Revealed: Fort Lauderdale Candidate’s Embrace of Developer’s Lobbyist







Fort Lauderdale’s January election is not only the latest battle against unrestrained development that has despoiled so much of this state.

It  also could be controversial lobbyist and campaign strategist Judith “Judy” Stern’s Waterloo in Fort Lauderdale City Hall if her candidate for mayor doesn’t win.

That developer/lobbyist candidate is Bruce Roberts, a reliable pro-development vote during his years as a City Commissioner.

At stake in the mayor’s election for lobbyists like Stern is billions of dollars in new construction for their clients.



Judith “Judy” Stern



“Judy has gone all in on Roberts. She needs him to win,” according to one source.

That comment on Stern’s support of Roberts was echoed by several other sources. A loss would be a crushing blow to Stern’s influence in City Hall and to her reputation as a campaign strategist.

With a campaign heavily funded by developers, Roberts is a perfect fit for Stern. She is a lobbyist who represents developers.

He is running against two candidates who are more skeptical about permitting new construction — Charlotte Rodstrom and Dean Trantalis.


Roberts’ Flip Flop


Roberts looked like a sure winner for over a year…until the public appeared to turn against runaway development.

Some blame the tidal wave of new construction with increasing the stress on the city’s failing sewers and storm drains. They blame the new construction for the congealed streets that keep them waiting in traffic day and night.

Roberts voted for most of the new construction. But now that he is campaigning for mayor, Roberts flip flopped.

His website now embraces protecting and preserving “the integrity of our residential neighborhoods against commercial encroachment and incompatible higher-density development.”

(This controlled growth stand doesn’t include one big Stern client — Bahia Mar, a roughly $500 million project that is reviled by many as too dense for the site.

He states on his website that the Bahia Mar development will be a linchpin “to grow and contribute to our local economy for a generation.”


I’ve got to figure that Stern had a lot to do with Roberts’ pirouette on development.

Stern needs Roberts’ friendly face on the City Commission because her influence, I believe, has been on the wane.

In my opinion having watched politics for years, some politicians are sick of Stern’s tactics.

The nasty whispering campaigns. The backbiting.

She viciously turns on politicians she once supported. Her enemies list rivals Richard Nixon’s and include some of leading names in Broward politics.

To some in Broward politics, Stern is a pariah. To the Roberts campaign, she is a contributor who throws him campaign events. I’m told she also helps with campaign strategy.

Voters should rightly have a lot of questions about Roberts. Mayor of Fort Lauderdale is an important job.

They need to ask Roberts about his pivot on development after years of  pro-developer votes.

They need to ask Roberts about his pledge to fix the infrastructure after years of watching it deteriorate from his perch in City Hall.

Perhaps most of all, voters need to ask Roberts about Stern. They need to ask whether it is proper to have one of the city’s major development lobbyists so involved in his campaign.


33 Responses to “Revealed: Fort Lauderdale Candidate’s Embrace of Developer’s Lobbyist”

  1. H2obob says:

    Lots of lobbyists are supporting Bruce. Your personal biase show through this piece of muck racking

  2. FTL Voter says:

    Who is Stern backing in the various city commission seat races?

  3. Just One Vote says:

    Roberts voted for most of the new construction.

    How about All?

    So did his P&Z appointees for the last nine years.
    It would be a miracle if Bruce Roberts is not elected mayor.
    Dean Trantalis deciding to run for mayor three a monkey wrench in the race.
    The few Fort Lauderdale voters that are informed and vote will be the ones deciding the fate of the city and how much worse the standard of living will become.
    One thing is certain, Dean Trantalis will not be mayor.

