At last Thursday’s Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC) candidate debate, one question posed by the audience dealt with whether any of the candidates had a “conflict of interest” or had ever been a “lobbyist.” Chair candidate Levi Williams scoffed at the question. Williams said, ” [The question] doesn’t make sense!” He tried to explain the only conflict was the amount of time he would have to spend away from his family. Williams never revealed his role as a lobbyist with the North Broward Hospital District (Broward Health).
At the same debate, Williams complained that REDBROWARD failed to highlight his positive stories. Williams urged the audience to check out his “500 Google hits.” We took Williams up on his offer. Here’s a Google hit from September 2001. Williams’ lobbying contract with Broward Health was not renewed. He complained and found support from a controversial Democrat State Senator.
According the Sun-Sentinel, “The North Broward Hospital District backed off a money-saving plan to dismiss its only two black lobbyists and three others, after a tense face-off with a state senator Wednesday.” The District decided having nine lobbyists wasn’t a good business practice. The plan to eliminate the $325,000 lobbying contract “flared into a racial issue fueled by Sen. Mandy Dawson, who told the hospital board the move had the appearance of racism.”
The panel wanted to cut five lobbyists . “Among the five to be dropped were two black lobbyists hired a year earlier at $20,000 each, to increase the diversity of the district’s message. The cut inflamed Dawson, a black Democrat from Fort Lauderdale, who said hiring black lobbyists last and dropping them first smacked of bias. Dawson told the board she hoped they would keep the two black lobbyists, Yolanda Jackson and Levi Williams.”
Dawson, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, would later spend time in prison on drug and tax-evasion charges.
Williams still has close ties to Broward Health. When Williams ran for BREC chair in 2013, he was nominated by David DiPietro, a Broward Health commissioner. DiPietro is Chip LaMarca’s self-proclaimed “political guru.”
As REBROWARD reported earlier this month, Levi Williams has a habit of hiding his past from BREC members.
Williams failed to mention his role with an anti-Common Core charter school group. Williams failed to mention his role as Florida regional director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Williams failed to mention how lobbyists and Democrat politicians supported his 2000 Broward School Board race. Williams failed to mention his financial support of Democrat candidates like Alain Jean and Frantz Jahra McLawrence.
What else is Levi Williams forgetting to tell us?
The election for BREC chair happens tonight, 7PM at the Sheraton Suites Hotel on Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale. Williams will face off against Karin Hoffman, BREC vice chair Christine Butler and Chris Leggatt. BREC insiders claim Butler has the votes to be the next chair.