A couple of newsflashes:
-- We all know that the Broward Sheriff's Office is expected to start handing out pink slips as Sheriff Al Lamberti tries to cut $60 million from the budget, but a recent letter from the agency to the jail union gives some precise numbers. Needless to say the detention deputies aren't pleased with this news, especially since the road patrol just received a two percent raise -- money that could have saved some jobs. Remember that the FOPE backed Lamberti's opponent, Scott Israel, in the last election while the Police Benevolent Association that represents the nondetention deputies backed Lamberti.
I'm hearing about possible walk-outs and everything from the jail side. We'll see.
-- As federal and state corruption investigations plow through Broward, politicians are running for cover in the form of big-name criminal attorneys.
I'm hearing that one of the biggest names in Broward politics has hired Miami attorney Ben Kuehne, whom you might remember also worked for former Broward Commissioner Joe Eggelletion after he was slapped with federal charges. Hit the jump to see who it is.
The answer: Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter.
I heard from a well-placed source that Ritter had hired Kuehne, though it has not been officially confirmed. I contacted Kuenhe at his Miami office. Good news: He's a Pulp reader. Bad news: He didn't want to talk about Ritter.
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"I'm not going to be commenting on that subject," Kuehne told me.
Ritter so far hasn't responded to a phone message for comment about Kuehne that I left yesterday.
Ritter, of course, has been investigated by the feds in the case of that other huge Ponzi schemer, Joel Steinger. It was Steinger who hired her husband, Russell Klenet, as his lobbyist while Ritter was in the state house. The convicted felon, who faces trial next year for his massive Mutual Benefits fraud, also paid more than $100,000 to renovate the commissioner's Parkland home. Ritter voted in favor of a regulatory bill pushed by Steinger and her husband while she sat in Tallahassee.
Ritter has also fallen under the scope of the State Attorney's Office investigation, according to sources. One of the things at issue is her acceptance of a golf cart from indicted developer Bruce Chait, who paid off Eggelletion for his support of a housing development in Tamarac. Ritter voted in favor of Chait's project as well. Last week I reported that Tamarac Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad has also come under the shadow of that investigation. Chait also hired the husbands of Broward School Board member Stephanie Kraft -- who helped the develper get a half-million-dollar break from the board -- and Broward Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who also voted his development project.