More on Sheriff Al Lamberti's Big Donor

Rob Kornahrens, the fellow with that big swinging patrol car for Sheriff Al Lamberti, is a major GOP donor, an ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, and apparently the favorite roofer of business mogul H. Wayne Huizenga.  

Kornahrens and interests related to his Advanced Roofing firm in Fort Lauderdale have contributed more than $75,000 to the state Republican Party and another $15,000 to the "Yes on 1 -- Save Our Homes NOW" political committee that backed Crist's property tax initiative. In all, he's responsible for more than $100,000 in political largess. He's also given tens of thousands to national candidates, including about $35,000 to John McCain. Late in the presidential race, he also gave Obama $10,000, apparently to hedge his bets.  

Crist may have returned the favor last year when he gushed over Kornahrens and his solar offshoot company, Advanced Green Technologies, at a news conference held at Advanced Roofing's headquarters. "They're doing such great things and making such a difference," the governor said at the conference. "The largest solar panel roof in Florida is obviously a good example."

Crist is so good at stroking big campaign donors. It's definitely one of his great skills. (And thanks to the commenter in the post below for posting the news conference article).

Crist, of course, appointed Lamberti to the sheriff's position after Ken Jenne was federally indicted. That made the race between Lamberti and challenger Scott Israel a bit personal for the governor. And that may help to explain why Kornahrens pulled the patrol-car stunt at his roofing yard off Interstate 95. The move is backfiring against Lamberti, though, now that the Florida Elections Commission is conducting an investigation to determine whether the advertisement was legal. The patrol car, which swung from a giant crane, touted Lamberti and was probably worth about $20,000 in total. Lamberti, however, got it for free, and Kornahrens' gift was never reported on his campaign reports.

While Kornahren has been flooding the political system with cash and hanging patrol cars, the Sun-Sentinel has been honoring him with awards and puff pieces. Last year, the newspaper awarded Kornahrens its Excalibur Award for Business Leaders. This past February, it did a fawning feature on Kornahrens ("Rob Kornahrens is described as a risk-taker who plans ahead" and "The company's history begins not with a roof, but a love story" are a couple of lines) that didn't even mention his political connections. But it included some fun facts, like that his firm employs 350 people and brought in about $85 million in revenue in 2008 and he's done work on the AutoNation tower in Fort Lauderdale and Republic Services, both heavily tied to Huizenga.

It's gonna be interesting to see how the elections investigation plays out and how far the commission goes in getting to the bottom of how the swinging patrol car came to be.

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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