Four Broward Candidates’ Ethically Questionable Ads





Four Broward lawyers running for judge could end up in trouble for appearing to violate state Code of Ethics for judicial candidates.

A flyer distributed by A Better Florida For All promotes the four judicial candidates along with partisan candidates such as Andrew Gillum, Bill Nelson and Alcee Hastings. 

Partisan appeals judicial candidates’ ads are forbidden by the Florida Supreme Court Code of Judicial Conduct. Joint advertising by judicial candidates is also prohibited. 

The Broward candidates who appear to be violating the Code of Ethics are: 

  • Stefanie Moon
  • H. James Curry
  • Tanner Channing Demmery
  • Jackie Powell

The ad for the four judicial candidates is aimed at Democrats. It is blue in color and not only promotes Gillum, Nelson and Hastings, but other Democrats. 

Who is ultimately behind this misleading and potentially unethical ad? 




Flyer distributed in Tamarac



It appears to be Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who is linked to the distributors of the flyer. The same group was tied by to Holness in the Fort Lauderdale’s March city election.

Holness is said to be supporting all the judicial candidates on the flyer. He is a key volunteer for Gillum’s campaign. 

Although four candidates are on the flyer, Curry might be the judicial candidate who is in the most potential trouble. Money from Curry’s campaign appears is linked to A Better Florida For All. 


H. James Curry


Curry’s campaign paid:

  • $4,575 most recently to FlyerSmith, a Palm Beach County company on August 29 and again $500 on September 19.  
  • FlyerSmith is a fictitious name on file with the state owned by A Star For I. 
  • A Start For I was owned by Omar Smith, whose registration ran out six years ago. 
  • Omar Smith us the registered agent for A Better Florida For All, the committee distributing the flyers which appear to violate the Code of Ethics.

In addition, Curry personally donated $450 to A Better Florida For All on August 16.


Contributions to A Better Florida For All. Curry’s contribution is the last one on the list (click on picture to enlarge)


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee had a similar case that they reaffirmed earlier this year. A 2004 judicial candidate asked whether they could mail ads in the same envelope as other judicial candidates to save money. 

The committee said, “a judicial candidate could not mail campaign brochures in the same envelope…because this impermissibly created the appearance of running as part of a slate….

“The Committee opined that sharing advertising space with other candidates would impermissibly create the appearance that a judicial candidate was running as part of a slate. The Committee further explained that there would be a risk that the judicial candidate would appear to be running for office as a member of a political party…the inclusion of the judicial candidate’s flyers along with the other partisan and non-partisan flyers will undoubtedly give the impression that the judicial candidate is supporting the other candidates’ races and partisan political affiliation – either of which is prohibited by the Canons.”

Not exactly like the current Broward situation, but dangerously close. If I was one of the four candidates, I would be very worried that the joint ad crossed the line.

If there is a violation, it is serious. 

The Judicial Qualifications Commission can punish a violator of the Code of Ethics. The penalties can include removal from the bench if the candidate is elected. 

Broward Circuit Judge Irwin Berkowitz and County Judges Brian Kay and Linda Pratt triggered a JQC investigation for distributing a joint partisan flyer in the 1980s. All of them endured years of negative publicity.

Kay and Pratt expressed “remorse” and were publicly rebuked. Berkowitz lied to the JQC. A further JQC investigation found he had mishandled clients’ trust accounts as a lawyer before becoming a judge. 

He was thrown off the bench and was eventually disbarred, preventing him from practicing law in Florida.

So this is potentially serious. Very serious. 

Is the JQC paying attention? 

27 Responses to “Four Broward Candidates’ Ethically Questionable Ads”

  1. Follow the money says:

    Candidate Stephanie Moon paid per her campaign finance reports, between 7/30-8-18 almost 10k between Flyer Smith, Action Marketing and a A star for I all companies related to Omar Smith.

    Curry paid Omar Smith and related companies and entities like Flyer Smith, Action Marketing, A Star for 1, Omar Smith Services, Omar Smith Printing well in excess of 15k.

    Tanner Demmery and Jackie Powell paid roughly $2000 a piece to a Murray Robinson who is listed below as Political Director

    Hands down the dumbest move of any Judicial Candidate ever goes to James Curry who actually paid Omar Smith Services $500 on August 16 and on the same day A Better Florida for All ECO shows a payment from James Curry for $450. Can we really believe that Curry was the only judicial candidate involved here to Pay Omar Smith or his related companies and “somehow” ends up producing a benefit from A Better Florida For All?

  2. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Play by the rules folks..

  3. Truth Squad says:

    Curry altered his ballot name since he won in 2016, when he was Harcourt Curry. That is misleading and is an attempt to hide his real name.

  4. What about the Robocalls says:

    Last night I received a robocall from 954-908-7946 ask to vote on behalf of Stephanie Moon and James Curry.

    The week before, I saw had a message from Curry and when I called the above telephone number back,it was a call center for the Gulliam campaign. When I asked about who called me for Curry, I was told “Curry and Andrew were close friends”

  5. What say you says:

    Lori Parrish,
    Marty Kiar,
    Comm. Angelo Castillo,
    Frank Ortis and
    Representative Rick Stark

    All have you endorsed the Curry campaign. Do you continue to endorse with the production of the campaign reports that he paid the A better Florida for All ECO which is a clear violation of the Cannons since they produce palm cards that promote a slate of Judges and partisan candidates. Do you all support such rule breaking behavior?

    Especially you Lori Parrish, wasn’t Linda Pratt running against your husband Geoff when she got caught up in her scandal? Is cheating ok if it helps a candidate you support can benefit from it?

  6. A fly on the wall says:

    Dale Holness never met a rule he couldn’t break.

  7. H. James Curry says:

    Mr. Nevins might check his facts more closely because I have never contributed to ”A Better Florida for All” nor have I or my campaign paid for a slate card with multiple candidates.

    Mr. Omar Smith provided printing services of 70,000 mailers and about 60,000 or so candidate palm cards at a substantial discount to my campaign.

    The listed 500.00 dollar payment to Mr. Smith was to purchase paid Facebook adds for the benefit of my campaign.

    The fact of the matter is that Mr. Smith offers a one-stop shop for all services needed for a political campaign for minority candidates to win. Apparently, his lack of concern for personal profit and wealth is alien to the political wisdom of Mr. Nevin. Nonetheless, Mr. Smith has had multiple hats without compromising my ethics.

    I believe in transparency and most of all honesty. I believe in integrity and most of all truth. Prior to the printing of this so called article, I was never contacted.

    I am H. James Curry, Candidate for Circuit Court Judge, Group 46 and I approve this message.


    Thank you for writing. Please let me correct an accusation you made in the first paragraph.

    State records indicate you did contribute to A Better Florida For All. The committee lists your contribution on its filing with the state under the name “Haccord Curry.” The name on your licenses from the Florida Bar is Haccord Curry Jr. and there is no other lawyer in the state with a similar name, according to the Bar.

    I have included a screen snap of the most recent donations in the story to refresh your memory.

  8. H. James Curry says:

    I stand by my statement and although I am the only practicing lawyer named Haccord Curry Jr., I am not the only person named Haccord Curry in the state of Florida.


    Sounds very shady, Haccord.

    You were not named by the State of Florida. You are named by the committee A Better Florida For All.

    In addition, somebody named Ginette Curry and using the address you use on your campaign documents donated $250 on August 2 to A Better Florida For All.

    While we are on the subject of financing, your campaign appears to me to be in violation of state campaign laws. I’m not an attorney, but I know that campaigns are not permitted to spend more than they collect. Your campaign appears to be running a deficit.

    At the end of last month, you indicated that you had received $83,590 in contributions, loans from yourself and in kind contributions.

    At the end of the same period, you spent $87,075.

    The State Candidates Handbook says this: “No candidate, campaign manager, treasurer, deputy treasurer, or any person acting on behalf of the foregoing, shall authorize any expenses, unless there are sufficient funds on deposit in the primary depository account of the candidate to pay the full amount of the authorized expense, to honor all other checks draw on such account, which checks are outstanding, and to meet all expenses previously authorized but not yet paid.”

    Again, I’m not a lawyer. But I have eyes and I can add. It appears like you have spent more than you collected.

    By the way, you placed campaign expenses under the category “Other” instead of “Expend.” That’s something I can’t remember seeing before and I would love to know the reason why.

  9. Fool Me Once says:

    Hey Curry,
    In response to Buddy’s clarification, I wouldn’t suggest that you come back with:

    ” What DIFFERENCE does it make…”

    “Haccording” to state records, you certainly appear to be practicing sneaky twistology.

  10. More violations for curry and moon? says:

    If Bob’s print shop prints 1000 flyers for $1000 to all its customers but reduces the rate to 750 for a certain judicial candidate, it must be disclosed on the financial disclosure as Bob’s Print Shop for $750
    In Kind from Bob’s Print Shop for $250.

    Curry’s financials list no In Kind (value of discounts) from Omar Smith or his associated companies.

    Look at the Curry financial statement filed with the State. Between the amount he has paid out in expenditures and the money he paid out in the column called Other, his campaign is almost $15000 in the red. How can this be?

  11. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #8.One thing about Buddy he doesn’ t go with fodder etc.If he puts something on his blog he is usually correct.When he gets something that is missing something etc or if someone points something out he immediately corrects it.No flies on Buddy sir.This blog is read by EVERYBODY..Fact…

  12. Sad about Demmery says:

    i have known this young man and his parents for years. The most honest boat mechanic in town, My daughters knew Tanner from Cardinal Gibbons. Until yesterday I had his sign in my yard. To see that Tanner has become so desperate to win he is associated with this unethical lot is a great disappointment. These are not the type of people he was raised to associate himself with. His parents don’t deserve this.

    Tanner, do the right thing and denounce these people and run the rest of your campaign with a clean slate.

  13. Nip Corruption in the bud says:


    Remember to say no to these Judicial Candidates!

    Clearly, if one or all win the are beholden to Dale Holness. Does anyone want a Judge beholden to Dale Holmesa or Omar Smith?

    I see many similarities here to Contini

    Say no to Moon, Demmery, Powell and Curry or dont be surprised later if there is Contini like trouble down the road.

  14. Stefanie Moon Connection to A Better Florida says:

    Shorty after Stephanie Moon made the last of her payments to Omar Smith and/or his related companies Moon thanks A Better Florida Dor All for their support on her campaign fb page.

  15. Sober as a Judge says:

    The man just said he did not send them a check and he didn’t authorize the flyer.

    What part of that wouldn’t warrant a look into which person by that name did sent a check? Why publish an allegation such as this without calling him first?

    I searched quickly and it looks to me like his wife sent a check. Which she can do.

    And someone else with his name, possibly a relative, who has a different addresses than his, also sent a check. So what? Also legal.

    What’s the deal here?

    Why accuse someone without running the facts and then argue about what’s shady before the homework is done in the first place?

  16. Chaz Stevens, Retired says:

    City activist Robert Walsh says:
    Play by the rules folks..

    Didn’t you go to jail, charged with felonies? One would presume you didn’t play by the rules.

  17. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Why would Dale Holness endorse arch-Republican Richard DeNapoli??

    Why would Dale Holness endorse Trump-a-holic Elvin Villalobos??

  18. Lori Parrish says:

    To #5: The campaign with Pratt was not during her race with my husband. He won the race. It was with her next campaign when she ran against Phil Schissell and won. Yes, I support James Curry. I don’t however, support underhanded campaign tactics. I signed a Fair Campaign Form every time I ran.

    Additionally, when I post I have the courage to sign my name. Do you? Lori Parrish

  19. I'm ethical, really really ethical says:

    Candidate Moon if you have to pronounce you are ethical on facebook instead of explaining the allegations against you…are you really that ethical?

  20. Thankful girl says:

    Thank goodness for this blog and all of the informative comments. I have been struggling to try to research the different candidates for my mail-in ballot and do not always feel that I am getting the whole picture with a superficial internet search. Thank you Buddy et al.

  21. Moon #ethical?...#nope says:

    Go look at the FB Page for the Hollywood Democratic Club. You will see Moon campaign person Ted Victor is posting a video tribute to Moon and actually tagged Stephanie Moon’s personal fb account. Hard for Ms. Moon to deny knowledge….. J
    Non partisan judicial candidates can’t themselves or through surrogates advertise on partisan pages.

    Even if she wins, she will be removed like Santini in Palm Beach. Waste of a vote

    #ethical. NOPE

  22. All ends with the JQC says:

    The JQC made it clear after removing Santini in Palm Beach that they are not going to tolerate judicial candidates circumventing the cannons by using third parties and eco’s.

