It's Friday and I'm working on some more long-term stuff, so I'll make this quick: Why don't politicians in Broward County have any shame?
I mean, in a lot of places when a judge gets caught not only partying with a prosecutor on a homicide case during the trial and then lies about it, she might do the right thing and leave the bench. Not Judge Ana Gardiner. She's fighting the charges filed against her on ridiculous technical grounds and still sits in judgment of defendants on behalf of the State of Florida.
In a lot of places, when a city manager gets caught steering
public construction jobs to a suspended city commissioner and is caught on tape talking about how you need to "know" somebody in his town to get public work, that person would take a bow and get the hell off the stage. Not in Broward County, where Miramar City Manager Robert Payton, who is deeply involved in the felony case of former Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, retains his seat.
In a lot of places, if a school board member gets caught steering a multibillion-dollar health-care contract to a company repped by a lobbyist who has secretly hired her husband, she might just step down from the dais. If that same school board member is caught using her office to get a $500,000 break for a crooked developer who has put that same husband on the payroll, she would surely resign, right? Not Stephanie Kraft, who remains on the school board making decisions affecting not only billions of public dollars but our children.
I could go down the list further, but these are three public officials who must be expunged from Broward Town. We still have lots of work to do.
-- Today I spoke on the phone with Abraham Korf, the Miami rabbi who serves as regional director of all 145 chabads in Florida. Rabbi Korf confirmed that Scott Rothstein's former chabad, the Downtown Jewish Center Chabad in Fort Lauderdale, isn't sanctioned by the World Lubavitch Headquarters.
He said Rabbi Schneur Kaplan has nothing to do with the hierarchy anymore.
"He is out of the picture," said Rabbi Korf of Kaplan. "He does not follow the rules and regulations that chabad stands for, so we removed him from the group. I can't get into details, but he did not want to follow the rules. If everyone did what they want, not act by the regulations, there would be no more chabad."
Rabbi Korf said he didn't know Scott Rothstein's name before the Ponzi scheme imploded, but he had heard about the mysterious lawyer who was giving lots of money to Kaplan's renegade operation.
"I heard about somebody that gave Rabbi Kaplan a lot of money, a certain lawyer, but I didn't know who that lawyer was and I don't how much money he gave," said Korf. "I had just heard that he had gotten from this lawyer a lot of money."
Although it is known that Kaplan had broken ranks from Fort Lauderdale Rabbi Moishe Meir Lipszyc, Korf wouldn't get into details of what caused the split and, ultimately, the excommunication of sorts of Kaplan. He said he would have to get authorization from his own superiors in the organization to tell the story and wasn't inclined to do it.
"We warned [Kaplan] many times, but it didn't help, so we had to remove him," said Korf. "It's not right for me to tell what he did. We have our own system. We don't do things in public, and such things could lead to court cases, and I don't have the money or the time to get involved in such things."
Good to hear from Rabbi Korf. Last thing today is another photograph taken at Rabbi Kaplan's chabad's grand opening, which was made possible in part because of Rothstein's illicit fortune. Again, there's a big-time public official lurking in it. See if you can spot that person:
Hint: The official is currently running for the Senate.