In the federal complaint filed last week against Broward County School Board Member Beverly Gallagher, there's an interesting note about a "party" held by undercover FBI agents this past December 10.
The agents asked Gallagher to invite "influential persons" who could assist the undercover agents' client in securing school board work. One person who attended in addition to Gallagher was a "BCSB member."
That would translate to a "Broward County School Board member."
So who was the second school board member socializing with undercover agents? And did Gallagher and that other member violate state Sunshine Laws while they were socializing with the feds?
Okay, I have a source in politics who was at that party. He says he realized it the second he read the complaint. He says the booze was flowing freely (literally) and the food was amazing, including the largest Alaskan king crab claws he's ever seen. Which raises another question: Did the party constitute a gift with a value of $100 or more? And was it disclosed?
More on this later, but after the jump, you get news about a special school meeting and the Broward Teachers Union's press release in response to yesterday's blog post on the Pulp.
-- I've learned that a meeting has been called between School Board Member Jennifer Gottlieb, school board construction chief Michael Garretson, and representatives of construction company Padula & Wadsworth regarding Elementary C at Lincoln Park in Hollywood. Don't know what the meeting is about, but thought some activists in the area, along with others, might want to know about it. For those of you who don't remember, Elementary C is that colossal waste of money being built on a community park that has royally pissed off a lot of people in the neighborhood.
-- In response to yesterday's blog post mentioning Beverly Gallagher's attorney, Steve Rossi, and a possible conflict of interest since he also represents the BTU, here's the union's response:
BTU Media Briefing
Regarding The Daily Pulp by Bob Norman
Blog Entry Titled: The Bottom Four
September 29, 2009
The leaders and members of the Broward Teachers Union are big fans of the the Daily Pulp by Bob Norman and thank him for his investigative work into alleged Broward schools corruption and ethics violations.
Attorney Steve Rossi is one of several private lawyers who works for the Broward Teachers Union and its members.
As a private attorney, Attorney Steve Rossi can be hired by anyone including BTU members and non-members as well as individual citizens.
He serves as BTU's local counsel, which simply means he is on retainer, and operates his own private practice, the Law Offices of Steve Rossi, in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The Broward Teachers Union works with many lawyers including, but certainly not limited to, Attorney Steve Rossi.
Attorney Steve Rossi is very well-known in the Broward education community.
The BTU has no "in-house" or staff attorneys.
Our state affiliate, the Florida Education Association, in Tallahassee and our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, in Washington D.C. have staff attorneys and also assign lawyers on a case-by-case basis using a cadre of statewide lawyers.
If a conflict of interest exists between a client that Attorney Steve Rossi is representing, the BTU would use one of the other private lawyers that the union uses on a regular basis.
A couple of the other lawyers that the BTU regularly works with is Attorney Mark Richard of Miami and Attorney Mark Kelly of Tampa.
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The BTU continues to encourage all members with knowledge that would be helpful to the U.S. Attorney (954-356-7255) and FBI's (305-944-9101) corruption probe into Broward schools to call them directly.
If there is anything, the BTU or BTU Communications can do to assist you in your excellent reporting, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Finally, an official school board source that actually wants district employees to cooperate with the United State government rather than give them the run-around. Thank you, John Ristow.