Oops, Stacy Did It Again

So Stacy Ritter was on Channel 4 with Eliott Rodriguez, who conducted a deft and capable interview (my only complaint: no golf cart mention!). He got her to talk about her watering down of the ethics reform package -- and, yes, she did squirm a bit. But the highlight came when the veteran newsman asked about her involvement in the corruption investigation starring dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait.

"I think that anybody that has anything to do with Tamarac is being linked to the Chaits, and I happen to represent Tamarac," she said. 

Thank goodness Rodriguez didn't allow that B.S. to slide. He asked about her personal relationship with the Chaits. 

"Social," she said of the relationship. "They, they, uh, gave me two checks I think for my Senate campaign when I was running for state Senate in 2005 and early 2006."

Wrong answer.

Two checks? That sounds innocent enough. Problem is that Ritter was either lying to Rodriguez or was simply misinformed (though you'd think she'd know every detail of her involvement in Chaitgate at this point).

Campaign records show that during her Senate campaign, which she quit in June 2006 to run instead for Broward County Commission, the Chaits were responsible for at least five $500 maximum checks, including contributions from Bruce Chait, wife Rona Chait, Shawn Chait, business partner Robert Conner, the Chaits' secretary Kim Loss, and the Chaits' company, Prestige Homes.

That's six checks, Stacy, for a total of $3,000. And that's just the beginning.

After Ritter withdrew from the Senate race in June 2006, the Chaits apparently raised her more money. On June 26, a $500 check came from Conner's wife, Mary Conner. On that same day, two $500 checks came from All Star Electric and All Star Remodeling, the Chait subcontractor that also put $10,500 into a slush fund at the Chaits' request to attack Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco's political opponents at the end of the 2006 election.

Six days prior, All Star owner James Starkweather also gave $500. Add up those checks and you come up with a total of ten checks and $5,000. And I am willing to gamble that there are more Chait-related checks that have gone unnoticed.

On top of that, she didn't mention the golf cart. 

When asked by Rodriguez if she would comment on whether she met with prosecutors, Ritter said: "I'm not going to confirm or deny. I'm a lawyer, and lawyers know when to say appropriate things and when not to say anything. And I take my oath of office as a lawyer very, very seriously, and I'm not going to comment on any kind of investigation."

If only she were as dedicated to her oath as an elected official.   

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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