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Political Money Man Mendelsohn's Sentencing Pushed Back

Wild art: The first edition of the official Tea Party mag.
Wild art: The first edition of the official Tea Party mag.

Hollywood lobbyist and political fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn won't be sentenced on his federal conspiracy conviction next week after all.

The sentencing has been pushed back to April 28, according to court records.

Sounds mundane enough, but I hear there is considerable intrigue behind the scenes in this case.

Mendelsohn -- an eye doctor who had close ties to numerous politicians, including former Gov. Charlie Crist, former state Rep. Mandy Dawson, and state Sen. Eleanor Sobel -- is facing up to two years in prison. Federal guidelines call for 18 months.

But sources close to the investigation say that Mendelsohn, after his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William Zloch in December, has been cooperating heavily with state and federal authorities in a bid to work off any potential prison time. Hence the ten-week postponement for his sentencing. 

This could be big. Mendelsohn was a prodigious fundraiser who was privy to many of Tallahassee's secrets not only among politicians but also lobbyists. Numerous names have come up in the investigation. But one of Mendelsohn's former close associates, lobbyist Russ Klenet, may not have anything to worry about when it comes to the federal investigation.

Remember that Mendelsohn told Zloch in open court during his guilty plea that it was Klenet who had taught him how to hide clients' money from the U.S. government. Several sources say Klenet, husband of Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, was given federal immunity due to his involvement with the Mutual Benefits Ponzi scheme investigation of his former client and partner, Joel Steinger.

One politician expected to play a starring role in the case is Dawson, who received $82,000 in secret campaign contributions from Mendelsohn.

-- Above you see the cover of the first edition of the Tea Party Review. It will be unveiled at tomorrow's opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Inside, check local ties to the convention, which will be held in Washington, D.C. (And yes, I withhold commentary.)

Political Money Man Mendelsohn's Sentencing Pushed Back

Scheduled to attend the CPAC meeting, in addition to pundits like Ann Coulter and Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Newt Gingrich, is our own U.S. Rep. Allen West.

And West isn't just any speaker -- he has a very important role in the conference as the coveted closing speaker, who will be expected to send the Tea Party faithful back home inspired by his own brand of right-wing pep rally.

West won't be the only Broward guy in attendance. Also there will be Javier Manjarres, the blogger behind the Shark Tank. I wrote recently about his taking advertising money from a who's sho of Republican politicians. Manjarres has been named CPAC Blogger of the Year.

Here's the entire list of speakers if you're interested. 

Though freshly minted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has made it to CPAC's official banner (right next to Glenn Beck!), he isn't listed as a confirmed speaker.


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