Broward Mayor: Hey, I'm a Lawyer
So the Sun-Sentinel editorial board (mainly the wife of the Pulp) asked Broward Mayor Ken Keechl about his rampant campaign spending and posted the video this morning.
|Teddy and Ken|
The key claim relates to Keechl's "campaign headquarters" in a little bungalow in Wilton Manors. Keechl owns the bungalow with his domestic partner, Teddy Adcock. The mayor's campaign -- stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interests -- is paying Keechl and Adcock $3,100 a month to use the bungalow, which seems to many an inflated rate.The mayor's basic response is, "Everybody else does it." And, "Yo, I'm a lawyer, so I can't do anything illegal."
Those summations are totally -- and some might say recklessly -- paraphrased, which is why I include the actual video after the jump. At least Keechl remembers who broke the story, mentioning the Pulp with, as he says, "a smile."
Well he wasn't smiling a few months ago when then-Pulp correspondent Lyn Evans tracked him down at a County Commission meeting to ask him about the campaign payments to Keechl and Adcock, a realtor at Remax. Evans caught the mayor in the parking garage and began to question him.
"Get out of my face with that camera," she said Keechl told him. "I wouldn't talk to that rag piece of trash you call a newspaper ever!"
I'm told he may have been snarling but was definitely not doing anything that could in any way be construed as a smile. Unfortunately there was a problem with the Flip (it happens, damn it), so we don't have the vid.
Moving on, Keechl claims the $3,100 a month he's paying himself and Adcock is "fair market value." Consider, though, that they bought the property for $455,000 in 2006 when values were booming. It's assessed at about $200,000 right now and sold for a mere $95,000 in 2001.
Real estate professionals have chimed in on the blog to indicate the fair market value is more like $2,000 or so, if that. If that is true, then this is a very serious matter -- it would mean that Keechl is basically misappropriating thousands of campaign dollars to his own personal use (anybody remember Scott Cowan?). The fact that Keechl feels compelled to mention that he gave his campaign more than $100,000 the first time around only hurts his case. It makes it sound like he's trying to recoup that loss from his current coffer.
I am making a request to Keechl publicly: Supply the rental history of the property and justify the rental rate. That's all. Saying it's fair market value might sound good, but it means nothing without documentation to back it up. Even if you are a lawyer. Now check out the video.
Here's the Sentinel video: