Emails Reveal School Board Chairwoman Romanced Schools' Banker

She was a second-year elected school board member at a political conference in Tampa, getting quite literally wined and dined by high-rolling bankers at Citigroup, enjoying the "luxury" of a night out in a town that didn't know who she was. 

gottliebjenken2.jpg
Gottlieb with her husband, Ken
He was one of those bankers, working the deals behind what has become $2 billion in Broward School Board debt. Both were married with young children.

And after meeting and flirting at an all-you-can-eat lobster and steak dinner put on by Citigroup for elected officials at The Palm restaurant in Tampa, romance blossomed between current Broward County School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb and Citigroup finance manager Rick Patterson. 

Gottlieb's trip to Tampa in June 2007 was paid for by taxpayers. She was there for the Florida School Boards Association conference. The surf-and-turf Citi soire at The Palm restaurant she attended was a treat for elected officials who do business with the bank. 

They hit it off so well they worried that Gottlieb's colleague on the board, Beverly Gallagher, who left abruptly, had become "jealous." When Gottlieb, 38, returned home to Hollywood, she stayed in touch with Patterson, who lives in Tampa, and soon they arranged a date in South Florida and begin a romance, according to e-mails exchanged betweeen the two obtained by the Pulp.

The e-mails provide a rare inside glimpse into an utterly improper relationship that happens more often than the public will ever know. They write of dates and sharing wine and bon bons. The nature of the relationship is plain.

"I will try to call you when I'm un-supervised if you know what I mean," Gottlieb wrote Patterson at one point. "Miss talking to ya! Just a heads up, tomorrow will be difficult, at least until the afternoon. But I'm sure I will b able to squeeze you in somewhere! So for now, your imagination will have to hold you over."  

"I hope we can talk soon," Patterson responded. "In the mean time, you've been wonderfully naughty in my imagination : )."

pattersonrick.jpg
Patterson
It's a taxpayer's nightmare -- an elected leader in bed with someone trying to make money from the public trough.  

While Patterson isn't a lobbyist, he did business with the Broward County School Board in his capacity with Citi, working closely with district finance officials. Gottlieb, who is in a reelection campaign now with two opponents, had voted on a matter involving Citi before her relationship with Patterson began and would vote on deals involving the company after it started.

While it appears to be a glaring conflict of interest, what is known about Gottlieb's relationship with Patterson doesn't constitute an illegality. It would have to shown that Gottlieb misspent public money during her travels on the school board dime or accepted something of value from Patterson in exchange for her support as a public official. Neither of those things have been established.

When I questioned Gottlieb, who is married to former state representative and current judicial candidated Ken Gottlieb, about the relationship with Patterson on the telephone yesterday, Gottlieb refused to answer. "I don't feel comfortable answering questions now," she told me. "If you will email me the questions, I'll answer them."

gottliebjen22.jpg
I emailed her numerous detailed questions, but she didn't answer them in her reply yesterday evening. She ignored all questions regarding her relationship with Patterson and wrote, "To my strong recollection, I never voted to select citi for a contract nor have I had a conflict of interest in casting a vote while on the school board," she wrote.

According to School Board Treasurer Henry Robinson, the school board voted unanimously in April 2007 to approve Citi and other banks to handle the school board's huge debt. The  board also voted in unison on various school board deals involving Citi, two of them coming in March and May of 2008. It's not known how long her relationship with Patterson lasted; it's one of the questions Gottlieb ignored. When I told her of some of the votes, she wrote, "I will check into these dates but I believe I did not have any conflict of interest."

It is clear that someone blew the whistle on the relationship not long after it began. The emails between Gottlieb and Patterson were forwarded to both her husband Ken and her colleague Gallagher, who is checking into federal prison this afternoon in Illinois after being convicted of charges of accepting bribes from "quasi-lobbyists" who befriended her and bought her plenty of drinks and meals and become fast friends with her.

They happened to be FBI agents who were playing parts in a sting.   

There is a story behind how the emails were revealed to Ken Gottlieb and Gallagher that I'm trying to uncover, but for now you can go inside to read the emails between Gottlieb and Patterson. 

