While Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter remains under investigation for her involvement with dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, she wrote on her Facebook page that their gift of a golf cart to her is a "private" matter and that her acceptance of it was neither illegal nor unethical.
The Chaits gave Ritter the golf cart around 2006 while she was running for office. The developers also contributed and raised several thousand dollars for Ritter's campaigns at the time, clearly with the hope that she would support their controversial housing project in Tamarac -- support that Ritter ultimately gave them with her vote as a county commissioner.
Although it would clearly seem to be a matter related to her public role as an elected official, she wrote in a July 8 Facebook posting (forwarded to me by Broward CleanSweep) that it wasn't related to her political life.
It began when Ritter wrote a post criticizing the new "social media," claiming it has led to more scrutiny of public officials while hampering politicians' efforts to get their own messages out to the people.
"Social media has actually caused less information from electeds to their constituents," she wrote. "Every word recorded, every action filmed and every mistake, however small, exposed and exploited. It was supposed to be the opposite -- it was supposed to provide for more information to the public. What do you think?"
Someone named Dwayne Johnston then sent Ritter a zinger.
"[B]y mistake you mean that golf cart, right?" he wrote to the commissioner.
Here's how Ritter responded to Johnston:
"I would be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding any aspect of my public or private life. My office number is 954.357.7003. I run around a lot during the day so if
I'm not in, please leave a message and I will get back to you. The discussion about this subject would be about my private life, however, as I was not in office at the time which means nothing either illegal or unethical was done. I hope to hear from you."
Remember that Ritter was running for office at the time. In fact, her very first mistaken explanation about the cart, given here at the Pulp, was that it was an "in-kind contribution." At the time the gift was given, the Chaits had their housing development in Tamarac in the works and obviously knew she would be in a position to help them if she were elected.
Ritter has been on something of a media offensive for weeks to spin her relationship with the Chaits and try to explain her ethics reform amendment to outlaw anonymous complaints against commissioners and give them the right to seek legal fees against complainants. She even has her own YouTube channel. I'm seeing the hand of her "chief of staff" Ken Pauli, the former right-wing radio man from WFTL-AM (850).
Inside, you can see a couple of photographs of famous people Pauli used to promote before Ritter hired him on the taxpayers' dime.
Pauli was a manager at WFTL-AM (850) before taking his job with Ritter. There, he promoted the likes of right-wing hate-pusher Michael Savage. Among others:
Yes, that's Pauli with Fox News man Bill O'Reilly.