Broward News

A Bad Time to Be Charlie's Frat Brother

It used to be the best gravy train on the tracks: If you were a frat brother of Charlie Crist at Florida State, you could practically name your job.

Harry Sargeant landed a prestigious gig as the finance chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Crist appointed another "Pike," Mike Fernandez, to the North Broward Hospital District, which he soon chaired. Tom Wheeler followed Crist from the Department of Education to the Attorney General's Office and was helped to his current position as undersheriff of Broward County. Yet another frat brother, Jay Hurley, was appointed by Crist to a high-profile county judgeship.

But as Crist falls, so do his brothers.

Sargeant resigned in disgrace last year following congressional allegations of being a "war profiteer" after his Boca Raton oil company allegedly bribed Jordanian officials, then gouged Uncle Sam for transporting fuel to soldiers in Iraq. Fernandez has been scandalized by his apparent attempt to cover up an internal ethics investigation at the hospital district. Wheeler's been sent reeling by his associations with Ponzi-scheming attorney Scott Rothstein. And Hurley? Well, after a bruising couple of weeks on Daily Pulp, Hurley suddenly finds himself with an opponent.

JAABlog is reporting that Melissa Minsk Donoho is going to challenge Hurley. I put a call out to Donoho to confirm, but I couldn't reach her.

I'm curious whether it was the general disarray of the Crist camp -- and Hurley in particular -- that emboldened Donoho. Last month, Hurley summoned police to his downtown Fort Lauderdale wedding, based on a single anonymous post on JAAblog that noted the wedding's address -- and he didn't do a particularly effective job of explaining why he felt entitled to that protection.

This past weekend, Hurley told the Sun-Sentinel that he's got lawyers among his 265 Facebook friends, which is contrary to a recent judicial ethics opinion on social networking.

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Thomas Francis