The following emails begin the week after Gottlieb returned from the Florida School Boards Association conference in Tampa.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Thu Jun 21 07:44:25 2007
Subject: Calls in ft lauderdale

Thank you for the invitation, I take it you are not much of a conversationalist and only know how to type emails? Hey, the high mainenance thing is kicking in again. And you thought you were trouble with a capital T, huh? Those dates seem wide open since I took the month of July off, I do have to speak that Monday night to a group somewhere, other than that, I'm free. Looking forward to it! : ) jenjen

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 09:18:55
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

Excellent! What's the best number to call?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Thu Jun 21 2007
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

You can call me on my cell.
[Phone number]. I'm in car so its a good time ; )

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Sent: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 10:23 am
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

I'm actually on the golf course now (tough job, huh?). Friend's member-guest in Virginia Beach through the weekend. If I don't get a chance to call before then, will definitely call on Monday. Looking forward very much to dinner! The high maintenance girl gets to pick her favorite place, ok?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi  


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Thu Jun 21 10:22:37 2007
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

FOUR!!! Hope you have a great game, yeah tough job I see. I hope you aren't bidding for School Board Work! Just kidding :)

Whenever you get a chance to call, great. It is my cell, and if I cant talk I will just hang up on you.

Just kidding again :)

Don't be upset if my favorite place hasnt ever heard of sweet tea. And I'm really not that high maintenance, just easier to deal with people they think I am!

Talk to you soon ...


-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:54:19
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

I'm betting that I'll be so dazzled by the company that I won't even notice that they don't have sweet tea. Besides, I'm guessing that the place will have a great wine list?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Thu Jun 21 16:02:13 2007
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

Oh so nice to hear from you .... Much better than the auto reply from your office! I know tough day at work. Hmm, wine list ... How quickly you forgot all my references to blind date. Trust me, I can dazzle without you consuming any wine. But I will make sure to pick a place that will accomodate YOUR being high maintenance!!! Maybe you suggest to me what you like since I know you have been here before and you never mentioned anything besides fried chicken and wine! Help?


-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 17:42:48
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

Trust me, I haven't forgotten the Blind Date references - I'm just a bad influence! Down your way, Marks Las Olas is a frequent stop, as well any of the nice steak places in that area. I'm also a big fan of seafood and Italian - really anything is fine with this low maintenance guy. Just make it a place where you can let your hair down, ok?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Thu Jun 21 5:58 PM
Subject: Re: Calls in ft lauderdale

My hair down? Did you forget I ran for public office across this entire county? Tampa was a luxury for me, no one knows me there! And I can handle your bad influences, I'm just very cautious since being an elected and dui don't go well together, nothing against good wine! Ill figure it out. I'm just glad you got over the fried chicken thing ; )

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Sent: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 9:27 am
Subject: RE: Calls in ft lauderdale

Well, I guess you can wear your hair up if you really need to. How was your weekend, and is there a good time to call you today?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 12:23 PM
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Subject: hello

So how is your day going??? Sitting in a board meeting fighting with charter schools that are after our 2 mills. Gone are the days of bon bons and pedicures!

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 12:36:12
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re: hello

How very nice to hear from you! Fight the good fight against those charter school scoundrels! I'm betting that the high maintenance girl still gets the occasional pedicure, right? As for the bon bons, I recommend a nice Sauternes or Eiswein to go with them, especially if you promise to share.

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 2:57 PM
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Subject: Re: hello

Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I've been dreaming of the bon bons. And if I know my audience, Sauternes and Eiswein are probably good wines. So I will bring the bon bons, you bring the wine, and I promise to share. And I will never give up my pedicures!!! This whole work thing just conflicts with my yoga schedule!! ; )


-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 15:10:57
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re: hello

My golfing partner from Virginia Beach last weekend has started taking yoga lessons. He says he's hitting his drives an average of 10 yards farther as a result of the extra flexibility. Have you had similar success?
Still no response from BG on my email messages from yesterday. I wonder if she's mad at me for flirting too much at The Palm? Oh well... ; )

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:27 PM
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Subject: Re: hello

I have experienced numerous successes since I started practicing yoga 4 years ago, none of them on the golf course!
I'm sitting next her now in a workshop, and yes I'm sure she is annoyed. I will ask if she heard from you. Or maybe I should leave it alone and it will solve the problem. Oh well ; )


-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 15:46:22
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re: hello

I look forward to hearing about your yoga successes in greater detail! In the mean time, I have a pretty vivid imagination : )

I never pictured B as the jealous type, but did think it strange that she left our dinner without saying thanks, goodnight, etc. I thought maybe she was just miffied that I couldn't make it back over to Jeanne's suite at the hotel for the party after dinner.

