Former GOP Boss Bill Glynn Dead



He was labeled a megalomaniac.  He was branded the ultimate practitioner of political dirty tricks.  He was dragged before Grand Juries and investigators repeatedly.

But when Bill Glynn died at 83 in Vero Beach last week, the local paper just called him a beach-restoration activist.


For a generation in Broward Glynn was a force in the Republican Party. No, not just a force.  A cyclone.

I met him when he was chairman of the Pompano Beach Republican Club in the 1970s, where he revived the almost moribund club.

Later he was chairman of the Broward GOP organization from 1980-84.

It was a heady era for Broward party politics.  The tart, caustic Glynn on one side.  The flamboyant grandstander, Democratic Chairman John Lomelo on the other side as Democratic county boss.

Both were great copy, generators of terrific political stories. They were always maneuvering and manipulating.  And they always, always, always had newsworthy dirt to dump on opponents because that’s how they played the game.

It was a different age.  Glynn and Lomelo dictated, or attempted to dictate, who would run on their party ticket.  They messed freely in primaries.

In many ways, Glynn was a decade ahead of what is routine in politics today.  To him, politics was a contact sport.

Always wafting from his campaigns was the slight odor of political chicanery. They seemed to degenerate.  There was deception.  There were last-minute personal attacks and organized whisper campaigns.

Well-known late local Republican Fred Guardabassi was quoted at the time as claiming Glynn was a dictator who used “subterfuge, dirty tricks and lies” against any Republican who disagreed with him.

As far as I was concerned that’s what made him great to cover!

Glynn was widely assumed to be connected to a local scandal sheet which used unsourced material to discuss a candidates’ cheating ways or deviant sexual proclivities.  He always denied it.

By the mid 1980s his reign was over. Republicans were crushed by the onslaught of Democrats retiring to Broward.  Glynn told me it just wasn’t fun anymore.

He became a peddler of muni bond deals.  Hired by Drexel Burnham and others.

Along with Glynn came his long-time Broward Republican buddy Randy Avon.

Avon was a former Broward state representative who quit Tallahassee after being indicted in 1976.  The charge: Accepting money from drug dealers in return for inside information from the state. The charges were dropped after a key witness in the case died in a plane crash.

Bond work was lucrative for both, according to news reports at the time. Glynn received $145,000 after three bond deals at Port Everglades alone.

Within years, Glynn was testifying about corruption involving bond deals at Port Everglades, the School Board and the county Housing Authority.

He was never a target of the probe and apparently cooperated with authorities.

In 1989, Glynn moved to Vero Beach and became involved in beach restoration.  He was behind various projects to keep sand on the beach, marshalling grass roots support for the county efforts.

When he died, I’m sure only a few in Broward remember Bill Glynn.

Not me.  I remember.

Thanks for the memories, Bill.  Thanks for the great stories.



10 Responses to “Former GOP Boss Bill Glynn Dead”

  1. GOPapa says:

    Was he a saint? No. He was a leader, something BREC needs today.

  2. Real Deal says:

    Buddy, you really should start organize these vignettes into a book about your years covering Broward politics. The stories will be lost if not written down somewhere. The history of any community is important.

  3. Real Deal says:

    By the way, that’s the way that Democratic and Republican parties should be run today. Except for the dirty politics. You don’t just come out and run, you earn your way onto a ballot by helping others win. Then you earn your chance. We would be much more organized if that was the way we did business here.

  4. Paul Gougelman says:

    I guess I am one of the “few” who remember Bill Glynn, along with State Reps. Randy Avon (R-Ft. Lauderdale) and Dan Bass (R-Hollywood), and a number of other Republican leaders. It was the generation that came after Chairman Gray Boylston, Rep. Art Rude, Senator Dave Lane, Republican Sheriff Ed Stack, Cong. Herb Burke, and others . . . back in the day. I also remember Jim Coryell’s Insight Broward (the so-called “scandal sheet” you referenced) as well, but I am dating myself. What an era. I can understand why you have fond memories as a reporter/news analyst of that era. Broward was a different place then, and the Republican Party was a different animal than it is now. Political power deals were cut down at the Riverside Hotel on ELO or over at the Seahorse Restaurant . . . but they were cut by Republicans, not Democrats. Bill Glynn was right in there. I too wish that Bill Glynn will rest in peace.

  5. Sam Fields says:

    I remember sitting at an all Democratic County Commission meeting watching him unexpectedly get his way on a matter.
    I remarked to someone that there were three political parties in Broward: Republicans, Democrats and Bill Glynn.
    He was this backslapping, jovial Irish pol who could pick your pocket and still leave you smiling

  6. Real Brec member says:

    GOPapa/Harris :

    Get a life and contribute to the party rather than knocking it all the time.

  7. Jack Shifrel says:

    I met Bill Glynn back around 1978. I was fairly new to the DEC at the time, & he was a big shot Republican, but somehow we struck up a very nice friendship. I can’t help but think of him when I see some of the nasty acrimony that is all too pervasive in politics today (& not only Rebublican vs. Democrat, intra Party as well). By the way, I believe he spent at least as much time at the old Governor’s Club as he did the Seahorse or Riverside.

    And I can’t talk about Bill Glynn without mentioning his Sly Fox on the Galt Ocean Mile & the Pompano Pier, which was also his. I spent plenty of time with him at both of those old watering holes. We almost always disagreed politically, but never disagreeably. We could always share a drink & a laugh, or two, before & after arguing about the politics of the day. That was the kind of guy he was. Rest in peace Bill.

  8. Jack Moss says:

    I remember him well during his rein. In fact, I ran against him in 1980 for the Republican State Committeeman, and I won the race with a lot of support from people who had enough of the shenanigans.

  9. Rick says:

    Sure would like to spend a few more hours at BG’s Sandbar & know what I know now!

  10. William E. Bucknam says:

    Bill Glynn was an astute politician, a great American and a good friend.Prior to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at every meeting of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee that he presided over, Bill reminded everyone that “there is no comma between ‘one nation’ and ‘under God'”.Words worth remembering today. Thanks for your leadership, Bill.