Rick Scott Aide Shuts Down RedBroward, Blogger Claims UPDATED

Anyone making the rounds through Broward County's political blogosphere earlier this week might have found an unexpected detour waiting for them over at RedBroward.com. Instead of the site's usual serving of GOP insider gossip and thought, browsers redirected here, to a gloomy bit of existential boilerplate courtesy of German big brain Friedrich Nietzsche.

But RedBroward wasn't sending a particular message. The blogger claims his web site was yanked out from under him by a high-placed staffer in Rick Scott's administration. The cyber squat was political payback for an earlier RedBroward detailing an inner-party squabble in the Broward GOP. Updated with clarification below.

According to RedBroward, this all went down on Monday. That morning, the blogger put up a post detailing a Republican Party of Florida meeting in Orlando, where county GOP chairman Rick Petrocelli nominated a former Broward resident for a slot on a congressional district committee. Red didn't appreciate the move, and detailed the resulting schism cracking the ranks.

Although the original post didn't name the nominee, RedBroward says it was Sheela Venero VanHoose, the director of scheduling for Governor Rick Scott, who posted this on Facebook subsequently:

On Monday night, RedBroward says the site started going on the fritz. By 10 p.m., the Nietzsche quote had replaced the content. Turns out, Red hadn't repaid for the domain rights, allowing someone to come along and grab the online turf. The internetspeak for all this is "cyber squatting," just so you know (and yeah, some of this does fall on RedBroward for not hopping quicker to renew).

When RedBroward went to check out who was holding the keys to his old pad, this is what he found. [RedBroward clarifies Venero had the domain rights: "Never owned rights to domain. Sheela scooped them up after a meeting discussing birth of RB."]

Since the site went off-line, RedBroward has set up camp on a blogspot account here. A post Tuesday detailed what went down with the old site, which has in turn kicked up posts elsewhere. "This type of cyber squatting, intended to harm the RED BROWARD brand," the blogger wrote.

New Times emailed Venero-Vanhoose to comment on what RedBroward has laid out here. We haven't heard back yet. We also fired calls and emails into the governor's office for comment about a staffer going in on some high-level trolling. No word from them either.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson