Fun Facts From The Broward Judicial Races


Who placed the biggest bet on themselves so far in the judicial races?

County Judge Lee Seidman.

Seidman lent his campaign $75,000, biggest loan so far of any candidate for the bench.

Here are some other fun facts (Thanks to Sun-Sentinel’s Jody Rees for the name “fun facts.”) found in the judicial campaign financial records to date:

Most Successful New ComerJeffrey Backman, who collected $26,120.  The money came not only from the usual courthouse crew the Cotrones and Bogenschutz types but also some big name political law firms like those of Ron Book, Bill Scherer and Mike Moskowitz. One of the donations is $500 from Backman himself, but it wasn’t given as a loan.

Most Generous Judicial CandidateSandra Perlman, who is running for circuit court, but found $100 to give to Backman.  The money was donated a month before she opened her account to run, so apparently no Florida Bar rules were violated.

Most Successful Fund Raiser:  County Judge Gary Cowart, who raised over $50,000 to supplement his own $50,000 loaned to the campaign.

Most Famous Campaign TreasurerBob Butterworth, former Florida Attorney General and Democratic Party political legend, who is treasurer for Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato.  Before becoming judge, Imperato was a statewide prosecutor.

Most Interesting Contribution Sure To Spark Gossip:   Former Judge Jay Spechler’s $500 donation to County Judge Eric Beller.

Most Penniless Candidate Who Still Has A Good Chance Of WinningMardi Anne Levey Cohen, who has only $600 in her campaign, but already has reams of publicity and name recognition from her previous two races.

25 Responses to “Fun Facts From The Broward Judicial Races”

  1. Dominic says:

    Not to nitpick, but in her ever changing name derby, isn’t she now known as

    Mardi Anne Levey Cohen ?

    FROM BUDDY: The supervisor’s office has her both ways. I’ll go with your suggestion.

    See here.

  2. Seidmonster Mash says:

    Seidman blew his load and dumped all his personal money in early because there are NUMEROUS rumors floating around that he may be getting as many as 2-3 opponents this year.

    Seidman’s chickens are coming home to roost.

    Just read the published stories about him lying to the Judicial Nominating Commission when he was trying to get promoted to Circuit Court, or the ones about his do-nothing wife and her repeated absences and eventual “resignation” as General Counsel for Broward Health.

    Now there are stories going around that it was he that badmouthed colleagues Ilona Holmes and Robert Lee to the FEDERAL Judicial Nominating Committee when they were up for promotions to the Federal Courts (US Attorney for Holmes and District Judge for Lee).

    The guy is a miserable human being, seems to hate his job (which is why he’s only there 3 days a week a lot of the time), and will be universally disliked on the campaign trail.

    So while he lent himself a boat-load of money this quarter, he didn’t seem to pull much by way of voluntary donations.

  3. gadfly says:

    After his wife scamming the hospital distrcit for $250k in severenace after being alleged to have cost the District a lot of money and never showing up to work. Its no wonder he has that kind of money to put up.

  4. Whoops - Spelling Ain't Ur Stawng Soot says:

    “the Catrones and Bogdenschutz types”

    If they are the usual courthouse types and you are dialed into what is happening over there, how could you couldn’t spell either name correctly?

    FROM BUDDY: The answer is that I made a typo. Remember I have no editor. Thanks for spotting my spelling mistake, which has been corrected.

  5. Dominic says:

    You’re right about the SOE showing it different ways on their web site. Are we going to have another instance where we have suits filed over the way the SOE lists the name???

    It is Mardi Anne Levey Cohen on the actual filing documents.

  6. The Long Black Robe (ret.) says:

    I’ll bet my gavel that there will be twice as many candidates for the open seats by next year’s filing. Howard Finkelstein is running around looking for more candidates to pack the courthouse with defense-minded judges. Don’t let anybody tell you he is non-political.

  7. Judy's Big Stern says:

    Howard and Judy Stern are allies. He finds the candidates and she runs the races.

  8. The Empty PDO says:

    Holy smokes, with all the Public Defenders jumping ship to run for judge, will there be anyone left at that office, or will it be run by Howard with a bunch of 2-5 year attorneys?

    Anyway, of all the judges getting opponents, the one who really deserves it is Seidman.

    Anyone else read about the dad who Seidman supposedly tricked into firing his lawyer and pleaing open, only to get whacked with a jail sentence after the judge intimated he would do better pleaing without a lawyer.

    The dad, obviously shocked with the result, begged the judge to at least give him a surrender date, since he was a single father and he needed to leave to pick his children up from school and find some place for them to stay.

    What I hear is that Seidman said the dad could use the phone in the courtoom to make his arrangements for his children.

    What a heartless SOB.

    Is that what we want in County Court?

  9. One who knows says:

    It is not surprising that Spechler gave money to Beller. That is his boy. Yet Beller keeps trying to distance himself from Spechler around the courthouse. Interesting dynamic there.

  10. fact checker says:

    As someone who worked at the district when Seidman was there and still works there here is what I call factual information. In her first year as GC, the legal budget dropped by over $3,000,000. I can also tell you that certain district commissioners treated her like garbage for their own political benefit. Gadfly, you don’t know squat about what you are talking about.

  11. Seidman Loan says:

    Seidman bet the bank on his race. He does not have any cash. He took out an equity loan on his residence (after the Dec.31, 2008 reporting period) so it won’t show up on his required financial disclosure, until next May at qualifying. When he gets an opponent lets see if he is willing to bet the bank. He will need more than his lousy $75K and meager $11K that he raised…..and guess what, no one else will waste their dough for a miserable judge / human being, who only works part time.

  12. Learn the facts says:

    To “Seidman Loan” – You are an idiot. Stop all of your lies. Seidman put in cash and his wife has family money. He is doing just fine.

  13. unlit dynomite says:

    Hey “Seidman Loan says” and gadfly,

    This year is a little different then the past because money is tight. I for one will only spend it when the need arises. But trust me on this, there are many of us willing to “invest in good government” in order to keep good judges like Seidman on the bench and good people in elected office.
    Knowing that people like you and your friends don’t contribute a dime and just run your mouth off on blogs, we will keep most of our powder dry until we need it. When the time comes to dance, we shall see who is “miserable” when the song ends.

  14. Seidman Says says:

    What slime this guy is. Anyone who sees him in action knows he’s bad news.

    And what a racist.

    When confronted about his inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior in questioning hispanics about their immigration status in Hollywood, Seidman responded by saying his best friend as a child was named Jose, and how could he be prejudiced against hispanics.

    Yeah, the good old “I’m not racist, I have a black friend” defense.

    Way to go loser. Hope you enjoy the private sector come January 2011.

  15. gadfly says:

    How often did she come to work?

    How many NBHD cases got sent to firms that had members or family of members sitting on the JNC at the time her husband was coiming before that body to get elevated to Circuit?

    Wasnt it reported in the press an audit done which showed her ineptness at hospital related law cost the district $$$ which led to her ouster?

  16. Learn the facts says:


    1. While she had cancer? As I understand it she worked from home (but how classy of you to pick on a cancer patient).

    2. None. Seidman didn’t put in for circuit after his wife became GC.

    3. Wrong again.

    Apparently facts don’t matter to you. You will just write anything to smear people you don’t like, as long as you can be anonymous.

  17. @ Learn the Facts says:

    Ok, so what about the BS comment about how his friend’s name is Jose so he can’t be racist? That was reported in the press and Seidman hasn’t denied it.

    And what about the dad he gave 270 days in Jail to when he had him plea open and fire his lawyer as the only way to get his case resolved, leaving the guy sobbing in the courtroom because his kids had nobody to get them at school when if he had just continued the case, he could have pled with his lawyer and made arrangements for his kid? No denial there either?

    And what about the rumors of him going to the Federal JNC to badmouth Judge Lee and Judge Holmes, two of his so-called friends. No denial there either?

    How about the 3-day workweeks and 4-day weekends in North Carolina? No denial.

    Seidman is a miserable person and an awful judge, and is likely to pull 2 opponents this time around. They’re already in the pipeline and getting ready to file.

    Seidman can waste his money (actually its the taxpayer’s money for the most part since he and his wife have suckled at the public teat for years) all he wants.

    Look to 2008 and see how much the challengers spent to unseat a sitting judge.

    Incumbency is relatively meaningless since there is no more (I) on the ballot next to a name.

    Seidman’s chickens are coming home to roost in 2010.

  18. Kulick Mah Balls says:

    Wow, the one real Seidman defender and his made up facts. Actually, there were multiple reports about Seidman’s wife costing the system ridiculous amounts of money with her ineptness. While probably not cool to cite him here, check out Bob Norman’s comments about Seidman not showing up to work (not cancer related given the amount of time spent vacationing in the Carolinas).

