Campaign Turned Topsy-Turvy: $11 Million Whale Enters Local Race





A whale is the biggest thing in the ocean….until it bumps into a bigger whale.

Broward Circuit Court candidate Kristin Padowitz learned this lesson 45 minutes before the deadline to run for judge. That’s when Shari Africk-Olefson jumped into her race. 


Shari Africk-Olefson


Padowitz had used $100,000 of her own money to kickstart her campaign.  And to scare away challengers.  

Africk-Olefson didn’t scare. Her net worth is $10.969 million. 

The figure comes from Africk-Olefson’s financial disclosure, filed just before close of qualifying on May 4. 

Suddenly, in the space of minutes, Padowitz was no longer a heavy favorite.

Africk-Olefson now must use her money to prod voters into paying attention to the race. Judicial campaigns are way down on the ballot and of very little interest to much of Broward. 

Expect a flood of mail pieces, cable television and Internet ads. Maybe even billboards.

All those expensive ads may work for Africk-Olefson. She has a memorable ballot name and judicial races are largely a name game.

There was been some cynicism from courthouse gossips who say she added the name Africk to place her first on the ballot. 

But even if she only used the last name Olefson, she would have been listed alphabetically first against Padowitz. 

Africk-Olefson is a perfectly legal name.  It is a reflection of her recent marriage to Pamela Africk.



The name Africk could lead some voters to believe the candidate is African-American. That probably doesn’t matter anymore and could even help in Broward, where roughly half the registered Democrats are black. 

Both candidates have the experience and education to be a judge. 

Africk-Olefson’s resume states that she is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at New York City’s Yeshiva University.  She has a masters of law from the University of Miami and a masters in psychology from Nova Southeastern. 

A member of the New York, District of Columbia and Florida Bar, her practice emphasizes real estate. She often appears on national television and in print concerning legal issues. In addition, her resume states that she was the CEO of a Fortune 300 real estate joint venture.  

Padowitz has been endorsed by dozens of local lawyers, connections made during her long tenure in the Courthouse. A graduate from Nova Southeastern Law School, she has a great deal of trial experience as first a public defender and then a prosecutor.


Kristin Padowitz


But the legal network that Padowitz and her criminal defense lawyer husband Ken Padowitz have built and the $100,000 could mean little now that Africk-Olefson is her opponent.

Winning a Broward Circuit Court seat may just prove to be the white whale that Padowitz will never land.  

And that big white whale is named Shari Africk-Olefson

8 Responses to “Campaign Turned Topsy-Turvy: $11 Million Whale Enters Local Race”

  1. Experience over money says:

    Lawyers who [attempt to] buy their way in to a judicial seat is nothing new in Broward. Hopefully the voters will look at experience over $$. Kristin Padowitz is an experienced trial attorney who has actually spent time in a courtroom. Nothing in her opponent’s background gives a sense of assurance that she is qualified to sit on the bench, regardless of her net worth. BTW how much of that net worth belongs to her versus her new wife?

  2. In the know!! says:

    All Shari needs to do to win this race is to pull Kristin’s personnel file at the SAO. That alone will prove she is unqualified and unstable to be a Judge. If that’s not enough, voters would surely be interested to know of Padowitz’ relationship with swindler Scott Rothstein. Just search YouTube (Scott Rothstein Christmas Party 2 at Café Iguana in Pembroke Pines). Watch the video for a while and you’ll see Ken and Krisitn feasting off the elaborate table of gourmet food. That ought to make for a great campaign piece. I’d attach the video on Buddy’s blog myself, but I’m not that tech savvy.
    Oh lets not forget to mention, Ken was under investigation by the FBI for years due to his involvement with Rothstein. Just read the article Bob Norman wrote when he was with the New Times. There is not one person at the SAO who is supporting Kristin especially after the fiasco during Ken’s recent trial when she was high fiving her husband during a murder trial while Ken was trying to tell the Court his client was innocent, and that the victim died while performing oral sex on the defendant. Satz should have fired her ass! Instead he just garnished her wages for the weeks she sat in court while she was supposed to be working for the SAO.

  3. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Africk-Olefson has a Master’s-level law degree; Padowitz only has a Bachelor’s level law degree.

    Africk-Olefson has been practicing law since 1989 – that’s nearly 30 years of experience. Padowitz has only been practicing for 18 years.

    I gave Ms. Africk-Olefson extra close scrutiny because of her status as a 1%er, only to find that she is an accomplished author with a remarkable talent for seeing things from the average person’s point of view.

    Moreover, unlike Lauren “Daddy’s Little Girl” Book, Shari Africk-Olefson has personally earned her way to the top through her own hard work and dedication; she’s even been the CEO of a Fortune 300 company!

    Ms. Africk-Olefson will be a superb judge that Broward County can and will be very proud of. She will absolutely have my vote.

  4. Just Saying says:

    I won’t engage in the negativity from some of the other comments above. I’ll just say that anyone who has ever worked with Shari Olefson knows she is bright, highly competent, professional, has the right temperament, and would be a great addition to the bench. Unlike most judicial candidates, she is not running because she cannot earn a living as an attorney or wants a pay raise. This will be a definite pay cut for Shari, but it demonstrates her real commitment to the calling of serving as a judge.

  5. Smell a Judy Rat says: says:

    Is that the best you got Judy Stern, go after Kristin Padowitz by attacking her husband? You are desperate!

    Africk-Olefson can’t buy trial experience and she can’t buy a Judge seat!

    200 lawyers, State Attorney’s, Judges and retired Judges were at that Christmas party 14 years ago. The vast majority had no idea that Rothstein was a criminal and neither did some of your close friends at that party. He defrauded a lot of people – even the Governor who appointed him to the 4th DCA JNC. The whole firm, everyone, was questioned. Less then ten lawyers in the firm were charged. The vast majority were all cleared.

    Stop being desperate, it will be ok for you to loose again.

    Africk-Olefson has No trial experience!

  6. Just One Vote says:

    I see the ex-mayor/retired a la term limited mayor of FLL is supporting her.

  7. Niles Roth says:

    Not one voter cares if Jack Seiler endorses Africk-Olefson except Jack Seiler.

  8. John kreiner says:

    You three have way too much time on your hands. Get a job and stop being so negative. Go talk to s professional and figure out what is bothering you. …..