The Odd Couple: Sheriff Al and the Dolphin Democrat

Categories: Politics

Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti and Michael Albetta, head of the influential Dolphin Democrats, always seemed an odd couple.

albettanixon.jpg
radaris.com
Albetta with Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon at an Obama event.

Despite their party differences, Albetta, who has played a big role in Broward's gay political circles for years, campaigned tirelessly for Lamberti during his race in 2008, introducing him to countless Democrats and touting him everywhere he went as a superb sheriff.

Albetta's recent trotting of Lamberti out to various Democratic clubs in the county has also caused controversy among hardline party people, say sources. Expect more of the same in 2012. 

What isn't mentioned at the political events is the fact that once Lamberti landed his appointment as sheriff, BSO began buying hundreds of police vehicles from Maroone Ford, where Albetta works as a manager. Just this past December, BSO awarded another contract for 77 vehicles -- standard Crown Victorias, Ford Tauruses, and Explorers -- to be purchased by BSO from Maroone this year. Albetta said that in total, BSO buys 100 to 200 cars a year from Maroone.

Some observers say it's a clear example of an unsavory political quid pro quo. The idea is that in exchange for the BSO car business, Albetta crosses political lines to put his political connections to work for the sheriff across the heavily Democratic county.

After receiving numerous complaints about the relationship from sources, I gave Albetta a call today to get his explanation.

"People say the sheriff bribes Michael Albetta with vehicles -- get out of here," he told me. "That's laughable. It's public information that it's a bidding process. BSO goes through the Florida sheriff's bidding process. We have been successful in bidding through that process, but you don't just get it; you have to go through the bidding process. It's the law. No one gives you something for nothing."

Albetta said that prior to Lamberti's appointment, he tried to get BSO business for Maroone from former Sheriff Ken Jenne. But the process didn't work out so well then. The reason: Jenne, he said, was loyal to Duval Ford in Jacksonville for buying police cars.

"When the economy got bad, I myself started exploring governmental bidding, and that's where it all happened," explained Albetta. "I even asked back in the days of Ken Jenne. How about the fact that Jenne was spending Broward tax dollars in

Duval County? You print that, Bob. Under Jenne, I asked him for his business a long time ago. I said, 'How do I earn your business? You're buying cars from Duval County, and it's a disgrace.' I never got a proper answer."

Albetta said that after Jenne was hit with federal criminal charges and then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Lamberti to the position, he met the new sheriff at an awards ceremony and the two men struck up a conversation.

lamberticowboy.jpg
Lamberti
"We shook hands and started talking, and he said to me, 'You're Michael Albetta who works at Maroone Ford.' He says to me, 'I'm amazed why my agency is buying cars from Duval County.' I said, 'Now you're talking.' He said, 'I'll be getting back with you.' He said there is public bidding if you're a licensed company, which we are, and I said, 'Imagine that. I've been asking about that.'"

It wasn't long before Maroone started winning the bids. "Sheriff Lamberti said, 'This is nonsense; I want to keep Broward business in Broward.' Everything is legit across the board. This is nothing that you have to belong to a club or you have to know somebody."

Albetta says that the burgeoning business his dealership does with BSO has nothing to do with his unflagging across-the-aisle support for the sheriff in the political spectrum.

"The reason why I'm backing him is that he has done more for the GLBT community than anyone," said Albetta. "He is one of the few law enforcement officers who has listened to our needs. He made sure that he helped pass a hate-crimes bill for the homeless. The homeless man that was killed [Norris Gaynor in 2006] --  are you ready? -- he was a black veteran homeless gay. He's very attentive to GLBT rights, and that's why I back Sheriff Lamberti. Give me a Democrat? Give me a Republican? No, give me a fucking cop.

"I'm indebted to him for his leadership and stealth when it comes to the GLBT community. He's always meeting with rabbis, with the black community; he's just a wonderful human being... He goes to speak at the [African-American Research Library and Cultural Center]. He doesn't go to the glitz; he goes to the hood."  


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33 comments
I Uphold My Oaths
I Uphold My Oaths

Everyone is missing the point:

Michael Albetta signed A LOYALTY OATH. That means, unlike Diane Glasser, he cannot support ANY Republican, in ANY race, ANY where, REGARDLESS of whether that Republican is nice, sane, italian, "not really a Republican, or whether THEY BUY CARS FROM YOU!!! Geesh

Easygoes
Easygoes

Albetta STOLE $25,000 from the Dolphin Democrats? Go figure, that's how he got out of Bankruptcy and Forclosure. Bob Norman look into that.

City Activist Robert Walsh
City Activist Robert Walsh

"Built Ford tough "huh Mike Albetta. Several "Dolphin Democrats" have stated to me that (get This) the Political Action group that Mr.Albetta is extremely involved with is missing 25 Grand from its Organization. One would ask where is the 25grand??(no one knows). Then they have an Audit and pick several "members" to do the accounting. Don't hire an outside Agency to account for this 25 Grand. Have select few who their Officers again hand pick to do the investigation as to what happened to all this money that no one knows anything about.(SURE).

Pulp
Pulp

Parkland man, you bring some knowledge to the table that is worthwhile, yet you always have to get in your anti-Semitic BS too. I wonder if it's for real or if you're just getting some perverse kicks out of it. More of the former, no more of the latter, please.

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey guys i been saying for a while sherriff al is great for broward,he is a cop and some of you shit bird lawyers dont like we'll tuff shit al will be here for a very long time and im glad,he's doing a great job and cleaning up the county,you people liked having a lawyer as your sherriff so you can steal lie cheat and rob,not no more lawyers al will put you in jail,if you break the law,he is 100 percent a cop period.i think al was close to rothstien because it was a sting,and look where he is in jail,anouther shit bird stealing lawyer in jail,and linda you are right i do hate fn jew lawyers,and so does the whole world.

Carguy
Carguy

Pulp -- the purchase of cop cars is a bid process and there is little chance to give the business to Maroone unless they are the low bid. UNLESS someone inside BSO tips off Maroone on what bid is required to win. It happens believe me!!!

In the end the dealership makes very little money on the fleet sale of police cars. On averrage the dealership makes $100-250 per car. It's not big money. In addition there is merit to keeping money in Broward County vs doing business with Duval

HOWEVER the real money is in servicing those police cars. BSO send all the warranty service busines to Maroone. They also send alot of non-warranty work to Maroone. I know dealers that have offered better service and lower pricing but Maroone somehow keeps the service business.. Go figure!!!!. BSO COULD SAVE MONEY BUT THE SHERIFF PAYS MORE TO "THANK" A FELLOW POLITICAL HACK.......

LindaJain
LindaJain

Please accept this communication as my intention to tender my immediate resignation from the Board of Directors of the Dolphin Democrats. My position on this board and in a leadership role in the Dolphin Gala has become untenable.

I am comforted in the fact that I find myself in good company. Lesbian leaders in the community such as Robin Bodiford, Melissa Fojtik, Amy Shoosmith, Adriane Reesey, just to name a few, have left the Dolphins in disgust. Is it any wonder that women are hesitant to join the Dolphins with accusations such as: women are just tokens, they are dictated to by the Dolphin leadership and have always been left out of important discussions and decisions.

I know that each one of these women have been demeaned by the leadership of the Dolphins after their departure. I have heard it. I expect the same. It is difficult to become a leader in the LGBT community without having the skills, knowledge, intelligence and savvy to negotiate its terrain. I am glad that I do not measure my abilities and character by what the leadership of the Dolphins will say about me. I hope you can do the same.

How many times can people hear "well it was just "those" women" that did not fit into the dysfunctional board climate with the dictatorial leadership. We will find some "good" women to accept a leadership role with the Dolphins someday - maybe - someday. Actually, folks, all "those" women had the abilities and character to run the Dolphins, they just had enough sense to get out.

I honestly hope that at some point in the future that the Dolphin leadership will become more than just the typical "old boys club" that it has always been and continues to be. Hopefully the upcoming change in the leadership will facilitate that much needed change.

Sincerely,

Linda Jain9/16/2009

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Albetta may not be guilty, but don't these people get it. It is the appearance of impropriety that will snag them. It is called common sense to stay away from these relationships. If not, you will be presumed guilty and just may be guilty. Some things are just too coincidental to be a coincidence.

Long-time Broward Resident
Long-time Broward Resident

Ron, like I said, your mouth is like an a22hole. Everytime you open it the only thing that comes out is BS and it stinks! If you are so sure of yourself, go ahead and make a public records request and post, send, or upload the docs here. I know it won't happen b/c you are a BS artist and no such docs exist. You sound like nothing more than a disgrunteld ex-fleet employee at BSO who, as I mentioned in the first reply, doesn't know his ass from a ole in the ground. I will hold my breath for all your damming evidence. In the mean time, wipe, clean, and drink lots of Pepto! See ya Loser!

Ron
Ron

Well there long time resident, everything I said was the truth and you gave you no information to dispute it. The case is simple , Bob do a public records request on the information I provided and see if it is not true. The fact is IT IS TRUE, not to mention illegal. Then you and your spin can say adios, to yourself and Lamberti.

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

There are a bunch of people who are both right and wrong when posting here. The Crown Vics and other police package vehicle are purchased on the State Bid. It's the same price no matter who they buy them from. Its what the dealer does for the buyer that determines where the agency buys the cars. The other dirty secret is the cars that are not purchased on the state contract. Those would not be traditional police cars, but could include detective and other specialty cars. BSO buys a lot of those too.

Christy
Christy

Al,

Can you get me into the Superbowl?

ChristyBSO0000

Ron
Ron

Barry are you frigging kidding me, Albetta a political treasure , he is joke and everyone knows it. The only reason and I mean only reason these two are together is because they need each other. Lamberti needs Albetta for GLBT and Albetta needs him to buys cars period.

Ron
Ron

First let me say that Albetta is a liar. He is not telling the whole truth, as he always does. When his lips are moving he is blowing or lying.Here are the facts when a police car is bought from Duvall ford it comes to the BSO and is ready to go right on the road, striping, light bars and equipment. When Lamberti buys the cars from Maronne they come in plain so yes there is a savings but only for a short time. Once the car comes in PLAIN, it has to get lights, striping and equipment. It goes to a place in Margate and gets the lights, striping and equipment from a guy named Adam Black another friend of Lambertis who has by the way received no bid contracts for striping, lights and equipment. When you add up the cost of the striping , lights, and equipment it costs the taxpayers more money at the end than if they would have gotten the car from Duvall Ford. So the tax payer gets ripped off and Lamberti gets the benefit of having Albetta take him around the county to the democrats. So I ask YOU the taxpayer is there a problem? What happened to Albettas democratic oath, to some of us that means something. As far as Jenne goes and Albetta talking about him, Jenne did look into buying cars from Maronne, Rick Case etc..., but none of them could compete with Duvall Ford and the price and the fact the car came to Broward ready to go. I know because I worked a Fleet Services and I KNOW. Hey Bob ask Albetta about Adam Black, better yet ask Lamberti about Adam Black, a one time deputy who got fired from the BSO, then got hired and then fired from Orlando PD, possibly even arrested but I don't know if that's true or not only a rumor, but can easily be verified, another of Lamberti"s friends who has gotten no bid contracts. What I have posted is true and with a couple of public records checks and checking with your sources you will see.

Patti7177
Patti7177

I believe Michael Albetta when he explains how the contract came to be. The proof will be when the Sheriff acknowledges that there is a Broward County company that provides aerosol police products that has NOT been able to sell their product to BSO. Let's keep Broward money in Broward, Sheriff. If you don't know the name of the company, I will be glad to give you that information.

Barry Sacharow
Barry Sacharow

Michael Albetta is one of the hardest working community leaders in the State of Florida. He works just as hard in the largest Auto Dealer inside of our community. IMHO, these are singular, unconnected facts and provide the real explanation. It makes good copy to connect them, but Michael is too honest, too committed to the GLBT community, too committed to his personal values to "sell" his votes and/or support for a few car commissions. There are plenty of shady elected and quasi-elected politicos in this market, they are almost too numerous to mention and you do a good job rooting them out. In this case I think you are wrong in this implication. Please find another subject, as you are fortunate to be in such a target rich enviornment, Michael Albetta is one of the true polical treasures of our community.

Rustyjardin
Rustyjardin

There have been numerous dealerships in Broward County that have gone out of business. (Beach Ford, World Ford to name a couple) Maybe if we would have had Sheriff Lamberti in office earlier promoting to keep our Broward dollars in Broward, we could have save lots of jobs! Sheriff Lamberti has Broward County's best interest in his heart. My hats off to the Sheriff!

Pulp
Pulp

Duval Ford is in Jacksonville of course. Thanks.

