Time to Unmask the Political Operative Behind Online Extortion Attempt

For those pining for arrests coming from the statewide grand jury investigation, all hope isn't lost.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which served as the investigative arm of the grand jury, has compiled all kinds of intelligence during the investigation and could produce charges in the case yet.

extortion.jpg
The investigation is continuing, but I'm not real optimistic that there will be widespread retribution for the hundreds of millions of pilfered taxpayers' dollars the School Board redistributed to lobbyists, contractors, and other district vendors. It's going to depend on the cooperating witnesses.

I remember another much ballyhooed grand jury that supposedly investigated the hell out of the School Board. It was put together by State Attorney Michael Satz and run by former prosecutor John Countryman. It too ended with a report full of righteous indignation -- and it too let the perps walk.

It's becoming a pattern. The School Board gets gamed out of millions by well-connected campaign contributors, the public gets outraged, the authorities investigate with a grand jury, the grand jury bloviates like mad about the evils of the board, and... nothing changes.

What's maddening here is that the grand jury not only failed to take action but it left out all the names in its report, like blind items in gossip newspapers. Why? 

In many cases, it's apparent who the jurors are talking about. We all know Jennifer Gottlieb was behind the Beachside Boondoggle and that Bob Parks loved to put his name on public buildings. But some are left to the imagination.

For instance, which political operative was responsible for the "extortionate" attempt to silence Broward Cleansweep, the School Board critic? Inside, we look at that mysterious case.  

Once again, the Broward Cleansweep story was covered here and ignored by the mainstream media. Apparently a political operative who has worked on several School Board campaigns and has been appointed to more than one district advisory council believed that Cleansweep was School Board employee Michael Marchetti, who has blown the whistle on all manner of board corruption. His wife, Valarie, also works at the School Board.

The operative demanded that Cleansweep terminate its Facebook page. When Cleansweep refused, the operative wrote:

"Sorry Mr. Marchetti. I would use my computer to update yours and Valerie's resumes. Then do a search on bondsmen. I have a feeling you are both going to need them."

cleansweep.jpg
I wrote this blog post at the time, the grand jury picked it up, and here's what it wrote about the controversy in the final report:

c. Silencing Critics by Threats
Around the same time we became aware of another published report concerning an attack on a person using the Facebook identity of Broward Cleansweep. This person has been highly critical of the Board andits operations and has called for the ouster of virtually all incumbent Board members. An anonymous poster, believing Broward Cleansweep to be a District employee (and married to another District employee) threatened to use his connections at the District or Board to have both of them fired and or prosecuted if he did not immediately take down the Facebook page and stop his attacks on the Board. Ultimately the poster concluded Broward Cleansweep was not who he believed and abandoned his attacks.

This extortionate attempt to silence political criticism is poison in any democratic society. The attack would be reprehensible coming from any quarter. For it to come from a Broward political consultant who has worked for numerous local political candidates, including school board members, is even more disturbing. Worst of all, the poster who attempted to silence Broward Cleansweep has previously served, and presently does serve on District advisory council(s). Based on the testimony we heard, at least one Board member is aware of what took place, yet so far as we know, no action has been taken to ask this person to voluntarily resign, disclose his actions to the rest ofthe Board, or otherwise disassociate from him. So far as we know, no one at the Board has even asked a single question about this incident, nor expressed any desire to determine who might be attacking a District employee for exercising his political rights.

OK, so the School Board uses dirty tactics to silence critics and the board members themselves are moral cowards with no sense of decency. We knew that a long time ago. What we need to know is who that political operative is. I have my ideas, but I'm not going to venture a guess, because at this point, that would be all it is. The grand jury could have easily provided the name but chose not to.

Bad call.   


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82 comments
Jeffstein
Jeffstein

Unreal! we have no right to criticize other countries for being corrupt.This is corruption at its worst and everyone knows it and nothing is being done about itAmerican used to be the place that one make it or fail on merits not anymoreThe connected corrupts are the ones eating the gravy. you have to know someone and plays the silly games to get any kind of position of power. Name one person who has a great and well paid jobs and find out who they know? connection got them thereunfortunate and regrettable that i am raising my kids in this stinks.

