Judicial Tidbits: Skolnik and O’Connor


Broward’s legal community has been flooded with e-mail savaging County Judge Peter Skolnik.

The mail contains links to articles which outline Skolnik’s questionable history with women and the Sun-Sentinel endorsement of his opponent, lawyer Debra Steinsaltz.

Who was behind it?

Dan Lewis, the political consultant who recently conducted a publicized Internet survey of  Broward judicial candidates.

A Skolnik supporter was puzzled and e-mailed Lewis:

“Why are you sending out e-mail regarding Skolnik when your own poll supported Skolnik over his opposition?  Please advise as to who you are and why you are sending this email.  I am confused about your position.  Are you a paid consultant?”

Lewis answered by e-mail.  Part of his reply is here:

“Personally, I disagree with the majority of the attorneys participating in the poll in about three races.  Skolnik’s race is one. 

I felt it was inappropriate and not quite fair to express my own personal views when reporting the Poll results so I waited.  In my view, Skolnik is a horrible Judge and should not be returned to the bench.  I though the email I sent expressed just some of the reasons.

I am not a paid consultant in any of the judicial races this year

Whatever you believe about Lewis, his poll was an interesting exercise that broadened our understanding of the judicial candidates. But the poll must be interpreted with the knowledge that Lewis is involved in judicial races.

First of all, he thinks Skolnik is “a horrible judge.  Lewis has firsthand knowledge of Skolnik because he had a law suit in his courtroom years ago which was “dismissed, settled or disposed after hearing.   

In addition, Lewis said he was “not a paid consultant in any of the judicial races this year.

I have no idea how Lewis defines “political consultant.

But his company has been paid almost $40,000 from Judge Lisa Porter’s campaign.  Note:  He could have just been doing design and mailing services for Porter, but he was definitely involved in her campaign.


Circuit Judge Eileen O’Connor is getting a pass.

While unproven allegations about Skolnick and other judges are being circulated and have made it into the media, O’Connor’s past has been largely buried in this campaign.

On her March 6, 2003 application to be appointed judge, O’Connor was asked if she had ever been accused of misconduct or the subject of a complaint  “with any regulatory or investigatory agency, or with your employer?”

O’Connor answered: “No.”

She was not telling the truth and it resulted in a complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

When O’Connor answered the question, she knew that two employee discrimination complaints had been filed against her in 2000 and 2001.  At the time, she was a supervisor in the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale.

The first complaint alleged that O’Connor discriminated against a black supervisor for giving her more case work than nonblack section chiefs in an effort to set her up for failure.

According to the Miami Herald: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office conducted an investigation, interviewed numerous prosecutors and then resolved the complaint by reassigning some of the civil section chief’s duties.

The second discrimination complaint accused O’Connor of picking on an employee because she was Jewish.

O’Connor allegedly gave the employee poorer evaluations and smaller bonuses than non-Jews.

This discrimination complaint was settled with a confidential agreement.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint went nowhere.  The JQC found no probable cause to file ethics charges against O’Connor.

But voters deserve to know the story, which the Main Street media is ignoring.

31 Responses to “Judicial Tidbits: Skolnik and O’Connor”

  1. Skolnik Supporter says:

    Judge Skolnik is a great judge. He needs our support. I have been a lawyer in front of him for 15 years. He is fair, smart, and very professional. Please help me and vote for PETER SKOLNIK, group 3. Thanks.

  2. Dan's a dork says:

    Clearly, Dan Lewis has an axe to grind. He is paid political consultant. I am sure he is either getting paid directly or indirectly. Otherwise, why would he do it. He is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of this great community. Shame on you Dan Lewis.

  3. What about Lee Seidman? says:

    How come no one is bringing up Lee Seidman’s past including allegations that he discriminated against immigrants or Latinos? Wasn’t there an investigation? What was the result?

  4. voting for skolnick says:

    if dan lewis is against him, I am voting for Skolnick

  5. Richard P says:

    A paid political consultant sending out emails under “Broward
    Courts ” – Dan Lewis appears has personal and financial motivation to try bash Skolnik — he doesnt wonder how Skolnik’s opponent declared bankruptcy with a 600k trust ? Stenstalzt could not manage her own finances and know she is going to run a Court docket? cmnon

  6. James says:

    Steinstalz is a joke. she cant try her way out of a paperbag.

    she has raised no money.

    she is using her 600k trust to buy herself a Judsgeship.

  7. James says:

    Skolnik is a very good judge and he was a great professor when I had him at Nova. Keep the guy in office.

  8. disenchanted says:

    i do not believe siedman discriminated against anyone, he merely asked if the individual was here legaly as a requisite for setting bond, what the heck is wrong or discrminatory about that. if a few more judges would do the same a small part of our problem would be solved.

  9. Another Voice says:

    why the turn-around Buddy:
    “Answering a question, Steinsaltz told the forum audience that she once had a client who was a nanny accused of molesting the child of a major political insider.

    During the preparation for the trial, Steinsaltz said she learned many things about the victim’s family and hinted the family had deep dark secrets which would cause them “embarrassment”.

    Although she never mentioned the victim’s name, it was obvious to everybody I talked to at the forum that she was referring to the family of Ron Book. He lives in Plantation and is one of the state’s best known and most ubiquitous lobbyists.

    Assistant Public Defender Steinsaltz defended, Waldina Flores, a nanny convicted of molesting Book’s daughter Lauren a decade ago.

    I don’t know what the judicial code of ethics says about implying the family of a victim had something personal to hide. Probably nothing.

    I do know that it was a foolish comment.

    The comments might backfire politically.”

    She is not fit to be a judge.

    PS Does Howard Finkelstein pay his defenders to campaign and run for judgeships? Is there a bouty or some kind of bonus paid to take out a sitting judge? Just wondering.

  10. Alvin Entin says:

    I am Jewish and have known Eileen O’Connor as a prosecutor and a Judge for more than 30 years. I do not believe she has a bigoted bone in her body. She is and was a strenuous advocate for justice in her entire career. I do not believe she ever discriminated against anyone for any reason. As for “lying” on her application for Judge the JQC exonerated her which should be proof enough that she did not. The JQC has shown no tolerance for improper conduct as can be verified by its action involving Irwin Berkowitz and Cheryl Aleman.

    For those of you who don’t know, Alvin Entin is an esteemed attorney who was the general counsel of the Dade Republican Party and the Broward GOP, too.
    He is known among theater lovers as a enthusiastic local actor who most recently was The Mikado in Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta at the Pembroke Pines Theater of the Performing Arts. Then again, what litigator isn’t an actor?

  11. Peter Nowicki says:

    Steinstalz is unprofessional to say the least. Reputation of a mediocore trial attorney and lazy public defender with a 600k trust is just looking for a better paying government job.

    When is somebody going to investigate how someone with 600k in assets can declare banKruptcy and try to stick the taxpayers with her student loan debt —


  12. Ray Roche says:

    Skolnik is by far the more qualified canidate in this race .

    I am voting for re-elect Judge Skolnik.

  13. Lewis Is Right says:

    Dan Lewis is right about Skolnik. He is a disgusting individual who preys on young women and a lazy judge who is coasting after all those years undeserved in office.

  14. YouPanrey says:

    Alvin Entin is a kiss ass lawyer who would sell anyone out for a thousand bucks.

  15. Your mine says:

    Entin is full of it. I wouldn’t trust the guy to walk my dog on a clear night without a chaperone.

  16. watcher says:

    Skolnik was called an odd duck in a blog..true…he also handles cases where credit card companies sue people and cant prove their cases and rules for the debtor…he handles evictions where crappy tenants try to screw landlords and he rule for the landlord….he can get you a hearing if you need one…I support him

  17. O'conner is... says:

    Why isin’t anyone commenting on O’Conner. I am not jewish and I would not vote for this person. O’Conner is not a nice Judge. come on anyone that has acted this way if true, I would believe they would not have a bias to me in the good ole boy situation. I wonder who the favorites are?

  18. AMarkoff says:

    The O’Connor-Sokoloff race was the toughest on the ballot to decide upon. I didn’t know what to do. Despite the negative stories about O’Connor from the past, including her outrageous sentencing of a 19 year-old potential jurist for not admitting to a prior arrest when he was a juvenile and for which he had not been convicted, I don’t want to vote to unseat a judge because of what may have potentially been a misunderstanding about her tenure and her character. I asked her, I talked to Sokoloff, I asked around, I read whatever I could find, I considered the demeanor and qualifications of Sokoloff compared to O’Connor, and I finally voted today. I am still torn and I don’t know what was the right decision.

  19. Been Around The Courthouse says:

    steinsaltz and sokoloff are both too inexperienced to be judges. both skolnik and o’connor have what it takes to be judges. now, if skolnik and o’connor had someone running against them who were true challengers, that would be a different story. but why put in people who would only be worse just to have change?

  20. O'connor needs to go says:

    She’s the worst so arrogant mean too

  21. On the side says:

    Everyone seems willing to get in a lather over the JQC complaint against O’Connor which was did not result in charges.

    At the same time the Herald, the Sentinel and everyone else seem perfectly willing to ignore the JQC complaint against Judge Pratt which not only resulted in JQC charges involving integrity and ethics violation during her campaign in 1986. These were dirty tricks which may very well have effected the outcome of a very close election race. They not only resulted in JQC charges but also in a public reprimand by the Florida Supreme Court.

    Integrity seems to be one of Pratt’s main issues in her campaign
    isses. I guess it grows back.

  22. Truly Not Nolen says:

    The O’Connor complaint is about discrimination based on race and religion. Nothing could be more serious when talking about someone who sits in judgement of others. The entire episode is disgraceful.

  23. Molly Gibbs says:

    The BROWARD BEAT needs to investiage the following possibly quite criminal behavior by Debbie Steinstalz and members of her family.

    Steinsaltz filed bankruptcy on 3 / 16/ 01 Federal Court Case 01-31261-SHF. She was a practicing attorney at the time. Debbie knew she coming into a 600k trust. She did not want to use her inheritance to payoff her debts. She devised an elaborate scheme to bellyup while hiding the trust fund money from the Federal Government. She defrauded all U.S. taxpayers by defaulting on her student loans which are backed by the United States Financial Reserve.

    Among the creditors holding the bag after being defrauded by Steinsaltz: 1) AT T Universal Card, 2) Banco Popular, 3) Bank of America, 4) Citibank, 5) Citibank USA, 6) Discover, 7) First USA Bank NA, 8) GE Capital Cons Cardco, 9) HRS USA Rooms to Go, 10) Hyundai Motor Finance, 11) Lane Bryant, 12) MBNA America, 13) Sallie Mae Servicing Center, 14) Seymour Judith Steinstalz, 15) WFNNB Avenue.

    Of course her mother Seymour Steinstalz was one of her creditors but really part of the scam to defraud taxpayers, default on her student loans, ext. Even though Steinstalz was an attorney, she gave POWER OF ATTORNEY to her mother in an effort to hide land and property during the bankruptcy.

    BROWARD BEAT- crimes against the U.S. Government have been comitted and are coming to light. Time for some responsible journalism and investigate.

  24. Broward Attorney says:

    Come clean Eileen, the voting public has a right to know.

  25. Reverse racism at work says:

    Talk about people getting a pass, what about Judge Gillespie. He allows his campaign treasurer to practice before him when the treasurer has raised $85,000.00 for his reelection campaign. He then at the treasurer’s request restores the passport of a foreign national who is looking at 15 years in prison for vehicular homicide and allows the foreign national to travel to Thailand for six weeks upon the treasurer’s reassurance that the individual will timely return for trial. Of course, the individual does not return and in now a fugitive. Was Judge Gillespie simply naive or did the fact that his treasurer had raised him all this money influence his decision? Neither the Herald nor the Sentinel thinks that this is newsworthy. Nor do they believe that the voters ought to be informed of this before they vote on August 24th. What do the rest of you think?

  26. watcher says:

    if my memory is correct and may not be but didnt the whole thing with Pratt have to do with using the term “re-elect” instead of “retain”…..foolish or ignorant maybe…but her ideas on right and wrong are sound, the monied guys dont always win…and she finds to get you heard

  27. On the side says:

    Your memory is far from correct. Judge Pratt was involved in the mailing of 122,000 “sample ballots” which indicated she had been endorsed by both the Democratic and Republican parties in a non-partisan race. The JQC found violations of the Canons involving integrity and the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Judge Pratt. a little more than foolish or ignorant.

  28. Hey Buddy says:

    You should have led the O’Connor Story With :
    The Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint went nowhere. The JQC found no probable cause to file ethics charges against O’Connor.

    instead of ending it with the God’s honest TRUTH. This is a non-story. THE END.

  29. James says:

    Not only does Skolnik stop dead beat tenants in their tracks, but he’s also socked it to a few slum lords over the years. He’s a good, fair judge.

  30. Oc says:

    Buddy the JQC only considered whether O’Connor lied on her application. The real question still remains unanswered as to why O’Connor was involved in complaints against A Jew and a Black.

  31. Response to Hey Buddy Says Says says:

    Gee it was nothing, so if it was nothing how come the miami herald got an award for the story, and then oconnor does not respond to it. Funny oconnor never said she loves the jews and blacks. the issue IS: she never disclosed the complaint, doesn’t matter what happened with the complaint, and we all do not know what happened, funny that the complaint is sealed.