Sheriff's Top Political Aide Defends Criminally Charged Krafts

Categories: Politics

You may not expect much drama and controversy out of a Coral Springs/Parkland Democratic Club meeting, but you got some last night.

The night was meant for Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, who gave a very successful speech, but the drama arrived in the form of Sheriff Al Lamberti and his payrolled political sidekick, Alan Berkowitz.

berkowitzwimberlylambertidestryweirrzbicki.jpg
Lamberti with Berkowitz, both standing. Sitting in the center is Judge Matt Destry.
They made an unannounced visit and the sheriff gave a little speech to the club before the meeting started. It wasn't the sheriff's words that brought consternation, though. It was what his aide Berkowitz said later.  

When the club discussed whether it should support Mayor Roy Gold in a bid to remove accused bribe-taker Mitch Kraft off the Coral Springs Planning and Zoning board, it was Lamberti's aide who came to the criminally charged Kraft's defense.

According to multiple sources, Berkowitz repeatedly said that Kraft was "innocent until proven guilty" and generally decried the idea of removing Kraft -- who took $10,000 from dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait to affect change on the school board where his wife Stephanie was serving -- from the board.

"I don't understand why a sheriff's representative would make a stink about that issue," said club member Jaemi Levine, herself an unsuccessful school board candidate. "He made it evident that he was supporting Mitch and Stephanie Kraft."

Innocent until proven guilty? I suggest that Berkowitz, who hasn't returned a call for comment, look at the facts of the Kraft case. Even if a jury somehow acquits Kraft or his wife, the facts establish what just about everyone agrees is political sleaze at its finest and certainly not actions that deserve continued membership on a volunteer board that deals with, yes, developers.

Berkowitz is former president of the Broward 10-13 Club, a heavily political group made up of retired New York City police officers. Berkowitz endorsed Lamberti in the 2008 election and after the victory was given a highly paid position at BSO. His job, according to political observers, appears to be accompanying Lamberti at political functions and running interference for Lamberti in the heavily political condo communities.

Inside, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler explains today's Dolphins photo. One thing is clear: Fort Lauderdale can't come close to affording Jimmy Buffett.

Seiler told me today that the photograph included in the last post showing him with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, lobbyist Ron Book, and Jimmy Buffett was taken during last year's Super Bowl.

And he wants you to know he bought his own ticket. In fact he bought two for about $1,200, he said.

buffett1.jpg
Getty Images
Buffett's too rich (and sold-out) to play FTL beach
​Seiler, a member of the Super Bowl committee, said the photo was snapped at a time he was asking Buffett if he would perform at a beach concert in Fort Lauderdale.

"I asked [Buffett], "Would you ever do a beach concert?", and he indicated he wanted too much money," said Seiler. "It was a rather large number. Ross made a crack, 'Jimmy can you do it for any less?'"

Seiler refused to reveal Buffett's number publicly but he gave it to me and I can only tell you that it was indeed very high. If fact, it was exactly five times higher than I had guessed.

Seiler reiterated to me that he supported the Super Bowl and was open to the Dolphins' idea of taking Broward tax dollars to renovate the stadium. He said that lobbyist Book had talked with him of the plan in the past. As for Ross, he said he couldn't remember, but that the owner might have mentioned it to him in passing.

He said he had season tickets for the Dolphins and always paid his own way. He said he'd been in Ross's box but only to thank him for his support for the Orange Bowl. Seiler has been on the Orange Bowl committee for many years. 

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34 comments
Gerald Osgood Daniels
Gerald Osgood Daniels

BROWARD WORKSHOP

EDUCATION & YOUTH ADVOCACY COMMITTEE MEETING

(Formerly – The Community Justice Committee)

NEW Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011 (This Month Only)

Time: 7:30-9:00 am

Location: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Abdo New River Room, 2nd Floor

MEETING AGENDA

Remarks By:

Chief Frank Adderley, Ft. Lauderdale Police Department

Lieutenant David Benjamin, Broward Sheriff’s Office

Group Discussion / Open Forum to be moderated by Alan Levy, Chairman

This month’s topic touches on several categories including: Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice, Education and Diversionary Programs.

