Word is that Broward County School Board Member Beverly Gallagher has hired Mr. Bus Bench himself, Steve Rossi, to represent her in a reputed ongoing federal criminal probe.
I asked Rossi, who also represents the Broward Teacher's Union, about it today.
"Anything involving a client I can't comment on that," said Rossi, who is also a former Fort Lauderdale City Commission candidate. "I can't deny or admit that I represent anybody."
Just for record, I've never heard a lawyer give that answer who isn't in fact representing the person being asked about. Call me a renegade, but I'm taking the answer as a "yes." I was so sure about it that I asked Rossi if there was any truth to the persistent rumor that Gallagher is planning to soon
resign her political office. Of course he didn't answer. Rossi, who is a former FBI agent, is a professional, after all.
In addition to Rossi's apparent representation of Gallagher, there have also been several other signs of troubles in the Gallagher camp. For one, she has missed several School Board meetings and workshops in recent weeks, which is uncharacteristic for her. For another, she is the only Broward County politician who has yet to file a required financial disclosure form. As the Miami Herald reported, she's late with the form and is now facing fines. On top of that, she's not even returning the Herald's calls anymore.
So what's she trying to hide in her finances? Of course, if she lies on the form, that's a crime as well, so she may just be trying to limit the damage.
To sum up: Things don't look good at all for Gallagher, who enjoys a close relationship with lobbyist Neil Sterling and School Board construction companies. But her previous opponent for the School Board seat, Henry Rose, says he's been hearing about a federal criminal investigation into Gallagher for so long that he's not holding his breath. "I've heard about it for so long that I'm assuming she's going to end up serving out her four-year term," Rose told me.
Yeah, but what if she doesn't? Will Rose run in a special election for her seat?
"I would have to talk it over with my wife and family," he said. "It's hard on the family. I would consider it, but I would have to talk with the family to make the final decision."
Gallagher is the second elected official who has lawyered up for the alleged criminal probe. As reported here first, Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion has hired attorney Johnny McCray.