Lamberti’s Revenge: Is Gunzburger Out For Good?


You shouldn’t light a match near an open gas tank.

You shouldn’t stand on the golf course during a thunder storm.

And you shouldn’t pick a fight with the sheriff, who can launch investigations and has 24/7 access to the mediaespecially when you are a politician.

County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger learned that today. 

I don’t know what effect the news that she is under investigation by Broward Sheriff Office corruption unit will have on her re-election.  She is fighting for her political life against former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller.

It isn’t looking good for Gunzburger.

The Sun-Sentinel said today that Gunzburger was being investigated by BSO unit over her late husband’s sale of recycled plastic benches and walkways to the county’s parks.

The investigation appears to be retaliation.

Gunzburger took on Sheriff Al Lamberti last year over the budget, suggesting the jail operation be taken way from BSO. I believe Gunzburger at the time was lashing out at Lamberti for firing her daughter from her BSO job. broke the story on the daughter here.

Judith Gunzburger didn’t show up at work and instead went sightseeing with a friend for two weeks.  When she was fired, she sued BSO.  She lost her suit. 

The law suit and subsequent attempt by Gunzburger to strip BSO of the jail division annoyed Lamberti to no end.  The sheriff told a source of mine that he “hates Gunzburger.

So it is payback time, Sue.

I was one of two reporters who wrote about her husband’s sale of recycled plastic material to the county a decade ago.  There were unproven allegations at the time that the bid specs were doctored to favor the company owned by Gunzburger’s husband.

It really doesn’t matter if the investigation revealed in Sun-Sentinel writer Brittany Wallman’s tasty scoop was generated by Geller.  That’s the allegation from Gunzburger, who calls the investigation more “dirty tricks” from Geller.

I don’t know if Geller triggered this investigation, but Geller has played in the gutter before.

If Geller put the idea in Lamberti’s head, he had a willing tool in the sheriff.  

It is Lamberti’s revenge and that’s scary.  

Lamberti must know that a corruption case against Gunzburger is a long shot.  The records are gone, the witnesses’ memories are foggy and Gunzburger’s husband has died. 

Lamberti’s investigators would have to prove Gunzburger leaned on county staff to buy from her husband’s firm, a charge she has denied for years.

Also, Gunzburger’s husband won his contracts through a low bid.

In answer to a public records request I made earlier this year, the county staff said they had no written material from Gunzburger concerning the purchase of recycled plastics for the parks.

But Wallman had some interesting comments in her story from Michael Hazlett, founder and CEO of American Recycled Plastic Inc..  He’s a guy I talked to years ago for my stories.

Hazlett told the Sun-Sentinel that Gunzburger “appeared at recycled plastics trade shows at the convention center in her county commissioner name pin.”

If true — Gunzburger denies it — that’s stepping way over the line.  Probably not illegal, but unethical in my mind. 

Lamberti will have to prove more than Gunzburger was unethical.  This is an extremely difficult criminal case to develop.

Lamberti has got to know that.  So it looks to me like this investigation is pure politics.

It seems like a throw back to J. Edgar Hoover’s style of policing…or should I say smearing.  

It is designed to hurt Gunzburger’s re-election.

Gunzburger will try to recover from this blow tomorrow at a news conference.  The 11 a.m. event is scheduled for the lobby of the Government Center.

Since when is a political event being held in the Government Center? Gunzburger’s camp said they picked the location because of the accusation that she misused her commission office.

The  investigation — questionable because of its timing —  is the latest evidence that Broward politics is a contact sport.   Sue Gunzburger got tackled today.  The question is will she be able to get up and play again.

14 Responses to “Lamberti’s Revenge: Is Gunzburger Out For Good?”

  1. Yaki says:

    Well she did ask for it, didn’t she? After her daughter had the gall to sue the BCPD (and lost) Gunzburger should have let it go at that…just shows she is vindictive and abuses her power on the commission. I hope this gets her out once and for all.

  2. Michael J. Hazlett says:

    Our entire industry has waited a very long time for the Gunzbergers to be held accountable for their actions and business practices in South Florida. I, and many others, eagerly await the results of an investigation that should have been done years ago.
    Michael J. Hazlett
    Founder & CEO
    American Recycled Plastic, Inc

  3. Not Yaki says:

    I’m looking forward to Sue’s next term….prison term. Do they have a Martha Stewart suite? Maybe they can put one of her nice plastic benches in it…….

  4. The Truth says:

    Steve Geller is the next county commissioner.
    Sue Gunzburger lost today.

  5. Floridan says:

    If Lamberti has reason to believe that Gunzberger should be investigated, he should have handed it over to some other law enforcement agency — he obviously is not an objective party.

    Moreover, this could blow up in his face. Launching a criminal investigation for political reasons is as big a threat to democratic governance as I can imagine.

    Lamberti seems to be following a long line of Broward County Sheriffs who have abused their postion of trust.


    Yes, an office holder pointed out this article from the Sun-Sentinel 19 years ago:

    The Organized Crime Division of the Broward Sheriff`s Office on Monday requested six years worth of meeting minutes from the County Commission, prompting questions as to whether Sheriff Nick Navarro is using criminal investigators for political purposes.

    It will cost the Sheriff`s Office about $2,000 to furnish the detectives with all the minutes from the County Commission`s meetings and public hearings dating back to January 1985, officials estimated.

    That is the same month that Navarro was first sworn into office.

    The request comes as Navarro is pressuring the County Commission to give him more money for the upcoming budget year so he can give pay raises to detention deputies and civilian employees

  6. Broward Attorney says:

    Chip LaMarca announced his candidacy last month in the Government Center lobby. Lori Parrish announced her first campaign for Property Appraiser in the lobby. Many candidates do it.

  7. Betty Crook says:

    LMAO Chip is no Lori Parrish just a numnuts out of his league, GOP credit card investagation next,look 1000,s of dollars spent, I want a GOP credit> I love the Bushes

  8. Hoof Hearted says:

    If legitimate information was brought forward to Lamberti and his staff about Gunzburger’s family benefitting from the high pressure sale of the products sold by her late husband’s company then Lamberti has an obligation to look at it. While everyone is quick to call this a political witch hunt, remember that many many people have been laid-off recently. I have seen first hand that the way those people are selected to have their lives thrown into chaos is not always based on last hired-first fired. In fact it is a very political process. That can make people angry; and in Broward if you are wronged…all of the things you know about the corrupt dealings witnessed can suddenly rise to the surface.

    There may be some pay back going on here, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say it is Lamberti’s pay back…it could be unemployed staffers who are tired of being pawns in a political game that left many of them without a job starting today.

    I hope the contracting size of the government due to decreased revenue (and outright waste) leads to the testimony of more, otherwise, lemmings. They have taken a lot and waited a long time for an opportunity. I read a post by Hammerhead a few days ago and felt the points were similar to mine and spot on.

    Come forward people!!! Your future as a tax-payer and the potential to get your jobs back is tied to the truth removing corrupt officials who use their power to protect the livelihoods of their friends and family in government jobs…not yours. This is a golden opportunity if you have info on real criminal, immoral, unethical or influence peddling behavior. Carpe diem………………

  9. Good for you sheriff says:

    Sue (Miss Ethics) was unethical then and is unethical now. Who cares how long ago it was. She was a county commissioner at the time county contracts were awarded to her husband.Eveybody knows that it takes a long time for these investigations to come to light. Geller does not have any control over if and when BSO does an investigation. The sheriff is just doing his job! If there is corruption, should he ignore it because the person is an elected official? I say, good job sheriff!

  10. Sheriff Is Wrong says:

    As Floridian wrote, the sheriff should have given this one to another agency. Isn’t FDLE still around?
    This stinks to high heaven, especially since the Sun-Sentinel said Geller talked to this Hazlett guy who complained before he called BSO. Geller proded this guy into complaining.
    Dirty tricks anyone?!?!?
    The sheriff fell for it. He’s a fool.

  11. 6:07 is wrong says:

    You are assuming Geller proded the guy into complaining. All Hazlett said was he was approached by Geller. Maybe Geller approached Hazlett to get information about what went down. After all, Gunzburger is doing research on Geller’s past, it makes sense for Geller to do the same.

  12. Kevin says:

    What’s the over-under on how many commissioners will be left in 3 months?

  13. Not Tommy the Fry cook says:

    Sue can never take responsibility for her own actions. She blames others for being lobbiest, she blames others for being unethical, She blames other for this too. People who live in glass houses shouldnt throw stones! She should look in her own back yard,… the skeletons are coming up,… and their knocking at your door!!! Its not even Halloween yet!

  14. Yaki says:

    Gunzburger being investigated is THE STORY of the DAY! Isn’t it? So sad too bad … how it got to this point in interesting but NOT the real issue. The allegations continue to swirl about Gunzburger… and her son, attorney Ron G., will try his best, but my guess is Gunzburger WILL get herself a REAL criminal defense lawyer. BET ME ANYONE?