Judge Candidate Won’t Take Lawyers Or Bail Bonds $$$


Nathaniel “Nate Klitsberg has made a vow that I hope catches on in Broward judicial campaigns:

“I will not accept any campaign contribution from any attorney who has appeared in Broward County Court in the past year or from any bail-bonds company or organization.”

 So, how is he going to win?

nate klitsberg


“I have my friends and my family and my own resources, Klitsberg says.

No, his parents aren’t Rockefellers.

Ma and Pa Klitsberg are retired New York City teachers.  Pa now is a paper goods salesman, while Mom retired after operating a pre-school in Coral Springs for years.  

I hope the Klitsbergs and their friends have a lot of moola hidden somewhere. 

Because opponent County Court Judge Lee Seidman has already kicked in $75,000 of his own money to add to the $42,200 he raised.

The third candidate in the County Court Group 26 race is Frantz McLawrence, who raised and loaned his campaign around $15,000.

I’m not surprised that Klitsberg decided to forgo the easy money from lawyers after talking to him.

He is idealistic. He still believes that being a judge is something special, not just a way to make more money.

Klitsberg had his eye on the bench since being entranced with, of all people, County Judge Steve Shutter.  He clerked in Shutter’s West Broward courtroom after graduating from high school.

“Watching him interact with people and watching him help them looked to be something wonderful and unique, Klitsberg recalls.

He ended up graduating from Boston College Law School and coming back to Broward in 2000 to work for Public Defender Al Schreiber as an assistant public defender two years.

For the past four years, Klitsberg has been vice president-litigation counsel for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.  That job has sent him to state and federal courtrooms all over Florida.

One advantage he has working for a big company is that he doesn’t have to bill by the hour.  He gets a salary and can take some time off without losing pay. 

By Primary Election Day 2010, Klitsberg will have been a lawyer 10 years. He is 35, married with one daughter and lives in Coral Springs, where he attended JP Taravella High as a youth.

His candidacy is refreshing. It would be nice if Klitsberg’s style of campaigning caught on. 

I have always found it shameful that judicial candidates take money from lawyers who appear in front of them.

Klitsberg explains why he is curbing his contributions from lawyers:

“We must all face the choice between doing what is right or what is merely expedient.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

19 Responses to “Judge Candidate Won’t Take Lawyers Or Bail Bonds $$$”

  1. one for ethics says:

    What a refreshing story after hearing the rumors about Rothstien all day. Sadly this guy doesnt have a chance in hell but still at least he had the balls to step up and try.

  2. Jig is Up says:

    I agree, He has little chance.
    Unless he has great personal wealth, he may find out that precluding people from donating was a rash decision.
    He seems like a nice guy and I wish him the best.

  3. They said..... says:

    In 2008, they also said that Bernie Bober didn’t have a shot to unseat a sitting judge, and Ian Richards didn’t have a shot either.

    Both raised about 1/10th of what the incumbent raised, and both are now called “Your Honor” every morning.

    Good luck Nate.

  4. Ladies Choice says:

    The two challengers have no chance but if they stay in and a jewish female gets in the race it could make things realy interesting with the 3 men splitting the male vote, this guy and seidman splitting the jews an jhara getting the black vote Mardi Cohen has to be seriously looking at this.

  5. Jig is Up says:

    Exuse me “They said” (above), you have mixed apples and oranges.
    Let me explain.
    Bober and Richards won playing the name game (they ran against Hispanics). They basically just needed to put their names on the ballot.
    The Klitsberg, McLawrence, Seidman races do not involve an Hispanic candidate. This is wide open with no ethnic advantage(well to the extent that the condos will tend to vote for Jewish candidates). Money will make the difference in THIS race…

  6. @Jig says:

    So how much is enough — $25,000.00, $50,000.00, $75,000.00?

    How much is needed to be competitive. Few people pay attention to judicial races, it’s a name game in a lot of ways, and without an (I) on the ballot, you’ve got 3 names in alphabetical order.

    See who walks the neighborhoods and what the reaction is, and then we’ll see what the race really looks like.

  7. anonymous says:

    Why should Mardi Levy Cohen look at this race? Why not Mindy Solomon? Or Rhoda Sokoloff or Robin Sorkin? Or any other female lawyer? Mardi has let it be known that she is staying put in the race that she is currently in. There’s no need for her to move races.

  8. a women says:

    Why should Mardi cohen be looking at this race? She is already in a race with one male candidate with about 5 years experience (she has 5 times that experience). Maybe Mindy Solomon or Rhoda Sokoloff or Robin Sorkin should look at this race… or another female lawyer. I think Mardi is set where she is.

  9. Old Pol says:

    Joyce Julian
    Ron Gunzberger
    John Murphy
    Jewish guy who is a US atty in Dade forgot his name.

    In the primary, despite all of Judge Julian’s baggage she got enough votes to get to a runoff and barely lost the election. The other three guys split the male vote.

    Mardi Cohen (jewish)
    Bernie Bober (jewish)
    Dijoles (wishes he was jewish)

    Mardi, spending no money comes in second. Bober and Dijoles split the male vote. Odds are if Cohen was permitted to saty on the ballot she would have won.

    Seidman (jewish)
    Klitsberg (jewish)
    Jhara (wishes he was jewish)
    Jewish Female to be named later

    Male vote split 3 ways
    Minorty/Black vote to McLawrence
    Jewish vote potentially split 3ways
    Female vote goes to JF to be named later.

    Runoff for female and surviving male.

    Jig, nice try, but the reality of the situation does not work in favor of Seidlin ooops I mean Seidman, if a Jewish female gets in this race.

  10. Jig is Up says:

    nice try. you don’t know politics on a local level. I will admit that your tried though.

  11. Old Pol says:

    Ok, smart guy so instead of a one sentence reply, why dont you dissect the above and tell me why the logic doesnt work?

    The US attorney was Gilfarb. Not bad for knowing nothing about local Broward politics.

  12. Appoint Judges says:

    Judges should not be elected they should be appointed. You can’t run a race for judge and avoid an appearance problem. This guy at least says he won’t take lawyer’s money. Doesn’t that admission tell you what the problem is?

    Lawyers back judges in the hope that judges will back lawyers. It’s really that simple and that is not the way it should work.

    Judges should be screened on a non-partisan basis by at random panels of retired judges. Three names for every vacancy should go up to the Governor, from which he should be required to select for a term of 7 years with a three term limit. That’s it.

    Is this the perfect way to select judges? No. There is no perfect way. Is it better than what we have? Absolutely. You will get a more qualified bench this way.

  13. Arnold says:

    Old Pol makes some interesting points he certainly has been around. I forgot all those candidates against Julian. I agree as this race stands now Judge Seidman is a good bet to win. On the other hand if you get 1 or 2 more people in this one being a jewish female, its going to be a wild west shootout. What I am curious about is why this Judge is getting so many opponents? I understand why the hispanic judges got opponenets last year because they were vulnerable. I saw the post on this Blog about the alleged ethics violation for not disclosing the proper items on his disclosure as well as the comments about his wife getting bought out of Broward Health and getting caught lying to the JNC. While these items may be serious in the courthouse community they seem not so compelling to the rest of us. Then again if you say things enough times they gain momentum and be torublesome. It will be interesting.

  14. Sam Fields says:

    “If you can’t vote against a man after you have taken his money, eaten his food and screwed his women then you don’t belong in the Senate.”
    Senator Russell Long (D. La)

    “A mans got to know his limitations”
    “Dirty” Harry Callahan

    I have to admire Nate Klitsberg who apparently knows his own limitations. His rulings would be for sale and the price is $500 or less.

  15. Geez Sam says:

    A little pent up frustration there?

    Or is it possible that someone doesn’t want people to have the impression that justice was for sale? True or not, I’d figure you of all people would realize this system is broken.

  16. Ghost of Scott Cowan says:

    Trust me Sam its better to have less campaign funds laying around then to have too much, you know you end up giving it to you kids and buying new computers with it. Anf going to jail to end up delievering pizza for dough boys.

    Good job keeping the old guard alive. People need to know that Judges only come to be through partisan political connections and the grease of the attorenys that come before them. SOrry I got too cocky and sloppy.

    Scott not Rothstien

  17. Elliot's Ghost says:

    Hey Sam,
    It is no wonder that you are throwing stones at a guy who is trying to clean up the courthouse. You were corrupt Scott Cowan’s stooge and work for corrupt lawyer Elliot Barnett’s former firm Ruden Barnett McClosky.

  18. Call me naive says:

    Good luck, Nate – you will be a refreshing change!

  19. Dan R says:

    This kinda says it all. It’s a ‘good old boys club’. With all the corruption around the courthouse it seems like it’s time to break with this ‘club’ and get a NEW refreshing, non-corrupt, non-money grabbing clean start for a judge.
    Keep your head up high and be proud of what you stand for.
    Thanks NATE and Good Luck
    Dan R