Judge Seidman’s Campaign Under Attack

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Late last month, I discovered that Broward County Judge Lee Seidman’s judicial assistant was receiving some of his campaign e-mail at work.

Seidman was asked why?

“I never gave …that address, Seidman emailed me.

He is totally correct.  This is just one more reason why I believe judges should only face merit retention elections once appointed.

If judges had merit retention instead of being pitted against candidates, the campaigns would more likely be about how well the judge does his job.  Judges and voters wouldn’t have to deal with foolish side issues like the one I am posting here. 

But there are no merit retention elections for circuit or county court.  So Seidman’s use of his judicial assistant has become an issue talked about at the courthouse.

Here is the story:

Seidman – he tends to be a tad paranoid – doesn’t list any campaign or personal web address or phone number on his campaign material filed with the Supervisor of Election. He lists is judicial office.

A political club president wanted to invite all the judicial candidates to the club’s monthly meetings. 

She called the number she found on the Supervisor of Elections website trying to find Seidman.  She got Seidman’s judicial assistant.

The JA told the club president to e-mail her at her courthouse web address, not knowing it was a mistake to do so. 

Big deal!

But Seidman’s enemies are telling people that he is using his judicial assistant to do campaign work.

I know why Seidman is a particularly tasty target:

(1) He has his wife Laura Seidman running against another judge, Circuit Judge Lisa Porter.

(2) He has made noise that he will drop his county court seat and run for circuit court against an incumbent judge, probably Circuit Judge Susan Lebow.

(3) His campaign treasure is Kevin Kulik, a criminal defense attorney who some dislike.  Kulik’s enemies charge he is trying to become a political kingmaker at the courthouse.  

Talk about that. Better yet, talk about whether Seidman is doing a good job not about the mistakes of his judicial assistant.

Some of Browardbeat.com’s readers have other views.  Here is one of them:

“I know what the JA did was a simple error but here is the problem, Seidman should have made it clear to the JA under no circumstances is the JA supposed to be dealing with anyone under any circumstances on campaign issues.

Seidman has had an opponent since July, are you really going to believe this is the first time someone tried to reach his campaign to invite him to an event and the JA dealt with it?

Also, as you know, his opponents can only attend events where all candidates are invited, how can a person sending out invitations reach Seidman without going through the Courthouse? SOE (supervisor of elections) does not have an alternative campaign email for him.

I could understand an error like this if Seidman recently got an opponent but he has had opponents for months.

How can he explain that every other incumbent judge has a dedicated non courthouse email for campaign business, but him? While this seems like a minor thing, it reminds me of your article on his financial disclosures, he just always seems to be able to explain everything away as simple error.

My suggestion is let the readers/voters decide.”



29 Responses to “Judge Seidman’s Campaign Under Attack”

  1. Supervisor of Elections Information says:

    Buddy – I’d have thought this was a silly little nothing piece and then I actually read the Broward Supervisor of Elections webpage with all the candidate filings.

    Seidman is the only one who put his Courthouse address as the campaign/candidate address and his Courthouse office phone number as the campaign/candidate phone number. I don’t see any other judge having done anything like that. They all have private offices or their treasurer/campaign manager address and phone number.

    Does this mean that there have been contributions sent to the courthouse, campaign literature, and other campaign communications going to him at the Courthouse?

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Buddy.

    Come on now. You’re going with moral relativism here?

    Bro…

  3. Brilliant Strategy says:

    Brilliant strategy — so he puts contact information that can’t be used because it’s at the Courthouse on his paperwork and it prevents any candidate from getting an invitation since these groups have to invite everyone or nobody. Nice.

  4. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my says:

    Very fitting that Chaz is the first poster on this thread.

  5. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Been thinking.

    Didn’t Cyndi Hutchinson loose the race because she “just sent one mailer” on the public dime?

    Who provides and pays for the JA’s computer?

  6. Merit Retention Stupid says:

    Sorry Buddy – Merit Retention for County/Circuit is a dumb idea.

    There is a reason that DCA/Supreme Court Judges haven’t been removed during the time of merit retention.

    Who is going to put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove a judge? Nobody, except maybe special interests through a 527 organization.

    When has there ever been a “real” merit retention race in the last 25+ years in Florida?

    I can’t think of any.