It has come to our attention that there are youths in Ft. Lauderdale that are in the juvenile and criminal justice systems that do not necessarily belong there.

There are also youths that continue to break the law while they await trial.

Research shows that these young people can straighten themselves out if given the opportunity through diversionary / educational programs which will reduce the pressure on local law enforcement. We need to discuss options that can help change the direction of these young people.

There is also growing national recognition that the Juvenile Assessment Centers (JAC) are valuable tools in combating juvenile delinquency.

How can we work together to find or create additional diversionary / educational programs to help these young people get out of this destructive cycle?

TwoCents
TwoCents

It seems to be the growing trend in politics to act innocent by not resigning until busted cold.

unowho
unowho

Evil will prevail when good Pulpsters remain silent~ unowho

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Seems as if the Seminoles aren't the only tribe residing in Broward County.

Guest
Guest

Good Morning All!

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."Abraham Lincoln

JSkool101
JSkool101

Okay, Kidzzzzzzzzzz ---

Let's guess who the pick for new Orange County Attorney is?

(Hint: He continued to live in Orlando while working in Broward......)

Discuss.

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Isn't it odd that Seiler was in the photo with Ron Book and was involved in the Integrity Committee that recommended getting rid of the school board auditor and hiring a new one that would report directly to the school board? It was board member Dinnen who brought Seiler and his buddies together to make recommendations to get at the auditors who identified a connection to Book and a company that overbilled the district by almost $800k. I think that photo calls into question the independence, integrity and ethics of the Mayor and his committee's recommendations. The incestuous relationships just seem to keep exposing themselves one day at a time. Bleckkk.

12345
12345

I am a planning and zoning boardmember in Broward County. I am also a Democrat. And sometimes not too proud of a Democrat.

I can tell you with all certainty that if Mitch Kraft sat on my planning and zoning board, I would call him out personally, publicly, and make sure that my comments were in the official printed minutes of a planning and zoning meeting with a quorum.

For him not to resign his position and leave the board, speaks volumes about his ego and his lack of concern about the residents of Coral Springs, and public perception in general.

If after investigation, the charges are unfounded, then one of his commissioner friends can reappoint him.

Shame on all you commissioners in Coral Springs who will not vote to remove him. Your ethics are just as questionable now as his are.

The real solution is that Mitch Kraft should resign himself. He's an idiot and so his wife.

giveahoot
giveahoot

Buffet played a few years back at Fort Lauderdale beach, at Bahia Cabana, for free.

BrowardCleansweep
BrowardCleansweep

@New York: UMMMM, don't do anything to the Krafts because little ol' Jaemi hates them? Thanks. Sorry Steph and Mitch

therealyaz
therealyaz

I'm off on vacation. I'm going to spend it taking pictures of Stacy!

NewYork
NewYork

What actually happened is that Jaemi Levine tried to use the Coral Springs-Parkland Democratic Club for her own vendetta against the Krafts. It was explained to Ms. Levine that there did not seem to be enough support from the Coral Springs elected commission to remove Mr. Kraft. It is not the purpose of political clubs to use its membership to attempt to bring down personal enemies, as Ms. Levine unsuccessfully attempted to do. Mr. Berkowitz pointed that out to Ms. Levine. Sorry she's unhappy. Whoops, no I'm not..

I-M-O
I-M-O

sim·ple·ton (smpl-tn)n.A person who is felt to be deficient in judgment, good sense, or intelligence; a fool.

Tony Montana
Tony Montana

Very True. Would give anything to hear from Karnack, GF3, etc. Clearly something has changed and is keeping them away.....

