UPDATED: The Three Queens of Broward

In a tearful farewell yesterday for outgoing Broward Mayor Ken Keechl, Stacy Ritter spoke of how she, Keechl, and fellow Commissioner Ilene Lieberman were the "three queens" of the Broward County Commission. 

UPDATED: Here's the full text of what Ritter said in her emotional speech to Keechl at yesterday's County Commission meeting, the mayor's last before his opponent Chip LaMarca takes his seat:

"I can't tell you how much I have appreciated becoming your friend," Ritter said. "I know that we have been accused of queening it up too much, you, me, and Lieberman, the three queens on the County Commission. But I can't really think of anybody I would rather queen it up with than you. And I know you won't be sitting next to me, but there are few times in the world of politics where you find a friend. You find colleagues and you find supporters and even enemies, but you rarely find a friend. And I don't care if you have a title or not. So the greatest joy for me these four years is being -- is becoming -- your friend. I know whatever paths we take from this point forward, you and me and Russ and Ted will always be friends."

"Absolutely," said Keechl.  

"So I wish the best for you and for Ted in the future, look forward to sharing some really good bottles of wine and being able to talk about everything," Ritter concluded.

Hey, I wonder if Keechl has any of those fine bottles of wine he paid for his with his campaign account left?

Remember that the Florida Election Commission is meeting in Tallahassee this morning to determine if Ritter broke the law in her last campaign. Will update as soon as I hear the outcome.  

Inside, let's look at what's occupying the time of a key state legislator. Also I highlight the Sentinel story on Scott Rothstein's sting on the Italian Mob associate.

State Rep. Jim Waldman is suing a community college in Jacksonville for allegedly libeling his employer, Keiser University.

It's based in part on an email sent by the Jacksonville State College president, Steven Wallace, in which he wrote about starting a technical college to drive the "sleazebags out of the region." The "sleazebags" he was referring were those who run for-profit colleges, including presumably Waldman's boss, Arthur Keiser.

The community college is fighting the lawsuit with a vengeance, having just fired off a release with a new round of accusations, including that they are "trying to buy off politicians."

Gee, who might those community college rascals be thinking of, Jim? Let me say something about Keiser University now. I think it basically serves as a debt machine for young people ill-informed enough to enroll. And I hope this lawsuit you filed boomerangs and leads to subpoenas that will shed more light on the whole dubious for-profit college industry.

That's my opinion. Now what are you going to do, Jim, sue me?

-- The Sun-Sentinel did a story on Scott Rothstein's undercover work for the feds that brought down Sicilian Mob associate Roberto Settineri.

Rothstein once told me he had 43 voices in his head and he didn't know which one might come out. He said some of them are guys from the Bronx streets that stay hidden until he needs them. Apparently when he got back from Morocco, he needed them, because those are the voices that come out on the tapes.

Rothstein asks Settineri if he could have have a former law partner roughed up:

"I never done nothing to this guy. Could you just send a message to him? ... Maybe if he can't walk so good just for a few days that would be fuckin' enough, because I can't have this."

When urging Settineri's business associates to destroy documents and hide $5 million related to his blown-up Ponzi scheme, Rothstein says, "It's all from this fuckin' scam. I don't want the feds to fucking have it. It's not their money. They didn't steal it. I did it."

He offers a pearl of wisdom on the tapes that he definitely followed while living his lavish in-your-face existence while committing the greatest fraud in Broward history: "I've always followed the rule 'Hide in plain sight.' If you look like you're hiding, people notice you're hiding."

More coming. 

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