Outspoken Blast From The Past Messes In Campaign

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Apparently former Public Defender Al Schreiber has changed very little about his style of politics.

During his reign in the Public Defenders Office, he was brash, opinionated and always, ALWAYS, outspoken.

Al Schreiber (from Facebook)

Little has changed with Schreiber’s attitude towards politics. Check out Schreiber’s latest comments on the current campaign for Public Defender on Facebook:

Those who don’t remember Schreiber — he literally handed the Public Defenders Office to Howard Finkelstein in 2004 and later moved to Texas — don’t understand the extent of his political power.

Schrieber was first elected in 1977 when Democratic condo voters began crushing Republicans who previously ran Broward. He went on to hold office for seven terms.

At first, he was just the Public Defender. Schreiber eventually figured out he could be so much more.

He had no background in politics. Yet he became arguably Broward’s most powerful Democrat by turning his attorneys and staff and their families into a political machine. This quasi-Democratic army worked polls and canvased neighborhoods for Big Al’s favored candidates.

“He endorsed and sent his army out to help candidates that would be most advantageous to the Public Defenders Office. Candidates could be judges or legislators or even the governor. His impact was significant,” former Broward Democratic leader Mitch Ceasar recalled.

Schreiber and Ceasar were allies in the management of the Broward Democratic Party. Many precinct committee slots were filled with Schreiber employees or their families.

He was not only involved in judicial elections, but also had a great deal of say over who was appointed a judge. For a period during the Gov. Lawton Chiles Administration, Schreiber held sway over several members of the Judicial Nominating Commission. The JNC is the group that recommends who will be appointed a judge.

Along the way, some had the temerity to attack him.

Politicians who stood up to him found themselves fighting his machine at election time.

When the Sun-Sentinel attacked him, Big Al had an answer: “Screw ’em.”

His extensive political power kept him in office, regardless of anything the media or the courthouse critics said. The protection provided by his political power made him one of the most outrageous office holders I ever covered.

Examples:

  • Schreiber somehow had a falling out with a Sun-Sentinel reporter. So he made a point of showing everybody the target he had installed on the wall of his office with the reporter’s face in the bullseye. He encouraged visitors to throw darts at it.
  • He once jokingly ordered a judicial candidate to give me a lap dance during an otherwise routine interview. She didn’t. Still, she worked for Schreiber and the comment made her hugely uncomfortable. He didn’t care. Nor did he care how it would look in print.
  • He served liquor in his government office in the Broward Courthouse, even offering it to members of the media. When it was pointed out that he was pouring drinks during a weekday in a government building, he answered with a loud vulgarity.
  • He openly attacked his opponents, making unprompted rude and crude comments about them “on the record” for reporters.

Still, candidates from Washington to City Halls sought the endorsement of Schreiber and the help of the organization he built.

Schreiber knew when to leave. He knew the money for salaries to pay the best attorneys would be harder and harder for a public defender to get from increasingly-conservative Tallahassee. He knew his clout would be less effective with the state government and the governor’s office turning bright red. He got out 16 years ago when the getting was good.

Now Big Al lives far away in Texas. That didn’t stop him recently from using Facebook to attack Public Defender candidate Gordon Weekes and to support his old friend and former judge Tom Lynch.

Maybe we will hear more from Big Al. After all, Big Al was a pioneer in pugnacious politics punctuated by lacerating quips. That makes him perfect for today enraged tweeters and incensed flock on Facebook .



10 Responses to “Outspoken Blast From The Past Messes In Campaign”

  1. Weekes2020 says:

    What a child. Coming out his little hole to insult Gordon. Gordon’s going to make an excellent Public Defender. He is professional, well-mannered, and cares about the cause. He knows when to put his boot on someone’s throat (those who are evil and deserve it), but he also has grace and kindness when it is appropriate. Those who belittle him are in for a rude awakening in 2020. Stay strong Mr. Weekes, you got this.

  2. Disingenious and disgraceful Weekes says:

    Way to go Mr. Schreiber. always a call it like it is kind of Politician. Reminds me a bit of Sheila Alu. You can always count on the truth. May not like it, but nevertheless, the straight up truth. Howard backed the wrong Pony in this race. A traitor to his community and to the indigent of Broward County. Great reporting Mr. Nevins.

  3. Concerned Voter says:

    Al is very knowledgeable and wise regarding Gordon Weekes and the Howard regime. Really seems, Mr. Nevins, that Mr. Weekes should bow out gracefully and that no matter how many favors Howard asks of you, Weekes is on a sinking ship.

  4. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I’m certainly not.impressed.What was it here he used a reporter head as a dart Target and thought it was funny.

    I mean the reporter( Buddy it would be great who he had on the bullseye if u would state who which reporter he is referring to).Anyhow I always state ” that was then,this is now”.Wraps it up…

    FROM BUDDY:

    The reporter in the bullseye wasn’t me.

  5. Guess who says:

    Weekes 2020 = judy stern

    Why would a public defender need to step in anyones throat?

  6. FTL Voter says:

    Reality is that Alan Schreiber is total irrelevant has-been in today’s Broward County. The bulk of the condo crowd of the 1980s and 1990s who used to back him are long since dead. Among primary voters I’d venture to guess that nobody remembers him. Schreiber was an obnoxious, narcissistic, crude, sexist, jackass. And if the best Schreiber can do it post a few Facebook snarky comments from thousands of miles away, Schreiber has become pretty toothless too. What a difference from the politically powerful Schreiber of the 1980s.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Gordon Weekes. I’ve met him and he’s just very unimpressive. I’m also not a fan of Tom Lynch. He seems like a nice guy, and he’s qualified, but do we really want some old retread in his 70s starting a new career now as the Broward Public Defender? Can’t we do better? Probably not though because we are Broward County!!!

  7. Stormwatch says:

    He had a daiquiri machine in the PD’s office and coordinated weekly AA meetings for employees. He use to tape $100 bills to the bottoms of chairs before staff meetings and give away free weekend cruises to employees. He was a great lawyer as well as a great administrator.

  8. being objective says:

    Al created an office atmosphere where there was comradery and loyalty. It allowed attorneys to feel comfortable working together for the benefit of their clients. Many of the attorneys who had worked for Al have become some of the best Attorneys and Judges in Broward (some not).

    Howard took over and as everyone knows created a…working environment resulting in a high turnover rate – thus having a negative impact on his clients.

    What the people of Broward should be concerned with is Howard’s style of mismanagement is all Mr. Weeks knows.

    Lynch has the experience as he was once a PD under Al I believe. He will bring back a style of management like Als which will be more beneficial to those in need of the PDs services.

  9. Clarke Anthony says:

    …He was, and likely still is, an obnoxious human being. Despite many political differences, Schreiber and Donald Trump would along very well!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t Finkelstein backstab Schreiber at some point?

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