    So if you can’t muster enough $$ for a merit retention vote against a DCA judge or Supreme Court Justice in Florida, when they really make the law affecting the entire state, who’s going to pony up for taking out some County Judge.

    Nobody.

    So there won’t be elections over whether a judge is doing a good job, or whether they have the right demeanor, or the right ideas, etc.

    You’ll just have what we had in Broward before 2008 — judges who get appointed or elected once and then sit for life until retirement.

    There is a reason the people voted down this idea.

    There is a better way than what we have now, but merit retention ain’t it.

  7. Seidman's Fall says:

    Judges would silently applaud Seidman’s fall. Buddy, this is the guy you should focus on. Everything he does is questionable. From his shady financial disclosure, listing his campaign contact at the courthouse, funky pleas in his courtroom after accepting donations,illegally holding immigrants, running his wife against an incumbent,threatening to run against other incumbents, lowest rating on the bar poll (lawyers actually rate him the lowest when it deals with his integrity),never tries a case, sends people to jail for arriving late in his courtroom, on and on…too much to list. Kulik loves this guy though. What does that say? Hmmmmmmmmmmm

  8. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Continuing..

    Anybody got the JA’s email addy?

    I’d like to let Candidate Seidman know just how giant of a Douche-A-Saurus he is…

  9. An Issue? says:

    I am not sure that you can dismiss so easily as just opponents being concerned. The fact that it happened, even only once, does raise a couple of questions:

    1. Does seem silly not to have a separate address from the Judicial Chambers since it is inviting trouble. I understand the concern about defendants and others getting personal address information, but why not use Kulik’s address then? Do any of the other Judges use their chambers as the political contact information for the election efforts?

    2. Do we know if there were any other emails or calls to the office? If the answer is no, then this is a bit about nothing (though not entirely uninvited when using chambers as your campaign contact information)

    Merit retention is an extreme reform for this bit of nothing, if it turns out to be a bit of nothing. I mean, if nothing more to it, confidence in the electorate to make the right decision after explanations, should be enough. On the other hand, if there is more to the story, then whether it is a judge or a commissioner, the electorate will need to take that into consideration and merit retention is not the answer.

    By the way, Hutchinson was different based upon what we know at this point, where there were initially strong denials:

    http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/broward/blog/2008/05/state_investigating_commission.html

    http://www.fortlauderdaleobserver.com/hutchinson/index.htm

    FROM BUDDY:
    Your idea about Kulik is a good one. Maybe he should set up a campaign website and have e-mail go to it.

  10. Where there is smoke... says:

    Its not an attack Buddy if the information is true.

    I just checked the Broward SOE site and its true Seidman is the only one that lists his personal information as the courthouse. I guess he is running his campaign out of there?

    This reminds me of your story on Seidman’s required financial filings. For years he did them correctly and then a couple of years before he had an election he decided not to list his assets per the Statute. He told you he amended this, have you ever seen the amended?

    http://www.browardbeat.com/judge-seidmans-financial-disclosure-leaves-a-lot-out/

    Then he appears to give a contributor’s client a free pass from jail on a multiple DUI case by sending him to a cushy rehab. Which Buddy you gave him a pass on but Chaz reported.

    There is still the old story of how he lied to the JNC about shaking down foreigners at Hollywood.

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/424224/judge_on_spot_for_way_he_treats_illegals/

    Then there is his calling the poor boy who got burned in Deerfield a “human torch” in gest.

    “To any commentary about characterization of Michael Brewer as a human torch, that was a cartoonish characterization. It diminishes the severity of the injuries,” Weeks said.

    http://www.justnews.com/news/21564180/detail.html

    These are not rumors Buddy but facts that the voters deserve to know.

    Seidman better hope Chaz does not do a public records request for email lgonzale@17th.FLcourts.org
    and request email with the words inviation, invite, demcoractic club, campaign etc.

    FROM BUDDY:

    The other items you mentioned are much more important issues.
    I also agree that if there is a widespread pattern of his JA doing work for his campaign, he’s got problems. I only know of one instance, but there could be more since he has been running since last year.

  11. Irony of Ironies says:

    Buddy: Oh no. Your piece intended to put in context something you may have thought was out of proportion has crossed onto Chaz’ radar. I am not sure the judge’s political team will be thankful now that Chaz turned his eyes away from Deerfield and Sunrise momentarily (tho, those folks will be thrilled he is looking someone else!).

