Bill Scherer Gearing Up For Electoral Rampage

Thanks to local attorney and fading GOP power player Bill Scherer, things look like they're about to get very interesting in Broward County.

Sources say Scherer is preparing two lawsuits aimed at pulling the veil from two of this election's most controversial 527 committees involved in two of the most intriguing local races of the year

First, he's putting together a false light lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union for its slam of Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom during this past election cycle. SEIU, under the guidance of political director Hiram Ruiz, and other local unions put more than $100,000 into a political committee called the Integrity in Government Coalition, which went after Rodstrom with a vengeance. The unions (which included the Teamsters) backed Davie Commissioner Bryan Caletka, one of Rodstrom's challengers, in the race.

The lawsuit hasn't been filed yet, but Rodstrom confirmed that it's on the way.

"We're going to pull back a few layers of the onion," Rodstrom told the Pulp rather cryptically.

Sources also say Scherer -- who is being assisted by Nova Southeastern's Bruce Rogow in the lawsuits -- plans to sue the people behind the Broward Coalition for Justice and Equality, the 527 that went after sheriff's candidate Scott Israel.

Israel, of course, withstood the committee's relentless and well-funded attacks to win the primary. Now he's squaring off against Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti, an appointee of Gov. Charlie Crist, in the general election.

The planned lawsuit could send shockwaves through the ranks of some of Lamberti's top contributors. Why? Because it's widely believed that some of Lamberti's supporters were behind the attack ads in an attempt to stop Israel in the primary.

We know, for instance, that the creative director behind that campaign was none other than famed Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone. Stone is a partner of high-rolling GOP lawyer Scott Rothstein, a big Lamberti supporter. Here's a quick example of Stone's work that employs the image of Richard Nixon, the man Stone began his notorious career with:

Another partner of Rothstein's, restaurateur Anthony Bova, pumped $150,000 into the committee. The involvement of both Stone and Bova led to suspicion that Rothstein, who is a close friend of Crist's and a top fundraiser for John McCain, was the man really pulling the strings. But Rothstein, who has rocketed to prominence during the past few years as a GOP powerhouse, insists that he had nothing to do with the campaign, and that Bova and Stone were acting on their own.

Both of these cases could unravel the true sources behind two of the most talked-about ad campaigns of the election season. Or they could affirm that both 527 committees were on the level. But what I find really interesting is that Scherer, who is out of town today, would target a fellow Republican like Rothstein. This looks like a power play by an old guard GOP force (Scherer) against the new Republican kid on the block (Rothstein). Scherer, after all, is a bit on the outs these days. Jeb Bush removed him as general counsel at the North Broward Hospital District (the Pulp takes a bow) and of course there is no love lost between Scherer and Crist since Scherer strongly backed Tom Gallagher in the last gubernatorial primary.

This could pave the way for Scherer's return to big dog status, or it could only alienate him further from the heart of local Republican power. Either way, it should be a helluva thing to watch.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman