Broward Politics: Former Fla House Member’s Bar License Suspended And Amazon Series “Bosch’s” Broward Connection

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

A former Florida House member who lost an independent campaign for state Senate last year has been suspended from the practice of law for a year for mishandling his trust account.

Phillip J. Brutus, 59, who has a law office in Lauderdale Lakes, exhibited “repeated negligence in maintaining his trust account” by misusing the proceeds of a divorce, according to a Florida Supreme Court decision Thursday.

The decision states:

“In the dissolution of marriage proceeding, Brutus clearly was aware of the court’s order directing that marital funds be held in his trust account; nonetheless, he deliberately disbursed the funds to his client, without an order resolving the matter and without the court’s knowledge or authorization.

“Additionally, Brutus has admitted to negligence in maintaining his trust account—his poor record keeping was such that Brutus could not determine when funds held on behalf of a client dropped below the balance that should have been maintained in the account; he commingled trust account funds with earned fees; and there is evidence of three overdrafts from the trust account during a two-month period in 2010.” 

Phillip J. Brutus

 

A Miami-Dade state House member from 2000-2006, Brutus ran as an independent against Daphne Campbell for Senate District 38 in Northeast Miami-Dade last year. He lost 75-25 percent.

Burtus’ mishandling of routine financial matters during his political career foreshadowed his current legal problems. From 1999 to 2014, Brutus was fined 18 times by the Florida Elections Commission for missing filing deadlines.

He was also fined by the election commission in 2016 for failing to properly disclose his net worth.

In addition to his suspension, Brutus will be on probation for two years when he resumes his practice and have to pay $11,787.50 to cover the cost of the ethics investigation.

 

Governor Earns Smiles From Sunrise Mayor

 

Part of being mayor is showing up when the governor comes to your town. Maybe another unwritten requirement of the job is to smile at the governor’s jokes.

That’s a grinning Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan in a black suit standing behind Gov. Rick Scott at Rick Case’s Kia showroom in Sunrise.  A Republican fund raiser with several car dealerships, Case is to Ryan’s right.

 

 

Scott was at the car dealership on his “Fighting For Florida’s Future Tour.” The governor was traveling around the state to generate support for his budget proposals.

The governor wants more money from the Legislature for tourism marketing, economic development and to fix the dike at Lake Okeechobee.

 

Bosch’s Shout-Out To Broward 

 

The new season of the police procedural Bosch on Amazon Prime has two characters from Broward County’s past.

The Los Angeles Times reporter in the series is named Scott Anderson.  The real Scott Anderson spent 17 years at the Sun-Sentinel as a reporter and then as the interactive guru.

For some of this time, Anderson worked and became friends with Michael Connelly, who is author of the Bosch novels, a co-creator of the Amazon series and another alumni of the Sun-Sentinel.

Anderson today is an assistant professor at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

As you can see above, he looks nothing like Eric Ladin, the actor below who plays Scott Anderson on Amazon. Except for maybe the glasses.

A bad guy in the series is named Jesse Tafero.  The real Jesse Tafero was a notorious Broward bad guy back in 1976. He was convicted of murdering a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and a Canadian constable at an Interstate 95 rest stop, which no longer exists.

The real Jesse Tafero

Here is how the Sun-Sentinel’s Barc Bowman, father of current Broward Circuit Judge John Bowman, described the crime in 1986:

“Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Philip Black and Canadian Constable Donald Irwin were murdered by three hoodlums for little or no reason.

“It was a major news story in 1976. Trooper Black was on routine patrol, accompanied by his friend Constable Irwin who was visiting the Black family here. They stopped at the rest stop to check out a green 1968 Camaro that was parked near the rest stop exit.

“The routine check turned into death for the trooper and constable, both 39 years old.

“They were shot to death. Just who did the actual shooting still is clouded in conflicting testimony but it is eminently clear that all three occupants of the Camaro were involved in one way or another.

“One of the killers, Jesse Tafero, is on Death Row at Florida State Prison, sentenced to die for his part in the inhuman murders.

“A second, Walter “Rusty” Rhodes, is serving three life sentences for his part in the slaughter.

“A third, Sonia Linder, was sentenced to death after her trial, but the sentence was changed to life in prison by the Florida Supreme Court.”

 

Tafaro’s execution was particularly grizzly after Florida’s electric chair “Old Sparky” malfunctioned causing flames to erupt from his head.

Rhodes testified against Tafero, got a reduced sentence. He later recanted his testimony against Tafero and said he was the one who shot the officers. He was released in 1994.

Linder — also known as Sonia Jacobs or Sonia Jacobs Linder — had two children with Tafaro, who was a convicted robber at the time of the murders. She had her death sentence overturned when an appeals court found that the late Broward Judge Daniel “Maximum Dan” Futch had no reason to overrule a jury’s recommendation of a life sentence. She was released in 1992, moved to the United Kingdom, married and was reunited with her children.



3 Responses to “Broward Politics: Former Fla House Member’s Bar License Suspended And Amazon Series “Bosch’s” Broward Connection”

  1. Myron H says:

    What you didn’t write is that Bosch is one of the best shows on TV. Everybody should watch it.

  2. Michael Ryan says:

    As I have done many times, I welcomed the Governor to talk about jobs, investment in infrastructure, and marketing of Florida to promote tourism.

    As home to one of the most successful corporate parks in South Florida with many local, national and international corporations generating thousands of jobs, our City is keenly aware that we must compete regionally, nationally and internationally to retain and expand jobs as well as capital investment. Unfortunately, municipalities have limited tools in the tool box to meaningfully compete. We must rely on the assistance of groups like Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance as well as the State of Florida to promote Florida and Broward County.

    In addition, Sawgrass Mills Mall is a substantial generator of jobs and sales tax dollars highly dependent on tourism. In fact, Sawgrass Mills reportedly represents one of the most significant tourist destinations in the State. Regionally this is important to the State, County and municipalities since they all share in the sales tax dollars generated at the Mall. By statute, the State receives over 90 cents of every sales tax dollar generated and the County takes the lion share of the remainder. Then, municipalities share the remaining pennies based upon population, not based upon where the dollar was generated. As a result, some municipalities receive a larger share of the remaining sales tax dollars than does Sunrise. Therefore, we all have an interest and must support regional and collective economic successes.

    The cooperation, support and personal engagement of the Governor, as well as FDOT, Turnpike Enterprise and the stakeholders, have been critical to the planned and necessary infrastructure improvements to I595/136th Avenue; 8th Street and I75 Corporate Park access; Sunrise and I75 interchange; construction of north access point at Pat Salerno Drive (finally); and Sawgrass Expressway and West Oakland Park Boulevard. These welcomed infrastructure improvements are necessary to support and protect the capital investment and jobs in this corridor, as well as improving the quality of life for those who live, work, play, shop and travel for entertainment in and around Sunrise.

  3. Phillip J. Brutus says:

    Mr. Nevins

    I don’t know if you are a journalist or just an activist moonlighting as a political pundit. What I know is that your blog zoomed in on one aspect of a difficult story and never looked at the other pertinent aspects of the decision. In your haste or calculated move to malign my name,you omitted several salient finding of facts confirmed by the Florida Supreme Court. Namely,
    1. When I disbursed I was not acting for personal gains.
    2. I disbursed $48,000.00 to my client, which included some $2,000.00 to pay ad valorem taxes and homeowner’s insurance, among other expenses.
    2. No checks issued from my Trust Account has ever been dishonored.
    3. Not one client filed a complaint against me.
    4. My decision to disburse, albeit ill advised, was done to assist a woman in distress.
    5. I have no disciplinary actions in close to 30 years of practice.
    6. There was no loss to any clients and no clients complained about my representation of them.

    But to ignore these significant issues and concentrate on Fines by the Florida Electoral commission shows your motive. In the Trump era, I can see the hidden agenda of destroying every immigrant, particularly those of darker hue. You are so bent on destroying, maligning and vilifying the reputation of a Black Haitian that you chose to focus on issues you feel define who I am. But, hey it’s a free country.I respect your First Amendment right. But Remember, God does not like Ugly and he will see me through. Remember Christ’s challenge, “Cast the first stone”. But you did. You must be as perfect as he. But I am sorry to tell you that I am no thief; I am no rogue. I am not the ruffian you so clearly wanted to portray me as. Perhaps you should real newspapers and see how balanced their reporting of this story has been.

    Peace Profound

    Phillip J. Brutus

    FROM BUDDY:

    I appreciate your note.

    The link to the Florida Supreme Court order is contained near the top of my story.

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