Judy Stern Loses Hotel Vote

You've probably read about the vote to choose Hilton over Marriott to build the 1000-room hotel next to the Broward Convention Center.

But you didn't get the whole story. The vote, in some ways, was a referendum on the power of Judy Stern, who is the lobbyist du jour in Broward these days.

She represented Marriott (along with Bernie Friedman, according the Pulp's trusty lobbyist list) in what was a huge competition with William Rubin-rep'd Hilton. There was even talk that the sabotage letter written to her county clients -- bogusly claiming that she was under federal investigation for money laundering and perjury -- was somehow tied to the hotel battle royale.

Hilton won the vote 6-4, so Stern and her client lost. But did she really lose? Marriott was coming in at more than $100 million more in cost than Hilton and, unlike Paris's pop's company, didn't have financing lined up.

Yet she still nabbed four county commission votes. Her homegirl (literally) Lois Wexler went along, as did old bud John Rodstrom and long-time compatriots Josephus Eggelletion and Ilene Lieberman.

So, in a way, the vote only confirmed Stern's power.

A hotel next to the convention center? $400 million. Annual County Rent: $4 million. Four locked votes on the commission? Priceless.

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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