Deerfield's Deetjen Hit With Racism Charge, Again

Former Deerfield Beach City Manager Larry Deetjen, who was ejected from Deerfield for a number of controversies including a racist outburst at an airport, has once again been accused of making racist statements.

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Deetjen
‚ÄčDeetjen has been accused by a landlord in his new town, Oak Lawn, Ill., of trying to run him out of town because many of his tenants are black. Slinkman said Deetjen told him that Colonial Court residents were "dragging Oak Lawn down," according to an article in the Southtown Star newspaper. Deetjen denied the remark was racially motivated. From the article:

The dispute has roots in a conversation [landlord] Mike Slinkman said he had with Deetjen about 18 months ago, when the Slinkmans were seeking a property tax break in exchange for pledging to spend money on improvements at Colonial Court. During that meeting, Slinkman said the village manager made racially charged comments about tenants. Deetjen said he remembers the meeting but flatly denied making any racially motivated comments.

Slinkman's frustration resurfaced Tuesday when he blasted Deetjen during Tuesday's public comment portion of a village board meeting - "I like owning in this town, but ... you disgust me. I'm asking for this board to suspend and fire you."

Right or wrong, Slinkman could share in that disgust with a lot of people in Deerfield Beach, where he ran the town for several years with his close ally, Mayor Al Capellini, who has since been indicted on corruption charges.

-- In other non-federal-investigation-related local news, Coconut Creek Mayor Marilyn Gerber can breathe easier. The Florida Elections Commission is not pursuing a complaint that she violated a new Florida law that forbids public officials from electioneering on the public's dime. You might remember that activist Jim Freeman alleged that Gerber's column in the city-subsidized magazine Coconut Creek Life violated the law that was enacted on July 1. But FEC Executive Director Simone Marstiller has decided that the law is unconstitutional based on a previous legal ruling. That's right, the FEC isn't just an enforcer, it's apparently taken over the role of the judicial branch, too. Here's a link to Marstiller's letter.   

Yes, you should be angry. After the jump you can read Freeman's pointed response to the election commission's dereliction. 

Dear Friends,
 
Attached please find the Florida Elections Commission's disappointing response to my complaint against Marilyn Gerber and Ryplin Industries, Inc. My understanding of what the letter alleges is that Florida enacted a State Law that had already been rendered impotent by a Federal Case. The implication is that requiring elected officials to adhere to Florida statute Chapter 106.113 would be a freedom of speech issue. Of course freedom of speech is not the issue here, using public funds for electioneering purposes is.
 
Also attached is the Federal District Court's decision as named in the FEC letter. The following is a link to Central Florida Politics.com referring to the court's decision.
 
http://centralfloridapolitics.com/tag/electioneering/
 
In the article at that link, is a reference to the State of Florida's decision to drop their appeal of the case:
 
State Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, issued a statement criticizing Secretary of State Kurt Browning's refusal to appeal, saying it "will essentially allow shadow organizations to funnel millions of dollars to political campaigns without regulation or disclosure."
 
Does this mean Ryplin Industries, Inc. is a "shadow organization" or would that refer to the City of Coconut Creek who gives 60K a year to Ryplin to ensure the commissioners' developer-biased agenda is delivered to residents?
 
In any case, the Florida Elections Commission is refusing to investigate a matter that falls under Chapter 106, which the State Attorney General's office says is under the FEC's jurisdiction. To my mind, this isn't just sweeping the matter under the rug, this is a case where the broom doesn't even make it out of the closet. It feels like SB 216 was some kind of lip service that was never intended to be enforced in the first place. Or to put it another way, business as usual for Florida politics.
 
Any feedback or references to legal interpretation of this issue would be greatly appreciated.
 
 Best regards,
 
Jim Freeman
Concerned Citizens of Coconut Creek LLC
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