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Mysterious "Jedi" Plays Shady Role in Plantation Races

There's a mysterious force at work in the Plantation City Council races -- and they call him the Jedi.

The Jedi is being blamed for a recent negative ad on council candidate Lynn Stoner, who is getting backing by certain Republicans. The ad, which attacks Stoner's dismal voting record, comes with no identifying disclosure -- which seems to run contrary to state law.

The ad's disclaimer says: "Printed and mailed under rights guaranteed by both the U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1, and Florida Statute 106.03."

The address is listed as 7027 W. Broward Blvd., which is a mail drop at a shipping store.

Don't you love how those who want to buy political races always hide behind the Constitution?   
The Red Broward blog has made much mention of the Jedi of late. Ironically nobody knows who Red Broward is. Throw Broward Cleansweep into the mix and you could throw one hell of a costume party. 

The Jedi, according to scuttlebutt on the web, is backing one of Stoner's opponent, Sheldon Harr, a rabbi. The mystery man is also backing the Luke Sykwalker of Plantation politics, Diane Bendekovic. The force is apparently with Bendekovic in Plantation. Currently a councilwoman, Bendekovic's father is the late longstanding mayor Frank Veltri, and she seems to be the city's favorite daughter.

But Jerry Fadgen, a Republican of the worst kind, is fighting hard for the spot. I think tomorrow's vote is going to be tight.

Speculation about who is the Jedi seems centered on two suspects, both of them somewhat notorious names from Broward's past: 

Tom Armstrong and Scott Cowan. 

Cowan is, of course, the former county commissioner who sold out the county to the highest bidder before he was caught stealing from his own campaign coffers, kicked out of office, and convicted of a crime. Now he's returned as a shadow-dwelling lobbyist in Davie (he kept up a friendship with Ron Book, after all). 

Armstrong is a former councilman and state representative who was the contractor on the Plantation Towne Mall renovation when it burned down in 1996. It was the largest fire in Broward history, destroying some 40 businesses. The kicker was that Armstrong used a loophole in the law to avoid installing a sprinkler system, according to a Sun-Sentinel report at the time. 

Armstrong has been out of politics ever since, with his wife, Rae Carol, taking the lead. She's the retiring Plantation mayor who recently endorsed Bendekovic. 

I'm trying to get to the bottom of the Jedi mystery. 

UPDATED: Talked to a source who says that the Jedi, or the person who is being called the Jedi, is Cowan. Still digging. 

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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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