    FROM BUDDY: The only thing Seidman has to fear is fear itself….unless there is a pattern of using his JA for his campaign.

  12. Irony of Ironies says:

    Buddy: I understand that completely and your point is well taken. The issue is NOT that Chaz will generate what is not there, but will try to find what hasn’t been disclosed, if anything.

    True (and I suspect Chaz would admit it) if there is nothing more to it, then so be it and we can talk about the gravity of the single email. However, if Hutchinson (and Nixon and ….) is any lesson, a cover up or failure to disclose would be worse. So, best to do a complete search, confirm, re-double efforts, and then disclose results.

  13. Seidman Sez says:

    Lee’s problem going back to the paranoia is that he refuses to publish his home address and he has always lists his office.

    The article above that you did about his financial records says he owns a home in Broward County. If so how come there is no residence owned by Lee or Laura Seidman in Broward County?

    http://www.bcpa.net/RecSearch.asp

    I would be curious to know how and why he got Lori Parrish to hide his address if it is redacted?

    A Judge is supposed to be a member of the community, how can one be a member of the community trying to live in secret? What is he hiding?

    FROM BUDDY: Judges and law enforcement officials can remove their names from the property appraiser’s Internet site. It is an exclusion to the Public Records Law.

  14. Dora the Explorer says:

    The same person (or maybe two or three people) who hate Seidman, also hate a couple of other judges as well. The poster(s) are bitter and vengeful. They have an axe to grind.
    I am not sure that the haters are in the courthouse, visit frequently or used to work in the courthouse (wink wink).
    The hater(s) spend great energy posting half truths or just outright lies about Seidman and the other judges on this blog, JAAB and the pulp (e.g they said Hurley was gay before his wedding, tried to ruin his wedding, then claimed that he was about to be indicted).
    So, when you see the attacks, just look south toward Hollywood and take your best guess…

  15. Scurrying Seidman says:

    Seidman is scurrying to hide his misdeeds. Just watch how documents start disappearing. Question his JA. She would be a fool to lie for Seidman. She would not want to chance losing her pension.

  16. Who dat? says:

    Chaz bringing up Hutchinson makes me wonder if he is friends with Aturd Ahern? Everyone knows he is Seilers smear boy and lit up the blogs against Hutchingson and Rynerson. Aturd even bought up Hutchinson’s domain names. Wonder what the connection between these two are?

  17. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Merit Retention Stupid says:
    There is a better way than what we have now, but merit retention ain’t it.

    Can I suggest Thunderdome? Two men enter, one man leaves.

    Tomorrow, I will be filing a PRR vacuuming up all of Judge Wapner’s emails and evaluating my options for filing a complaint. If that route is available to me, I am going to take it…

    Anybody that knows the Judge, tell him to have his people call my people and set up lunch.

    BTW Sportsfans, keep a close eye on Deerfield Beach over the next couple of weeks. The Kessler forensic audit is coming and everywhere they go, somebody ends up getting thrown in jail.

    I give Commissioner 80/20 odds she doesn’t get through this…

    In fact, if I have my way, she’ll end up with so many bruises she could star in a Lifetime movie.

    Genius is in the house.

    Can’t you tell?

  18. lies? says:

    You mean the same Judge Hurley who rumor has it had Aturd write puff comments about him on New Times and got busted?

    What lies about Seidman?

    His JA deal with campaign issues on county time? True

    He provided only his courthouse contact info which would force event organizers to have to contact him at the Courthouse. True

    Called the burn victim kid a human torch. True

    Lied to the JNC. True

    Intentionally concealed liabilities on his financial affidavits. True

    Put his wife against Judge Porter. True

    Tells everyone he is switching to Lebow. True

    The day Ken Ronin gave his contribution changed one of Ronin’s clients sentence from jail to a cushy rehab. True

    So Tom O’C, can you please tell me the half truths or lies listed above?

  19. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Grasping for straws said:
    is Chaz friends with Aturd Ahern?

    Absolutely. Guilty. Busted. Dead to rights.

    Now tell me friend, who is Aturd Ahern?

  20. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Oh you mean Mike Ahearn, lawyer, and President of the Fort Lauderdale Emerald Society?

    Works out of 2850 North Andrews? Ha! While that building and I “go way back”, I’ve never meet that dood.

