Palm Beach News

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio Takes Blame for Email Leaks That Compromised Cops (UPDATE)

The president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association is calling for Elliot Cohen's resignation over the confidential email leaks. WPTV reporter Brian Entin Tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that John Kazanjian says Cohen should step down over the fiasco.

Original Post:  
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio has taken the blame for the city's posting of sensitive information on the city's website that detailed information on local and federal law enforcement investigations. The main issue with the posting was that it compromised undercover officers involved in the investigations, as well as informants helping them in drug investigations.  

The information, which showed emails that detailed criminal investigations, including drug sting targets, had been posted on the website for three days last week. On Monday, Muoio released a statement that implied spokesman Elliot Cohen had released the emails before they had a chance to be redacted. 

“Elliott simply passes on the documents he receives from the departments,” Muoio's statement read. “In this case, it appears the departments did not have the opportunity to review the information before it was released, as a result it is essential that we review our process to see if any changes need to be made."

Messages left for Cohen by New Times have remained unreturned.

But during a news conference addressing the issue on Tuesday, Muoio said that it was she, and not Cohen, who hatched the idea to post the information online in response to a WPTV NewsChannel 5 reporter's public record's request. Muoio explained that there was a breakdown in the process and apologized to the law enforcement agents who may have been compromised. 

"All of us here in City Hall are very upset that these emails were out in the public,” the mayor said during the presser. “They should not have been.”

Among some of the investigations that appeared in the documents involved the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Meanwhile, according to Gossip Extra, part of the presser involved Muoio calling out the gossip website for posting the information after the news broke.

According to Gossip Extra, Muoio  told WPEC-CBS12 reporter Israel Balderas to look to Jose Lambet, who runs the news site, as someone who should be blamed for having police investigations compromised.

“Maybe it should be Jose Lambiet, who published some of this,” Muoio says. “Why don’t you ask him that question?”

"You blaming a journalist?” Balderas asked her.

“But he published it last Wednesday,” Muoio responded, “and it’s still on his website.”

Muoio, meanwhile, stood by Cohen at the news conference.

"Elliot continues to be a valued member of our leadership team and will continue to be,” she said
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph