Jenne Gets On With His Life


Former Sheriff Ken Jenne is emerging after his harrowing stint in the pen. 

Getting together with old friends.  Meeting former acquaintances like me.

I’ve known Jenne since he was a prosecutor.  Thirty five years ago.

Since before he was the charter commissioner director, a county commissioner, a state senator and sheriff.

We go back a long way and I’ll tell you straight: I’ve always admired his political skills and his ability to get things done.

I know he is controversial.  I’ve heard for years he can be vengeful against political enemies. Mean-spirited and nasty

Still, I think he has accomplished a great deal for Broward County. His imprint is on the university system, the roads, public safety and even our commission form of government.

So when Jenne asked me to breakfast recently, I jumped at the chance.

Jenne talked exclusively with about life in behind bars, what he is doing now and the future.

He seemed to want to talk about his year in federal prison for corruption.  He says it was no picnic. 

He was in solitary a portion of the time, both to protect him and to harass him.

He calls the notorious Atlanta pen “filthy. 

Jenne had to stuff paper in the crack at the base of the door to keep the rats from his cell.  If he put his food down for more than five minutes, roaches got to it.

During his time in custody, Jenne was shuffled around the country from jail to jail. 

Miami. Detroit. Atlanta. Lee County.

All that moving in just a year seems like a big waste of money to me.

He described the Lee County facility outside of Fort Myers.  He says it is filled with convicts busted on mostly simple drug crimes.

Blacks arrested in places like Washington, D. C.  Rural whites nabbed possessing meth along sleepy stretches of West Virginia and Tennessee.

It was his first real experience with the meth users.  Broward doesn’t have a major meth problem, he says.

How much does the sheriff come in contact with drug users, except as statistics?  Jail was an eye opener.

The stories he heard about the inability of the users to free themselves of meth convinced him: The man who invented methamphetamine should be put to death.

Jenne was never really threatened in prison.  He says he got along fine with most of the inmates, especially the blacks.

The experience humbled him.  Made him appreciate life more.

He’s moving on. 

Although he lost his ticket, his license to practice law, he got a good job.

Scott Rothstein, the downtown Fort Lauderdale lawyer, took him in. 

Jenne called Rothstein generous.  The former sheriff says he was getting “a fair salary, but not an extravagant one.  I hear the low six figures.

His job?

He doesn’t lobby, he says emphatically. 

He gives Rothstein’s numerous clients’ political advice if they need it.  He suggests strategies on working with government. 

The clients are lucky.  He’s got more than three decades of experience in politics to offer.

It’s been a big fall for Jenne. 

He’s not at all bitter.  I know I wouldn’t take it that well.

Jenne lost his pension. 

He lost his profession.  He says he probably will never practice law again because by the time he can reapply to the Florida Bar, he’ll be in his late 60s. 

He lost his chauffeur and now drives himself in a Toyota.

He lost the status of being the most powerful political figure in Broward.

But still, he knows he has a lot to be thankful for. 

He has friends who have stood by him. 

He has his family.  He dotes on his son, state Rep. Evan Jenne.  He mentioned Evan a half dozen times in an hour.

He looks healthy, maybe because he eats healthy. One poached egg and dry wheat toast for breakfast.

Most of all, Jenne still has a lot more to contribute. 

He vows to stay involved. 

Only this time, from behind-the-scenes.  At least, initially.  



30 Responses to “Jenne Gets On With His Life”

  1. Sean says:

    He did a lot for Broward. Great man.

  2. Redemption says:

    Ken Jenne had a full career in public service by any standard. He did many, many things that were good for the community. But then he did something he should not have done, it wasn’t the most outrageous thing in the world. But it was a crime and he paid the price. And then some. To be sure, his debt to society has been paid much more than in full.

    Some men would sell their home, pack up and go someplace else where newspapers don’t constantly refer to them as “the disgraced former sheriff.” Some would hold up their fists in frustrated anger for being so labled, branded if you will, with no clear indication that they might ever get past it. Not Mr. Jenne. He chose to stay right here and face the heat after he made his peace with society right here. His public statements have been appropriate. His demenor much more than respectful.

    I am a believer in redemption and in giving people a chance to redeem themselves. For those that disagree, my deepest hope is that you never make a mistake — because all of us are capable of making at least one or two in our lives. Redemption is supposed to be for everyone. So if you’d want someone to offer it to you, then you must find the will to offer it to others. And so I welcome Ken back to Broward and am willing to give him the chance at redemption that we all deserve.

  3. intelligentsia101 says:

    rumors have it that a deputy made a trafffic/drug stop in dania beach. forthwith deputy gets called in front of then sheriff ken. ken asked deputy what will it take to make this go away….let your buddy fill in the blank for you buddy. i’ll give you a clue: get down w/the dogs get up w/the flees. i’ll wait one week for the answer to be posted.

  4. Sam Fields says:

    As a prosecutor Ken Jenne prosecuted thousands for drugs

    As the Sheriff he arrested tens of thousands for drugs

    As a legislator he supported laws, including mandatory minimums, that incarcerated hundreds of thousands.

    All the time these drug laws and their enforcement were damaging society far more than the drugs.

    It sounds like Ken has mostly figured out that a major portion of his life’s work was counterproductive and an abject failure.

    I say only mostly because of the remark about killing the person who invented methamphetamine. The key ingredients come from over the counter pharmaceuticals. I guess we should start by executing the executives at Pfizer and Proctor and Gamble for making Benedryl and Nyquil.

  5. Michael Ahearn says:


    I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the “major portion of (Ken’s) life work was counterproductive and an abject failure.”

    First and foremost, I proudly call Ken my friend. When I was first getting involved in politics Ken was always very kind and generous with his time and advice. .

    I see no need to discuss Ken’s past, mistakes were made and he paid the price. I see him no worse then a certain former County Commissioner who ended up doing time for misappropriating campaign funds.

    As Buddy stated, Ken’s contributions to infrastructure of this County during his years of service is unparalleled

    While certain things you mention happened when I was a child, it is my understanding that when Ken was a prosecutor he was primarily involved in public corruption cases. Being a prosecutor in the early 70’s I would imagine the worst drug cases he dealt with were marijuana related.

    As to your comments about his time in the Legislature, it is my recollection that the idea of minimum mandatory sentences originated from President Reagan’s DOJ in the 80s. Min man’s were a Republican idea and furthered by them in this State after Bush was elected Governor and the Republicans took over the State Legislature. As well, back in the 80s and 90s it was widely believed that tougher laws were the answer to drugs. Hindsight is always 20/20 we know now that treatment based punishments are more productive then just locking people up. When Ken supported these laws he was following the will of his constituents who wanted same.

    As for his time as Sheriff, it was Ken’s job to enforce the laws which were passed. What was the alternative, not enforce the law?

    Ken is far from perfect, his mistakes are known, he acknowledges same and works towards being better. The past is the past and all anyone can do is learn from it and uses those lessons to make things better. As I said before, hindsight is always 20/20. Sam, one thing I have learned from your writings on Browardbeat is that you are perfect and void of ever having made a mistake. For that I congratulate you.

    FROM BUDDY: You couldn’t have said it better.

    Michael G. Ahearn

  6. Retired LEO says:

    It is about time somebody wrote something accurate about former Sheriff Jenne. He was a credit to BSO, helping it to grow and professionalize. He did some things wrong like Powertrac. Overall, BSO is better because of him. He paid the price for his mistakes and should now be accepted back.

  7. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Everybody deserves a second chance. I’m sure many of us has things that we didn’t get caught doing. By the way when is Walter Brown coming out of the slammer AFLCIO??? Does anybody know…Also, Tony Gentile from the BTU????

    FROM BUDDY: Gentile has been out for several years. Brown will be out in 2010. Read my post about Brown and his sentence here.

  8. Sam Fields says:

    No one is disputing that Ken Jenne, who I have known since 1976, did some good and important things for Broward and the State of Florida. I was commenting on his epiphany that the War on Drugs is a failure. Maybe if enough politicians spent some time in jail they would see the futility of their self-righteous, vindictive, vote grabbing drug laws that have profoundly damaged this country far beyond anything the drugs do.

    Any Broward prosecutor, including Jenne, would have done hundreds of marijuana cases in the course of their years in County and Circuit Court. It was for that reason I did not seriously consider going to the States Attorney in 1984 and instead went to the Public Defender. The idea that I would seek to punish people for something that I had regularly done in the past and believed was none of the government’s business was more than my conscience could stomach.

    Frankly, of all the transgressions Jenne’s committed the worst involved his secretaries who he dragged into his seamy schemes.

    Finally, the last thing I would mention in defending Jenne is the Powertrac debacle which was the Abu Ghraib of the BSO. Both involved systems put in place by the bosses, went south, and the underlings took the blame.

    My father was a Detective in the NYPD and I have a pretty good idea how things work.

    Shortly after Powertrac went into effect the crime clearance rates skyrocketed beyond all reason. Were crimes really being solved? No! Street cops were being browbeaten by their Sergeants and Lieutenants whose only interest was numbers, numbers, numbers. In turn they were responding to Majors and Colonels who squawked the same mantra. If your numbers were not as good as other cops your career was dead.

    And as they say “A fish stinks from the head first“. Like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld at Abu Ghraib, Jenne and his top underlings denied they knew about the phony Powertrac reports. They had but two defenses. Cupidity or stupidity. Either way they were unfit to wear the badge.

  9. Michael Ahearn says:


    Let me ask you, so when a County Commissioner ran unopposed in a race where he pays his children money to do nothing from peoples campaign contributions, uses the same contributions to purchase personal computers and home furnishings was said said Commissioner culpable or stupid? No matter what misusing campaign contributions is far worse then cheating on taxes.

    While it is clear that mistakes were made with Powertrac and the non payment of taxes for which Ken was convicted, as usual hindsight is 20/20. Since you apparently void of mistakes I guess you do have the right to judge the mistakes of others as harsh as you do.

    I am left to wonder with all of your political connections and knowledge of all that is wrong around here you never ran against Satz regarding his unfair drug prosecutions? Run for State Legislature? Interesting, I do not remember when you ran for Judge you raising all of these problems you had with our drug laws.

    I will give Bill Gelin and his Blog credit for making it vogue for long time Broward criminal defense lawyers the opportunity to come out from behind the shadows to voice their displeasure for drug laws and/or over incarceration of minorities. Of course the reality is that when Sheriffs Nick, Cochran and Jenne were arresting people all over town it was good for the criminal defense business so there was no incentive to speak up.

  10. Mister Courthouse says:

    When Sam Fields ran his losing races for judge, he wasn’t so forthcoming about drugs.
    Read the post, Sam. Where does Ken Jenne say he is against drug laws?
    You are reading your own warped views into his mouth. Next you’ll be imagining that Ken Jenne is an athetist.

  11. Roscoe J. Freespeecherman says:

    Hey look Broward’s biggest turd the A-Turd aka Ahern found a new place to get a fix on his blog addiction.

    So typical still kissing butt on corrupt politicians who you think can get you something.

    Not a surprise you probably learned your dirty tricks from Jenne. We know what you did to Heidi Berkowitz and Ed Salantrie last year. Remember fatboy dropping off anonymous envelopes with booking photos, criminal histories, divorce records all to protect your friend Stacy Ross. Do you think we were dumb enough not to know your fingerprints were all over what was done to Rynerson in Seiler election. One day it will all come out and Jack will hate you forever. Bob Norman knows and your days of playing these games are numbered. You have no friends or any business, your finished. You should ask Fields for tips on practicing law, he has done more in one week of his career then you have done in all of yours. Go back to walking around Wilton Manors at night and know we are watching you. You will get caught in the cookie jar fatboy.

  12. Michael Ahearn says:

    My old friend Roscoe. How are ya. Once a champion of free speech reduced to hiding behind clever names. I guess a sanction from the Florida Bar will do that to you.

    While I may disagree with Sam Fields, I respect guys like him, Ron Gunzberger, Angelo Castillo etc because they will come on here and say their piece under their own name. Along those same lines, I respect bloggers like Buddy Nevins and Bob Norman because they write under their own names not as “BrowardBeat” or “Pulp”.

    I will say it again, if you have a problem with me then feel free to say it to me in person, no need to hide behind anonymity. As we have learned with those who write on Jaablog there are a lot of people who will say things about me in anonymity, but none will ever say it to my face.

    Your allegations regarding Berkowitz and Salantrie, are laughable. I think those two are pretty smart for not running against Judge Ross as they would have surely lost. Mr. Norman, reading his current writings on the County Commission, I am sure I am not even a blip on his radar.

  13. Roscoe, I mean Sean, I mean Roscoe says:

    Geez Roscoe, you talk a mean game….although TALK is all you ever do.

    Have you ever asked Salantrie or Berkowitz if they ever received an envelope at their office….or do you just believe whatever anyone writes over at JAABlog.

    And as for the Rynerson matter, why would anyone involved in the race even pay attention to a hack who ended up with less than 15% of the vote. Lame-o sir.

    Please get back to your practice, such that it is…..don’t you have Bar costs of prosecution to pay off sometime soon?

  14. Gimby says:

    Buddy, you are getting played. Ken is one of the most shrewd, cunning and ruthless people I know. This “poor me” routine is the start of the Jenne public rehabilitation plan. The rats, roaches, Rothstein, Toyota and you are all but pieces to be manipulated by the former disgraced sheriff.

  15. Idea for Browardbeat says:

    Hey Sam, you should do a “dueling columnist” thing with Sam Fields and Mike Ahearn.

    You know, the old guard and new guy political operatives, etc.

    You can call it:

    “The Has Been versus the Never Will Be”.

  16. Millary N Cohen says:

    Ahearn and Fields sound like desperate queens. Sounds like, is like.

  17. Sam Fields says:

    Before, during, and after I ran for Judge I denounced the drug laws in writing and speeches. I even debated a member of the States Attorney office at what I think was a chamber of commerce meeting. And I would do it again but neither they nor the cops want any part of defending the indefensible.
    If you can get one of them, preferably Mike Satz–to make it high profile–out of their cocoon I am ready, willing and available.

    By the way I am well aware that if I had my way my law income would decline.

    I would be glad to show you the letters to the editor that I have written over the years that are consistent with what I have said here.

    I would be glad to show you

  18. Sam Fields says:

    As for the personal attacks on Ed Salantrie, Heidi Berkowitz and Stacy Ross I do’t know about it and have no interest learning about it. I consider them all good folks and consider Ed one of the funnier people I know. I enjoy spending time with him.[Which shows you what poor judge of character I have.] The last time was after the BACDL dinner last week and I went home with a smile. Thank you Ed.

  19. Michael Ahearn says:


    The Heidi and Salantrie comments weren’t about you. You cant have all the negative posts, leave some crumbs for others, lol. It has been rumored by Gelin and JAAB that I supposedly did dirty tricks to keep Salantrie and Berkowitz from running against Stacy Ross when I was running her campaign. Then Bill and Jaab started writing that I had something to do with the release of negative items against Rynerson when I did the Seiler campaign. Rumor has it that Roscoe is a certain former PD who was sanctioned by the Bar for comments against Aleman, he loves writing about me.

  20. Bill Gelin says:

    Hi Buddy:

    I have been following this thread with bemusement, which is probably the wrong word, since I am sorry the nonsense that permeates JAABLOG has now crept over to your blog.

    In any event, I had to pipe up because Mr. Ahearn has seen fit to print an outright lie about me in your comments.

    For the record, I have never in my life written a single word accusing Ahearn of anything to do with Salantrie, Bekowitz, or Rynerson. He is either operating under a false belief, or, as previously stated, just plain lying.

    Chalk it up to just another day in the blogosphere.

    Bill Gelin

    Always good to hear from you.
    Thanks for clearing this up.
    Silly me. I thought the post was about Jenne, not about courthouse politics. It got hijacked!

  21. Corporal Jones says:

    I salute Buddy for being the first reporter in years to give Ken Jenne a fair shake. I was proud to call him sheriff and was sorry to see him go, especially in the way he did. He has paid more for his crimes than most people can imagine. Its time for the attacks to be over.

  22. Tyronne Steele says:

    Rumor has it that KJ is living in the Bonaventure area of Weston. I hope he is not my neighbor. My property values have already diminished enough.

  23. Michael Ahearn says:

    Of course Bill, you never write anything in your own name. Fine I will rephrase “many lies about me on your blog by Roscoe and others (whom I believe to be you or friends of yours).”

    That is the difference between us Bill, if I write on a Blog, I always use my own name and will never behind a cloak of anonymity. If I have something good or bad to say about someone I will come right out and say it. No need to hide behind “Jabbolg” or other pseudonyms.

    You are right Buddy, this was about Ken. Sadly the person who posts obsessively about me on Jaab as “Roscoe” felt the need to attack me here when all I did was defend a friend.

    Don’t worry Bill, I know you will not respond, as always when someone confronts you head on you back away.

    Hey Buddy, where is my hello?


    FROM BUDDY: Hello.
    I always appreciate it when you participate. You contributions add something to

  24. Bill Gelin says:

    Hi Buddy:

    One last post from me.

    Mr. Ahearn says “That is the difference between us Bill, if I write on a Blog, I always use my own name and will never behind a cloak of anonymity.”

    Buddy, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. It is five dollars. Don’t worry about the fiver though. I will give it to you on credit.

    See ya,


  25. Michael Ahearn says:

    Typical Hit and Run move by Gelin.

    Of course its your last post Bill, we all know you dont like it when someone confronts you. You didn’t even confront me with my comment, you directed it towards Buddy.

    Your reply does beg the question, if you claim that I am a liar and I do post on your blog, does it not confirm what everyone knows is true? You track and identify those who post on your blog? This is exactly why I post on blogs only in my own name, its all traceable so why try to hide.

    Now Bill run along back to being “jabblog” we know writing in your name is not your style.

    P.S. Please feel free to call me a liar to my face, but of course we know you wouldn’t do that now would you. You only get confrontational behind your blog and “jabblog” persona.

  26. keep in mind says:

    Keep in Mind, Jenne broke the law. Bottom line, may it be as simple as a traffic citation. He BROKE THE LAW. For any lay person, it would have been worse. He BROKE THE LAW. I abide by the laws, regardless of who I am or what I do or who I know, HE BROKE THE LAW. Hats off to him for staying and facing the music, he would have been a coward if he didn’t. You think his general professional opinion about his CRIME, admitting it, give me a break, HE BROKE THE LAW, it doesn’t get more simple than that. Apparently all the dinero he put in Bogenschutz didn’t help him much. POWERTRAC caused a lot of damage to careers that was truly unnecessary, and ALL THOSE problems it caused thereafter, how many convictions were obtained? How many HR files were effected? the way I see it, ANOTHER POWER TRIP GONE BAD FOR JENNE, SYMPATHY IS NOT MY VOTE ON THIS ONE….I guess all those who say they have known him for blah blah years, guess you never really know someone do ya?????

  27. Deby Weinstein says:

    Can’t we all just get along? Mike and Bill are like two sniveling whining children.

  28. TheBrowardRepublican says:

    First off, I find myself disagreeing with Mike. A pseudonym is not always something to simply hide behind. With my own, you now have a general understanding of my beliefs. It is also VERY easy to find out who I am (a.k.a. my real name) if you really need that for whatever reason.

    Back to Ken Jenne, however (isn’t that what this blog was supposed to be about?), I can only say that his actions at the time caused me to feel betrayed. It was similar to when Sara Palin was given high marks after her debate with Biden because she had only a few weeks to prepare for it. Are we supposed to lower the bar on the vice presidency just because a person only had a few weeks to prepare, or should we hold the bar higher because it is the vice presidency?

    I tend to hold our elected officials up to a higher bar, and what he did at the time was reprehensible. He betrayed my trust, and the trust of the rest of the people in Broward County.

    I am telling you all of this so you can understand the basis of my response.

    Jenne was given a specific sentence by the judge which he fulfilled. The judge said this is the balance against what you did wrong, and Jenne faced it head on. At this point I may yet be somewhat wary of Jenne, but in my mind he has paid his dues and is deserving of whatever respect and redemption he can now muster in his new lease on life.

  29. intelligentsia101 says:

    well buddy no answer so here it is in a nut shell the stop was rumored to be one of an elected official white substance was rumored to be found which may or may not have been legal the officer requested to be transferred to the bso K9 unit bypassing the existing waiting list in return for his cooperation in the matter. now with all your outstanding journalistic investigative knowledge surely you can shed some light on this matter

  30. Asarum says:

    What would he have to be “bitter” about? Was he wrongly convicted, or treated unfairly?