Anonyrina
Anonyrina

Incestuous relationships, cronyism, elected officials taking orders from lobbyists and powerbokers. When people get outraged enough, these guys calm them down by saying we're going to "investigate this". They all get on the panel, make money, and then do nothing while time diminishes people's anger. Didn't the grand jury, after all that time,come with the fact that Broward County is as corrupt as it was 30 years ago? Everyday we under the many ways the taxpayers are being cheated and hookwinked. Then we do nothing. Seiler has to resign along with the other elected officials who are not even close to working in the best interests of the people.

Guest
Guest

Many people would have a great deal of respect, in light of the charges against Mr. Kraft and his wife, if he took it upon himself to resign until such time he were cleared of any criminal wrong doing. An honest ethical person would do that. Shame on the other members for not speaking on the record.

Pulp
Pulp

Just for the record it was more than just Levine who wasn't happy with Berkowitz. She was just the only one with the cajones to go on the record. I heard it from two sources this morning and then I contacted her.

Local_Lawyer
Local_Lawyer

It's certainly not the sole purpose of political clubs to fight vendettas, but it's certainly appropriate for a Democratic club to support the Mayor of one of its cities in his fight against corruption. Seems pretty in line with what Howard spoke about at the meeting. If Democrats actually stand up against public corruption and the appearance of impropriety at every level of government, than the citizens will get the good government they deserve and will appreciate the party that brings it to them.

unowho
unowho

You heard of the word ....repititious ???.....To repeat repeatedly....please find another word...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!

The Pulp Challenge
The Pulp Challenge

Pulp...you are relentless about bad mouthing anything to do with the Sheriff or BSO. What is your problem. Have you ever said anything positive about BSO....unfortunately most BSO deputies think you are an idiot and get your "information" from the small percentage of disgruntled employees. I think I agree.

NewYork
NewYork

Pulp, there may have been people who disagreed with Berkowitz, however, he did NOT say that Mitch Kraft was "innocent until proven guilty". When Levine presented her idea, Berkowitz did ask her to tell the rest of the story. It was explained that it was Tom Powers who said, when Roy Gold brought the subject to him, that Kraft was innocent until proven guilty. After this information was made public, there was no outpouring of support for Levine's idea. Whether or not Kraft should resign or be suspended, it is up to him and/or the officials of Coral Springs to decide.

Guest
Guest

Well said. I agree 100%. Mr. Berkowitz remarks were extremely inappropriate.

Anon4ever
Anon4ever

Thanks LL! My sentiments exactly. Go back to NY, NY!

Ministry of Truth
Ministry of Truth

Wrong. Every expose about Lamberti and his corrupt and failed operation is in the public interest. If Big Al would spend his time here in town actually working to fix his broken agency we would be better off. Instead he attends every conference and political event with his kiss ass freshman staff. He would rather pal around with green kids playing cop than assemble a professional experience staff that will do more than tell him what he wants to know. He has no vision, ability to say NO! or the guts to make the hard decisions. The troops know this guy and his career is a fiction of BS and long term political oiliness.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Most BSO Deputies think the Pulp is an idiot?

In my experience, most BSO Deputies were the kids who needed help with their sixth grade homework..........in 10th grade.

Honky please!

Open your eyes
Open your eyes

Most BSO deputies are pea brains and would not recognize or admit to the truth if it were right in front of their faces. Pulp gives credit where credit is due. When not, he won't hold back. He is appreciated by the seekers of truth.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Pulp's job is to disinfect the dim, dank recesses of this town -- where mold, mildew, and cockroaches dwell -- by exposing them to daylight. BSO is one of those places. Pulp's not here to write puff pieces. If you want to fellate Lamberti, head over to Signal 14 and stay away from this place from now on:

http://sheriff.org/_files/_sig...

Local_Lawyer
Local_Lawyer

The discussion ended because the club President told Jaemi to draft a Petition. There was nothing else to discuss.

The truth seeker
The truth seeker

No he is saying get your facts straight before you post false information about somone!!!

Pulp
Pulp

So you're saying that the people of Coral Springs should just keep their mouths shut and let an alleged bribe-taker -- and an confirmed political sleazoid -- sit on one of the most powerful boards in their city if the officials decide to do nothing?

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