Anonymous One
Anonymous One

At least the Grand Jury has the power to subpoena people and take testimony under oath. That is the only chance of getting at the fact since these players are all such expert liars and do all they can to obscure the facts. Just ask anyone involved in the Beachside Montessori school debacle. We were asking the questions and you can't believe the lies and the deliberate actions taken to hide the facts of what was actually planned and going on.

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

The first Grand Jury I can recall came in 1995 when they recommended all of the staff in the Facilities and Construction department be let go and their jobs readvertised. The 1997 Grand Jury was an interim report on the 1995. The 1995 Grand Jury was called because of the incompetence of the 1985 Bond program that built a large number of new schools with poor construction, poor inspection and poor supervision. In fact, the Inspections and Code Compliance section was a recommendation of the Grand Jury who wanted it separated from the Faciliies Department and independent. They also recommended a Field Construction section to monitor the construction in the field. This was abolished with Associate Superintendent Tom Calhoun, the right hand of Dr. Till, who came from San Diego where Dr. Till and he were working together in the Facilities Department there. Calhoun left to join the company that owned the architectural firm of Spillis Candela in Miami who Calhoun defended as an employee of the School Board, after he had taken a position with their mother company. There was another interim report of the Grand Jury after the 1997 but again the School Board issued the same responses to them over and over again, that they had complied with their recommendations when they had not. That is soso smoke and mirrors they have done for years. Write your legislator and demonstrate, too.

KennyPowersSays
KennyPowersSays

Never the perps or their puppet masters.

"The secret of grand fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done." Balzac

Christy
Christy

12. Those Persons Who Have Not Contacted The Superintendent At Least Five (5) Days In Advance But Who Wish To Address The Board May Be Heard At The End Of The School Board Meeting At The Discretion Of The School Board Chair. However, Issues Presented By That Person May Not Be Acted Upon By The School Board Without First Appearing On The Agenda.

http://www.browardschools.com/...

Christy
Christy

Jim Notter Report Card

Math FLeadership FEthics FCorruption A

Christy
Christy

In One breath the Grand Jury says Abolish the school board and then the next breath is here are ways to improve the school board.

No Neck Notter has to go. Divide district in 4 areas. North South East West School districts with 4 different school boards. Jen Jen can pay back the 25 million to get this going.

Christy
Christy

Abolish the School Board.

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Look what someone calling themself Stephanie Kraft said about the grand jury report.

StephanieKraft at 8:33 PM February 21, 2011 You are right on point with this column! The key lies in this statement you made: "Times have changed, superintendents have changed, school board members have changed. But the dysfunctional culture has stayed the same."

This is the most important point of all. The first Grand Jury report was issued in 1997, the second one in 2002, now this latest one that started looking into this in 2009. The Board has seen three different superintendents during that time period, and countless board members have come and gone during this time, but nothing else has changed. What is the common denominator? The staff. When the Grand Jury talks about the "culture" of the School Board, that is exactly what makes up that culture.

The Grand Jury is quick to point fingers at the board members or the Superintendent, but the reality is that the staff in the Facilities Department has been providing false and misleading information to the Superintendent and the Board Members for years (the present interim leader may be the exception). The same can be said for the staff in the Site Acquisitions Department and the staff in the Boundaries department over the years. Yes, there has been a lack of leadership, and the Superintendent can demand more accurate information, but the fact remains that the staff has been getting away with this behavior for years.

I guess she didn't read the part of the grand jury report that implicated her and her husband in the unilateral decision to bring on Dr. Mathis...which had what to do with the Facilities staff lying to the board and superintendent?

She also implies that the interim deputy may be changing the culture. I have had experiences and know many, many others who have had exchanges with him. You know, the many committees. That guy is to improving the embedded culture, what gasoline is to putting out a fire. But that is the current "spin". The guy is just as much a whore to the special interest as any deputy before him. It is a required skill for the job.

Sorry Steph. You and the rest of the spinners are just "spinning" your wheels this time. I have seen desperate, but this is next level.

Good luck with all that.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Sorry to go off topic, but I wanted to share this news story, which in my opinion, may be the most unbelievable story I have read in decades.

