Controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness’ attempts to build his political clout extends into another judicial campaign. Holness sits on the campaign committee for Broward County Court Judge Ian Richards. RED BROWARD obtained photographs of Holness at a fundraiser for the Jamaica-born Richards.First elected in 2008, Judge Richards seems to employ the political tactics of all Holness supported candidates.
Financial reports filed with the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office shows Judge Ian Richards received a March 2014 $200 contribution from Dale Holness. In October 2013, Richards received a $500 contribution from Frantz Jahra McLawrence. Richards’ website shows Holness and McLawrence are part of his campaign committee.
RED BROWARD revealed Dale Holness and his daughter, Damara Holness, are backing McLawrence in his bid to unseat Circuit Court Judge Lynn Rosenthal. McLawrence has been on Holness’ team for a number of years. In 2012, BrowardBeat published a photgraph of a Dale Holness campaign van featuring McLawrence and other politicians. The Holness advertisement listed the endorsement of “future judge” Frantz Jahra McLawrence.
In both of his campaigns, Judge Richards appears to bypass traditional media by favoring Caribbean media. In 2008, Richards paid thousands of dollars for advertisements on WAVS 1170AM radio and CN MEDIA LLC, a Caribbean focused publication. This year, Richards is again utilizing Caribbean radio and publications suchs a Caribbean Today. The use of these “niche” media sources is a favorite Holness tactic.
In May, RED BROWARD reported the Children’s Services Council of Broward County paid a local charity tied to Dale Holness for access to these “niche” media outlets.
The leaders of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) were told Community Access Center, a non-profit organization tied to County Commissioner Dale Holness, was actually a “Haitian TV station.” The CSC board members, including County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, School Board Member Robin Bartleman, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runice and CSC President Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, were being asked to approve a $115,000 media buy plan. Unfamiliar with many of the entities in the media plan, Commissioner Gunzburger asked Chief Communications Officer Sandra Bernard-Bastien to explain each item. RED BROWARD obtained an audio recording of the February 2014 meeting where Bernard-Bastien said, “Community Access Center is a Haitian TV station.”
RED BROWARD exposed the Children’s Services Council media plan included a $5,000 payment to the Community Access Center (CAC). Bernard-Bastien told board members this “small amount of dollars” was a wise investment. She said, “What we found is that, for particularly Caribbean media, we spend $5,000 they give us $50,000.”
The money Community Access Center received from the Children’s Services Council was used to buy radio airtime and advertisements in Caribbean Weekly and Caribbean Today.
Perhaps someone should ask Judge Ian Richards if he was told spending on Caribbean media was a “wise investment.”