  4. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    The residents are pissed.Quite literally.This water and sewer fiasco in regards to letting the city manager raid the water and sewer accounts to then see almost daily sewer back ups,ruptures, you name it.Judy will tell u “oh we had to keep the mill.rate down and in order to do so to monies out of those accounts to balance the books.Then to blame the city atty.because they take to long to go over contracts etc.Total spin(and she knows it).Good observation with her influence over Bruce Roberts.He is in way over his head.He had a walk in the park with his three terms as commissioner.Although a very fit man,i don.t think he can out maneuver Charlotte and esp.Dean.Roberts basically is a cop.He has no experience in the lions den so to speak.My prediction is he won.t last past the primary.The race is between Charlotte Rodstrom and Dean Trantalis.It doesnt.t help when the former police chief(frank Adderely-surprise,surprise foxy man)when the chief petitioned the comm.for payment of 35k that he owed the IRS in regards to monies hw owed(wait(he takes it to the full comm.for payment(wait)and Seiler,Rogers,and Trantalus vote no and kick rocks,while Bruce Roberts and Comm.Mckenzie are open arms and vote yes to reimburse Adderly.Bad move Bruce.Irs like Robert here.Gets a 1099 ecery year and its like me goinf to the comm.and requesting they pay the IRS for me.Come on….

  5. Zowie says:

    If you’re looking for Fort Lauderdale to become a northern version of Hallandale or Miami Beach—endless traffic, overwhelmed services, unruly crowds, concrete high-rises as far as the eye can see—I say vote the straight Stern ticket.

  6. Maxine Streeter says:

    She is also working with Ben Sorensen District 2

  7. Stern Ticket says:

    #5 “Stern ticket.” 4 little puppets: Sorensen, Smith, McKinzie, Roberts. You can hear the PAC funded printers getting ready to churn out sewage.

  8. Charles King says:

    Boom! Down goes Stern! Hopefully Judy takes Bruce “the pension pirate” Roberts, Tiny Timmy Smith and Gentle Ben Sorenson down with her. Aside from the Developers, She also represents the greedy 87% nonresident police union, which is why the 3 community sellouts are sporting FOP endorsements. Too bad they don’t realize this year the formerly golden ticket of a FOP endorsement is really a scarlet letter.

  9. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I want to clarify something.Lets go little deeper.

    Charlotte Rodstrom and Judy Stern got into a tiff about 5 .6 yrs ago.I tried to ease the tension(one gets the Passover card,the other the Easter card-i felt like Gandi).Needless to say it didn.t work.These two woman are not fond of each other(although more passionate on Charlotte side(meow)anyhow as i predicted yrs ago they both can cause eash other hesrtburn(more Judy than Charlotte(meow).

    Also needless to say Bruce Roberts is collateral damage. Yes.Judy uses Bruce to say no way Charlotte, you kick rocks(not so fast).Bruce would be better off dismissing Judy and going solo.When i stated he’s just a cop i mean in the most respectful way.My advice free of charge Bruce(unlike judy and her sign on the dotted line and the check for 10g for starters)is go back to your core values and be yourself.Although he won.t because if he back stabs Judy he knows ge will never be able ro run for elected office.Judy with her Henry Kissinger connections.Well need i say more.

    This is where Dean and Charlotte got to hustle.Can they do this.Alot will be decided at the debate on jan.9.Now i m retiring for the evening after i have my shot glass of apple cider vinegar.Hum,

  10. Wait N See says:

    Bruce is a dud who will lose in the primary. Dean is a great candidate but he screwed the pooch on this one. He doesn’t have a shot in a citywide election against Rodstrom.

    Once Bruce is out after the primary Judy Stern is going to flock to Dean and don’t kid yourself Dean will take her in with open arms – just maybe not publicly.

  11. tired of politics says:

    Stern has been steering many campaigns , Timmy Smith is under her thumb, Ben Sorenson and Bruce she will control the Dais per usual. Voters have to know how she works. The Broward commission for the most part has distance themselves from her it appears ,

    Judy is a control freak and holds over all her candidates heads votes, Rodstrom had severed ties years ago for this reason, at least one of these Mayoral candidates has nothing to do with any lobbyists.

    Glassman another candidate with no ties to lobbyists , an accomplished retired beach resident and strong former P & Z board member asking the right questions.

