Lobbyist Kissing Up To Parkland Mayor Now That He Is Running For County Commission





It didn’t take lobbyist Bernie Friedman long to kiss up to Parkland Mayor Michael Udine.

Udine opened a campaign for Broward County Commission on Monday.  Less than 48 hours later, Friedman e-mailed invitations to a fund raiser for Udine.

This is not unusual for Friedman.  He is a firm believer in the early bird gets the worm, ah, future commission votes.  Bernie can always be counted on to be among the first to throw fund raisers for any likely winner for a commission seat.

And Udine is very likely to be the next County Commissioner for Northwest Broward. He is heavily favored to take Commissioner Stacy Ritter’s northwest Broward commission seat.  Ritter is resigning to run the county’s tourism promotion operation.

I have no idea if Friedman believes Udine will be a great commissioner.  In my opinion, lobbyists don’t care whether the commissioners are terrific public servants or shady characters.  They only care if that a commissioner vote for their clients.

The reason lobbyists give money can be summed up by the famous line from The Godfather:  “It’s business, not personal.”


Bernie Invitation


22 Responses to “Lobbyist Kissing Up To Parkland Mayor Now That He Is Running For County Commission”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


  2. Eliot Lazowick says:

    It’s so easy to be cynical in this day and age, when a few rotten apples spoil it for all of us. I can certainly understand it would be easy to assume the worst with Mayor Udine and Bernie Friedman – but suppose these are two really good citizens who are actually making our County a better place to live for all of us. Who is going to report on that.
    I am a resident of Parkland for many years, Mayor Udine has done an unbelievably great job for the residents of Parkland, if he is now a heavy favorite to win County Commission seat maybe it’s because everyone knows he will be a really good advocate for all of us at the County level.
    The reason in my opinion why Bernie Friedman is so successful as a lobbyist is his honesty. The firm I work for is a client of Bernie’s and so are a lot of our competitors. What we and I imagine our competitors are looking for when we hire Bernie is to get the honest information/facts of our firm/team
    to the folks involved in the process. If Bernie was spinning the truth about the firms he represents how long would he be in business. All Bernie has is his reputation – I wish I was half the man that Bernie is. The charitable work that Bernie does on behalf of our County and the work load he carries is truly a beautiful thing. We can’t keep mocking the good people of our County can we?
    It’s up to our journalists to dig deeper and find the truth- please Buddy help us all.
    In full disclosure the firm I work for does work for the City of Parkland

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    While Mr Friedman as well as Mr Ron Brook spend hours of donated time and rsise lots of money for countless good causes it still seems better if we could eliminate lobbyists either donating money or raising money for elected officials who pass on their clients business issues….

  4. Wayne Arnold says:

    Mr. Nevins it would be so refreshing to see a candidate for county commissioner in this election cycle to not accept any campaign contributions from lobbyist or developers. The late Florida Governor Lawton Chiles once ran for statewide office and only excepted campaign donations of a $100.00 dollars or less. Facts are there is way to much special interest monies flowing into the campaigns. Successful politicians can argue that money is “the mother’s milk” of politics and that big dollars coming into their campaigns will never influence the way they vote. Hopefully, that is true but at the very least it most certainly buys access.

  5. Michael Udine says:

    Always a fan of your blog and your articles.

    Look forward to your readers getting to know me better over the course of the campaign. Fundraising is an important and necessary aspect of campaigning and I am thankful for any financial support towards my campaign. As it relates to me, though, I am an easy person for a constituent to get a hold of regardless. The perception in Parkland among many of my constituents is that I am too accessible. It is a running joke, that people either in person, via social media or the like, bring me their issues 24/7 and I try to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    In Parkland, our elected officials have done really great things for our City over the years both during and prior to my involvement. Since being elected Mayor in 2006, we have put a strong team together over the years, all of whom worked hard for the betterment of the community. I have received the endorsement of every Parkland City commissioner that I have served with, while serving as Mayor, both current and former. In this day of acrimony in our politics, I think that says a lot about teamwork, respect and hard work.

    The idea of running for this County Commission seat has always been appealing to me. I grew up in Woodmont in Tamarac. Graduated from Taravella High School in Coral Springs. My professional offices have always been in Tamarac or Coral Springs and I live and currently serve in Parkland. I have been in this district for a long time, my entire adult life, and know a lot about it. Plus the timing works well for me and my family as my second son is off to college in a few weeks.

    I am planning on bringing a very high level of energy and work ethic to my County Commission campaign and if elected to the residents of district 3 and the County.

    Have a great day.

  6. Snott VV Rothstein says:


    I suggest you run on your merit not on other peoples money. You are seeking this part-time job, pay for it yourself…


    And if he was paying for the race himself, Udine would be criticized for trying to buy his County Commission seat. When it comes to this argument, elected officials can’t win.

  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


    2. The city and county commissions in the State of Florida HAVE BEEN FOR MORE THAN TWO CENTURIES part time jobs because our “Florida Founding Fathers” wisely did NOT want to create a political class but just citizens elected by their neighbors to set policy approve budgets n taxes. The idea of professional officeholders is basically a developement of American History during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson but really only came to be a general practice well after World War I in the Northeast n generally in cities. In Florida voters simply do NOT vote for full time municipal or county Commissioners.

  8. Matt says:

    Mike Udine is a great guy and will make an unbelievably great County Commissioner! Raising money is just part of running for office. Not everyone can afford to pay the $400,000 it takes to run and hopefully win a County Commission seat! Bernie Friedman has been a lobbyist with the County for decades. He is a stand up guy and has NEVER had any ethical questions about him.