And that is saying alot for someone who reads 4-6 hours each day.

A mother of four children was sentenced to 10 years in prison on an open plea to the judge for selling $31.00 worth of marijuana. First offense.

http://newsok.com/article/3542...

Guest
Guest

To me this goes beyond Republican and Democrat. This is about an unethical member of the School Board that used strong arm tactics and wasted millions of dollars for a unecessary school fto be built for her personal reasons with disregard for the County. Gov. Scott should step in and replace her.

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

AT LEAST THIS JEN JEN ALSO HAS A NICE FACE AND NICE HAIR.!

SuchCrap
SuchCrap

They all believe in "innocent until proven guilty". None of these arrogant greedy incompetents will resign until their pensions are threatened.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Jen Jen doesn't care what people say about her as long as they appreciate her tits.

skydove
skydove

This is like being in school. An instructor presents a dramatic tale of unethical behavior by a county school board, naming no names but really slamming the unnamed parties, then says, "Discuss." Everyone jumps in saying how disgusting, how appalling; some advocate for the parties an educational experience in a lightly supervised prison.

"Yes, yes," says the instructor, "but did you notice that no laws were broken? Were you aware that state law provides reasons, in some circumstances, for not naming names?" Well, no. But still, the whole thing is an outrage, and some wonder why the seemingly impotent grand jury would produce such a damning statement if not to encourage action by other than legislative means.

The instructor sighs and shakes his head, going on to explain that the situation the grand jury was impaneled to investigate had to be found to exist in more than one county. & furthermore, if the grand jury had believed its work to be unfinished, it could have asked for a 6-month extension, which it seems not to have done. Oh.

I didn't do my homework; I didn't know any of this until today. I'm still confused, though. Why did the grand jury plunge ahead, focusing uniquely on Broward when its members must have been told that strong evidence of offenses in at least one other county would be required? Why didn't they ask for an extension to look elsewhere in the region? Had they been advised by counsel that the behaviors they'd caused to be investigated, while plainly unethical, weren't illegal in Florida, so they might as well write an expressive report and pack it in? Were these two grand juries just distractions between stretches of business as usual? Feh.

SuchCrap
SuchCrap

How much did this Grand Jury investigation cost?

Guest
Guest

Good Evening All!Good job Pulp I want to know the names. Who threatened Broward Cleansweep? Never has this line meant more.....EXPOSE THE BASTARDS!

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

ME EITHER........WOW DUMB WORDS THAT MEAN A LOT!!

Score Keeper
Score Keeper

Wow, did you all see the article in the Sun-Sentinel Opinion section about the grand jury report?

...Me either!

Why would they just pretend it was never issued?

Oh yeah, they are a part of the "machine". Maybe when it is clear that their friends are going down, and only when it is clear, they will provide some objective coverage of something so important. To remain silent on one of the biggest stories in recent Broward history is almost criminal. What are they thinking??? ]=

Thanks for your interest and committment Pulp.

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

I DIDNT FINISH WATCHING VIDEO. I say real men and woman can handle criticism it means you are getting to them! i have this friend i call him viejo and he knows its a love term he doesnt go out get makeovers or worry bout what i say cuz he knows i love him. So kudos to you that you dont let these 2 morons bug you!

Steve-O
Steve-O

Who is Ann Murray and why is her barrel-ass breaking dirt on the Beachside School with JenJen and Notter? Just who are these fucking people?

parkland man
parkland man

Hey how come they didnt show linda's name

Pulp
Pulp

I've got a chief suspect who I will be writing about tomorrow.

In the meantime, click here for the latest Coffee with Stacy. This week it's former Sentinel Editor Earl Maucker, who has some interesting comments about me -- or I mean an unnamed certain local blogger -- in the middle of the video.

Maucker was one of this blog's first stars. He was a newspaper guy who determined his paper's content based on focus groups and advertisers rather than any journalistic principles. Maucker was responsible for the "Help Team" and he emasculated the newsroom with the regrettable "How Can I Help You" advertising campaign.

