Satz Crackdown Continues: Former Ft. Lauderdale Vice Mayor Busted For Corruption

Former Vice Mayor Cindi Hutchinson’s mug shot after arrest


Former Vice Mayor Cindi Hutchinson has been charged with 11 counts of public corruption for accepting $14,000 of home improvements from a developer.

The improvements reportedly included  fences, pavers, fence repair, air conditioning repairs and other work from subcontractors from the La Preserve and Georgian Oaks development projects at the direction of Steven Goldstrom,  a partner in Glenn Wright construction.

Goldstrom was charged with perjury.

Glenn Wright testified to investigators that he would have never condoned paying for work at Hutchinson’s house because he believed it to be illegal.

The arrest of Hutchinson is one more politician who has fallen to State Attorney Mike Satz’s stepped up probe of public corruption.

Two county commissioners, a School Board member and several city commissioners have left office because of his investigations.   Some await trial and a county commissioner has been convicted.

The investigation continues.

This case was a joint effort of Satz’s investigators and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.  The arrest warrants were signed by BSO detectives. reported the investigation in September, but I had promised not to name Hutchinson at the time and keep the information vague.  I was told the details, however.

Investigators took testimony from subcontractors who worked on Hutchinson’s home.

Big Disappointment

Hutchinson was one of the biggest disappointments I ever encountered in politics.  A community activist from Edgewood just north of the international airport where she still lives, Hutchinson ran in 2000 on a controlled growth platform against pro-developer Jack Latona.

It was a vicious campaign.  Hutchinson, whose campaign was managed by the so-called Steel Magnolas trio of female activists, raised $25,500 to Latona’s developer-fueled $129,000.

Still, campaign pieces slammed Latona for being in the pocket of developers. One of her ads stated: “Lawyer/Lobbyist Latona should have been a Realtor … he sold Fort Lauderdale.”

The Yale-educated Latona struck back, condescendingly labeling Hutchinson a “cleaning lady” because she owned a business which cleaned commercial buildings.

Hutchinson won

But Hutchinson switched gears shortly after taking office.  She became the mouthpiece for every objectionable project in town and in favor of more density downtown.  She became the very thing she ran against — a developer’s tool.

She also reportedly complained to friends that she needed money.

Hutchinson served from 2000 to 2009. She is currently president and CEO of the Riverwalk Trust, which is an organization helping build and nurture public areas along the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale.


News Release From The State Attorney Mike Satz’s Office

January 25, 2010


An arrest warrant has been issued for former Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson on 11 public-corruption charges stemming from more than $14,000 in gifts and services she received from developers who received zoning changes from the city while she was a commissioner.

Charges filed against Hutchinson include three counts of Unlawful Compensation, four counts of Official Misconduct, one count of Grand Theft, one count of Petit Theft, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Compensation, as well as one count of Perjury following false statements she gave to BSO detectives.

An arrest warrant was also issued for Steven Goldstrom, a partner of Glenn Wright Construction, developers of the Georgian Oaks and La Preserve developments.  Goldstrom is charged with one count of Perjury in an Official Proceeding.

The case is the joint investigation between the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Strategic Investigations Division and the Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

According to the arrest warrant signed on January 25, 2011 by Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Levenson, Commissioner Hutchinson accepted fences, pavers, fence repair, air conditioning repairs and other work from subcontractors from the La Preserve and Georgian Oaks development projects at the direction of Steven Goldstrom.  This occurred after Hutchinson voted on rezoning approval for the Georgian Oaks and La Preserve development projects, which were located in her commission district.  She then failed to list the gifts and services totaling more than $14,000 on state-required gift-disclosure forms.

The city commission approved the rezoning for the La Preserve parcel in March 2003 and the rezoning for the Georgian Oaks parcel in April 2004.  Commissioner Hutchinson voted to approve both.

Hutchinson is scheduled to turn herself in at the Broward County Jail Friday morning. Judge Levenson set her bond at $10,500.  Goldstrom is also scheduled to surrender at the jail.  His bond was set at $5,000.


Ron Ishoy/Communications

Broward State Attorney’s Office (954) 831-7910

17 Responses to “Satz Crackdown Continues: Former Ft. Lauderdale Vice Mayor Busted For Corruption”

  1. Pineystride says:

    Wow. That’s awful. And stupid.

  2. ontheequator says:

    From the story, it didn’t take her long to go south! Not as far south as Latona (Mexico), but she will end up south of the New River with a good view!

  3. loitman says:

    Satzie isn’t fooling anyone. Old Mike is the king of corruption.

  4. Nucky Thompson says:

    Forget about the new Broward courthouse, its a new separate wing at the prison for corrupt Broward officials that we will need .

  5. Ozaymandius says:

    Speaking of bad government, did you see where drew mayers managed to get one of his lackeys nominated for county attorney! This way his wives firm Berger singer man can control the county attorneys office without him even being appointed! Go Andrew Mayors! PLUS, she is completely not fit for the job! Wow. Government at it’s best.

  6. Correction says:

    One mis-statement:

    “She is currently president and CEO of the Riverland.”

    In fact it is the Riverwalk Trust, which has many overlappng ties to the downtown Fort Lauderdale community.

    Whether she retains this rather well-paid position will be interesting to see.


    Thanks for spotting that.

    I changed it.

  7. ann says:

    a lesson to elected officials – they are NOT beyond the law! For $ 14,000.00 in freebies, was it worth it? Am really sorry for Cindi that she took this path. Her intent to begin was to a protector of neighborhoods, but . . . that changed with power, ego and financial benefits. EVERY elected official should be under the microscope.

  8. Not Carlton says:

    Carlton Moore is the one I thought would be caught someday. He must be breathing a sigh of relief.

  9. Norris Gold says:

    Mike Satz is late to the anti-corruption game. I say, better late than never. It fits in perfectly with his plans to run again in two years.

  10. The Seer says:

    The Seer knows all. Stacy Ritter and Ilene Lieberman walk free. Both are cooperating with Satz and telling everything they know.
    Satz has pages upon pages of sworn statements.
    Other commissioners, city officials, developers and lobbyists may be indicted from their testimony.
    Remember the prediction.

  11. reality check says:

    Seer are you basically saying that the big guns are giving up the little ones? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  12. Riverwalk Trust Corrupt says:

    The Riverwalk Trust hired her for her political connections. Now when called on the carpet, the marketing department calls anyone questioning that move “IGNORANT”.
    If being against pay for play city commissioners is ignorant – I plead guilty.

  13. Rotten Magnolias says:

    What the matter, Buddy? Why don’t you mention that the Steel Magnolias got Hitchinson and Kraft elected?

    I did mention it. Read the post.

  14. Death Frog 3 says:

    This is less about Satz anti-corruption and more about BSO. This was a BSO investigation that lead to the arrests. Including the arrest of Glenn Wright.

    If this were an SAO investigation it would have taken years not months to investigate.

    The curious thing to me is that it was an investigation into Ft. Lauderdale. I wonder if BSO will investigate “contract cities” the same? Remember the Gunzberger investigation? Will BSO use the Public Corruption Unit to bully political foes?

    Another reason for an appointed Sheriff. At least a task-force situation. Assign a few detectives from the bigger cities, throw in an FBI agent and a federal prosecutor to oversee things, then you can trust the investigations.

  15. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I could think of 100 other ways she could have done all these renovations, w/out breaking the law. She was given horrible legal advice when she had all these renovations done at her home. Biggest mistake was answering the door to answer the Detective’s questions. Obviously the State Att. Off. was tipped off. (she friends w/ Att.Alu??-cheap shot I know but its soo easy). Hutchinson’s defense through her Att. states that she did nothing wrong, and all work done becaus e they are all friends. The “Informant” here the State has is the whole case. I am not condoning what she did. She was given horrible advice, but the buck stops w/ you Cindi. I feel that in keeping up with the Jones she made a lapse in good judgement. As far as the comment the job at the Riverwalk was poltical. Lets take a step backwards. First she runs for Mayor(help campaign for her (very impressed w/ her), she then bows out.Seiler gets elected,and then gives his left over campaign monies(over 200thou to Riverwalk trust(magazine etc). Then about a year after he gives the contribution Cindi is hired as the CEO of Riverwalk magazine. And a year after that the charges come out(last Fri). Obviously again someone tipped off SAtz. Not that they are wrong, when you make a lapse in judgement(use that Cindi,lapse in judgement, no worse then Lieberman’s “health Issues”.) With Bruce Udolf as her Att. she is in very good hands. I’m puzzled ,she has no money but hires one of the best Attorneys in Fort Lauderale($$$). I don’t get it?? And who ever was coaching her you stink…All this for that damn drive way or whatever.

  16. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    One other thing to bring out is about 6 months ago Tim Smith reported on his blog that “someone one on the Ft.Lauderdale city Comm. is being investigated by the state’s Att. Off. Now who he knows that would leak this to him is impressive. The State Att. Off. to indulge this information was unreal. Granted this person didn’t tell him specefics but enough “juice” for his blog. Now what happened after this was interesting. So at this point Mr.Smith gets a comment from City Comm.Charlotte Rodstrom regarding the investigation to see what she knows and she tells him”its somone from the “previous Comm.” Now because this was over 6 months ago,bare with me then I “think” that is also when Rodstrom told him it was Cindi Huthinson. At that acknowledgement smith reports this information on his blog(look it up on Smith’s blog-I think I stand corrected). After seeing the blog(smith) I called Cindi to ask her what was up,and I got her voice mail. I knew right there that she was under the radar. She did not return my call(and for the record she had always done so in the past). Forward 6 months later ,she is arrested. Now for the State’s Att. Off-the ones or one that leaks this type of information to be the “big shot” at some cocktail party etc. if and when you are caught, you yourself would and could be arrested(compromising an investigation I believe is a Felony-be careful). Regardless kudos to Tim Smith for having very good sources.(put it to good use)Lastly for City Comm rodstrom remember all eyes are always on you and your husband(good thing) just remember to “speak softly”, but carry a big stick…..

    Let’s set the record straight.

    Actually, broke this story and Tim Smith criticized it on September 9, 2010. Here is part of what he wrote:

    “After Nevin’s (sic) wrote last week that a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner was being investigated for corruption, I tried to get confirmation of that from the State Attorney’s office. I didn’t have any luck.”

  17. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I have to apoligize to you Buddy. I did remember seeing something on Tim smith blog. I remember him stating something about the comment from rodstrom though. very good reporting Buddy. I take that back aboout Mr.Smith w/ his connections to the State Att.Office.

    No problem and thanks for contributing.