-- Sure Beverly Gallagher liked to tie one on. Hell, the feds' information for her arrest included documented visits to bars, and who could forget the infamous FBI party boat.
Had the former School Board member gone to trial, you really would have heard all about her boozing (actually, she drank mostly wine). The incessant partying with undercover FBI agents was going to be the basis of her defense. Her very capable defense attorney, David Bogenschutz, was going to to argue that the agents fed her weaknesses, namely got her shitfaced, to get her to agree to fix school contracts for illicit cash and the promise of a job.
There maybe be a smidgen of truth in that, but when Gallagher certainly didn't repent when she woke up in the morning -- or kick the undercover agents out of her figurative bed. She was just as dedicated to the corrupt scheme as ever. And there were plenty of lunch meetings as well, including the one involving the notorious doggy bag.
The truth is that real lobbyists also use alcohol to lubricate politicians all the time. Hell, lobbyist Dave Ericks bought a bar (Clyde & Costello's) near the Capitol in Tallahassee for exactly that purpose.
-- Supposed ethics champion Roy Rogers may have had another reason to vouch for Gallagher in a letter to her judge other than friendship. It turns out that Rogers, who serves as chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, relied on Gallagher's vote to help him win millions of dollars in contracts off the
Broward County School Board.
Rogers' fingers have been in numerous School Board landscaping contracts involving both his own company, Roy Rogers & Associates Inc., and another firm called the IBI Group, with which he also had an affiliation, according to board records.
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It's a confusing web of contracts, but it's clear that Rogers inked a three-year million-dollar deal in 2003 that was apparently extended in 2007. IBI had a similar contract approved on the same days, only for twice the amount.
It's so funny how the Broward County political machine morphed Rogers from a developer paving over the Everglades with the Weston development into a supposed ethics crusader. And the media bought it without question (the Miami Herald's Fred Grimm actually called Rogers a "longtime champion of government reform" in a recent column). Norm Ostrau is another easy example of a government insider with longstanding ties to some of the most corrupt influences in town who is propped up as a clean-government hero.
Only in Broward County are the two top ethical "champions" a developer, lobbyist, and government contractor (Rogers) and a developers' attorney (Ostrau).
How can Rogers serve as the state's ethics chairman when he is beholden to public officials for his paycheck? Why did he stick his neck out for Gallagher? These are just some of the questions that hopefully we'll answer in future installments of As the Pulp Turns.