Bob Norman's Pulp

More Ritter-Klenet Campaign Expenses: $2,189 at Diplomat Hotel

More than $1,000 was spent during four shopping trips at the Fresh Market, an upscale grocer that happens to have a notably fine wine and meat selection.

  Curiously, the couple like to have alleged "campaign dinners" in Boca Raton in Palm Beach County. A visit to Chop's Lobster Bar in Boca Raton ran $682.20. Another dinner well outside of the district happened at Emeril's Miami Beach, where a $769.80 charge was racked up. Let's not forget the $156.89 charge for a limo service, Carey International Inc. 

  It's all part of about $15,000 in reimbursed expenses paid from the campaign to Ritter and, more so, Klenet that the Florida Election Commission has investigated. It appears a total of about $20,000 in expenses was paid out in this way.   

  Stacy Ritter, who ran unopposed in 2008, has said expenses like these represent a "new way" of campaigning that involved obviously extravagant meals for constituents, campaign volunteers, and "constituents." 

  Among her very few campaign workers was Alexssandra Lieberman, Klenet's secretary at his lobbying firm; and Norma Goldstein, a Kings Point retiree. For some reason, I'm not seeing Ritter and Klenet, a big-spending, cigar-smoking, wine-loving lobbyist, entertaining Lieberman (who is no relation to Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman) or Goldstein at the Diplomat.

It's up to the State Attorney's Office, which is reportedly investigating the campaign, to get to the bottom of each of these expenditures. Prosecutors must determine exactly who was entertained during each lunch and dinner, who it was that consumed the high-priced groceries, who rode in the limousines, etc. 

Inside, more fun with screen captures.

The Sun-Sentinel's website has been dominated with ads from a familiar jewelry story recently:

 

It was the stuff of scandal a year ago, but today it's like nothing happened, except a big-spending spiky-haired lawyer is nowhere to be found.

I wonder if the bankruptcy lawyers are going to go after Levinson for a clawback? Rothstein dropped double-digit millions and sponsored many events for his favorite jeweler, with whom he shared a publicist in Kip Hunter. Possibly more important question: Should they hit Levinson for a clawback? 

Levinson was a businessman and Rothstein was leading the most lavish life in town (though considering Russ and Stacy's campaign gluttony, they weren't far behind). Yes, it's all very sleazy and distasteful, but absent evidence that Mark and/or Robin Levinson knew about the Ponzi scheme, should the jewelry store really have to cough up the money Rothstein splurged on them?

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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