Here's to Ray McKinney.
Who is Ray? He's just a retired fellow in Fort Lauderdale who doesn't like corruption. He called me after I wrote stories about Southwest Ranches last year and said he was going to do something about it. Based on the stuff I'd dug up, he filed an ethics complaint based on the reporting. Specifically it was about Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin, whose husband, Richard (had this as Rick -- thanks for the heads-up Scooter) Rubin, was collecting obscene payof--, er, payments, for helping the town receive parks grants from the county. Guess who was rooting those grants along and voting for them? His wife, of course, Diana Wasserman-Rubin.
When I first started questioning city officials about it, they changed Rick Rubin's contract to end the incentive bonuses he received on county grants. But it was too late to completely abandon ship -- he'd already taken at least $15,000 in bonuses linked to his wife's votes.
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All these months later, the Florida Commission on Ethics has finally acted and, God Bless them one time, has found probable cause that Wasserman-Rubin violated the rules. I know this is true because Buddy Nevins reported it on the top of the Local front in the Sun-Sentinel. That's good news. But it was typical half-ass Sentinel stuff (God forbid they actually mention that NT broke the story that led to ethics charge). For instance, that real estate broker Nevins mentions at the end of the story is Ira Cor, a convicted felon and political sleaze who somehow has gotten a free ride from the Big Daily. You want to know about Cor, start here and finish here.
But here's the sad thing. It takes a good fellow like McKinney, who works on his own time, to get things done in this corrupt sinkhole of a county. People walk around like it's not happening, even as they're slipping on the slime in their own government halls. Reporters too often are like zombies in their own coverage areas, blind to it or, worse, guarding it in some strange way. It's not just Wasserman-Rubin. It's Ilene Lieberman. It's Josephus Eggelletion. It's Ben Graber. It's Al Capellini. It's Mara Giulianti. It's Keith Wasserstrom. It's John Bertino. It goes on and on. Go into any city and open your eyes and you'll find that a good portion of the public officials are committing crimes and should be put out of office. And the toothless ethics commission shouldn't be handling these cases. Unfortunately, State Attorney Michael Satz is out to lunch.
I want every reporter who reads this thing to make a vow today to uncover some corruption this year. Go all the way. Don't just touch it and say you're finished. Close the fucking deal. And then fight for it against the sap-headed editor who quit living years ago and doesn't want to actually feel anything like adrenaline touch his or her tepid bloodstream. It's time to wake up.