BY BUDDY NEVINS
Scott Israel picked a couple of political insiders who backed his campaign to key roles at the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
But one of the new sheriff’s choices – Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo – is currently embroiled in a controversy left over from his old job.
He is accused of protecting a man repeatedly accused of child molesting.
Angelo Castillo was hired as an administrator in the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Israel said. His name was not on a news release of appointments below.
“He is not getting a command position (so he is not on the list),” Israel said. “I’m very well aware of the news out there about Broward House. We will be exercising our due diligence fully. If everything is as Angelo says, he will be offered something administrative.”
Israel points out, correctly, that he can’t really investigate the truth of the Broward House allegations until he takes office in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Angelo Castillo’s wife, campaign consultant Lisa Castillo who helped on Israel’s election, was named Israel’s new chief of staff on Wednesday.
Angelo was previously Chief Executive Officer of Broward House, a HIV and AIDS service center in Fort Lauderdale. He is in hot water because he supported Michael McGuigan, another administrator at Broward House, against allegations that he was a child molester.
Then Angelo left Broward House. McGuigan became his replacement as CEO.
During Angelo’s time as CEO at Broward House, he backed McGuigan despite what the Miami Herald called “repeated allegations that Michael McGuigan made inappropriate sexual advances toward children.”
The allegations against McGuigan, which were widely known at Broward House, should have “tipped the balance against his acquiring a position that puts him in direct contact with children. Yet he had high-profile defenders, including Angelo Castillo , who retired as Broward House ’s CEO in September, and Dean Trantalis, a former Fort Lauderdale commissioner, who serves on the board,” The Herald said in an editorial.
Trantalis is currently running for Fort Lauderdale commission.
Other Herald stories say that Castillo told Broward House board members that “there was no problem; the allegations were unfounded.”
McGuigan quit as CEO in November after newspaper stories broke about him.
Yes, McGuigan has never been charged. But he has been the subject of a number of investigations by child welfare organizations and police since at least 2000. The investigations continue, according to The Herald.
So it is no surprise that the appointment of Angelo, who supported McGuigan despite the allegations, immediately raised the ire of childcare advocates.
“Scott Israel is making a major mistake,” a leading voice in the state child welfare community said.
Castillo answered his critics in e-mail to Browardbeat.com:
“The employee was hired sometime around 2005 having successfully undergone all state required background and fingerprint checks. He came to Broward House directly following many years of employment as a manager with the City of Fort Lauderdale.
“Sometime around May, 2011 he voluntarily disclosed to the agency that he had become aware of a criminal investigation stemming from a complaint of inappropriate conduct that allegedly took place decades before he had become employed by the agency. No charges had been filed at the time of this voluntary disclosure. He had not been arrested. Had the employee not disclosed this information voluntarily, Broward House might never have become aware of the matter.
“I immediately contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to report the incident as appropriate and ask for their guidance in addressing the matter. Both responded that no action was required until and unless charges were brought, and even then the response would depend on the specific nature of the charge brought. I shared that information with the boards executive committee and a decision was reached to follow the states guidance. As a precautionary step, direction was given to the employee to refrain from contact with Broward House clients. That direction did not prevent the employee from performing his duties as the employees role was administrative in nature. This course of action was implemented and events were monitored.
“To be clear, there was never an allegation that I am aware of that this employee was involved in inappropriate conduct of any kind at Broward House or elsewhere while employed by Broward House. The allegation against him known to me involved alleged conduct taking place in the 1980s.”
“My decision to leave Broward House was amicable and mutually agreeable. My departure had nothing to do with this employee or the allegation against him. I had no involvement with any employment decisions regarding this employee following my departure including any decision to promote him. Nor did I have any involvement with any comment made by board members or others about his subsequent resignation.”
“It should never be overlooked that Broward House has always provided and continues to provide outstanding assistance to some of our most frail and needy individuals countywide. The agency plays an essential role in maintaining the social service and housing safety net within our community. We did amazing work together during my time there and my wish for them today and always is for continued success.”
