Is Joe’s Pension Safe?


There was a lot of talk Thursday on why the feds nabbed Josephus Eggelletion for money laundering, which has nothing to do with his county commission job.

The fact that the charge is money laundering could have a future impact on taxpayers.  Could Eggelletion collect his pension even if convicted because his crime didn’t involve public office?

The question is murky, at least to the lawyers I talked with Thursday.

Here is state statute 112.3173 outlining how a  state employee can lose their pension:

Felonies involving breach of public trust and other specified offenses by public officers and employees; forfeiture of retirement benefits.–

  • The committing, aiding, or abetting of an embezzlement of public funds;
  • The committing, aiding, or abetting of any theft by a public officer or employee from his or her employer;
  •  Bribery in connection with the employment of a public officer or employee;
  • Any felony specified in chapter 838, except ss. 838.15 and 838.16;
  • The committing of an impeachable offense;
  •  The committing of any felony by a public officer or employee who, willfully and with intent to defraud the public or the public agency for which the public officer or employee acts or in which he or she is employed of the right to receive the faithful performance of his or her duty as a public officer or employee, realizes or obtains, or attempts to realize or obtain, a profit, gain, or advantage for himself or herself or for some other person through the use or attempted use of the power, rights, privileges, duties, or position of his or her public office or employment position; or
  • The committing on or after October 1, 2008, of any felony defined in s. 800.04 against a victim younger than 16 years of age, or any felony defined in chapter 794 against a victim younger than 18 years of age, by a public officer or employee through the use or attempted use of power, rights, privileges, duties, or position of his or her public office or employment position.

Does that mean Eggelletion could be convicted of money laundering and still collect his pension from the county commission, the state Legislature and the School Board? 

Pension officials in Tallahassee will answer that one…if Eggelletion pleads or his found guilty.


Gov. Charlie Crist is carefully weighing who to pick to replace Eggelletion and suspended School Board member Bev Gallagher based on his campaign for U. S. Senate

And he is already under pressure from the lobbying community. Some of them raise  money for Crist, too.

But many of them don’t in this Democratic county and they are using intermediaries to reach Crist. 

Who is picked for the School Board and County Commission could mean the difference between a lavish or a frugal Christmas for some lobbyists?

The governor is more concerned about his campaign for U. S. Senate then the future well-being of Broward’s lobbyists.  

Crist has already decided the replacements for Eggelletion and Gallagher don’t have to live in their districts.   That widens his field of possible choices.

 The decision on living outside the district is based on the fact that former state Sen. Jim Scott of east Fort Lauderdale replaced County Commissioner Scott Cowan of western Davie, who was convicted of election law violations a decade ago.

So who is Crist looking at?

Sources say he would like to consider, at least, a Hispanic to replace Gallagher.  That would  help Crist with Spanish-speakers in the 2010 Republican primary, where is opponent is former state House Speaker Marco Rubio from Miami.

There are at least a dozen potential county commission candidates, but Crist is said to be looking for a black Republican.  You probably could fit all the qualified black Republicans in a Volkswagen bug.

One new name making the rounds Thursday:  former union leader and Republican activist Art Kennedy.

Meanwhile, lobbyists were in overdrive  Thursday.  They were pleading with those who have the ear of Crist to put in a good word for their friends.


Lobbyist Neil Sterling is being investigated by the feds for his work at the School Board, which is a reversal for him.

Sterling was a member of the state Ethics Commission in the 1990s.  He was appointed by then-Senate President Jim Scott in 1996.


One of the biggest losers with Wednesday’s arrest of Eggelletion is lobbyist Judy Stern.

Stern counted on Eggelletion as one of the commissioners she had access to at almost any time.  It was said around the Government Center that Eggelletion was one of Stern’s sure votes.



13 Responses to “Is Joe’s Pension Safe?”

  1. Buh bye says:

    Judy could be losing a lot more than a vote…she is toxic and the other electeds are running away from her.

