Anybody look familiar in this picture? Yes, that's Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman on the right to present an award to dirty developer Shawn Chait, in the blue shirt, at the groundbreaking for the Transplant Foundation House at Broward General Medical Center in April 2008. The award is a pretty clear indication that Shawn Chait and his father, Bruce, who are expected to plead guilty to bribery and other charges next month, provided a sizable contribution to the Transplant Foundation. The State Attorney's Office, as we discussed on Monday, is reportedly investigating Lieberman's role in raising money for the charity.
Lieberman, who serves as a board member for the Transplant Foundation, voted to approve the Chaits' controversial housing project on two golf courses in Tamarac in August 2006. Lieberman's husband, Sunrise City Attorney Stuart Michelson, also represented Shawn Chait during his first
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interview (back in 2008) with state prosecutors in the corruption investigation. In that interview, Chait allegedly lied about his bribery of Lieberman's former commission colleague, Joe Eggelletion, whom he gave a golf club membership and cash totaling $25,000 in exchange for his support of the project.
I'm putting in a call to the Transplant Foundation to try to find out how much Chait money was donated.
Just doing a little research I found this link to Lieberman's campaign expenditures in 2008, namely what she did with the campaign money she didn't need because she ran unopposed. It's an interesting document and not just because it serves as an incredible one-stop shopping point for a list of government-leeching special interests in Broward County. It shows, for instance, that Lieberman donated $5,000 to the Transplant Foundation that year, though she has been known to donate more than $100,000 in past campaigns. The big winner this time was the Democratic Party ($10,000) and what looks like a committee for the Democratic Inauguration in Denver ($15,000). It also shows she gave Prestige Homes -- the Chaits' company -- their contribution back (prorated) and made the final $1,500 payment to her campaign manager, Beverly Stracher, who also worked for the Chaits.
More coming later this morning.