    We have choices in January lets make the right ones.Stern is poison to the city and make no mistake Smith Roberts Sorenson and Trantalis possible as well will do as they are told by the FAT LADY.

  12. Tom james says:

    This woman is like a bad rash that won’t go away. Where the heck is the FBI?

  13. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #11.Don.t underestimate Judy Stern.Make no mistake she is a force to be reckoned with.She is no fool.Although we have a different take on who we want for mayor in this town.I may have the grifters backing me but she has and let me repeat myself given the opportunity she can make your life miserable.Lets roll the dice on Jan.16….

  14. Tin Smith says:

    Just so everyone knows, Judy Stern has absolutely nothing to do with my campaign ….. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts …..Call me anytime at 954-822-4727 …. Tim Smith

  15. Ray Scott says:

    Duke for commissioner Dist. 4

  16. Maxine Streeter says:

    Correction Ben Sorensen is District 4 not District 2.

  17. Art Seitz says:

    Roberts, Trantalis & McKenzie All received $5,000. campaign donation bundles from the Bahia Mar’s Team Tate. Seemingly, In returnRoberts backed building (2) 400 feet high BAHIA Mar Condo towers on precious public property zoned for 120 feet high — 450 feet long !!— next to A1A. When that unbelievable motion failed, Developers Tool Trantalis made a second motion, which failed calling for 290 feet!!! He could just as easily made a motion calling for 130 feet, but didn’t. It will be a cold day in hell before, I will vote for lousy rack it, stack it and pack it and let the public be damned politicians like Roberts or Trantalis for Mayor!! Thank You Buddy Nevins!!!!

  18. Charles King says:

    It looks like “Towering” Tiny Tim Smith is trying to claim he is a real outsider and has nothing to do with “Crooked” Jack Seiler, Lee Feldman, Bruce Roberts, Judy Stern, Ben Sorensen or The FOP (police union) that is in bed with all of them. Also Timmy always wants to do his explaining in a one one phone call.

  19. Whatever says:

    #14 Is that a pig flying?

    That is right up there with Chad Maxey repeatedly claiming that he secured funding for brightline, that he built the brightline station in fort lauderdale and that he built the infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Voters aren’t that stupid Tim. You’re better than that.

  20. Same story every election says:

    Remember the disgusting Judy Stern campaign for Roberts in ’08/’09 against District 1 Commissioner Christine Teel?

    Remember the “allegedly Judy Stern” mailer campaign for client aw-shucks opportunistic bible thumper Romney Rogers in ’12 that left Buddy Nevins with this comment

    “The only thing I do know is that this race gotten unnecessarily nasty. Fort Lauderdale deserves better”

    Remember Judy’s shenanigans with Senator Maria Sachs who lived in an office and then a Judy Stern condo that resulted in this comment from Senator Latvala

    “I’ll kiss your feet if (Sachs) spent one night in that condominium since she was elected,” said Latvala to the Florida Current after his committee meeting”

    Remember the texting episodes in commission meetings between stern & joy cooper or stern and dubose or stern & roberts?

    Remember all the unlogged lobbyist meetings between stern, her clients, and Commissioners?

    DECENCY & RULES DO NOT APPLY. The day a Judy Stern candidate wins on the issues will be a first.


    I blame a succession of candidates who hunger for elected office so much that they check their ethics at the door.

  21. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #19.I get the biggest.kick out of him.I call him Maxy Pad.Oh too funny this one.He built bullet train there(wait)he reconstructed Afghanistan and Iraq(no its poor Joseph on the front lines with 6 children and he,s married to a Wasp to boot)and that i guess he was the “it” guy.Called all the shots(i catch u using your military rank to benefit your political ambitions and u could be in some hot water with the DDS)So i mean he is realky fool of himself.And he has many admires huh Jason King(Deans Trantalis campaign manager).Plus Maxy Pad here has raised close to 20g.Who is the fool now Robert.Right back at ya….

