Rico Petrocelli, Broward County Republican Chairman, Broke as a Bad Joke

For once, we've found common ground with debt collectors: Broward County Republican Chairman Rico Petrocelli is impossible to get on the telephone and won't return calls.

At least when the calls refer to his crushing debt.

Petrocelli is mad broke. He filed for bankruptcy in November of last year -- and gots bills to pay. Around $300,000 worth of bills, according to records with the Southern District of Florida Claims Register.

Petrocelli = FISCAL HAWKZZ!

So being the dutiful watchdog, we got Petrocelli on the telephone. For exactly 32 seconds. We told him we wanted to talk about his debt, and it was pretty clear this experience wasn't new to Petrocelli: "I'm in the middle of something right now," he told us. "Can we talk at 5 p.m.?"
So we called him at 5 and SURPRISE! No answer.

Petrocelli, whose name he shares with an iconic Red Sox shortstop, was recently elected after former chair Richard DeNapoli decided to get out of politics after coming under some criticism for feckless leadership. (DeNapoli retorts: I would have walked to another term if I wanted it.)

But he didn't; so we got Moneybags Petrocelli. Who's filed for bankruptcy twice.

Petrocelli has gotten a little bit of early heat into his tenure for decreasing the number of meetings local Republicans will have. This, however, makes sense. People, this is the political offseason -- chill.

Give Petrocelli a minute. He's got to keep his house first.

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Terrence McCoy