This one is not over yet.
For Immediate Release: December 19, 2012
Transition Team Office of the Broward County Sheriff-elect 200 S.W. 1st Avenue, 12th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
SHERIFF-ELECT SCOTT ISRAEL ANNOUNCES NEW B.S.O. COMMAND STAFF LEADERSHIP
Contact: Sheriff-elect Scott Israel 954.525.4100
Broward County Sheriff-elect Scott J. Israel announced the core members of his new Broward Sheriff’s Office Command Staff leadership on Wednesday morning. “I am proud to announce our new BSO Command Staff leaders who will work with me to move BSO forward in a new and positive direction,” said Israel. “The men and women I selected represent some of the best, brightest, and most innovative law enforcement officials and professionals in South Florida.”
The following are the individuals named to the new BSO Command Staff (effective when Sheriff-elect Israel takes office on January 8, 2013).
DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT:
Alvin Pollock – Colonel Kevin Tyrie – Lt. Colonel Bill Knowles – Lt. Colonel
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL:
Ron Gunzburger – General Counsel
DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS:
Jack Dale – Colonel
DEPARTMENT OF DETENTION:
Gary Palmer – Colonel
Kim Spadaro – Lt. Colonel E. Keith Neely – Lt. Colonel
DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATIONS:
Steve Kinsey – Colonel
DEPARTMENT OF FIRE RESCUE: Anthony Stravino – Fire Chief
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH:
Robert Pusins – Executive Director
Veda Coleman-Wright – Director of Media Relations (Acting)
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION:
Jim Chinn – Executive Director
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF:
Mary Jo Mastrodonato – Executive Assistant to the Sheriff Lisa Yagid-Castillo – Chief of Staff
The following are brief biographical sketches of the Command Staff leaders named above:
Colonel Alvin Pollock has worked in law enforcement in BSO for 35 years. He currently serves as the Watch Commander in charge of the entire county. Over the years, Pollock has served in the Organized Crime Division, Recruitment, Patrol Division, Gang Unit, Community Relations, and various other units in the agency. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Public Admin from Barry University, and is currently working on his Master’s degree.
Lt. Colonel Kevin Tyrie began his law enforcement career in 1981 with the City of Delray Beach. He joined BSO in February 1983 and has been assigned to Road Patrol, District SET, Fugitive, Robbery, SID, Special Services, Shift Commander and as a District Chief. He has been a Regional Major in BSO for the past five years. Tyrie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from FAU, and is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership program.
Lt. Colonel Bill Knowles currently served as the Chief of BSO’s Pompano Beach District. He is also currently the Major over the Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea district offices. In that capacity, Knowles supervises the fiscal and administrative management of the districts’ personnel and their annual operating budget. He was a 21-year veteran of the Pompano Beach Police Department, joining BSO in 1999. Knowles is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and Southern Police Institute.
General Counsel Ron Gunzburger has practiced law in Broward County since 1988. He has served as General Counsel and Director of Administration for the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office since 2003. Over the past 24 years, Gunzburger has also served as a civil litigation partner in a “Top 100” national law firm, General Counsel/Chief Operating Officer of a dot-com corporation based in Washington, DC, an Assistant Florida Attorney General (RICO Unit), and an Assistant Public Defender. He was also the chief strategist for Sheriff-elect Israel’s 2012 campaign. He earned his B.A. degree from George Washington University, and his law degree cum laude from Vermont Law School.
Colonel John D. “Jack” Dale has 22 years of service with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, is the current Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division, and the former commander of Internal Affairs. He has a strong background in criminal investigations, drug trafficking investigations, internal affairs, patrol operations, staff inspections and SWAT; and is an instructor in the areas of leadership, drug trafficking, firearms and tactics. Dale has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Management and is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute, the DEA Drug Unit Commanders Academy, and the National Institute of Justice Law Enforcement Technology Institute.
Colonel Gary Palmer is a 32 year veteran with dual certification in law enforcement and corrections. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development Course and Administrative Officers Course; as well as a graduate from the prestigious Senior Management Institute of Police Senior Executive Leadership School at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Florida Police Chief’s Training Program. During his tenure with BSO he was assigned to Road Patrol, Organized Crime, Selective Enforcement Team, Internal Affairs, Human Resources and Criminal Investigations; and has experience in contract negotiations, labor relations, facility design and maintenance, purchasing, personnel management, capital improvements and budgeting.
Lt. Colonel Kim Spadaro has served as a BSO Lt. Colonel since December 2010 and is currently assigned to the position of Director of Detention Operations. Previously, she served as a Major who oversaw South Operations and a captain in command of BSO’s Central Intake the Compliance Unit. She earned a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program and the Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development Program. Lt. Colonel Spadaro’s many professional
accomplishments include becoming a Certified Jail Manager and a Certified Law Enforcement Officer. Since April 2012, Spadaro has served as President of the American Jail Association (AJA).
Lt. Colonel E. Keith Neely currently serves as a BSO Major. He first joined BSO in 1987 as a detention deputy. Throughout his career, Neely has worked in and supervised the Mental Health Unit, Inmate Booking, Classification and the Transportation Unit. He has also served as an investigator and supervisor in Internal Affairs. Neely holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Barry University and is a graduate of the 2001 Executive Leadership Program, 2004 Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, 2005 Southern Police Institute and is a Certified Jail Manager (America Jail Association). He also serves on the Florida Corrections Accreditations Commission.
Colonel Steve Kinsey is a 21 year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. He served as a senior level manager for the last 10 years, including the last four as the Operations Bureau Assistant Chief. Kinsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida International University; is a graduate of the 234th session of the FBI National Academy; and is a graduate of the P.E.R.F. Senior Management Institute for Police.
Fire Chief Anthony P. Stravino has 35 years in Fire and Rescue Service employment, including 28 years as a senior command level officer. He holds separate Associate degrees in Business Administration and Fire Science, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a graduate degree in Human Resource Management, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Stravino is a nationally accredited Chief Fire Officer Designee (CFO) and vice president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County.
Executive Director Robert R. Pusins served the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for over 30 years and retired with the rank of major. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He has recently been in private practice consulting nationally as an expert in police practices and procedures.
Director of Media Relations (Acting) Veda Coleman-Wright has served as Senior Public Information Officer since 1996. Before joining BSO, she was a reporter and television assignment editor at WPLG-TV/Channel 10, and an information specialist for the Florida Department of Insurance. Coleman-Wright attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
Executive Director Jim Chinn has been teaching criminal justice since 1973, first at Nova University and currently at FAU. He also served at BSO from 1982 through 2003, starting as a road patrol deputy. Over the years he rose through the ranks to serve as Supervisor of Major Narcotics, directed drug and money laundering task forces, was Executive Lieutenant in Pompano Beach (Dist 9), held the rank of Captain, and served as BSO’s Director of Training. Chinn holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mathematics from Western Kentucky University; and a Doctorate in Mathematics (minor in Educational Research) from FAU. He has also served as a consultant with 500+ police agencies since the 1970s on policy research, grants writing, and other matters.
Sheriff’s Executive Assistant Mary Jo Mastrodonato served the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for 11 years (Patrol Division, Special Victims, Special Investigations, Metro Intelligence Unit; and in the Chief’s Office as Administrative Support to Command Staff). For the last eight years, she served the North Bay Village Police Department as an executive administrator in the position of the Assistant to the Chief.
Chief of Staff Lisa Yagid-Castillo served as a Legislative Assistant to former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Senior Manager of Operations at the NYC School Construction Authority, and as Chief Aide to Broward County Commissioner Jim Scott. She holds a degree in marketing from the State University of New York.