Former Sun-Sentinel Columnist Sinks To New Low: Almost Busted For Disrupting Broward Health Meeting With Fart Machine








John deGroot was once a very big deal in Broward County.

He was a highly gifted writer who authored a Broadway play about Ernest Hemingway. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize on the Kent State shootings.



John deGroot


He was a key part of a Fort Lauderdale News series that exposed government corruption in the 1970s. His stories helped drag Broward County government from its rural past into the modern era.

Later in his career,  his column was one of the most read features in the Sun-Sentinel.  He was also an award-winning writer for the paper’s Sunshine Sunday magazine.

Today?  Today he is a laughing stock after his latest stunt — disrupting a public health care meeting with a device that made fart noises.

DeGroot was almost arrested Wednesday for interrupting a Broward Health Commission meeting by repeatedly using a contraption that produced the loud sounds of flatulence.

The device is designed for giggling elementary school kids. Broward Health Commissioners weren’t amused.

Broward Health Chair Rocky Rodriguez called the cops after deGroot refused to stop making noise.

The cops and Rodriguez eventually calmed deGroot and he agreed to surrender his machine.

That wasn’t the first time deGroot interrupted the decorum of the Broward Health Commission.

DeGroot threw a pie at another Broward Health gadfly at a January meeting.  The other gadfly who annoyed deGroot by making negative comments about  Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, the former Broward Health CEO who had committed suicide just days earlier.

Even after nearly being locked up this week, deGroot is unrependant. He is threatening further disruptions.

He demands answers to what he claims are “disturbing budgetary anomalies” at Broward Health.

DeGroot explained the entire situation on his blog (my underlining):

“…I attended the regular monthly meeting of the Distict Commission yesterday (May 25) with a fart machine for the express purpose of registering my objections to the Commissioners’ failure to respond to my questions as a District taxpayer.

Which led District officials to:

(1) Order me to silence the fart machine – which I refused.

(2) Order me to leave the Common (sic) meeting – which I refused.

(3) Request two Fort Lauderale Police officers to order me to leave the meeting – an order which I declined to comply.     Faced with  the threat of arrest and jail, I surrendered my fart machine to the current District Commission Chair Rocky Rodriguez.


For the record, I have obtained a new fart machine for the next regular meeting of the Broward Health District Commissioners’ meeting.”



John. John. John.

Stop with the threats.

If there are “disturbing budgetary anomalies” at Broward Health, point them out without the theatrics. Make an appointment with a commissioner and ask your questions.

Act professional. Not like a crazy person.  Nobody listens to a crazy person.

Throwing pies? Fart machines?

DeGroot has become like one of those angry old guys who used to wander into the newsroom when security was much looser. With their scrunched up faces and their armfuls of “documents,” they always had some “proof” of government conspiracies or wrongdoing.

These incidents are not funny.  They are sad.

I’ve learned this from John deGroot recently: If he is an example of what happens to former newspaper columnists when they get well north of 70 years old, please commit me now.



15 Responses to “Former Sun-Sentinel Columnist Sinks To New Low: Almost Busted For Disrupting Broward Health Meeting With Fart Machine”

  1. Joe bow from windy city says:

    I think it’s hilarious

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Getting old isnt easy.
    Mental disorientation strikes all ages.
    Thank Heavens for FDR the New Deal Social Security n Prayer for Mr deGroot n others

  3. DeGroot is a Disgrace says:

    Mr. DeGroot is a disgrace, he has disorganized thoughts and rambles like a senile old man. He glory days are long past. He has now regressed to being in grade school.

  4. Old Timer says:

    Such a waste of talent. In his declining years, it seems like John has turned his creativity into foolishness.

    Buck up John, you still have a lot to contribute – stay positive

  5. John degroot says:

    Hey Buddy..
    See you next month.
    So what kind of pie do you like?
    Or would you rather have the fart machine I ordered for you?
    Oh yes.
    You forgot to mention I assigned you to cover politics when I was your boss as city editor back during the Punic Wars.

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Why when I saw you wrote ” fart machine” did I think of the Broward County School n Commission Boards?

  7. Stormwatch says:

    Nice going Mr. DeGroot. I laughed till I cried. Many of us are aware how full of shit those commissioners and half the doctors are and how the place has been one big cesspool for decades. Fart noises are appropriate. Next time drop a few stink bombs or bring a pet skunk.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There a nursing home that is saving a bed for Sr. DeGroot.

  9. John deGroot says:


  10. John deGroot says:


  11. Rick Scott says:

    An employee called out the BoC and this is the story. Excellent work.

  12. Let it go says:

    All the noise and no stink. Smells better than the times DiPietro, LaMarca and Zimmerman were together in that room.

  13. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    # 1 he should have been arrested when he threw the pie in Mr.Lewis’ face. Now he resorts to the fart machine. I mean really how desperate is this man for attention. I don’t care if he’s 1oo. This is no way to act. Again he should have been arrested w/ his first stunt. Why can’t him and many others just stick to the issues etc, no we have to make noise,get attention. Pathetic….

  14. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Chris Ure as I suspected is being investigsted about the firm he appears to have started AFTER HE WENT ON THE BROWARD HEALTH BOARD LEFT BANKING N STARTED A FIRM WHO GOT BROWARD HEALTH BUSINESS