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Down With Ceasar

The slime runs deep in Broward's Democratic Party, which has become a cesspool of cheaters and profiteers.  

And the Florida Democratic Party is nothing but a rubber stamp for the local party's shenanigans.

It's unfortunate but true. And the whole party needs to be cleaned out from top to bottom. 

Recently Broward Democratic chief and tax dollar-sucking lobbyist Mitch Ceasar, the grand pooh-bah of the whole donkey gang, has been back to his old tricks, trying to run the Tamarac Democratic Club out of existence.

He succeeded. And Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman rubber-stamped it. A state party official told me they had no choice but to kill the club. It was deigned by Ceasar, after all (more on that later).

This isn't some squabble inside the party -- it's part of a struggle between right and wrong, between integrity and dishonesty, between corruption and clean government. The dispute centers around Patti Lynn, a Democrat who doesn't hail Ceasar and isn't afraid to call out the party on its own corruption. Ceasar and his right-hand woman, state committeewoman Diane Glasser, have long despised Lynn, who ran against one of their favorite candidates in Tamarac, Vice Mayor Patricia "Positively Patte" Atkins-Grad (more on that later). 

When Lynn was elected president of the Tamarac club, Ceasar did what he usually does in such situations. He played dirty. He claimed arcane violations of process, all of which were either false or at best dubious. Then Ceasar and Glasser tried to hold a new election and rig it by bringing in about 30 new members to the club, none of whom had attended meetings. Their fees were paid in one delivery of cash from Glasser.

Don't take my word for it; listen to Faye Koch Kronberg, who has presided over the Tamarac club for 15 years and before that was secretary for the Davie Democratic Club. Kronberg wrote to me last month:

"I have been a staunch Democrat all of my life but what has just occurred in local Broward Democrat politics has turned me off. This is about Mitch Caesar who does not like Patti Lynn who was voted in as president of the Tamarac Democratic Chapter. [Ceasar] has made up every lie he could to

change the election date. Through Diane Glasser, he brought in 30 new applicants, not live people, paid by cash, and proposed a member for president who was a member for a year but had never attended a meeting, and then made excuses to hold off our elections for 45 days so that these new members could elect this person that had never attended a meeting. Would you call this a set up. That is exactly what it is and done by Mitch Ceasar and Diane Glasser... We have done everything according to our By-laws. I have gone to State Democratic for advice and been ignored with my e mails and phone calls."  

After all those years of service, Kronberg says she's now ashamed of the Democratic Party. She's 89 years old.

Ceasar then asked state leader Thurman to kill the club. She did so in a letter she signed April 22. Thurman and no other state party official conducted any investigation whatsoever. They didn't even ask Lynn or Kronberg for an explanation.  

When I saw Thurman's letter, I tried to ask her why she would endorse such shenanigans. Instead, I spoke with Florida Democratic Party Communications Director Eric Jotkoff.

"[Thurman] had no choice," Jotkoff told me, almost apologetically.

Jotkoff said that Ceasar's Broward DEC has control over all the local clubs and that when Ceasar asked for the club to be terminated, the state party had no choice but to execute the order. He conceded that the state made no attempt to see if Ceasar's allegations were true. 

Ceasar, meanwhile, has been busy telling people that it was the state party that killed the club. See how that works? Harry Truman would be spinning in his grave.

Ceasar is now going after the club's bank account, which I'm told holds a couple grand. In his April 28 letter to Wells Fargo, he played the role of innocent messenger while asking the bank to transfer the money over to the DEC.

"The Club's existence is solely by permission of the Florida Democratic Party," Ceasar wrote. "The funds... are to be surrendered to Broward Democratic Party."

Are you smelling this?

Right now, the club is shut down and the bank account is frozen. The club's attorney, Democratic activist Randy Fleischer, who has battled Ceasar numerous times, has filed a grievance with the state party. From the grievance:

It is apparent that the decision to dissolve the club was motivated by Diane Glasser and Mitch Ceasar who failed in an attempt to improperly influence the election because of dislike of the duly elected President of the Club, Patti Lynn... It is requested that an investigation by the Florida Democratic Party be initiated to determine whether Diane Glasser or Mitch Ceasar are guilty of interfering with the Tamarac Democratic Club election as they attempted to recruit new members to the club to prevent the election of Patti Lynn as President and when that attempt failed, they made a request to Karen Thurman that the club be dissolved and the club's funds be turned over to the Broward DEC which they control. 

Just so you know the nature of Ceasar's dislike of Lynn, understand that she's not tied into the county's corrupt lobbying machine (unlike Ceasar, who has parlayed his political power into lucrative lobbying jobs with several municipalities, including Tamarac).

Twice, Lynn ran against one of Ceasar's favorites, Patricia "Positively Patte" Atkins-Grad, and lost both times with the party stacked up against her. Notably, Lynn opposed criminal developer Bruce Chait's golf course development; Atkins-Grad supported it. Now Atkins-Grad is under investigation by the State Attorney's Office, and no one seems to know who paid for her four-figure election-night party in 2006. Glasser ran that campaign for Atkins-Grad, so maybe she can answer the question.

Here's what you do: Contact Karen Thurman and tell her that you want justice done. Email her at [email protected], tell her you're from Broward County and you're sick and tired of her being a tool of Ceasar and want a full investigation conducted of all that has happened at the Tamarac Democratic Club. Her number is 850-222-3411 if you want to do it that way.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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