- including the Promenade condos -- now sit eerily empty. It's worth discovering if there's foul play at the agency.
3) Keep the heat on the county commissioners. Former Palm Beach County commissioners Warren Newell and Tony Masilotti are out of prison after being busted on corruption charges. Mary McCarty is still in the slammer. Jeff Koons just pleaded guilty to an extortion charge -- pressuring opponents of a mangrove preservation plan -- and is now serving five years' probation. Who's in line for the next indictment?
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