Someone has been wanting me to post Scott Rothstein's campaign contributions to Broward State Attorney Michael Satz. A reader sent me a list last night that included $4,900 worth of Rothstein-related campaign checks during his 2008 election. I checked it against the state campaign database, and it was good, though I found a few more.
And it added up to a pretty big haul that our top prosecutor received from maybe the biggest Ponzi schemer in Florida history. And it illustrates a problem that has helped cause Broward County to become the corruption capital of America.
Giving $100 was former Rothstein attorney Kenneth Padowitz, Harold Bofshever, Melissa Britt Lewis, Kari Rosenfeldt, and Howard Kusnick. Giving $250 was Denis Kleinfeld. Giving $500 was Bill Brock, Ingrid Sahdala, Mary Conboy, Russell Adler, Stuart Rosenfeldt, Scott Rothstein, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, AAMM Holdings Inc., Marybeth Feiss, Grant Smith, Debra Villegas, Irene Shannon (Stay), and Howard Gruverman.
That's a minimum. About $1,500 worth of the contributions were in-kind for food and drink at an event, indicating that Rothstein threw Satz a fundraiser. Basic tip for aspiring political sleuths, when you see that, you check the dates that the main players gave contributions and see who else gave at that time. In this case, the brunt of the contributions were dated November 5 and November 8. Here are the names that come up on those dates (while reading them, remember that they may or may not have anything to do with the Rothstein fundraiser):
John P. Bria Sr. $500, Jonathan D. Commella $100, Complete Title Solutions $500, Jeanne Dishowitz $100, Carl Karmin $250, Robert Boudreau $500, Richard Bury $200, DP Marketing Services $300, Gary Farbish $250, Investors Mortgage Services $500, Leonard Bierman and Associates $250, Morse Operations $500, Martha Quintana $500, Micheal Seligson $250, Tracy Weintraub $500, Kristin Weisberg $150.
Some of these names are familiar (Bria and Morse, shoutout at you), but some of them may not be related. The point is that Rothstein pulled out the stops for Satz and raised something like $10,000 for the top prosecutor. Minus Satz's contributions to himself, he raised a total of $140,000, so Rothstein could boast he was responsible for
about 7.5 percent of the Satz total.
So, why is this important? Satz almost surely didn't know Rothstein was a crook at the time, though we now know he was deep into his Ponzi scheme at the time, pulling big bucks from George Levin and others.
But there's a big difference between Satz and other politicians, of course. Satz is responsible for just about every criminal prosecution in Broward County that occurs on a state level. So what effect might all that money have on Satz if his office had received a complaint about Rothstein? What effect might a cozy fundraiser with fine food and drinks have had on him? We know he rubbed shoulders with Rothstein; did he consider him a friend?
And isn't it absurd that our state attorney likely considered one of Broward's all-time worst criminals a pal?
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This is a big reason Satz has been such an abject failure when it comes to prosecuting political corruption in Broward County. He's a damned politician. He relies on the same folks for campaign contributions and consulting as the rest of the elected officials in this rancid town.
Satz's campaign manager is lobbyist Barbara Miller. She is partners with Neil Sterling, and the two of them are involved in rampant corruption at the Broward County School Board (with Sterling in the lead role). Sterling actually put Broward County School Board Member Stephanie Kraft's husband on the payroll of one of his companies while Kraft was making sure Sterling's client, Vista Health, got a one-sided $1.7 billion health insurance contract. Talk to any School Board employee and her or she will tell you about it. Sterling also helped get former School Boarder Bev Gallagher, who was recently charged with crimes of corruption, a sham job at another client of his, Community Blood Centers.
Look at Satz's contribution list; it's loaded with all the lobbyists (including Sterling) and monied interests that manipulate all the other pols in this town. The corrupt elite in Broward town are his peeps. That's one reason he's tried to make his bones with drug cases and several high-profile murder cases involving destitute and often mentally challenged men who proved to be innocent. It's the height of perversity.
Satz is walking proof that the state attorney position shouldn't be elected, not only because of his connections and record but because he's been in office since 1976. I know that appointed positions have their share of problems (just look at the history of the North Broward Health District). But I'm convinced now that the position should be appointed at the state level. This election thing isn't working in Broward County at all.