Update: “Help Me Howard” Finkelstein Fires Employee Who Defied Him By Running For Office Day After Primary






Howard “Help Me Howard” Finkelstein had no help but only a slap in the face for the Assistant Public Defender who defied him and ran for office.

He fired Ruby Green one day after she lost her challenge to his chosen successor — Gordon Weekes. 


Ruby Green


He fired her by text.


Yes, he has the total right to fire Green. Yes, she might have made mistakes while working for Finkelstein, who leaves office at the end of the year. He listed some of them in an email to Browardbeat below.

But the optics are terrible.

Finkelstein should know about the optics since he has been a regular with his “Help Me Howard” legal help feature on Channel 7 News since the murder trill of O.J. Simpson. He is media savvy!

Finkelstein’s spin on the timing: “I purposely waited till after the election so that I did not impact the election. I did not want to do a James Comey.”

You decide.

Green posted the following on Facebook this morning: 






Finkelstein had backed Weekes in the primary. Weeks won. 

Here are Finkelstein’s explanation, sent to Browardbeat after the above was posted:

Buddy. I just saw your article on the firing of Ruby. She was not fired because she ran. She was never told not to run.

She was fired because of her inappropriate and unprofessional and untruthful behavior and statements made about me personally, the other lawyers in the office, the commitment of the office to the mission of equal justice.

A good example is the radio show link you sent me(1). It is not the first time she has acted so. It is why she was removed as a chief of County Court because she  Insisted on being an officer in a group, the BACDL(2), Which often takes contrary positions to our office. She was told she could be an assistant public defender and an officer of that group but as a chief assistant she could not be an officer of a group that posed a conflict of interest.

That her choice was to be a chief assistant and have a meaningful impact in changing the arc of peoples lives or be an officer in an organization that is a coffee klatch to network and increase income. She showed poor judgment and decided coffee klatch was more important than helping real people. That same poor judgment was exhibited in the radio show where her attacks were gratuitous and mean and in some cases completely untruthful. It saddens me. It is also why I am so proud of Gordon. He took the highroad and talked about issues and change rather than personal attacks and insults of everybody and everything.

(A second email) When a member of the public defenders office spreads a message in the community that people who are receiving the services of our office should be scared or worried or believe that we do not care about them or will work for them inhibits the ability of us to accomplish our mission.



(1) During the primary, Browardbeat.com sent Finkelstein a link to a YouTube show featuring Green attacking the leadership of the Public Defenders Office, where she worked.

(2) Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.








18 Responses to “Update: “Help Me Howard” Finkelstein Fires Employee Who Defied Him By Running For Office Day After Primary”

  1. FTL Voter says:

    Howard is clearly doing Gordon’s dirty work, firing Ruby on the way out so Gordon didn’t have to do it himself once he takes office.

  2. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    She plays her cards right file a wrongful termination charge/ retaliation etc.Not only will she get her back but all salaries she will/ did get back.So the story is Finklestein fired her because she ran for his job against Weekes who he supported.She sustains this and stated above will occur.Shame on Me.Finklstein.

  3. Elroy John says:

    What a small man.

  4. Tired of the sexism says:

    It seems wrong and petty to me. He didn’t fire the guy that threatened a female prosecutor with violence- but he fired a woman that dared to state her opinion about how that office was run and do something about it. Seems like misogyny to me. They can’t have an ambitious woman that dares to question them and belong to other organizations. It’s wrong.

  5. disgruntled says:

    you play with fire , there might be consequences for her actions, sometimes they suck but that is life…. it is a hard lesson but she has to learn, can you imagine what might be happening with the Sao come january….

  6. Maxine Streeter says:

    This should be a forever stain on the outgoing PD and the incoming PD. What you both have done is shameful and disgusting. The complaints about her ring hollow and sound petty and personal– BACDL is the the “Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers” Why wouldn’t the PD want his attorneys to be a member / officer of this organization– they are in the same business? I hope the story of the firing of a young black PD (also a survivor of human trafficking)who dared to speak truth to power goes viral, makes national news and opens doors so Ms. Green makes millions. This sure smacks of retaliation to me. #JusticeforRuby

  7. Howard Didn't Help Broward says:

    To Ms. Streeter:

    Yes, the BACDL is for criminal defense lawyers. The PD’s office used to be full of lawyers, but Howard wants social workers, not attorneys. Jail visits are valued over acquittals, and sternly-worded letters (cc’d to the Sun-Sentinel) are preferable to well-reasoned defensive motions.

  8. alex says:

    SCHMEKEL is a jewish (yiddish) work. Best translated: an anatomically deficient jewish male. Also might include insecure as well.

  9. mick Jagger says:

    goodbye Ruby Tuesday ….you got your a** canned on Wednesday. Talk smack you’ll get your comeuppins…..have a nice life

  10. Former Broward ASA says:

    Every assistant state attorney and assistant public defender knows that they serve at the “pleasure” of their current employer. That being said, I don’t think Ms. Green, who I don’t personally know, should get her hopes up for an employment related lawsuit. But, I still would not fire her based on what we know of the alleged conduct. She could have been assigned some lesser role and maybe she would have quit. Firing someone is the ultimate sanction and from what I know she was a strong advocate for her clients and worked hard for them. I don’t know if she would have been a loyal employee for Gordon Weekes but she should have been given the chance. I know Harold Pryor or Gregg Rossman will have to make some similar decisions and I just hope that common sense is used at the SAO.

  11. Pat Galvin says:

    good bye Ruby Tuesday

  12. Deni says:

    Howard is narcissistic and only cares about media attention. He does no work at the office. Our office and BACDL worked together for years until Howard got mad at one of the members and then cut off contact. BACDL provided CLEs for the Public Defenders office. They are both criminal defense organizations. What he is saying about Ruby is completely false. Ruby was a superwoman. She worked her butt off. She was the only person in the race that was in court, doing trials etc. Broward should be concerned. Howard’s explanation is B.S. and he is trying to rationalize by saying she shouldn’t have been a part of a voluntary bar association when for years one of his other chiefs was on the board. Howard is a closet RACIST. Always has been and always will be. Besides, EVERY SINGLE THING Ruby said is 100% TRUE!

  13. corey weiner says:

    Let me tell you something you small brained — race card playing uneducated dog.

    I spent SEVEN YEARS in Broward County Democratic meetings and sit ins and volunteering to work on polls.

    In Coral Springs – Parkland club…. Chester Just had Stacy Ritter and Franklin Sands come to the club and give a fast talk and then introduce Howard Finkelstein to give a talk about equality and fair elections in Broward.

    Howard is like — has like hair longer than mine and is old school Floridian and helps all peoples treated unfairly.

    I highly HIGHLY doubt he sits in a room and cooks up how to be a racist.

    I think your brain lacks and the only thing you can do to agitate and offend others — is to yell that Howard is racist.

    P.S. — Call the BOCC — then call State Attorneys office and ask how the public defender’s office has done.

    Pick up an actual phone and do some investigative research.

    I bet you $20 you will learn that the P.D.’s office is INUNDATED with crack sellers, low-end criminals street gangs and all sorts of chaos …

    Even worse since the economic depression of 2008.

    LOTS of broke people really with life challenges. Finkelstein’s office deals with a number of them.

    You are stupid.

    Learn to research,, then make an argumennt.

    Instead of just — yelling about a person you do not care for… and saying, “Well he is racist.”

    His clients — are white, non white non American citizens etc etc. All the same.


    Corey Weiner —

    P.S. If you dislike what I am saying…. anytime any place, I will walk into Ritz Carlton or W or Kaluz or any other good venue and out argue YOU and your entire group of moron friends…we can stream it live.

    I will pay the $300 for you to go sit in a basic 3000 level political affairs course at FAU if you wish.

    One condition, you have to put down the smart phone and watch C-SPAN and learn how to make arguments with integrity and truth.


    I have known Howard Finkelstein for decades. I first met him when I was a newly-minted reporter covering the court system and he was a long-haired hippy defense attorney. I can assure anyone that Finkelstein is the exact opposite of a racist. He lived Black Lives Matter by defending the less fortunate of society in court at a time when entertainers were still putting on blackface and the media ignored black neighborhoods.

    Ruby Green alleged in her Facebook post that she was warned not to run for office. Not by Howard Finkelstein!

    Below are two emails he sent last year — one to the employees in the office and a second to candidates Ruby Green, Gordon Weekes and two of his administrators at the Public Defenders Office last year.

    The emails make no mention of prohibiting Green from running. Read them and you decide:


    From: Howard Finkelstein
    Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 9:55 AM
    To: Gordon Weekes ; Ruby Green
    Cc: Diane Cuddihy ; Renee Dadowski
    Subject: campaign

    Good Morning Gordon and Ruby-

    I have been the Public Defender since January 2005. The Public Defender before me was very political and enlisted his employees to work for candidates and contribute to campaigns. When I took office, I felt very strongly that the Law Office of the Public Defender should not be a political machine and the employees should not feel compelled to participate in politics, other than exercising their constitutional right to vote.

    Unlike most elected officials, I allowed several employees to continue working while running for judge. Many elected officials require employees to resign before running for office. We developed some rules for those races and have been successful in keeping politics out of the office. Your campaigns, however, are different because they have the potential of pulling the office apart and distracting our employees from our very important mission. I will not allow that to happen. I have worked too hard to de-politicize this office to allow it to devolve into chaos before I retire. Most importantly, this job is critical to our clients and our employees. Our clients depend on us to focus on their cases, and ultimately their and their family’s futures. Our employees rely on this job to put food on the table and take care of their families. They come to work every day and do their best. They do not need the added stress of wondering if they are backing the right candidate to protect their jobs.

    Therefore, I want to set some ground rules going forward. I will not allow any politicking in the office. While I understand that you have friends and colleagues who may want to support you, they have to come to you outside the office, on your time. You are not to approach any employee about volunteering for or contributing to your campaign. If you find this untenable, you will have to resign to run. I am very aware of what occurred in other Public Defender offices when more than one attorney ran for the elected job. The offices were torn apart and the clients and employees suffered. Your decision to run was your decision- it was not our clients or our employees and it should not negatively affect their lives. Obviously you also must follow campaign laws, submit vacation requests for any campaigning during working hours, and refrain from using office computers or supplies for any campaign purpose.

    This office must continue to keep focused on our clients. I will not allow it to turn into a political battlefield. I trust you will conduct yourselves professionally.



    From: Howard Finkelstein
    Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 9:56 AM
    To: All Users
    Subject: campaign

    Good Morning-

    As you know, I am retiring at the end of my term. I have been the Public Defender since January 2005. The Public Defender before me was very political and enlisted his employees to work for candidates and contribute to campaigns. When I took office, I felt very strongly that the Law Office of the Public Defender should not be a political machine and the employees should not feel compelled to participate in politics, other than exercising their constitutional right to vote. I allowed several employees to continue working while running for judge. Most elected officials require employees to resign before running for office. My only requirements have always been to follow campaign laws, submit vacation requests for any campaigning during working hours, and refrain from using office computers or supplies for any campaign purpose. My goal was to allow people to run for office without violating any law or losing sight of our important job- to serve our clients.

    For the first time, we have two employees running for the same position- mine. Ruby Green has informed me that she intends to run for Public Defender. Gordon Weekes filed to run for Public Defender earlier this year upon learning of my intent to retire.

    Please be assured that my policy remains the same. I understand that this is your place of employment and you work here to put food on your table and pay your bills. I appreciate that you come to work every day and do your best. I know that this can be a very stressful job and I will do my best to make sure that this election does not add to your stress. I promise to keep this office focused on our clients. This office will not turn into a political battlefield.


  14. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @13 Buddy – The rules Howard posted were apparently followed by Ms. Green, yet Howard fired her anyway. Ms, Green apparently avoided campaigning in the office and while on duty (which Howard’s rule prohibited). However, Howard fired her for off-duty criticism taking place outside the office regarding the way the office was currently being managed (insufficient technology resources etc.) during her campaign, and that criticism was not prohibited by any of Howard’s rules as stated above. Howard was deeply offended by the direct criticism of his management failures, so he fired Green in an act of retaliation.

    I don’t know whether or not Howard, Gordon, or anyone else told Green not to run, but it’s obvious that Finklestein fired her for offering voters an alternative to the management approach favored by both Mr. Finklestein and Mr. Weekes.

  15. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Ms. Green’s retaliatory firing by Howard Finkelstein raises a very interesting legal question.

    Although employment law would generally indicate that Ms. Green could be fired, the Public Defender’s Office is not just any employer. As a government employer, this office is legally required to respect the Constitutional rights of its employees.

    This case involves a serious infringement of the fundamental democratic right to run for office. In addition, public policy considerations weigh against allowing the office to essentially interfere with elections by suppressing the information available to voters regarding the office’s management and performance.

    Should judges be called upon to resolve the conflict between employment law and Constitutional law in this case, they may well decide that Constitutional law prevails.

    That conclusion would legally prevent government employers from chilling political speech by firing candidates for public office in retaliation for their efforts to properly inform voters within the context of their political campaigns.


    Under your scenario, Ms. Green was fired because she ran for office. Finkelstein said in his comments to Browardbeat that was not the case, thus negating any constitutional questions.

  16. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @15 Buddy – You are putting words in my mouth.

    I did not say that “Ms. Green was fired because she ran for office”. Both Weekes and Green ran for office. Finklestein approved of the statements Weekes made during his campaign, and Weekes was not fired. Finklestein did not approve of the statements Green made during her campaign, so Finklestein fired her.

    Finklestein is therefore engaging in what is legally known as “viewpoint discrimination”, which is an unconstitutional infringement of Ms. Green’s First Amendment rights. And under First Amendment law, political speech is the most highly protected form of speech.

    Finklestein is essentially trying to censor future candidates by putting them on notice that they can and likely will be fired if their campaigns include criticism of the way the office is currently managed. Voters also have their own First Amendment rights to hear this speech, thus Finklestein is violating their Constitutional rights as well.

    Finally, if you are interpreting Finklestein’s comments to mean that he is claiming that he did not violate the First Amendment rights of either Ms. Green or the voters, that denial has precisely no legal significance. Persons charged with violating the law do not get to let themselves off the hook by falsely claiming that they didn’t violate the law.


    Good points.

  17. Ha Ha Ha says:

    1,840 signatures on the petition: “Justice for Ruby Green”


    Ms. Green should seek justice by promptly filing an extraordinarily well-briefed federal lawsuit against Howard Finklestein.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Freedom of Speech means FREEDOM TO SPEAK IN PUBLIC N PUBLISH. It does NOT mean an employer cant fire someone WHO THEY PAY who undercuts them! If I hire a coin expert to authenticate Roman Coins n he saysI’m misidentifying a Roman Coin YOU DAMN I LL FIRE THE JERK! Freedom of Speech isnt an issue. I am NOT preventing his speech ONLY EXERCISING MY RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYER.