BY BUDDY NEVINS
(Updated information at the end.)
Elaine B. Geller, a candidate for the Florida House in South Broward, lost her license to sell commodities after admitting in 2006 to using “deceptive and misleading sales solicitation,” according to sources and public documents.
Geller also declared bankruptcy in 2009 owing almost $500,000 to dozens of creditors. Her bankruptcy case states she sometimes used the alias of “Elaine Leighow” without offering details, according to Federal court records.
A Hollywood resident, Geller is a Democratic candidate for the Hollywood-based Florida House District 99.
Elaine Geller (from Facebook)
In the civil administrative action that cost Geller her license, she agreed to a six-month suspension of her commodities sales license and agreed to pay a $7,500 fine for her work at the Broward-based firm of Harrington Financial & Energy Advisors.
Documents concerning Geller are on file with the National Futures Association, a self-regulatory association for the commodity and futures sales industry. She was charged with violating the association’s rules.
Harrington specialized in commodities options. Options give the holder the right to buy and sell a contract for a product like wheat or oil for a specific price at some future date.
The sales of commodities options have long been haunted by shady high-pressure sales practices. That is exactly what Geller admitted to doing in the civil complaint against her and five other members of the Harrington firm.
The complaint against Geller alleged:
*She told one customer in 2004 that it was “extremely rare for you to lose even part of your investment,” an obvious lie when dealing with highly risky commodity options. The customer was hardly a sophisticated investor. She was a courier who earned $22,000 annually.
*Geller allegedly told another woman “all her clients made money.” She reportedly told his same woman “more than once that she would get the account (up) to $1 million.”
*Geller told a third woman “orange juice would go sky high because of the hurricane…If (she) would invest $12,000, she could make $50,000.”
*She pressured a man with a rosy picture about the price of wheat. “You need to buy it now…I guarantee that wheat will keep going up…”
After the Harrington case was settled, Geller gave up her NFA license and stopped selling commodities. She had worked in the industry since the late 1990s.
No Mention On Facebook
When Geller filed for office in February, she established a campaign Facebook page. It calls her a “businesswoman,” but gives no details.
Another interesting fact: Geller in July dropped the middle initial from her voters’ registration. It was changed from “Elaine B. Geller” to Elaine Geller.
Geller’s candidacy has been treated seriously by some members of the Democratic Party. She quickly snared the endorsement of state Rep. Elaine Schwartz, the Hollywood Democrat who now holds District 99. Schwartz is term limited next year and wants Geller to replace her.
Geller’s opponent in this overwhelmingly Democratic district is former state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach. Jenne had no comment.
Her bankruptcy case was terminated a year after she filed it. She owed $466,874.
Browardbeat.com made repeated attempts to contact Geller. She did not return calls or e-mails. In addition, messages left with her campaign staff were unreturned.
Shortly after Browardbeat.com’s exclusive post on Geller’s background, campaign volunteer and longtime Broward Democratic activist Barry Sacharow quit the campaign. Sacharow ran the Geller campaign’s Facebook page.
His statement on why he quit is below. It was published on, no surprise here, Facebook:
Geller also commented on Facebook after the Browardbeat.com report was posted:
Elect Elaine Geller