    I’ve got enough lawyer friends in my life…

  21. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    http://www.myactsofsedition.com/my_acts_of_sedition/2010/03/vacuuming-up-the-data-like-the-nsa.html

    FROM BUDDY: Thanks for the kind words.
    Go for it, Chaz.
    Let us all know what you find.
    Buddy

  22. newsflash says:

    Seidman’s JA issued a CYA email in the last 24 hours to her fellow JA’s in the court house..no more sending jokes or otherwise to her. Full text to be put up later.

    The Nixon aka Seidman purge begins. Good luck Chaz dealing with Alexndra Rieman the 17th Judicial Circuit PRR stall machine.

  23. Judge Issue says:

    I disagree. Judges that have to be re-elected is a great idea. It forces the judges to be good judges. If not, they get opposition and get replaced. When was the last time a governor removed a judge? Never happens. This system is not perfect for many reasons but it is the best alternative. Otherwise, Judges get a god complex.

  24. Nate Klitsberg says:

    Buddy –

    I have no reason to think that Judge Seidman was having his Judicial Assistant engaging in campaign activities and certainly give him the benefit of the doubt regarding this topic. He is certainly aware of the limitations/prohibitions on campaign activities taking place in the Courthouse and that government-paid employees like his Judicial Assistant shouldn’t be engaged in campaign activities on his behalf at the office.

    When I first filed in this Group back at the end of October, we began inquiring of some organizations and clubs as to whether they had previously sent out invitations to the candidates in Group 26. To ensure there was a way for everyone to be invited, we included email addresses for the candidates in the group. In order to find out the email addresses, we went first to the Broward Supervisor of Elections website and saw that Judge Seidman had identified only his official Courthouse office phone number and address. The Florida Bar website also only lists these same addresses. Because I could not find any campaign address, phone number or email for him, I made sure that included in our communications to organizations was the email address for Judge Seidman’s campaign treasurer (from the Florida Bar website) so he would be notified of events and invitations. Our goal has been and continues to be to ensure that all the candidates in this Group are invited to as many events and meetings as possible so we can each talk with the voters. The elective process works best when as many voters as possible are informed on the candidates and issues, so they can make an educated decision when they cast their votes.

    Buddy, you are absolutely right that there are more important things to be talking about during this campaign, both in Group 26 and other races throughout the County. I hope that this issue doesn’t discourage organizations and groups from inviting the candidates to speak to their members out of a worry that they may be sending out their invitations incorrectly. All of us should be out in the community as often as possible talking about our Courthouse and what we can do to help ensure that all people there are treated with fairness, dignity and respect. Without these invitations, one of the best ways to speak with the people of our community is lost.

    If he says this was an innocent mistake, I for one will take him at his word and hope we all move on.

    As always, thanks for giving me the opportunity to get some words out to your readers.

    Best regards,

    Nate Klitsberg

    http://www.nate4judge.com

  25. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Not being a lawyer and not knowing how to file an amicus brief, but being a writer full of shit, I certainly know to make a dirty diaper.

    CHAZ’S MOTION TO LAY A CLEVELAND STEAMER ON JUDGE SEIDMAN.

    http://www.myactsofsedition.com/my_acts_of_sedition/2010/03/amicus-brief-or-dirty-diaper.html

  26. Watching the blabber mouths says:

    No: 18 above (Lies):
    How many times per day do you deal with rumors?
    Are rumors the best you can do?
    Have you ever dealt with a fact?
    Before you smear a judge and a lawyer get proof. If not, you may need to just get a lawyer.

  27. lies? says:

    Nice reply. yet you cant mention one thing on that list that is a lie.

  28. electingjudges says:

    Buddy, If you want to appoint judges and not elect them take a moment to consider how federal judges get appointed and remain on the bench for life. Ever tried to criticize a federal judge? Ever tried to recuse one? Ever wanted to complain about their actions or personal behavior. Ever thought about challenging their impartiality? Ever been harrassed by the FBI? Ever been the focus of a US Attorney investigation? Ever given any thought to what it would be like if we couldn’t remove or vote out our current State judges? Reconsider your ill-considered position about electing judges.

  29. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Want to see how they are trying to keep you and I from finding out the truth about Seidman and his emails?

    The answer will cost you $2,068.00.

    http://www.myactsofsedition.com/my_acts_of_sedition/2010/03/seidmans-emails-are-worth-206800.html