A 35-year-old Fort Lauderdale firefighter has been arrested on extortion charges after, police say, he illegally recorded a conversation and tried to use it as leverage to get information out of union president William Humpherey about a criminal investigation.
Steven Loleski was held on $51,000 bond yesterday.
He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals and charged in what Judge Jay Hurley described as trying to get "information regarding an ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI, the [Broward County] State Attorney's Office, also Fort Lauderdale police... into fraudulent behavior by several firefighters," according to the Sun-Sentinel. Loleski and five others are being investigated for allegedly forging medical certifications.
OK, so the FBI is investigating the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department. Good to know. And they're not the only department with problems: Two Pompano Beach firefighters, Lewis Gabriel Stouffer and Craig Louis Turturo, were arrested last month on charges they were part of a multi-million-dollar pill mill partnership in which they allegedly used their law enforcement connections to help their illegal connections.
In addition, the Davie Fire Department just settled a lawsuit alleging they discriminated against pregnant firefighters by, among other reasons, not assigning them to "light duty" when medically required, even as male firefighters were given it for "non-work related injuries," according to the Department of Justice.