Commissioner Lieberman: “Not Proper” For County’s Lawyer To Lobby


County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman has broken with one of her favorite lobbyists over the issue of waste disposal.


Ilene Lieberman

She told in an e-mail that it was not “proper or right” for Mike W. Moskowitz, a lawyer who handed waste disposal cases for the county, to now lobby for the county’s leading garbage firm.

Here’s the story: discovered last week that Moskowitz had registered to lobby for the waste disposal giant Wheelabrator Technologies this month. Moskowitz in the past represented the county in at least three lawsuits involving the waste industry. e-mailed Lieberman and asked her what she thought of Moskowitz’s lobbying for Wheelabrator.

Queen of Trash

Why Lieberman?

She is dubbed The Queen of Trash because of her long reign as chair of the county’s waste board.  She dominates the county’s waste policy and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the waste industry.

Her comments to were surprising.  She criticized Moskowitz and he is one of her most durable supporters.

But Moskowitz — who was now lobbying for Wheelabrator after earning tens of thousands from the county to fight the waste industry — had taken a step-too-far for Lieberman.

In her e-mail, she didn’t use the word that is an anathema to the legal profession –- “conflict.”

Lieberman did write that because of Moskowtiz’s previous law suits for the county, “I don’t think it is proper or right for him to be representing Wheelabrator…”

She cited a 2006 lawsuit Moskowitz handled in federal court for the county against Southern Waste Systems (SWS).

SWS was suing Coral Springs in an effort to pick up construction and demolition debris in the city.  The city had granted that right to another company.   The county jumped in to defend the right of governments to grant waste contracts.

Moskowitz won the suit.

Liebeman noted that the county and Wheelabrator may fight in the future over the issue of government control of waste disposal (In her e-mail, she uses the industry term “flow control”*.)  Thus in her opinion, Moskowitz shouldn’t lobby for Wheelabrator.

Veteran Lobbyist and Lawyer

Moskowitz is a fixture at the Broward Government Center, part of the small clique of lawyer/lobbyists who have ready access to commissioners.  A dependable campaign contributor, Moskowitz is also the county’s Democratic State Committeeman representing Broward at the state party level.

He is known to be particularly close to the two Northwest Broward commissioners – Stacy Ritter and Lieberman.  And he has one big difference from the other lobbyists:

The Parkland lawyer both lobbies commissioners and gets hired by them to handle lawsuits for the county.

Lieberman may be fond enough of Moskowitz to help hire him as a county lawyer numerous times.  Still, she answered’s question about Moskowitz registering as a waste industry lobbyist like this:

I had no idea that Michael Moskowitz was representing Wheelabrator until you sent me this e-mail.  I am very surprised about this because Mr. Moskowitz represented the RRB(Resource Recovery Board) and the County when SWS was suing the RRB to defend the RRB’s and the County’s Solid Waste District’s procedures and practices.  It is my opinion that Wheelabrator and the RRB and/or County may be on opposite sides of this issue in the immediate future.   I believe he should not be representing Wheelabrator at the County or RRB level because of this.  Thus, I don’t think it is proper or right for him to be representing Wheelabrator at the County level because of his prior representation of the RRB and the County on flow control*.  But, you’ll have to ask Wheelabrator and Mike Moskowitz about this as I was not and am not a part of Wheelabrator’s hiring decisions.

Moskowitz and Wheelabrator could not be reached.  They are welcome to write with any comments.

 (*: The law suit involved “flow control” – the waste industry term for the ability of governments to determine who can handle waste disposal or control the flow of garbage. Hence the industry term which Lieberman uses in her e-mail: “flow control”.)






11 Responses to “Commissioner Lieberman: “Not Proper” For County’s Lawyer To Lobby”

  1. Dirty Bizness says:

    This is not the only conflict currently which violates attorney and client interests going on with the waste dealings in Broward County currently. Keep digging.

  2. Gwen says:

    Lieberman turning on a lobbyist like Moskowitz is like a tiger eating its cub. Lieberman has made him millions.
    Cutting him off now is a small price to pay.

  3. Don't have a cowan says:

    Since Lieberman got caught shaking down Chait for a job for her husband and a donation for her favorite charity, I doubt she will be around much longer. I think that she will and should be charged with crimes. We will see.


  4. eye on the lies says:

    Waste Management seems to be getting off pretty easy in all the articles that have appeared in the press lately.

    It Stinks worse than the garbage they are disposing of.

  5. Woody72 says:

    @Don’t have a cowan

    As a resident of Tamarac, I have no doubt that Lieberman is just as ethical as Ritter 😉

  6. Real Deal says:

    If representing a client is not a conflict of interest or outright prohibited by law, then it is not inappropriate and is permissible. Who says that this matter forms a conflict and if so on what basis? Who says that it violates a law and if so which one?

    Just because the county used a particular attorney doesn’t mean that attorney can’t represent others within the same industry unless there is a clear prohibition.

    It is sloppy to suggesst wrong dowing without so much as identifying, much less nailing down the facts to a specific basis for objection. I suggest that it the height of unethical behavior to raise a problem of this nature without substance.

  7. Don't have a cowan says:

    The link is below. How is it that Ilene voted on the Chait deal while her husband was on Chits payroll? and below is a link for the cash payment to the charity of Ilene’s. I still think she is going down.

  8. I Work For The County says:

    Lieberman is a whore. Has been. Always will be. Did anybody look to see if Stuart was getting legal business from the lobbyists?

  9. Floridan says:

    Real Deal: “It is sloppy to suggesst wrong dowing without so much as identifying, much less nailing down the facts to a specific basis for objection. I suggest that it the height of unethical behavior to raise a problem of this nature without substance.

    Well, yeah . . . but wouldn’t that be a lot of work?

  10. Broward in 5th place says:

    Broward only ranks as the 5th most corrupt region in USA!

    1st place – Chicago area
    2nd place – Los Angeles area
    3rd place – New York City area
    4th place – Washington DC area
    5th place – Miami-Broward area

    Chicago and Illinois,
    Leading the Pack in Corruption

    Anti-Corruption Report Number 5

    February 15, 2012

  11. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Comm.Lieberman wow that immunity deal(joke) went right to your head huh? Although i’m impressed w/ how everyone around you is somewhat cautious in dealing w/ you I don’t understand why you would throw Moskowicx under the bus. Or did you?.” Who” do you want to get the trash contract is the real question?????