  2. Countdown says:

    Tick tock, tick tock. That’s the sound of the clock counting down on the careers of Diana Wasserman-Rubin, Stacy Ritter and Stephanie Kraft. All of them are going down, soon to be doing the infamous perp walk. The only question is which one is next? My guess: Wasserman-Rubin. Buh bye ladies, enjoy the last days of your life in politics!!!

    Will Keechl, Geller, and others be joining them behind bars?? Too soon to tell.

    One more question: besides Sterling, I would think Judy Stern would also be a central target. She’s a very slimy person.

  3. Disgrace says:

    Anyone who has been convicted of a felony should have their pension taken away. Why does he get a pension anyway for a part time job?

  4. Mark G says:

    Keechl has been cleared. But I agree that Stern is next. Just watch.

  5. Lobbyists Are Smarter Than You Think says:

    There won’t be any charges against any lobbyist. No crimes there. They are much smarter than that. You can challenge them in many ways, but nearly never in a court of law.

    Wait and see.

  6. The Truth says:

    Keechl and Geller did nothing. There is no evidence of anything on them.
    Judy Stern is a different matter Stern is Eggelletion’s personal lobbyist. Eggelletion knows if Stern is dirty. If she is, he will be telling the FBI if he hasn’t already.
    BuhBye is right. Stern is toxic and everybody except Lois Wexler has run from her. The FBI should look at Queen Lois and her paid vacations with Stern.

  7. Separate The Issues says:

    I believe in criminals doing time but I don’t believe in refusing them pensions. I’m not standing up for criminals, but there needs to be some rational standard that gets applied.

    Social Security is a pension where we pay a portion and the government pays a portion. No different with state pensions. Should anyone be denied Social Security because of a felony conviction? Pensions are a form of earned savings, people that have them should have a property right to receive them because they are legitimately earned.

    There needs to be one rational set of rules for these situations and my sense is that does not exist.

  8. Lobbyists Are Smart says:

    It is highly unlikely that you will see any lobbyists criminally implicated in this mess.

    Yes, they introduce people and yes they advocate for public contracts. That is their job. They also raise campaign cash which under our campaign finance system remains perfectly legal.

    But getting involved in cash exchanges under the table between their clients and elected officials? Sorry but that is just very far fetched. Proof? Notice how in none of these cases is that suggested. Notice in past decades that the only similar type of convictions have involved union representaives. And those people are really not lobbyists, not in any sophisticated sense. They are a lesser and very different breed of advocate.

    Many people imagine that lobbyists go visit elected officials with envelopes filled with cash. I hate to burst your bubble, but that just doesn’t happen. It would be a very rare case of stupidity. At least not here in Broward. They are way too smart to get caught up in such a thing.

  9. Dominic says:

    I’m not sure I believe we should be giving pensions to elected officials.

    It’s no wonder we’re not able to get salaries and pensions of public employees under control – the people responsible for them are the pigs eating at the same trough!

  10. Wrong Dominic says:

    I can understand you feeling that way given recent events. But everyone that works should have a pension. Not offering elected officials pensions is the best recipe for ensuring you never get one. America is living longer than ever before. We need pensions to avoid having to cut pills in half and eat ALPO when we’re in our 80’s and 90’s.

  11. Resident says:

    There is also some federal law prohibiting discrimination against employees from receiving pensions. You may find it strange, but elected officials are employees and often have to get the same thing as other employees, in most cases.

    Even the State mandates that locally elected officials are required to get a pension after so many years of service. That’s State Law.

  12. Willie Shear says:

    Broward needs an independent ethics board to review and, if necessary, issue sanctions against violations by county employees and commissioners. The board should be picked by business leaders and consist of retired judges, members of the public, the university community and business community. Anyone who does business with the county or anyone whose family does business with the county would be forbidden membership.

  13. Hey Willie says:

    The state has an ethics board that does just what you say. Now Broward has also established an ethics board to recommend ethics improvements for adoption countywide. It is being done.

    The question is not having the panel.

    The question is whether that panel will create reasonable rules that are not too restrictive (e.g., elected officials should be able to help charities so long as they do not financially benefit, etc.) or too loose such that the entire exercise becomes a waste of time.

    And then we face the all important question; whether public officials can or will actually follow the rules that are adopted.