Broward News

Deerfield Beach Mango Festival Claims Broward Sheriff Sponsorship; BSO Denies

In what's becoming an annual tradition, the Deerfield Beach Mango Festival is exaggerating the role that the Broward Sheriff's Office has at the June event.

Last year, event organizers claimed that BSO deputies ensured that cash collected at the gates wasn't skimmed. BSO contradicted that claim, saying that its deputies only provided security for the event; they were not hired to monitor the way cash was handled. Rather, the Mango Festival operated on an honor system. And when you compare the huge crowds with the tiny amounts collected from admission, there's reason to wonder about the integrity of the Mango's honor system.

This year, the Mango -- which needs all the credibility it can get -- is claiming BSO is a sponsor of the event. Guess what?

BSO is not a sponsor of the event. BSO media relations director Jim Leljedal told activist Chaz Stevens so last week. I called BSO a moment ago, and a deputy told me the same.

So I asked the event's promoter, Norris Wiggins. He told me: "BSO is providing security for the festival, so we'll have their presence there. But we've never mentioned them as a sponsor."

Never... except on every page of the Mango Festival website, which I checked after getting off the phone with Wiggins. Scroll down and you'll find this at the bottom of the page.

It even names Al Lamberti himself! And the link takes you straight to the BSO website.

Roll to the right side of the screen and you'll see the familiar BSO logo right above Big John's Pickled Sausage.

I tried to call Wiggins back to ask him about the website, but I couldn't reach him. I hope to get in touch later, and when I do, I'll post an update.

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Thomas Francis