  22. Judy Judy Judy says:

    Another back and forth on Judy Stern. Always entertaining. Not particularly insightful though as everyone fully understands her gig. I don’t care if she lobbies. There are plenty of lobbyists out there. Influence peddling is part of the game. Welcome to politics. The thing that distinguishes Ms. Stern from her colleagues is how she turns on people. She is more of a “fear peddler” than an “influence peddler.” The pols are simply terrified of her. Yet, they allow her to remain in the game permitting her to perpetuate her reign of terror. I really don’t understand why anyone would want to occupy public office so badly that they would allow themselves to be terrorized by her. But they do. Good luck to them all.

  23. Vicki Eckels says:

    Per comments above, Judy Stern has absolutely nothing to do with Ben Sorensen’s campaign. His campaign manager is a capable woman named Cheryl Seinfeld. Has been from the get go. Ben and others have been trying to set the record straight for months and months, but this false statement continues to be repeated by those I can only assume work for the opposition. Mr. Nevins, perhaps you can investigate and write about this.

  24. bring it on says:

    #23 Great idea. Go to the source. Start by asking Judy Stern.

  25. Real Talk says:

    -You don’t get to run and fund candidates against your colleagues and then expect their support for a leadership position.
    -They don’t hate Lamarca because he is a republican. They hate him because he is an ass.
    – Name another partisan body in America that would elect their chair/president/mayor from a minority party?

  26. Judy Judy Judy says:

    @24 … Bring it on ? Go to Judy Stern for a truthful response ? Really ? That’s pretty funny. I believe that @23 is correct and that Cheryl Sienfeld is working on Sorenson’s campaign. I also echo the sentiments of @23 as to Cheryl Sienfeld’s qualifications. Sorenson was wise to retain her and will be well served thereby. Go to Judy … Hysterical.

  27. Tired of self serving politicians says:


    Sometimes it is not just the whispered false rumors from political opponents that indicate how ruthless a candidate will be. Sometimes it is the amount of money handled by the campaign treasurer.

    One candidate in the District 4, a recent arrival to the area from Danis Beach, has amassed nearly $80,000 in donations.
    That amount is up to 4 times greater than any other candidate running for any commission seat.

    The money comes from developers, realtors, bankers, and attorneys. The candidate is a realtor and a commercial property appraiser. The campaign treasurer, the candidate’s wife, is an officer in the candidate’s companies.

    Why the large war chest for a city commission seat when the candidate abandoned a commission seat in Dania Beach 8 months before his term was up? Why is the commission seat in Fort Lauderdale so attractive?

  28. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    One thing about Judy Stern is she loves all this attention.One thing Judy when your the center of attention,you can never let your guard down.One false move and its all over.(join the club…)

  29. Maxine K. Streeter says:

    Ms. Eckels: I heard it directly from Mr. Sorensen that he was using Judy Stern. I am not working for anyone and I do not spread false information. Maxine K. Streeter

  30. Bob Mikes says:

    Not a lot of good choices,need a stronger code/charter with a super majority or referendum vote for major development changes ! Campaign contributions tell all !

  31. Judy and Ben says:

    Ben can deny it all he wants but watching him at the Bahia Mar meeting the other night, and his failure to speak out against the largest giveaway since M-D County got fleeced by Luria and his baseball stadium, all while consulting w/Judy in the lobby, speaks volumes. He has had dozens of chances to speak up on development/Judy Stern issues, and has failed to do it. No use in denying it at this point b/c its one of the worst kept secrets in the election so far.


    I will be writing further about Bahia Mar.

  32. Judy and Ben says:

    I will be writing further about Bahia Mar.

    Please do. Possibly the worst municipal decison ever made by this City. The Mayor and Commissioners that voted for this should be ashamed of how this process took place.

  33. Fll native says:

    When asked to speak at Tuesday’s commission meeting, Sorrenson said “I can’t.” Why was he even there if he could not speak. Was it to simply see how big boy politician/developer/lobbyist relationships work?

    I still don’t understand how Bruce Roberts was allowed to vote on Bahia Mar given the fact that his campaign manager is the one and only Judy Stern, lobbyist for BAHIA MAR.