    In Santini people paid by the campaign were involved with setting up an ECO that smeared her opponent.

    It appears with Moon, Curry, Demmery and Powell that they paid people with ties to A Better Florida for All. No they didn’t smear anyone, but it appears that this group may have violated the Cannons by putting Judges on a slate with partisan candidates and in one instance put out a card from the Tamarac Dems.

    Curry paid the group directly and Moon thanked the group by name after she paid money to ECO’s treasurer Omar Smith and his companies. Hard to claim they didn’t know what was going on since they only thing the ECO did was put out their cards..

    Moon will have a harder time with the JQC because her Treasurer is Jeremy Kroll who was Santini’s lawyer during her JQC proceeding.

    None of this is about Holness or Omar Smith, the Cannons make it clear that the candidate is responsible for their own actions and the actions of people paid by the campaign. Ignorance is not a defense to a candidate or those they employ violating the Cannons.

    A vote for any of these four candidates will most likely be a water vote in the end.

  23. Wasn't Me says:

    Perhaps they’re just going with the flow? If rules, laws and ethics don’t apply to Snipes, S. Israel, Runcie, Osgood etc. then why would any candidate expect to be held accountable? Whether a one is elected or appointed dog catcher, judge or anything in between, there doesn’t appear to be any accountability.

  24. Gloria Lewis says:

    Hey can some tell Mr’ Curry how to correct Facebook Adds. I believe it should be Facebook Ads. Thank you Buddy for keeping the us informed.

  25. Higher ethical standard says:

    Dear #15 “sober as a judge” this isn’t an issue of “legal” as you put it, it’s an issue of ethics. A judicial candidate’s spouse, family member or surrogate cannot do what the candidate could not do. Judicial races are a different breed from partisan races. There are higher standards and ethic rules that must be followed


    As the U. S. Supreme Court opined in 2015 in WILLIAMS-YULEE v. FLORIDA BAR, ethics rules for judicial candidates go beyond the laws governing other candidates candidates:

    “Unlike the legislature or the executive, the judiciary ‘has no influence over either the sword or the purse,’ Federalist No. 78, p. 465 (A. Hamilton), so its authority depends in large measure on the public’s willingness to respect and follow its decisions. Public perception of judicial integrity is accordingly “‘a state interest of the highest order.’” 556 U. S., at 889.

    …The desirability of judicial elections is a question that has sparked disagreement for more than 200 years, but it is not the Court’s place to resolve that enduring debate. The Court’s limited task is to apply the Constitution to the question presented in this case. Judicial candidates have a First Amendment right to speak in support of their campaigns. States have a compelling interest in preserving public confidence in their judiciaries. When the State adopts a narrowly tai- lored restriction like the one at issue here, those principles do not conflict. A State’s decision to elect judges does not compel it to compromise public confidence in their integrity.”

    The Florida Supreme Court has decided the integrity of judges would be harmed by openly mixing partisan politics and candidates for judge. The justices have the right to do this.

  26. Joseph Morguess says:

    Also in that same flyer, an endorsement for non partisan municipal races candidates, including an endorsement for Villalobos for Tamarac Mayor, openly endorsed by Commissioner Marlon Bolton. A group supporting Elvin Villalobos and on his behalf mailed phony flyers from a phony group called Democrats of Tamarac to a multitude of Tamarac Democrats, urging voters to ignore the non partisan aspect of the race , then naming political affiliations of all 3 candidates, except falsely stating that Gerald Heller is a Republican, a blatant lie since he is a Democrat, then telling unsuspecting recipients of the mailed flyer, ( including hundreds and hundreds of Kings Point seniors who haven’t followed this race) that Villalobos is the only Democrat- therefore vote for him. When voters who mailed in ballots voting for V based on this lie learned the Flyer lied about Heller, they were angry they were deceived and wished they could have their votes back. This was deception at its worst, a low way to steal votes instead of based on qualifications, indicative of extreme lack of character and integrity, . Public Officials , or whoever was in on this lie
    ,have not condemned any of this to date.

  27. Tell The Truth says:

    Unless Broward voters review this column they will be duped. Sad how mis-leading, just because of partisan mailers and influence when the judgeships are meant to be non-partisan. How will these judges rule if they get on the bench?