Pols Crowd Sheriff’s Swearing In, But County Commissioners Miss The Show


One of the most interesting political crowds in recent months flocked to Sheriff Al Lamberti’s swearing in in Sunrise Tuesday.

But who wasn’t there — the county commissioners — spoke volumes.

In the front row was Scott Rothstein, the downtown Fort Lauderdale lawyer and big money Republican fund raiser.

Next to him was Andy DiBattista. Lobbyist. Political insider. Fund raiser.

Also front and center were developer Ron Bergeron and his lawyer/girlfriend, Aleida “Ali Waldman. Waldman was Lamberti’s campaign treasurer.

Internet entrepreneur and Republican lobbyist/lawyer Justin Sayfie was there. Sayfie once was Gov. Jeb Bush’s spokesman.

Attending was Maureen Jaeger, a gubernatorial appointee to the governing board of the public North Broward Hospital District and a special assistant to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Weston charter school official and Republican insider Ken Haiko had a seat.
Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes was there with trusty sidekick Fred Bellis, her supervisor of operations and political guru.

School Board member Stephanie Kraft and her lawyer husband Mitch Kraft were in the front row.

There were so many city officials it was hard to keep track. I talked to Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger, Coconut Creek Mayor Becky Tooley, North Lauderdale Commissioner Gary Frankel and Weston Commissioner Dan Stermer.
Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner, Circuit Court Administrative Judge Ilona Holmes and County Court Judge Gisele Pollack were there.

County Court Judge Joel Lazarus, a personal friend of the sheriff’s, swore in Lamberti.

The best touch of the event was having four living former sheriffs speak.

Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, who was sheriff in the late 1970s, gave a pitch for non-partisan sheriff’s elections.

Judge George Brescher, recalled he knew Lamberti when he was sheriff in the early 1980s.

“I thought he had a real future in law enforcement, Brescher quipped as the audience chuckled.

Former Sheriff Nick Navarro rattled off the more than half dozen jobs Lamberti held in his climb from detention deputy to sheriff.
Navarro said he had been sworn into his second term on the same stage at the Sunrise Musical Theater exactly 20 years ago.

Former Sheriff Thomas Walker, speaking from a wheel chair, congratulated the sheriff.

Walker had a similar rise to the sheriff’s job. He was appointed by the governor in 1967 to replace indicted Sheriff Allen Mitchell for about a year.

Lamberti replaced Ken Jenne, shortly before Jenne headed off to jail.

Missing from the event was the county commission. Several pols mentioned their absence to me.
Yes, there was a commission meeting Tuesday. But I’ve seen each one of them miss a meeting for less reason.

Some county commissioners were clearly upset by Lamberti’s win. The reason?

He is better known than any of them. He has an independent base of support and his victory proves he doesn’t need them at all. He can appeal over their head to the public if they try to mess with his budget.
Commissioners should get over it. It was clearly a bad start to the next four years for no one on the commission to show up.

5 Responses to “Pols Crowd Sheriff’s Swearing In, But County Commissioners Miss The Show”

  1. Jack says:

    I saw Commission representatives there on behalf of the Commissioners they work for.

    Also those in attendance that you mentioned are definitely Republicans-which negates your “non-partisan” story.

    Maybe no democrats were invited.

  2. Sorry Marty says:

    The county commission could have sent one member for an hour to go to the meeting. It was at lunch time. They showed disrespect and they don’t deserve respect themselves.

  3. Happy Leo says:

    Sheriff Al Lamberti is the best thing that ever happened to BSO. I was at the swearing in today and was so happy that a person who knew law enforcement was the sheriff. Good luck Sheriff Lamberti. You’ve got the troops behind you.

  4. ivor pritchard says:

    Roger Stone ‘the true archictect of Lamberti’s victory was at the swearing-in. He slipped late and left early.

    FROM BUDDY: Yes, Roger Stone was there in what he calls his “Frank Nitti suit.” Stone, a well-known political operative since Watergate, had an instrumental role in Lamberti’s election from behind the scenes.
    Others I forgot to mention at the Faith Center swearing in included Howard Gruverman, a healthcare executive and major Republican donor and Rich Helfley, Lamberti’s campaign media specialist.
    I am told that Lamberti took a phone call from lobbyist Bill Rubin right before the swearing in. Rubin apologized for not being there, but he was working the special session in Tallahassee.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Bad start to the next four years is accurate. However, I think you have it backwards. Nine personal calls from Sheriff Lamberti to each Commissioner/Mayor would have garnered a lot more support and non-partisanship. He didn’t need to speak to them. Leave a message. But hearing about the ceremony “on the streets” first is an insult. They control his pursestrings. He needs to show some respect in order to receive some back.

    FROM BUDDY: You’ve got a point, but do we know he didn’t call?