Blahblah
Blahblah

Exactly. This guy's basically a car salesman, and you trust him. BSO piggybacked many contracts before Lamberti. The car deal was one of them. Check out how many government agencies got cars from the Duval company. That's what a good reporter would have done.

Whack_a_mole
Whack_a_mole

Is Duval Ford in Key West (Monroe county) or in Jacksonville (Duval county)?

Usually, if a large agency like BSO gets a favorable contract with a dealership, other, smaller, entities in the state can 'piggy-back' onto the contract, and order vehicles for a similarly low price. The proof of Maroone's low prices would be in how many other agencies piggy-backed on the BSO contract.

If the BSO deal is valid, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, or St. Lucie counties might piggy-back on it. Or Parkland cops, Cooper City cops, West Park cops, etc.

Guest
Guest

Politics as they say makes strange bedfellows. That being said I believe this is an above board relationship. Maroone Ford is one of the best dealerships in Broward County, where the money should stay.

therealyaz
therealyaz

The money should stay in Broward.

parkland man
parkland man

Ok pulp no problem,i wasent trying to be anti semitic but the jewish lawyers do corner the market when its comes to sueing and robbing bunieses for money, with there bs lawsuites,john gotti wasen't allowed to get away with it,now i wont use the n word but you know and see it all the time on the news that black people are not allowed to rob wallgreens they got shot and arrested so how do the jewish lawyers get to rob from buinesses,and get away with it.i wish all the people on the jurys would know they could be next,its something that is and has been out of control,and some how i would like to see it change.florida need lawsuite reform right away and with this new gov it just might happen,I love your blog and i will not disrespect it no more promise.Parkland Man

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

Sorry that you've run into the same wall, Linda. As you said, hopefully, new leaders will bring a new outlook.

RAINBOWUSA
RAINBOWUSA

We all Know that Chris the psychopath really posted this don't we Chris?Ron

Long-time Broward Resident
Long-time Broward Resident

Ron, you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground! Lamberti's move to buy the cars locally and have them upfitted locally, not only kept the business and dollars in Broward County, but actually SAVES money vs. buying from Duval. Next time you want to open your mouth, insert your foot and save yourself the embarrassment! Check the records and see. Hundreds of Thousands of dollars have been saved AND gave BSO better equipment than they had been using. You and the rest of you "Know-It-Alls" are out of your league. Lamberti is a professional guy and is doing things right for a change because he gives a shit about Broward County and the rest of us residents. Go find a real story or crawl back under your rock and dissapear. Adios!

@Bob Norman-Please tell us...Honestly, are you secretly in love with Al Lamberti? I've never seen a reporter speak about anyone as much as you do him, and always do so with such useless, non-news worthy information. I really think you need to ask yourself if Miss Brittney is really what you want or if your infactuation with Sheriff Lamberti it was really blows up your skirt. ;-) Leave the guy alone for crying out loud. I've lived here for 40 years and he's one of the best things that's happened here in a while on that front. Go find a real story, so I continued to feel compelled to read your blog. This is BULLS*#T! Adios to you too!

Pulp
Pulp

I appreciate the comment Barry. This is an issue that I have heard quite a bit about from both political and law enforcement sources and as I wrote above, I decided to get Mr. Albetta's explanation. From the comments so far, it looks like he did a stellar job in giving it and that most believe this is a perfectly kosher relationship.

Linda
Linda

I don't think it's an act. I still think you're an ignorant low life slug.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks

Now, now. Parkland Man makes the somewhat less sick muther fucker shitheads look like scholars.

Pulp
Pulp

I've been accused of more secret loves than anyone I know, but this is the first time it's involved a male. Thanks for the laugh and also for your point of view. As to your points, all I can say is that I don't have anything against Lamberti personally at all. I write about him because he's the sheriff and I come across material about BSO that I find interesting. There'll be plenty of other stories coming down the pike that I hope will compel you.

parkland man
parkland man

Hey linda thers no act going on over here,you have everything right ecept lowlife,i think you can win that title,what do you do work for a lawyer is the truth hurting you,do u see what happen to addler lol get a life go work for people instead of against them,it will make you feel better if you can make something instead of trying to break something.try to use alittle more then a yellow pad and a pen.Again i remind you i do not like lawyers,it a good day for me.

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