I'm inclined to just leave the invitation alone and see if she responds. It's not unusual not to get a prompt response from her. In the worst case scenario, that's just one less person for us to have to share our bon bons with anyway, right?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:52 PM
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Subject: Re: hello

Im surprised. I thought B left with you ....
Anyway, I agree, I don't usually like to share.

Let me know if you are up to a yoga class, only 90 minutes long and 114 degrees.
Think you can handle it? ; )
Just kidding, don't want to kill you just yet!

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 4:13 pm
Subject: Re: hello

No, I lost track of her when I went with you and Brent to sign the caricature. I would gladly have offered you a ride, but was in the two-seater that night and you and Jim were together. 90 minutes sounds like fun, but 114 degrees? Not so much! I think I'd have to work up to that, slowly.

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi  

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Sun Jun 30 16:36:32 2007

Thanks, for leave me hanging out to dry ....
Hope you enjoy the movie tonight, make sure you eat up all ur moms rattioulle.
Don't deduct for spelling mistakes. Xoxo

 

-----Original Message-----
From: "Patterson, Rick W"
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 21:22:46
To: <JenJenGottlieb@aol.com>
Subject: Re:

Just got back from the lake - didn't take the Blackberry with me on the boat. Will send a loving note later tonight after we back from dinner. No worries, ok?

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Sat Jun 30 21:45:41 2007
Subject: Re:

No worries, had enough wine to forgive anything and anyone. Practicing for you, building up my tolerance, had 2 glasses of red wine. Still need more practice before 12 days or I'm in trouble!
Talk to you tomorrow, hope you enjoyed the movies with your boys. Xoxo, jenjen

 
-----Original Message-----
From: Patterson, Rick W
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Sent: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 11:48 p.m.
Subject: Late Night

I'll bet you're adorable after a couple of glasses? I'm not sure I can wait 12 days to find out. Sorry about not writing sooner - long day on the river, followed by dinner out and then Fourth of July fireworks (yes, on June 30). We got in at 10:15 Waverly time, 11:15 your time. The movie was pushed off to tomorrow night so that we could catch the fireworks show tonight.

Shame on you for using your defense mechanism earlier - you really don't need it with me. The upside is that now I've seen the insecure, vulnerable side of Jen Jen that compliments the feisty, sassy side, in a most attractive way.

I'd love to go on and on, but email probably isn't the best medium. I'm thinking about you and smiling.

Can't wait to talk with you tomorrow!

_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Sun Jul 01 12:06:34 2007
Subject: Smiling

Thanks for making me smile this am. Be careful killing clay tiles today, watch the boys better than at pool! Have fun!!
Jen Jen


-----Original Message-----
From: Patterson, Rick W
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Sent: Sun, 01 Jul 2007 14:44:47
Subject: Re: Smiling

Thanks and likewise. I'm never more careful than I am with firearms, and the boys know that I have zero tolerance if they're unsafe - i.e. the guns go back in the attic for another year. Would tomorrow be better for you for the next call? Office? I'll follow your lead on that. There I go again, thinking long-term ... : )
_______________________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Sun Jul 01 14:00:56 2007
Subject: Re: Smiling

I'm actually on my way home now, then have to go to Boca at 5. 00 to have dinner at the club with my in-laws, ugh!
I will try to call you when I'm un-supervised if you know what I mean. Miss talking to ya! Just a heads up, tomorrow will be difficult, at least until the afternoon. But I'm sure I will b able to squeeze you in somewhere!
So for now, your imagination will have to hold you over. Knowing you the way I do, I'm probably doing better in your imagination anyway- and that is not being insecure, just complimenting your thought process!
Till next time, jen jen : )


-----Original Message-----
From: Patterson, Rick W
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Sent: Sun, 1 JUL 2007 11:42 pm
Subject: Re: Smiling

Hope the evening with the inlaws wasn't too terrible? Ratatouille was much better than expected. The shotgun experience also went well, except for the fact that my 10 year old proved to be a much better shot than his dad! I hope we can talk soon. In the mean time, you've been wonderfully naughty in my imagination : )
_______________________

Rick W. Patterson
Citi

-----Original Message-----
From: Jen
To: Patterson, Rick W [CMB-MSDB]
Sent: Sun Jul 01 14:03:52 2007
Subject: Email

Ps, you can still keep emailing me, if you choose. Just no match.com questions!
Xoxo

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Patterson, Rick W
To: JenJenGottlieb@aol.com
Sent: Sun, 1 JUL 2007 11:44 pm
Subject: Re: Email

Trust me, the next round of questions will make you blush!

Rick W. Patterson
Citi


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