Why Is Spencer Levine an Appellate Judge?

This comes from the unsubstantiated-but-very-interesting file.

My colleague Tom Francis has been digging into Scott Rothstein's ties to the North Broward Hospital District. Specifically he's written about the triangle of influence among Rothstein, Gov. Charlie Crist, and former NBHD Chief Operating Officer Spencer Levine, whom Crist appointed as an appellate judge in April.  

Well, it looks like Francis is onto something. A man identifying himself as an NBHD vendor called me anonymously last week. I take a lot of these kinds of calls, and I can say that the man sounded credible, knew his stuff, and answered my questions with authority.

He told me that he had some complaints with the district that he wasn't going to get specific about. He said earlier this year, around January, he got a call from NBHD "puppet master" George LeMieux, who was not yet then a U.S. senator. LeMieux, of course, is the right-hand man to Gov. Charlie Crist, who oversees the hospital district and appointed its board.

"[LeMieux] said to call Scott Rothstein because he's the guy who

knows the district," said the anonymous source.

So the caller had a meeting with Rothstein in the inner sanctum. The conversation quickly turned to Spencer Levine.

"[Rothstein] told me he had Spencer Levine in his pocket and that he was going to get him on the Fourth District Court of Appeals," said the source. "He said they were friends, they socialized, and that Levine would do anything he wanted him to do. He said, 'I'm on the Judicial Nominating Committee, and I got Spencer in my pocket,' quote-unquote."

 said Rothstein never contacted him again, but he noticed that the JNC on which Rothstein sat nominated Levine for the Fourth DCA post and, in April, Crist appointed Levine to the vaunted judgeship. It raised some hackles, since Levine had never been a judge and hadn't even practiced law for several years. It was, put simply, very obviously a political appointment.

Another interesting connection is that Spencer Levine's wife, Judith Levine, was last year given the job as general counsel at none other than the Broward Sheriff's Office, where both Crist and Rothstein enjoyed great sway with Sheriff Al Lamberti.   

"How does Spencer Levine, who hasn't practiced law in 20 years, was not a judge, worked at NBHD, how does he get appointed to become an appellate judge?" said the man. "That scares the hell out of me. That's a scary thought for someone like Rothstein to have that kind of influence."

Yes, it is.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman