Ft. Lauderdale Candidates Attack Lobbyist, But Once Embraced Her






Not so long ago few cared whether lobbyists were running Fort Lauderdale campaigns.

Lobbyist Judy Stern was the chief strategists for candidates and it never became an issue.



Judy Stern 


Not this year.

From the beginning, Commissioner Bruce Roberts’ run for mayor has had a millstone weighing it down: Stern’s role as his campaign manager.

As the Sun-Sentinel noted in an editorial posted Friday, “The rap on Roberts is his unwavering support for development and that his campaign strategist, Judy Stern, lobbies the city commission on behalf of developers.”

Roberts’ leading opponent Commissioner Dean Trantalis told a Sun-Sentinel forum earlier this week: “I really feel it is inappropriate for anyone to vote on the Bahia Mar project when their campaign manager was the main lobbyist for the group.”

Yet Stern has had numerous clients over decades in Fort Lauderdale and helped manage Trantalis’ previous campaign:





The third candidate for mayor Charlotte Rodstrom also has made an issue out of Roberts use of Stern.  Yet check out this ad from a previous Rodstrom campaign:



Lobbyist Judy Stern (on the left) and Charlotte Rodstrom in an ad from an earlier Rodstrom campaign. 


The difference this year is the sudden awakening among some residents that the crowded streets and failing sewer and water system have been aggrivated by new development like the planned massive Bahia Mar project on the beach. Lobbyists like Stern peddled such projects.

Stern’s role in the Roberts campaign is representative of a deeper problem in Fort Lauderdale, where lobbyists appear to run City Hall and their machinations even influence elections.

Sensing the new mood of the public, Trantalis and Rodstrom now preach against the influence of lobbyists.

Stern recalled a time when Trantalis and Rodstrom embraced her: “When they needed me, they had no problem using me,”

She has a word for their new stance:


Voters will decide Tuesday who is right and which one will be the new mayor: Roberts, Rodstrom or Trantalis.




Note: Video concerning the previous Trantalis campaigns and ad from Rodstrom’s previous campaign supplied by Judy Stern.



28 Responses to “Ft. Lauderdale Candidates Attack Lobbyist, But Once Embraced Her”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    She is right to a certain degree.The fallout between Mrs.Stern and Charlotte Rodstrom proved to detrimental to both.Boy did i try to make amends with these two.We went from Charlotte quoting we should be sisters,joined at the hip etc.So here we are now both can.t stand each other.With Bruce Roberts caught right in the middle.All tell you i have heard Judy Stern name all month.Tell you one thing Stern has more connections than Kissinger.Judging by my moles info these last ten days.She is a force to be reckoned with.I respect that.However, I will do battle with the iron lady any day of the week.Others beware…

  2. 9 years of nothing says:

    I agree- hypocrisy
    They should just stick with Robert’s abysmal record. A lackey for Seiler and Feldman, all things pension, raiding the reserves and the failing infrastructure.
    But they know how to throw a Party!

  3. Not so fast says:

    While a lobbyist pulling the strings is certainly a significant area of concern it by no means tells the whole story and this “sudden awakening” is not so sudden.

    The Wave was brought before the Commission 30 times (THIRTY) since 2014 and every vote taken was unanimous in support of the WAVE. Roberts can’t hide his voting record despite his recent campaign motivated epiphany.

    Roberts ignored failing infrastructure for the duration of his 9 year term. It was only a few months ago that he described concerns as “hyperbole”.

    Roberts has repeatedly approved ROI, syphoning $106 million out of FAILING water & sewer over the past 6 years.

    In a not so strange coincidence the Florida State Mandatory Consent Order calls for $117 million in fixes.

    Roberts had the draft consent order from FDEP gathering dust on his desk for a year before having a campaign motivated epiphany that led to his smoke & mirrors “Go Big Go Fast” publicity stunt.

    Roberts certainly had no interest in the public concerns about failing infrastructure communicated to the City Commission via a petition in mid-2016 even before the City received the draft Consent Order.

    Roberts now spends his time on the campaign trail claiming progress on infrastructure when in fact the projects being worked on are either emergency fixes, previously approved CIP projects or the State Mandated Consent Order.

    The registered voters do know a lot about an S word, however it is SEWAGE (not the one you suggest). No amount of smoke, mirros, big or fast can cover up a 9 year track record of ignoring the problem.

  4. Art Seitz says:

    Both Roberts & Trantalis took the Bahia Mar money — campaign donation $5,000.bundles —recently voted for a 40+ story senior assisted living Bldg downtown on the river — Trantalis is also a developers tool!’

  5. Tell the Truth says:

    Self-interests and special interests have been the modus operandi of Fort Lauderdale (and most other places) elected’s for years and years. Nothing will change that. But the degree of neglect and mismanagement and the extreme costs to repair and replace finally got the attention of a few hundred citizens in a city of 160,000. The rest do not know or do not care because they have not lived in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida very long. They are simply not informed which is not as dire as being ‘mis-informed’. Those newbie and un-informed voters may be inclined to vote for Roberts as a result of the hype and spin on the mailers. They will only be swayed if the old timers can get their ear or they read up on why the city is in the predicament they are in. SunSentinel endorsed Roberts for three terms as commissioner and Seiler for three terms as mayor so they are being disingenuous in their write-ups and critiques of the last few months after the city was run into the ground and the ditch over nine years. The voters who will loose the most are not the renters and transients but the property owners who will bear the burden of the millage increase later this year because a one billion sewer bond is not enough after your deduct for the waste and mismanagement that will come with the planning and construction. Even Water Works almost doubled in costs due to the unknowns and change orders. The question for voters is what mayor will be sufficiently ‘hands on’ along with a competent city manager and department heads to get the city thru the next three years.

  6. Charles King says:

    Gee, Why would voters suddenly tire of being sold out to public safety unions and developers’ lobbyists? Maybe they finally woke up and smelled the sewage.

  7. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Quite simple Bruce Roberts loses.He blames two people-Judy Stern & Lee Feldman.As far as all this mess with raided the sewer and water funds one way to reimburse those accounts etc is they invested over 300 mill in the stock market.I say take 100 mill out w/ the stock market going through the roof i drop in the bucket.Or i stated before this is your fault Lee Feldman start cuttin.Meaning cut your staff in half.I don.t care if you have to work twenty hrs. a day.Doesn t matter because if Rodstrom or Trantalus gets in your gone anyways.Ao solution is to put that 100 mill back in its coffers.To even suggest raising the mill rate is wrong on so many levels.I feel vad for Bruce Roberts because he is taking the heat for Feldman mismanagement.Judy Stern doesn.t help either when everytime we turn around its more BS. with her.On to Tuesday.Roll the dice…

  8. Protip says:

    Focus Judy Focus

    Spending your time compiling “evidence” you previously worked for Charlotte and Dean is the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic as the Roberts campaign is sinking. You have spent too much time on this campaign showing everyone you are “The Consultant” which resulted in too much attention towards your negatives and taking away from any positive message Roberts could offer. It is unfortunate for Bruce that you have been selfish in using this race to prove you are still relevant as a consultant to the detriment of the Roberts campaign.

  9. Smells like money says:

    It would be an absolute nightmare for Fort Lauderdale taxpayers to have Roberts and Duke on the commission. Roberts is obviously owned by developers. Duke has the developer of Bahia Mar as a client, as well as many other developers currently building in Fort Lauderdale.

    Roberts could continue to vote for more buildings on top of a broken infrastructure. Duke could do the same, but would he have to recuse himself because of business interests? If so, why let him sit in the District 4 seat?

    It is time for a cleaner Fort Lauderdale City Commission by electing people not dependent on development for their incomes or donations to their campaign treasuries.

  10. Art Seitz says:

    Really like your response #5 To tell the truth — is there a way your post could be sent ASAP via email or social media twitter, email facebook to every

  11. Stern lies again says:

    Buddy can confirm this… during the time that Stern was involved in the campaigns of Dean and Charlotte, she was not a registered lobbyist in Fort Lauderdale.

    It was only after the election in 2012 that she started lobbying for clients before the Commission. Also note, the years she worked for Dean and Charlotte came during an during and after her pal Joe Eggletion went to prison. During this time she was called out for running his campaigns and lobbying him.

    Dean and Charlotte probably would not have hired her if she had been a registered lobbyist.

    The issue with Roberts is not that he had a lobbyist running his campaign but a lobbyist that had one of the biggest projects ever to hit the city in the middle of the campaign. As usual, afterwards Stern , rubbed her victory in everyone’s face.

    The irony of it all was that it was a 5 to 1 vote, Bruce could have saved himself voting no, but Stern would have looked like she wasn’t pulling the strings. As usual, Stern got her candidate to do something to make themselves look bad while trying make her look all powerful.

  12. Just One Vote says:

    Dean Trantalis has a full time job as an attorney. The time he has and can allocate to the city issues and citizens is limited by 9am-5pm office hours. As a commissioner the demands on his time were juggled in spite of all of the issues the city grappled with but could not resolve. The mayor gig pays about $35k a year and will never be in lieu of ‘Billable Hours’ for Dean. If he can’t be at City Hall every day for the first 6 months of 2018 as a mayor with the door open to his office for all, the problems will neither be prioritized or corrected (not to mention getting a new city manager on board immediately).
    Charlotte Rodstrom will not have to juggle court dates, client appointments, business development and networking face time, legal briefs and paperwork review in her ‘day job’. I’ll put money on it that she will be in City Hall every weekday for the first 6 months of her term, and make time for the citizens as well (2018-2019 budget planning starts in 6 months and the city is broke). She is not seeking the mayor gig to further a law practice with high visibility at ceremonial events and her ‘John Hancock’ on thousands of documents every month. She knows, like the residents, the ‘do or die’ attention that the city infrastructure needs – water, sewer, storm water management, flooding mitigation, unchecked run-away growth, gridlocked traffic, new residential development with waived parking, etc., etc. and will not ‘owe’ developers a DRC, P&Z and FLLCC approval of whatever they heck they want projects because they ponied up campaign big bucks donations.

    There will be no quid pro quo with Charlotte Rodstrom.

    And that is why the mailer catfight between the other two candidates has escalated with PAC money spent on vicious accusations and mocking, as each will be beholden to the developers and their legal counsel that always had an open door to the offices on the 7th and 8th floors of City Hall.
    Lets stop the ‘pay to play’ for the next three years.

  13. Hmmm says:

    I hear lots of nastyness between Mrs. Bruce Roberts and Stern. Mrs. Roberts doesn’t attend campaign events and is in no photos on the campaign website. I hear the wife never wanted Bruce to run and wanted to travel, enjoying retirement. Very upset and concerned for her husband’s health with all the negativity and streets of the campaign.

  14. Working People = Don't Apply says:

    #12, Surely you are aware that Jack Seiler is also an attorney and his job didn’t hamper his work for the city. Seiler knew the issues inside and out and attended virtually every city event plus multitudes of other events representing the city. By your philosophy only retired, rich people should run for mayor, and forget it if you have to hold down a job. How’s that fair and representative of the people?

  15. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #13.That sentiment is shared with all spouses who.s spouse is running for an elected postion.I have heard Mrs.Roberts is very nice,very attractive,and supports her husband(bruce) 100 %.Win,lose or draw Bruce its been a pleasure knowing you.Its on to Tuesday.Trantalis goes into Tuesday strong.Roberts endorsement by the police weighs heavy also.Coming off a 3 day weekend doesn.t help either.Lighter the turnout better for Roberts.Turnout strong Trantalis comes in first.However,he doesn.t get 50%.Good for both Roberts and Rodstrom.Hoping for second finish for Charlotte.She gets through Tuesday she kives for another day.Will see.This is quite a race.Best to all three of them.God be with you.I.ll be watchin…(ps.all ve watchin the results getting drunk with Judy Stern at the Riverside-tooo funny)..

  16. time to go says:

    If Dean is elected will he fire Feldman? Will Dean fire John Herbst?
    The auditor knew the shell game Seiler and Feldman played robbing Peter to pay Paul with millions of dollars of water bill receipts to General Fund, and millions from General Fund to make up the annual shortfall to the pensions bond fund. Herbst has to approve the structural sound budget (whatever that is).
    City attorney needs to get the axe too.

  17. 9 years of nothing says:

    #14-Working People
    Are you kidding me, have you not read anything about Seiler and the rest of the commission ignoring the infrastructure for 9 years, and allowing Feldman to siphon the money for parties, or whatever. There has been hundreds of thousands of gallons of S—T flowing into the New River. Is that knowing the issues in side and out. Seiler and his commission spent the hundreds of millions that were in reserves when they began. Traffic Sucks and he has never seen a 40 Story condo/rental bldg he hasn’t voted for. Oh he knows the ins and outs of throwing a party-Clydesdales will be at st pats day parade BUT please don’t try and sell us on his attentiveness to the real issues!

  18. Truth Teller says:

    You heard it here first: Roberts without a runoff.

  19. nothing to show but 9 years of waste says:

    @ 17. 9 years of nothing
    Not to mention Seiler’s myopic obsession with a new Federal Courthouse downtown when the GSA had Fort Lauderdale #7 or lower on the ‘Priority’ List. Yet Seiler continued monthly pilgrimages to Wash DC to meet and beg for the funds, and then claimed last year Fort Lauderdale was 2 or 3 now on The List.
    Then Robert with his delusional obsession for the new FLPD station. Seiler and Roberts approved tens of millions of dollars every year to Valcom Design and Construction on the existing FLPD station so why was the new station needed, except as a monument to Roberts with his name on the plaque. Where are the fire stations promised in the 2004 bond that would be completed in 10 years (2014)? Time to get your broom and make a clean sweep of the dais.

  20. For all the people says:

    #17 – I don’t think being a full-time mayor would have changed Seiler’s positions on any of the issues you raised or his voting decisions. My point was, the mayor’s position shouldn’t be reserved for the rich, self-employed, and/or retired only.

  21. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #18 No way.Even after spending a bundle on front page ad($) in todays paper.#16 Yes id Feldman goes so should Herbst(401A ring a bell).As fad as Seiler but boy can he throw a party.And i love the St.Patrick Day parade he iniated.As far as fiscal responsible you are correct in your sentiment..On to tomorrow.If Trantalis comes in first then Roberts comes in second BUT if Rodstrom courted the Black vote than she is second and Roberts goes home.This one is tough.Could go anyway.If Trantalis wasn.t gay he would get the 50%.Im not the bigot but for example Black people in general will not endorse or vote for a gay canidate.That is the basis for that sentiment.Sorry but true.

  22. Real Campaigns Matter says:

    Truth Teller: Wrong.

    Trantalis is the next mayor of FTL. He ran a real campaign, and only needs 20% of Rodstrom’s voters to come his way in March. He will pull 60% of them.

    Bottom line, 2/3 of voters dismissed the Roberts campaign, in fact Trantalis widened his lead on election day. The silly attacks backfired and the “insiders” got it wrong. Even the Count can count those numbers.

    And that poll was dead on. Campaigns matter.