Don't think I'm bitter -- the fact that his newspaper virtually ignored corruption for years paved the way for the Pulp. Here's the vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Randi Krotch
Randi Krotch

It's really very simple:Broward is what it is because the corruption benefits those in power -- from the local news media and our elected officials to our so-called captains of business, finance, construction and finance..

SoDoSomethingAlready
SoDoSomethingAlready

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do. ~ Moliere

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Go out and make a difference in your community. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. Barbara Sher

Linda
Linda

I still think you're an ignorant illiterate SLUG!

BumFarto
BumFarto

That would be a D average. This is passing, right?

anonymous
anonymous

Not one child was educated because of this filty corrupt school board. Gottlieb has to pay some kind of price for her part in this disgusting crime ring.

skydove
skydove

From the video, it looks like the room where the school board meets is even smaller than the discreet little chamber tucked away in City Hall where the boards and commissions conduct business. At City Hall, the fire marshals are always on the job, as they should be, thinning out the crowd when it goes over the limit. The overflow may be accommodated in a room upstairs with TV monitors and about 40 chairs, or right outside the building, where sound is piped out and people milling around can see gesticulating figures, yawning figures, whatever.

Do you know what arrangements are made in the Kathleen Wright building to allow access to school board meetings for people who can't fit into the meeting room?

Guest
Guest

All I see now when I look at her is an unethical greedy Pig!

Guest
Guest

Unfortunately you're right. None of these arogant bastards will resign on their own.In their minds why should they. There'll be no punishments and their dirty work is done.Perhaps one saving grace is they'll be monitored more closely now. Hopefully!

Score Keeper
Score Keeper

UPDATE...Mike Mayo issued a hard hitting report. He seemed to square off with the grand jury and reminded us that this kind of thing has happened before. Thanks for the newsflash Mr. Mayo!

How about mentioning a bit of detail regarding the transgressions of the electeds and administrators who are responsible for the culture quagmire.

In all fairness, he has a boss to answer to also. The editorial board is usually pretty friendly to the perps in BrowardTown.

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

CUZ I wuz there and i saw him look at me sideways,,like dam the little bitch is even cuter close up:) cuz love is blind,,,,,and he tried to 4 get me...but he couldnt,,,den he smeeled a rat and he said oh yea!!! Im coming after you degenerates,,,,,,,hmmm my fave place is an old rinketty rinky tire store:)

Education Weekly
Education Weekly

That was a rhetorical question, right Steve-O ? But just in case it wasn't, Murray is the successor to Eleanor Sobel, who took Carole Andrews' District 1 seat.

The Boondoggle technically sits on Ann Murray's turf. She gets to take partial credit for it but never had to hostess any of the Tupperware parties where the curriculum and attendance qualifications were decided.

Linda
Linda

I stll think you're an illiterate ignorant SLUG!

Randi Krotch
Randi Krotch

Maucker guesting on the Ritter blog is one moral notch removed from servicing a glory hole in a bus station men's room.

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Pulp, I can't wait to hear about your chief suspect. Have you contacted "Broomie" to see if Cleansweep even knows the individual? But then it probably wasn't about Broomie anyway...was it? Waiting....

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

So do you know who threatened you? If so, there is nothing to keep you from "naming names."

I have written the broward legislators as well.

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

ILL COME SWEEP THE COOKIE CRUMBS!! OH WAIT................I ATE THEM!

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

REFERING TO JEN HERE IN THE PICYUTR:(

Goldilocks
Goldilocks

I agree that none will resign on their own, but I respectfully disagree as to reason.

In their minds, they did no wrong. This system is totally just, and they do as they have learned, as has been done in the past, from those who brought them up and through it. It is hubris, plain and simple. Jennifer was brought up through the ranks by Barbara Miller. I forgot who wrote the chain of connections - Mara, Eleanor, Kenny, Jen, Robin B, Satz (yup, Satz) are all part of the Miller paradigm. The system. How it works. Their right to practice and behave in the way they do. Those screaming ethics at them are not only wrong, but are wronging them! They are the norm here. We are the outliers.

cindermaggi
cindermaggi

wtf u talking bout cinder? I dont know....................................Me either!!! I think cinder is hearing V O I C E S!

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