    Check out the Sentinel articles about her departure after getting poor performance reviews and reports she cost the district significants dollars due to her ineptitude.

    And in terms of her husband not being up for Circuit when she was on NBHD, wrong again. Seidman was recently hired to NBHD back in 06 when her husband was up for Circuit Judge.

    Oh, and that was also around the time of the PUBLISHED REPORTS where Judge Seidman was accused to MISLEADING THE JNC (i.e., LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH) about his improper and illegal activities in Hollywood.

    This guy is a horrid person, a lousy judge, and deserves the opposition he is going to receive.

    And the Seidman supporter (I’d guess one of his campaign people) can just Kulick Mah Balls about that.

  19. gadfly says:

    1) Laura Seidman sure has had cancer for a long time. Interesting that that issue comes up yet how could someone so ill if the rumor is true spend 2-3 4 day weekends in North Carolina per month. Usually people who have had it for very long periods of time sadly pass away. Reminds me of Hyman Roth, “(s) he has been dying of the same heart attack for 20 years”

    2) Hey if true was that because of the letter that went around to the JNC, the Gov and Bob Norman detailing how the work was going to the JNC members?

    3) This Sun Sentinle article says it all:

    The North Broward Hospital District’s chairman reprimanded the agency’s general counsel last month for a string of “performance deficiencies,” including bad management and poor legal advice. Miguel “Mike” Fernandez warned Laura R. Seidman at a special board meeting that she might be fired if she didn’t improve.

    Among the issues detailed by Fernandez were “excessive absenteeism,” “little or no comprehension of the day to day operations” of the legal department, and “lack of substantive knowledge of health care laws.” The latter was demonstrated “on numerous occasions … where the general counsel has either stayed silent or provided incorrect advice.”

    Less than three weeks after Fernandez’ warning, at a meeting that included Seidman and six of the seven hospital district commissioners, the board agreed to Seidman’s immediate resignation.

    The taxpayer-supported hospital district, one of Broward County’s largest government agencies, will pay her $228,000 annual salary through late March 2009.

    Seidman will also get $10,000 toward legal expenses. She won’t, however, get a bonus, which added $63,000 to her base salary last year.

    So far, the hospital district hasn’t provided much information about Seidman’s April 24 resignation, which took effect immediately. The deputy general counsel, Troy Kishbaugh, who was assigned Seidman’s duties after her departure, said he couldn’t provide the settlement agreement because it hasn’t been signed by all the parties.

    The hospital district collects taxes and operates four public hospitals, including Broward General Medical Center, and dozens of other health facilities in the northern two-thirds of the county. The hospital district has been associated for years with political controversy, and it now uses the brand name Broward Health.


    Another top executive leaves North Broward Hospital District under murky circumstances

  20. idiots says:

    well i think i have “learned the facts” and I would have to think long and hard before voting for this seidman fellow.

  21. Makes the Point says:

    All of this commentary, some true some not, no doubt, all amounts to a growing lack of confidence in the court and lays bare the inadequacies of a system of electing judges that relies on them raising money from the lawyers that appear before them.

    The better, more ethical and ultimately more effective way to select judges is through a merit appointment system. It has been advocated that this system use retired judges, selected at random, to interview and screen applicants to the bench and then the Governor must select from a short list produced for each vacancy. Policies such as making sure diversity is reflected with nothing more paramount than finding legal talent and judicial temperament to fill judge vacancies should be part of that process.

    Wake up. Judges rule on some of the most important aspects of our lives. Judges should not be selected by voters who do not know enough to make an intelligent choice because judges can’t “run” for office in any reasonable or conventional way. Grow up Broward, grow up Florida. It is time for us to shed these remnants of the good old boy network and aspire to excellence in government.

  22. Isn't It Ironic says:

    Isn’t it ironic all the posts on this thread have stopped after the thread gets some coverage at JAABlog?

  23. Seidman Is The Man says:

    How come nobody mentioned that the self-proclaimed king of the defense bar Kevin Kulik is Seidman’s treasurer? If he is so bad, how come this support?

  24. Good Questions says:

    Why don’t you ask Kulik why he would support someone as questionable as Seidman. And, if Kulik is such a hot shot, why is he not so hot at fundraising. The guy can’t raise a nickel for anyone.

  25. Aleman says:


    Any info on if Aleman is going to defend her seat against Pearlman?

    FROM BUDDY: No. Does anybody else?