  23. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Well yes and no.I stated what my sources stated to me w/ the early voting.To say that Trantalis will get Rodstroms votes,well i thought the same sentiment.That was yesterday.Now im not so sure that Trantalis will get Rodstroms votes.Not so fast.Before it was the predominantly black neighborhoods now its Victoria Pk and Lakeridge.Both Roberts and Trantalis need to concentrate on these areas.Same thing with Glassman and Smith.They need to court Maxy supporters.Mr.Maxy you now play a big role in these two contests.It is now you who will decide commissioner in district 2 and mayor.Play your cards tightly to your chest.Maybe next city atty…

  24. Anonymous says:

    Yes I can count. I also see based on very little information until official ED or Precinct totals are in areas effected by the WAVE, BAHIA MAR and the 17th Street Parking Lot seem to have provided Trantalis n Glassman’s votes. The Mark Herron gay bashing PAC mailers were poisonous and anybody who uses him is an idiot, not that Ashley Wslker’s operation came in as boy scouts either.
    Do I think Roberts n Smith can win? Yes. Why? Because 14 + turnout stinks. A 20 to 22% turn out away from the Beach areas connected to controversies should change the.results in March.
    As for Maxey – well he was 4th not 3rd in my CD Race n Lakeridge n Victoria Park neither have a Temple or that many voters unless the boundaries are larger than I believe.

  25. Facts matter says:

    Ashley Walker’s operation? She’s good, but wasn’t involved in any of these races. Where does this drivel come from?

  26. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I was made aware Buddy to go to your Dec19.2012 concerning Comm.Trantalis and his support of an alleged child molester.I took the liberty of having Brittany Wallman contact Mr.Trantalis in regards to your story.Brittany contacted Trantalis.He stated your story (dec19.2012) was incomplete.And that he hardly would call it support(reference to my inquiry) and that( key here Trantalis was on the bd.where alleged child molester was employed.Oh at the time Trantalis stated no conviction.Innocent to proven guilty etc.So he spins it.He stated such stated reporting by Browardbeat.com was incomplete( i have been following Buddy here for over 10yrs- i find him to be very razor sharp with his reporting etc) and that he never showed the alleged diddler support and that (here is the kicker)once he was made aware of all this( you knew from the start)he petitioned the bd(which he sat on) to terminate.Trantalis conveniently leaves out it was only after former county comm.Lois Wexler chimed in w/ her disgust was the alleged child molester terminated.To recap 1.he states your story was incomplete(astounishing) and that 2. He knew nothing of above reference(diddler).Spin it Dean.Please..And Judy Stern u should have picked up on this months ago.No you go with some stupid puppet..Waiting for entire police report by police dept.Waiting.Waiting.As i state..


    The only mention of Trantalis was my quoting of the Miami Herald. Here is what I wrote on December 19, 2012:

    “The allegations against McGuigan, which were widely known at Broward House, should have ‘tipped the balance against his acquiring a position that puts him in direct contact with children. Yet he had high-profile defenders, including Angelo Castillo , who retired as Broward House ’s CEO in September, and Dean Trantalis, a former Fort Lauderdale commissioner, who serves on the board,’ The Herald said in an editorial.”

    Castillo had a long statement which is quoted in the article clarifying the Herald quote.

  27. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Commissioner Dean Trantalid did NOT defender a child molester but supported the legal process as any director of.a non profit should.
    Miss Judith Stern did NOT or Vice Mayor Roberts’ Campaign use this issue TO SMEAR COMMISSIONER TRANTLIS AS SOME WOULD DO.
    As usual Vice Mayor Castillo.acted responsibility as Commissioner Trantalis Miss Stern and Vice Mayor Roberts did.

  28. Judy Stern and Joy Cooper says:

    If Koslow could so easily walk up to Joy Cooper and buy her vote is it really a stretch to believe that Judy Stern didn’t have the same relationship? Judy was Joy’s champion, campaign manager and apologist. Records will show if Judy lobbied the city.

    More interesting, Satz hates Stern, does he offer Cooper and Chait like deal for Stern?


    There is absolutely no evidence that Judy Stern ever bought votes from Joy Cooper or anybody else. SHE HAS NEVER BEEN ACCUSED OF DOING SO.

    My prediction: Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper cops a plea. Would she risk a trial when the FBI has her on video. She is through in Hallandale Beach politics. Her friend, Judy Stern, will have to fight her way back into Hallandale Beach City Hall.