Father-and-son developers Bruce and Shawn Chait were charged today with bribery, accused of paying for a golf membership for former Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion in exchange for his support for a controversial housing project on two golf courses in Tamarac.
The State Attorney's Office also reports in the complaint against the Chaits that the developers also paid Eggelletion an extra $25,000 for his vote for the developments. From the news release:
In the complaint filed Friday, the state contends that the Chaits and Eggelletion schemed to come up with a plausible explanation to investigators why Shawn Chait delivered the $3,200 in cash to the country club. They decided that the Chaits would tell investigators that the money belonged to Eggelletion and that Shawn Chait was merely dropping off the cash at the club as a favor to Eggelletion.
Eggelletion admits that he received another $25,000 from the Chaits at the club in December 2006 for his favorable votes on issues involving Prestige Homes being considered by the county commission.
You can see the probable cause affidavit by clicking here. Obviously this isn't good for the Chaits or their company, Prestige Homes. But you know who it's really not good for?
Broward County School Board Member Stephanie Kraft.
You see, this was all written months ago, when I first told you about the fact that the Chaits had hired Kraft's husband, Mitch, to help it get a $500,000 break on fees it owed the School Board. Kraft misused her elected position to help get that job done, as we proved on the Pulp in the days B.R. (Before Rothstein).
First Eggelletion goes down. Then he pleads guilty and squawks on the Chaits; then the Chaits are charged; then they squawk on Kraft.
And others. There must be others. I have a feeling there are some officials in Tamarac who are shaking today just as violently as Kraft must be.
I know what you're thinking... so what does this have to do with Scott Rothstein?
Well, it's all
connected. Cleaning up the town (and I once again ask those who back that effort to friend up here) goes way beyond getting justice for Rothstein and those in his immediate circle. As U.S. Sen. George LeMieux put it (and he should know), Broward County has a culture of corruption. Broward County made Scott Rothstein possible -- and wiping out this current generation of corrupt leadership is paramount in making sure another one doesn't take his place.
I keep saying it, Broward is the biggest small town in America. It's all connected. Eggelletion, for instance, was pals with Rothstein and used to smoke free $40 cigars at Moe "Mad Bentley" Sohail's shop. It's just a little example of the soft corruption in Broward Town.
-- In one other development directly related to Scott Rothstein, I contacted Maria Hunt, someone mentioned in Goodfella's notorious comment. For numerous reasons, I am now 99 percent convinced that Scott Rothstein was Goodfella. In the comment, Goodfella made allegations about Ted Morse and Hunt, who coordinates the Broward Heart Ball charity that Rothstein, Morse, and others were involved with. You may think these types of allegations shouldn't be dignified with any mention, but you would be wrong. These types of matters can wind up playing heavily in investigations (the feds sometimes call it "The Pussy Principal").
Anyway, I got Hunt, who was very pleasant despite the subject matter, on the phone, and when I introduced myself and told her what I was calling about, she laughed and said she was surprised I was calling her. I told her I was a little surprised myself. Then I asked her about Rothstein.
"I'm not going to comment on anything," she said. "It's just a really bad situation."
Then I asked her a pointed question about her relationship with Ted Morse.
"I'm not going to talk about anything like that," she said.
I asked her again, telling her it was a chance to deny it.
"I'm not going to say anything about it," she said. "I just hope you have a very nice holiday season."
I told you she was nice.