Commissioner: Lobbyist Ron Book Has Conflict


For at least a decade, über lobbyist Ron Book has been dogged by the accusation that he takes Broward’s money and sometimes works against the county’s interests.


Ron Book: The Lobbying King


The charge surfaced again Wednesday.

This time it was the newest commissioner, Chip LaMarca, who says Book is working both sides of the fence.

Because this is politics, there is a back story.

Book supported LaMarca’s opponent Ken Keechl in the November election.  The lobbyist is alleged to have paid for an attack piece against LaMarca.

Here’s the story:

Broward opposed a tax bill that the Miami Dolphins are seeking.  The bill would have permitted tourist development bed tax money from Broward to be used in Dade County to benefit the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium.

Senators removed Broward from the bill after Broward commissioners voted 9-0 to oppose it.

Book — he gets paid to lobby for Broward in addition to dozens of private clients like the Dolphins — struck back at Broward for abandoning the bill, according to LaMarca.

Book is accused of  encouraging the Miami Dolphins to take its training camp out of Broward while speaking publicly at a state Senate committee hearing.  The camp has millions of dollars in economic impact on Broward.

LaMarca thought about it for awhile.  On  Tuesday he sent a video of the hearing to his commission colleagues along with a cover letter saying he was “deeply concerned” with Book’s “conflict of interest.”

“I don’t know how suggesting the training camp might leave Broward is being on our team,” LaMarca told “My concern is he is lobbying both sides.”

This has surfaced many times before because Book, who earns $4,195 per month from the county,  has so many private clients.

In fact, commissioners have a rule aimed at Book which states, in part, that lobbyists should not “have or hold any continuing or frequently recurring employment or contractual relationship that is substantially antagonistic or incompatible with the lobbying firm’s (including its employees, partners, or subcontractors, if any) loyal and conscientious exercise of judgment in the performance of its contract with the County .”

Does Book have a conflict?  You decide.

Below is  LaMarca’s memo to the commission.  The link to the video can be found below the memo.


From: Saunders, Ryan
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2011 3:13 PM
To: Alston, Torey; Barnes, Desiree; Beckford, Delis; Beckford, John; Fear, Nancy; Gunzburger, Suzanne; Holness, Dale; Jacobs, Kristin; Lieberman, Ilene; Monserrat, Marcia; Pauli, Kenneth; Platt, Dee; Ritter, Stacy; Rodstrom, John; Sharief, Barbara; Smith (Parks), Mary Ann; Smith, Susan; Wexler, Lois; Wolter, Margaret
Subject: SB 466 – Commerce and Tourism Committee Video




At the March 29th Commission meeting Commissioner LaMarca indicated that his office would forward the attached video to you.


The video is of the March 22nd meeting of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee Hearing on SB 466 Tourist Development Tax Bill (Dolphin Stadium Bill).  As Commissioner LaMarca referred to in his remarks, Ron Book testified on behalf of the Miami Dolphins.  Commissioner LaMarca is deeply concerned about Mr. Book’s conflict of interest with regard to his comments made against Broward County in his testimony.


Mr. Book’s testimony begins at the 58:38 mark and his comments regarding Broward County begin at the 1:00:23 mark.


Thank you,






D. Ryan Saunders, Aide to

Commissioner Chip LaMarca – District 4

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

115 South Andrews Avenue

Room 412

Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

Phone: 954-357-7004

Fax: 954-357-7798



17 Responses to “Commissioner: Lobbyist Ron Book Has Conflict”

  1. Chip's The Man says:

    LaMarca is turning out to be a commissioner who won’t bow to lobbyists. Wasn’t there something written here about him refusing to eat lunch with one? Hooray for him. He’s what we needed.

    Yes, reported earlier that LaMarca would not participate in GOP fund raiser involving a lobbyist. The lobbyist purchased a meal with LaMarca at the fund raiser’s auction. LaMarca refused to take part and the money was not collected.

  2. Selective interpretation says:

    LaMarca said he would not meet with lobbyists but he meets with all the usual lobbyists, Stern, Platt, Schiller, Freidman and others. Neil Schiller and Judy Stern are top visitors.

    Check it out yourself, just type in Lamarca from November 1 to present…

    No Buddy, its not LaMarca’s Memo to the Commission it is his aide’s. Not very surprising that LaMarca didnt have the stones to send this himself he had to hide behind his Aide.

    I guess things run a little slow in Chip’s office, it happened on March 22, Chip told the Commission on March 29 but this email didnt go out until April 7…

    His aide was acting on LaMarca’s behalf.

  3. Reprobait1 says:

    Proud of you Chip. All residents of Broward County for the past 25 years have been affected by Ron Book’s double-dealing.

  4. Just the facts says:

    Stern signed up and snuck in to their office. I know this because he was not happy about it.

    There is also a rumor that Stern ran Lamarca’s campaign. You’ve gotta be kidding me. She is a cancer that he will not let spread to his office. She hated Ken but Chip didn’t need her help. Move on!

  5. Dear Buddy says:


    Please watch the video yourself and give your opinion.
    I just watched it and it is clear Book didnt threaten that the Dolphins would pull out of Davie.
    He said that by Broward pulling out of the stadium financing deal it would enhance Dade County and the Hoteliers negotitating position with the Dolphins to get the training camp moved. He never said the Dolphins were going to or threatening to move.
    Agree, disagree?


    I’ve known Ron Book since he first worked for Gov. Bob Graham. I’ve seen him do his lobbying and speak in Tallahassee and here literally hundreds of times.

    When it comes to arguing for his client, Book is whip smart. Brilliant, really. He fashions sentences like Michelangelo fashioned statuary. And he is the master of the unspoken threat.

    What do I mean?

    His comments sounded like a threat aimed at Broward. If you listen to the words carefully, they are not a threat. They just sound like one. They were an unspoken threat.

    As I wrote, readers can decide.

  6. Who does this guy work for? says:

    Threat or not?

    Buddy, you make good cover for Ronnie.

    I think what the issue is here for me (the Average Joe) is that this guy could have fought for the Dolphins without getting on his soapbox (prob also used to reach the microphone!) attacking his other client and my tax dollars in Brwd County.

    He now needs to make a choice whether he is working for the county or not. If he picks Brwd then he must always represent us and our tax dollars.

  7. What? says:

    I’m still not sure on LaMarca, but on this one – kudos to him. It’s a no brainer – Book obviously has a conflict and attempted to hurt Broward’s interests.

  8. ok ok says:

    Like em or hate em, Book is what Book is, he walks a line and here and there he may cross it.

    One line that has been crossed is that LaMarca was critical of Keechl for his relationships with lobbyists. Going further he said he would not meet with lobbyists. Yet researching the County Database the above poster posted, it is true that LaMarca meets with Judy Stern, Schiller, Platt etc just like any other Commissioner.

    Maybe Book has a conflict of interest but it looks like LaMarca has a big conflict in saying he will not meet with lobbyists yet meets with many of them.

  9. Broward Politico says:

    Broward County should dump Ron Book asap. He does NOT act in the best interests of the good people of Broward County. Kudos to Commissioner Lamarca!

  10. Lois says:

    It seems that whenever there is an important issue being discussed, Mr. Book’s name is in the mix. I can only surmise that that is so because he is among the best at what he does. Common sense dictates that anyone worth his salt, even if he represents ONLY municipalities or ONLY private entities, is bound to have many clients, and, therefore, to have conflicts of interest from time to time. Beyond honoring his contract by notifying clients that a potential conflict exists, what is a person reasonably to do? There are many professions in which similar conflicts of interest arise, and, generally, that conflict is acknowledged and a determination is made as to how to proceed. The mere fact that conflicts arise should not result in wholly unfair criticism of the person involved.

  11. The Brain Trust says:

    LaMarca is not the sharpest pencil in the box, his entire career is prediciated on him being lucky. I wish people knew how shady he really is. In time it will all come out.

  12. Don says:

    SOLUTION: Cancel the County’s contract with Book.

    Can’t he be carged with unjust enrichment or something along those lines?

  13. Lucky in Life says:

    Lucky? You make your own luck in life. The guy runs for office against the Broward County Mayor who had $600,000 in the warchest and you call him lucky?

    I’d say it was more like hard work and actually talking to the people and knocking on doors. I’m in his district and I can tell you that Keechl couldn’t be bothered with knocking on my door unless I was passing out wine and cheese, but this guy Chip showed up. The best part is that I kept him there for 30 mins and he stayed after knowing I was a lifelong DEMOCRAT.

    He got my vote that day on his answer about that ridiculous dangerous dog law. Thanks Chip.

  14. breaking down the victory says:

    Chip was in the right place at the right time with a little help from his friends (or Ken’s enemies). WIthout Chiari in the race Chip never wins…

    Ken Keechl beat Jim Scott for County Commission. Scott was seen as unbeatable and it was an embarrassing loss for his campaign manager Judy Stern

    As we all know, Stern never forgives and always carries a grudge. Fast forward to 2010…

    Chris Chiari spends most of 2009 being critical of Judy Stern saying she and Evan Jenne are corrupt while Chris is running for Jenne’s House seat.

    Then in April of 2010 very very quietly, some would say so quiet to make sure Jenne would not get another opponent, Chiari quits that race and runs as an Independent against Keechl and LaMarca. LaMarca who is quoted by Bob Norman as saying he spoke with Stern about running against Keechl. While campaigning, Chiari rails on about lobbyists and corruption in the County but oddly never mentions Judy Stern. Chirai took just enough votes to cost Keechl the election. No one will ever know if Stern put Chiari in the race, but feel free to draw an obvious conclusion

    Fast forward, LaMarca says he will never meet with lobbyists. Checking the database on the County website of who meets with Commissioners, you find that Lobbyist Judy Stern has almost the top number of meetings with LaMarca.

  15. Check the Record says:

    Check the lobbyist record for Lamarca’s office and you see that Stern has only had one meeting with him.

    As for Chiari, I understand that he really does dislike Stern.

    My recollection of the Norman statement of Lamarca meeting with Stern was about a judicial candidate that she was supporting, not about Keechl.

    As far as I am concerned, this topic is about Book selling out the people of Broward, not Lamarca’s victory over Keechl and the $140K of Lamarca beating the $600K of Broward’s infamous Mayor.

  16. Not a Fan of Buddy says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

  17. Record Checked and you lie says:

    Sill fool, I dont see anything about a judicial race

    “Stern backs LaMarca, that much is sure. Today I asked the GOP chair if Stern would run his campaign if he challenges Keechl. Stern, you see, can’t stand Keechl since he beat her old boy, Jim Scott, the previous lone Republican on the board. It would be sweet revenge for the bitter Stern to come back and crush Keechl with LaMarca.

    LaMarca acknlowledged he’s had conversations with Stern about the race but said that although she would support his bid, he would have others actually running his campaign.”