Campaign records show Democrat lobbyists, insiders and politicians funded the 2000 school board campaign of Broward Republican Chairman candidate Levi G. Williams, Jr. Candidates seeking to replace Chairman Tom Truex will debate Wednesday evening in Coral Springs. The announced candidates are Williams, Karin Hoffman and Broward GOP vice chair Christine Butler.
Williams was a last minute candidate in the special 2013 BREC election. He was nominated by David DiPietro, the “political guru” of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
In 2000, Levi Williams ran for the District 5 seat on the Broward County School Board. While he lost to Democrat Ben Williams, Williams was able to raise considerable campaign funds from Broward insiders and political operatives.
WHY DID PERRY THURSTON SUPPORT LEVI WILLIAMS?
One of Williams’ earliest supporters was Perry E. Thurston, Jr. of Fort Lauderdale. Williams received a contribution from Thurston on November 2, 1999.
Mr. Thurston is the Democrat minority leader of the Florida House of Representatives. REDBROWARD reported Thurston played residency games in order to keep his Florida House seat. The two-story home in Plantation Thruston shares with his wife and children lies outside his House district. Thurston claims to live in a run-down Fort Lauderdale home with a convicted felon.
Thurston’s residency games caused Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish to remove his homestead tax exemption. Investigators for the Property Appraiser’s office determined Thurston had violated the law by claiming the tax exemption for his Plantation home. Thurston was defiant when a local television reporter caught him living in the Plantation home. Thurston said he “lives there when I want to.” Living outside of his district violates the Florida Constitution.
This year, Thurston ran for the Democrat nomination for Florida Attorney General. One of his closest advisers is lobbyist and salami sandwich doyenne Judy Stern.
STACY RITTER’S HUSBAND SUPPORTED LEVI WILLIAMS
In January 2000, Williams received a campaign contribution from Fort Lauderdale lobbyist Russ Klenet. He is married to Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, a Democrat. The controversial Klenet is a lobbyist for the entities behind the Florida Panthers hockey club.
DALE HOLNESS SUPPORTER PART OF TEAM LEVI WILLIAMS
In April 2000, Williams received a $500 contribution from Fort Lauderdale consultant Sheryl Dickey. Last month, REDBROWARD revealed how Dickey used public funds to renovate office space for Democrat politicians.
Dickey received more than half a million dollars from the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to build office space which has been used by Charlie Crist, Congressman Alcee Hastings and President Barack Obama. According to the February 2008 Northwest/Progresso/Flagler Heights Implementation Plan, Dickey Plaza would receive $300,000 in “development assistance” and $213,624 in “value of land contribution.” County records show the City of Fort Lauderdale CRA turned over the land to Dickey Consulting Services, Inc. on July 31, 2009 for the sum of $10.00. Dickey Consulting Services, Inc. is owned by Sheryl A. Dickey.
REDBROWARD exposed Dickey, helped fulfill the minority participation component of the County’s agreement with B-Cycle of Wisconsin. Nothing in Ms. Dickey’s resume and work experience indicates knowledge of bicycles or bicycle sharing programs. In a contract dated March 15, 2010, B-Cycle LLC agreed to give 5% of the contract to Dickey Consulting Services, Inc. The Broward B-Cycle program officially launced in December 2011. A press release stated the B-Cycle program was “spearheaded” by Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, who presided at the opening of each station.
During this time, Dickey was reappointed to the Broward County Small Business Development Advisory Board by County Commissioner Dale Holness. It appears she was originally appointed to this committee by the disgraced Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion. Dickey served on numerous committees and boards throughout Broward.
In 2012, Sheryl Dickey hosted a fundraiser for Holness at her offices on Sistrunk Boulevard. This year, Holness and Dickey at part of Judge Ian Richards’ “campaign committee.”
WILLIAMS GAVE MONEY TO DEMOCRATS
Campaign financial records show Williams’ returned the Democrats’ generosity. In February 2002, Williams gave a $200 contribution to Alain “Alan” Jean, a Democrat candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. Mr. Jean is a campaign consulant whose clients include Broward State Attorney Mike Satz.
In October 2010, Williams gave a contribution to judicial candidate Frantz Jahra McLawrence. During his 2010 and 2014 campaigns, McLawrence was supported by Democrat operatives including Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.
Williams supporters may claim this shows his ability to reach across party lines to garner support. But, should Broward Republicans really seek the support of insiders and their cronies who profit from public dollars? Do we need political lessons from politicians who willfully violate the Florida Constitution?
Perhaps Mr. Williams will get to answer these questions at tonight’s debate. It will be held at The Blue Moon Seafood and Chophouse in Coral Springs. The debate begins at 7:00 PM