Sun-Sentinel: Corruption Is Suddenly ... Everywhere!

Jennifer Gollan had a nice little scoop about elected officials' travel that centered on mayors Richard Kaplan, Joy Cooper, and Frank Ortis billing hundreds of dollars to stay at a hotel for a convention in Miami -- all of about 30 miles away. Nothing earth-shattering, but a sweet daily story.

Then on the B-front there were two stories about corruption, one by Sally Kestin and Peter Franceschina and the other by columnist Michael Mayo, that tried to encapsulate the fallout of the Mary McCarty federal case. Oddly, they were basically the same story, bringing up points brought up here Friday: Corruption pervades this place and the feds, via the honest services laws, are more effective at prosecuting it than the State Attorney's Office.

The story by first story has an unwittingly humorous passage:

The corruption is likely far more widespread than one county, former prosecutors and lawyers said.

"It's certainly not believable to assume that the entirety of the state's corruption is concentrated in Palm Beach," said Kendall Coffey, a Miami lawyer and the former U.S. attorney for South Florida.

Doesn't that have the tone of a National Geographic on some faraway aboriginal tribe. "Does corruption exist outside the confines of Palm Beach County? Our travels and observations of the natives indicate that, yes, it does." Seriously, did they really need to source that bit of inanery? But that has been the Sentinel's historic (and very soft) stance on local political corruption: It generally doesn't exist unless officials say it does. While redundant, the two stories are worth reading and sent me on a trip down memory lane, mentioning several corruption cases (all of them outside of Palm Beach) midwifed by the Pulp, involving folks like Diana Wasserman-Rubin, Keith Wasserstrom, Al Capellini, Ilene Lieberman, and Stacy Ritter. Another walking miracle of a politician is Josephus Eggelletion, who got mention for a lobbying contract with a garbage company (a story I didn't break). Read this about Eggelletion for kicks.

Also worthy of note in the newspaper this morning was Linda Trischitta's blurb about Deerfield's former mayor, Al "I Am Not Corrupt" Capellini, who told her that he's still getting calls from constituents after being charged with criminal corruption. "They don't feel comfortable with the commission sitting there now," he said. "I guess I'm on their speed dial."

If Deerfield Beach actually votes for this guy in the upcoming election, then Capellini is indeed their rightful king. The reporter in me wants it to happen. What fun that would be -- and the national media might then join us in a toast to the city.

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