Ritter’s Nemesis To Get $$$ From County

By Buddy Nevins

Lawyer Brenda Chalifour is coming into money courtesy of you.

The County Attorney is recommending that Broward pay a settlement of $20,000 to dismiss Chalifour’s civil rights lawsuit filed after she got thrown out of a June 2007 public hearing on the airport.

Chalifour is a long-time opponent of the Fort Lauderdale International’s runway expansion. She is also the activist who dropped a dime on Commissioner Stacy Ritter with the Florida Election Commission.

The $20,000 mistake started with then-Mayor and now-jailbird Josephus Eggelletion. He ordered police to remove Chalifour from the public’s microphone, ruling she had already spoken twice on the issue and didn’t deserve a third chance.

Police arrested Chalifour at the podium, handcuffed her and escorted her out.

People at the meeting said Chalifour was highly disruptive, refusing to leave the podium.  But handcuffed!!! Give me a break.

Chalifour contended in federal court that the county violated her First Amendment right to free speech, her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure and also for false arrest.

Faced with that and the fact that Eggelletion would make a terrible key witness because he is in jail for bribery and money laundering, the county agreed to settle.

Commissioners will be asked to sign the settlement next week.

Chalifour’s impassioned battle over the airport expansion also put her on Ritter’s hit list.  The two publicly squabbled for years.

As part of their battle,  Chalifour filed a complaint with the Florida Election Commission which will end up costing Ritter thousands.

The commission staff late last year found probably cause to believe Ritter broke election laws 28 times.

Ritter issued the following statement in November after the state action:

“During my term as Mayor, Brenda and I exchanged bitter comments in the press and we routinely clashed at commission meetings. I was attacked for my efforts to expand the airport which I believe was the right thing to do for all of Broward County. Brenda filed this complaint against me with the Florida Elections Commission as part of her effort to attack me and derail the runway.

Regardless of the reasons, a complaint was filed and errors were discovered and have been addressed. Although any bookkeeping errors were clearly unintentional, I take full responsibility.

Be assured that we take these violations seriously. There was no money missing from the campaign account. Many of the allegations raised in the complaint were rejected by the Florida Elections Commission.

I accept the decision of the Florida Elections Commission to find probable cause that errors were made in accounting and data entry by staff during my 2008 campaign. We look forward to answering the concerns raised by the commission in its finding. We will have an opportunity to do that later.

There has been no final ruling.

Ritter told Browardbeat.com she will recuses herself from voting on the court settlement next week.

There is a lesson in this for elected officials: Allow everybody at meetings a chance to speak.  They are among the few in Broward who actually care about issues.

Treat everybody with respect.

And tell your cops to put away the handcuffs.

9 Responses to “Ritter’s Nemesis To Get $$$ From County”

  1. John Is Watching says:

    John Coleman would be smiling today, Brenda. Good for you.

    FROM BUDDY: Hollywood-based, Democratic political activist John Coleman was Chalifour’s significant other until his untimely death.

  2. Fancy Pants says:

    Chalifour is obnoxious and extreme belligerent at commission meetings. I’m surprised the officers didn’t hit her with a baton along with handcuffing her.

  3. Floridan says:

    Government attorneys almost always recommend settling rather than going to court, arguing that it is cheaper to settle, even if the county has a strong case.

    Naturally, this just encourages people to sue.

  4. I'm Just Beachy says:

    Wow Brenda John is LHAO up there!!!

  5. S. R. is Commissioner Cougar says:

    I don’t care about Ritter’s politics, she is a hotty and that is all that matters.

  6. Mary J. Thompson says:

    Broward County Taxpayers pay the bill once again……………….

  7. M says:

    I don’t know Buddy. I think the cops should treat everyone disrupting a meeting the same way. I’m not advocating unwarranted force but securing someone until you can assess their rational isn’t such a bad idea given the recent school board shooting and violence in general. SOP for meeting disruptions and following the law for expelling someone from a public meeting are probably the best practice.


    I would agree with you about securing somebody you don’t know, but this woman has been appearing before the county commission for years on this one issue. She is also a lawyer and has, in the past, represented Dania Beach on the runway issue. She might have been disruptive, but she was no threat.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    A 20 thousand dollar settlement for infridgeing on someone”civil rights”. This is a no brainer settle this claim. I was involved in a case in 2007 where this very ritzy,hotsy,totsy gay couple infridged on my Civil Rights. The hubby came out in his jockey shorts for some r/r and when i declined the next day they fired me.I really wanted to throw both of them out the window(I’d say they jumped). Went to a Civil rghts. Att. and rest is history. Be careful to the Commission. Let people speak. They got 3 minutes, give it to them. Still amazed 20 grand settle yesterday allready.

  9. Nucky Thompson says:

    I could do with twenty grand. When’s the next commission meeting ?