Judicial Robing Ceremony Draws Big Crowd; Many Pols


Want to know one reason why Sunrise taxpayers are on the hook for more than $400,000-a-year for a city attorney?

Want to know why the Sunrise City Attorney Stuart Michelson was handed a no-bid contract?

You could have learned the answer at the robing ceremony for nine new judges at the Broward County Courthouse today.

One of those new judges was Steve Feren, the mayor of Sunrise last year when Michelson was named city attorney.

Feren wasn’t the only one voting for Michelson to get the job.  He was probably Michelson’s strongest supporter.

Michelson introduced Feren at today’s ceremony with a short speech.

He said he had considered Feren a friend for over a dozen years.

And guess where Michelson took his future wife, County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, on their very first date?

To a Steve Feren fund raiser.

What a romantic guy.

When it was Feren’s turn to speak, he thanked Michelson and Lieberman for helping in his judicial campaign.

He thanked consultant David Brown for running the campaign.

And he showed a great deal of class by thanking the voters for making him a judge.


Once again, insiders couldn’t get away from hearing about super lawyer Scott Rothstein.

Newly robed Circuit Judge William Haury Jr. thanked Rothstein for helping him get appointed to the bench by Gov. Charlie Crist.

He also thanked former state Sen. Skip Campbell and Jack Seiler, who he identified as “the next mayor of Fort Lauderdale.


Circuit Judge Bernie Bober singled out Jack Shifrel for praise.

Shifrel helped with Bober’s judicial campaign.

Shifrel has been in Broward Democratic politics for years he was a School Board member in the 1980s. He was never in the first ranks of campaign consultants.

But he loves politics. He has been involved in every election cycle I can remember.

It was nice to hear him get a shout out.  It should raise his profile and maybe make him a little money.


When Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes took the podium to say a few words, dozens in the audience started to leave.

“This is just like church, Holmes quipped.  “I get up and folks walk out.

Actually, the ceremony was so long around two hours that folks had to get back to work.

Anyone who left before Holmes spoke missed the best speech of the day.

Filled with jokes, Holmes talked about her admiration for newly robed Circuit Judge Kenneth Gillespie.

She noted he was Magna Cum Laude in school.

“I don’t normally hang around Magna Cum Laude, she said. “I graduated, ‘Thank You Lord.’

Gillespie got a standing ovation from the usually cynical courthouse crew.


New County Court Judge John Hurley was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist in August, 2008 to the bench.

Hurley told the audience he was a fraternity brother of Crist. They had once had a beer with while in college.

Crist told him he was going to law school.  The future governor added “and I don’t know where it’s going from there.

The audience laughed.


  • John Rayson, Davie Town Attorney and former state representative.
  • Steve Geller, a former Florida Senate Democratic leader.
  • Ellyn Bogdanoff,  state representative and newly named to the powerful post of chair of the House Finance and Tax Committee.
  • Chip LaMarca, the Lighthouse Point commissioner and chair of the Broward Republican Party.
  • Peter Bober, the Hollywood mayor who gave a speech about his brother, newly robed Judge Bernie Bober.
  • Jack Seiler, former state representative running for mayor of Fort Lauderdale.
  • Lisa Aronson, the Coconut Creek commissioner running for re-election.


Attending the robing ceremony, I got to meet lawyer Bill Gelin.

I had never met him, but I had heard much about him.  He is a legend in the courthouse.
Gelin is a founder of the website Jaablog, which can be found here.

You can talk about your JQC investigations.  You can talk about the regular media.

Gelin and Jaablog have done more than anybody else to shake up the courthouse’s old boy’s network.

Love him or hate him, blogs like this are the new journalism — citizen created journalism. Written from inside the courthouse with access no journalist could get, Jaablog is cutting edge.

The courthouse is being discussed in detail for the first time. That’s a good thing.

Gelin and his Jaablog crew are an asset to Broward’s legal community.

16 Responses to “Judicial Robing Ceremony Draws Big Crowd; Many Pols”

  1. mister courthouse says:

    I didn’t see you there. I did see your foolish “guest columnist” Sam Fields kissing up to the judges again.

  2. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Mr Outhouse

    I didn’t realize how ouset you were that I stood you up at our last date.

    You are really so passionate

  3. sam is a problem to society says:

    SAM Fields make most of his living from criminal that he frees to rob and rape again. He tries to convince everyone he knows that he is a honorable lawyer following the constitution. BS.
    I was in court when Fields was defending the most horrific child moslester I have ever heard of and the guy was convicted, Thank God.
    Anybody trying to find a defense for somebody like this guy who confessed before trial is contributing to the molestation. Are you listing Sam Fields.?

  4. "Jaablog is cutting edge" says:

    Nevins writes above: “… blogs like (Gelin’s) are the new journalism.” & “Gelin and Jaablog has done more … ”

    Nevins new journalism: (THEY) HAS done more …

    Blog comments are fun, but they are rarely without bias.

    My bias: Gelin’s motive is power and fame, but at least he doesn’t have Google Ads on HIS website.

  5. Why I Voted for Feren says:

    To help get him out of Sunrise.

  6. Buddy Nevins says:

    Stuart Michelson left a message on my cell phone saying that Steve Feren never voted to hire him.

    Technically, true. Here is the article from The Miami Herald, June 25, 2008:

    Before a packed and sometimes loudly skeptical audience, the Sunrise City Commission voted Tuesday to award a no-bid legal contract worth at least $432,000 to the husband and law associate of Broward Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.

    The contract puts Stuart Michelson at or near the top of the highest paid city and county attorneys in the state.

    Commissioners who voted to hire Michelson to be part-time city attorney said it would save the city about $30,000 in legal expenses.

    The vote was 3-1, with Mayor Steven Feren abstaining.

    Feren, who is using Michelson as the treasurer of his campaign for a seat on the Broward Circuit Court bench, advocated forcefully for hiring Michelson from the dais. He announced his abstention after Michelson had the three votes he needed.

    “I’m going to abstain out of an abundance of caution,” he said, after disclosing that relationship to the audience. The Miami Herald reported last week that Feren did not make such a disclosure last month when he voted to offer the job to Michelson.

    Florida law forbids public officials from voting on matters that “inure to the special private gain or loss” of themselves, their employers, relatives or business associates.

    Earlier, Feren said he didn’t disclose that relationship with Michelson because it did not fit that definition. “There is no conflict,” Feren said in an interview.

    The commissioners who voted to hire Michelson Tuesday were Deputy Mayor Roger Wishner and Commissioners Sheila Alu and Don Rosen. Previously, Rosen had voted against the job offer.

    I must also add that Michelson had a working relationship in Sunrise going back to the early 1990s.

  7. Lady Lawyer says:

    Everybody knows that Bill Gelin is Howard Finkelstein’s mouthpiece. Gelin does everything Finkelstein wants and Finkelstein runs JAAblog from behind the scene. Most of the bloggers can be traced to the PDs office.

  8. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Sam Is A Problem:
    You seem somewhat bitter that I didn’t get you acquitted.

  9. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Outhouse

  10. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Mr. Outhouse,
    I did not attend the robing. I had a 2pm hearing with Norman Kent. I returned to my office to continue preparing for a 3:30 deposition.

    What is your obsession with me. Jealously? Sexual?

  11. Seriously says:


    I thought one had to win cases or at least be considered a successful practitioner of law considered a “couthouse legend”. Does all one have to do to be a Legend now is have a blog. Congrats to Norm Kent he must be the most recent legend. At best Jaablog is the Star Magazine of the Courthouse. Calling him a courthouse legend insults great lawyers like Bogey, Dutko, Haddad, Scherer, Schlessinger, Skip, Krupnik and a few others, even gasp, Fields.

    FROM BUDDY: All those lawyers you mention are Broward courthouse legends. Gelin is a legend — as in famous or renowned around the courthouse — because of Jaablog. Legends today are created by the media and he created his own media outlet.

  12. the long black robe says:


    You missed the funniest line at the robing. Hurley was recounting his time at boot camp in the military.

    “I learned to crawl through the swamp with the insects and bugs. It prepared me to work in this building.”

  13. famous? says:

    how is gelin famous when everything is written by others he has not written anything under his own name is years

  14. Busted Image says:

    Regarding Nevins’ classification of Bill Gelin as a “legend”, Buddy writes to “Seriously” (above, on Feb. 7 @ 11:51am) as follows:

    “Legends today are a creation of the media …”

    You got it right Buddy.

    That Gelin is a legend is a creation of your media mind.

    Are you, too, a legend in your own mind?

  15. Nevins new journalism says:

    Buddy, By disallowing, on this blog, comments critical of you and Gelin, you apparently are excercising your version of freedom of the press.

    At least Gelin, on his blog, disallows only comments with curse words and comments from Jack Thompson.

    As a test, I’ll post verbatim on Gelin’s JaaBlog the comment you disallowed here this morning.

    My guess is that Gelin doesn’t cut it. We’ll see.

  16. Nevins new journalism says:

    Sorry Buddy. A refresh of my browser shows me that you did not disallow my earlier Busted Image comment. Credit to you for that.