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Breaking: FBI Arrests 3 Broward Politicians in Federal Corruption Probes

September 23, 2009

JeffSlomanActing U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Florida, Jeff Sloman, ordered the arrests of Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, School Board member Beverly Gallagher and former Miramar commissioner Fitzroy Salesman on unrelated charges of public corruption, stemming from an ongoing federal investigation which began in June 2005.

Eggelletion is charged with money laundering for allegedly helping undercover FBI agents who said they represented people who wanted to hide money in the Bahamas. Gallagher and Salesman are both being charged with extortion, wire fraud and bribery while in office.

Update: The Sun-Sentinel reports, “Five of the six people arrested this morning on federal corruption charges filed into a Fort Lauderdale courtroom with their ankles shackled and their hands cuffed today, learning the conditions of their release during a 45-minute hearing before U.S. Magistrate Lurana Snow.

Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, School Board member Beverly Gallagher and former Miramar commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, along with Eggelletion associates Joel Williams, 54, of North Miami, Ronald Owens, 62, of Hallandale Beach, were released after they were ordered to remain in the South Florida area, surrender their passports, and post personal surety bonds to guarantee they’ll show up at trial.”

In Tallahassee, Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist, said the governor has not issued an executive order suspending Eggelletion, but that it is likely to happen. “If a current elected official has been arrested, that’s the route we would go,” he said. “We would be waiting for documentation of the arrest. Anytime there’s been an elected official that’s been arrested, we’ve issued an executive order suspending them.”

“It’s absolutely tragic, a tragedy to see someone I thought was an upstanding person in the community fall from grace,” said County Commissioner John Rodstrom. “It casts a bad air on the commission and the idea of public service.”

The complaint against Eggelletion says that he agreed to provide undercover agents with a banker in the Bahamas. He allegedly said that he didn’t have to adhere to the same ethical restrictions there that he faces in the United States.

– – –

An unsealed criminal complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office claims Gallagher promised two undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking to obtain school construction contracts that she could direct work to them. She is accused of telling them they could “make a lot of money together.” In all, the complaint accuses her of accepting $12,500 in four separate payoffs.

The federal case focuses on the manipulation of the school district’s construction program by Gallagher and others who are not named. For the past year, the district has been under fire for a rampant building program that continued even while the district’s enrollment plunged. The district expects to have 34,800 empty seats by the 2012-13 school year.

The 16-page complaint describes how Gallagher steered a $71 million building contract for Hollywood Hills High School to a company that supposedly would hire a subcontractor represented by the undercover agents. That project is now dead, due to budget cuts.

– – –

Salesman, who served two weeks in jail earlier this year for improperly displaying a firearm, is charged with extortion, mail fraud and bribery while in office. He is accused of accepting thousands of dollars from undercover FBI agents seeking construction contracts with the county.

Miramar Mayor Lori Moseley is out of town, but heard about this morning’s arrest. “Oh my goodness, that’s terrible for my city,” Moseley said. “But at least he’s not in office at the moment.”

Fed corruption case names Broward commissioner, school board member, ex-Miramar commissioner [Sun-Sentinel]

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2009 10:23 pm

    Here’s another take on this story: http://browardnetonline.com/2009/09/three-broward-elected-officials-arrested-in-federal-probe/

Trackbacks

  1. Breaking: Crist Suspends Politicians in Corruption Probe « PoliticsFLA
  2. Anti-Corruption Initiative in Palm Beach County « PoliticsFLA

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