  9. Seriously???? says:

    Who get $100k plus expenses and benefits plus a pension for a PART TIME job?

  10. excompassionate conservative says:

    As a Parkland resident I have met Mayor Udine and his family many times and voted for him in every election. You can run into him at the local Publix and he will say hello to you and listen to what may be on your mind. Parkland is a great place to live and is run a hell of a lot smoother than other towns in the area. I wish him much success in the next step for him and will miss him as mayor .

  11. Budget Man says:

    Another cheap, pointless, boring story about campaign finance that amounts to smoke with no fire. Big hat no cattle. Deep mine with no gold. All it does is rile up the morons.

  12. Albert Dente says:

    All lobbyists are battling for second place, actually third…

    Udine will listen to Moskowitz and the returning RUSS KLENET before Bernie, Platt, Mele, etc.

    He knows what is expected.

  13. Michael Udine says:

    Not Correct Albert Dente, they must all line up behind Francis Underwood and Doug Stamper!

    Off to knock on doors. Enjoy your weekend.

  14. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I just read the invite as usually i only read Mr Nevins comments but NOW I SEE BERNIE FTIEDMAN SAID STACY RITTER WOULD BE A ROCK STAR as head if the Tourisr Bureau. That’s the most mindless statement by a lobbyist Ive heard thid year!

  15. Peter Raymond says:

    A colleague recently informed me that Mr. Udine’s law office handled the closing of their home in the wedge. That same colleague informed me that, in fact, Mr. Udine’s office has handled quite a few closings for homes in the wedge. This is of particular interest because Mr. Udine carried such a heavy hand, via his leadership of the Parkland Commission, in the development of the wedge. It leaves one to question whether a stark conflict of interest is present here. Can anyone, Mr. Udine included, shed some light on this concern? Thank you.

  16. Michael Udine says:

    Peter, I am a practicing attorney and can handle real estate closings. People can select my office or any other law firm or title company, they desire, to represent them in the closing of houses. In Broward County, customary practice is the buyer selects. I only represent individual buyers. There is no conflict.

  17. Peter Raymond says:

    Mr. Udine, Thank you for your reply.

    While buyers do have a choice, it does not seem far fetched that a buyer would select the law office associated with the City Mayor in order to make his acquaintance or seek favor, etc.

    I’m sure you can see how others would see concern in that. You voted for these homes and now you may be benefitting financially from their development. Would you be inclined to divulge how many closings your office has handled in the wedge? That may help address any potential conflict concerns. Appreciate your engagement.

    P. Raymond

  18. Michael Udine says:

    Thanks Peter.

    There is no conflict whatsoever. Anyone can select anyone they want. Under your line of reasoning, no elected official could ever do anything business related in the City they represent, because anything business related would raise the same concerns you mention above.

    It has nothing to do with the wedge or any other area of the City, as I serve citywide.

  19. Peter Raymond says:

    Mr. Udine,

    Respectfully, we are not talking about a corner ice cream store. We are talking about a very visible elected official advocating for 1000s of home to be brought into an area that would directly impact his business. Simply, and to put this to rest, it would be relevant to voters to know if you’d be willing to divulge how many homes your office has closed in the Wedge. On the face it, I’m sure you can understand the nature of the inquiry.

    Again, appreciate your engagement.



    Are you saying commissioners can’t make a living? For instance, what about a Broward County Commissioner who approves projects all over the county? If a commissioner is an attorney, they can’t represent anyone who lives in one of those projects by your reasoning.

    What about a state Legislator/attorney? Are you saying they can’t represent clients from areas where their vote facilitated new housing?

    You saying that an attorney on the Parkland commission can not do business with anybody who lives in a project they voted to approve. Can a funeral director, who also happens to be a commissioner, bury anybody who lived in a project they voted to approve? Can a commissioner who is a physician treat anyone from a project they voted to approve? It goes on and on.

    This is a bogus issue. The legality of what Mayor Udine is doing is fairly clear.

    A commissioner can not do work for the developer of a project they voted to approve. They can do work for future residents of the project, since they are chosen by the future residents and not the developer.

    Udine tells me that he was advised by the Parkland City Attorney and the state Ethics Commission staff that there is no conflict.

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Is Peter Raymond just uninformed about normal business practice in Florida since we became an American Territory n going back through English Occupation n Spanish Royal Rule or is he working for a political candidate planning to run against Mayor Udine for County Commissioner? I smell a rat

  21. Peter Raymond says:

    Mr. Udine’s exit from the conversation and Buddy’s proxy response validate two things:

    1.Mr. Udine does not intend to reveal the number of homes his office has closed in the wedge

    2. That number is likely very high.

    The discussion taking place here was very open and civil. Buddy and “Count’s” attack are only telling of what is suspected.

    I neither work for nor have any association with anyone in politics. Attacking me and questioning my motives only draws light to your willingness to deflect from what voters want to know.

    If it does not make sense to you why the residents of the region would be interested to know how Udine is benefitting off of a major, major land development deal in his own backyard that he helped usher in, then you are not interested in understanding what is important to the voter.

    Thank you for allowing this conversation to play out. Now I believe it is done.


    I believe it is an interesting question to raise. I also believe what I wrote: That what he is doing is legal. Readers can judge for themselves whether they believe it should be done.

  22. Michael Udine says:

    I did not exit any conversation, just had other things to attend to, plus I needed to gather some information.

    In the last ten years, there have been approximately 2,950 cert of occ. issued for new homes in located in Parkland.

    My office has closed LESS than 1 percent of them.

    Again, all of which is completely legal and allowed. If you find that number unreasonable not sure what to tell you and you can vote accordingly. Have a nice weekend.