Sleazy Tales Of Corruption and Envelopes Full of Cash


I need a shower.

I feel soiled just touching the four depositions from political consultant Bev Stracher in the corruption case of former Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco.

I’m nauseous from the callous way Stracher talked to prosecutors about Tamarac politics.

She told tales of inside dealing and cash passed around in envelopes like so many party favors. But she never expressed discomfort with any of it.

She is a disgrace. Why is she working as an aide to County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman on our dime?

Stracher was subpoenaed by prosecutors to talk about her role in corrupt developers Bruce and Shawn Chait’s Tamarac project.

The Chaits have pleaded guilty to bribery.

She had no lawyer in her first two depositions Nov.12, 2009 and Jan 11, 2010.

During her final two depositions, she got lawyered up and switched her story.

Without at lawyer at her side during the first two depos, Stracher talked about how the Chaits hired her.

They wanted her to prod Tamarac residents into accepting their plans to replace two golf courses with a massive housing development.

Her pay was sometimes delivered in envelopes — $3-5,000 cash.  Plus the Chaits gave her a new air conditioner for her home in lieu of some of the pay.

Once Stracher walked in on Shawn Chait. He had envelopes full of cash on his desk, she said in the sworn testimony.

If I was working for someone who did business with envelopes full of cash, I’d run for the door.

Something obviously was not kosher.

Bev Stracher apparently didn’t care. She stayed on the Chaits payroll.


She recounted how the Chaits wanted suddenly to donate $5,000 to School Board member Darla Carter’s losing 2006 re-election campaign.  Carter, a member of the county Planning Council who had a vote on their project, did not take the Chaits’ money.

She discussed how County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman ran Beth Talabisco’s 2006 campaign from behind the scenes, approving ads for a political committee attacking opponents.

That political committee is at the heart of charges against Talabisco.  She is accused of accepting the Chaits’ campaign money for the committee in return for her vote on the Chaits’ development.

The Chaits needed Lieberman’s vote at the county as well as Talabisco’s at city hall.

Stracher told prosecutors she was also hired by them to “talk to Lieberman.

Lieberman had a pet charity for organ transplants and the Chaits asked Stracher if they should contribute to it.

She told them, “It couldn’t hurt.

Then Stracher told prosecutors, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why they’re doing it.  It’s definitely not out of the good(ness) of their heart.

Projects need to pay fees for their impact on schools, but the fees are sometimes negotiable. The Chaits were seeking the best deal.

The Chaits obviously talked about the School Board to Stracher. She knew in 2006 that former School Board member Stephanie Kraft’s husband Mitch Kraft had been hired by the Chaits to take care of a “problem.

(Much later, Stephanie and Mitch Kraft were charged with corruption in the Chaits case.  He is accused of helping the Chaits reduce their School Board fees $500,000 with the help of his wife.)

Stracher talked with prosecutors about the $250,000 that the Chaits supposedly offered then-Tamarac Mayor Joe Schreiber.

The sleazy stories go on and on.  Until she gets lawyered up.




On May 18, 2010, Stracher returns to the State Attorney’s Office.  This time lawyer Eric Schwartzreich accompanied her.  Schartzreich is a veteran political player whose wife, Mila Schwartzreich, ran twice for judge.

Prosecutors asked Stracher about Lieberman.

“I don’t knowI can’t remember.

They asked her about Lieberman’s role in Talabisco’s campaign.

“I can’t rememberYou’re asking me about something that happened four years ago.  I don’t remember.

She is Lieberman’s aide.  She depends on Lieberman for her salary.

Stracher had a different reason for her change in her testimony.

“When I came in here last time, my 14 year old son (had medical problems which required hospitalization)

Schwartzreich jumped in to prompt and head off any charges of perjury: “When you were answering the questions last time you were being truthful, it was just the condition you were under?

“I was under a lot of (stress) and I couldn’t remember. I just couldn’t remember and I just guessed because I wanted to be truthful.  You wanted answers.and I apologize if I misled anybody.

This woman is now a county commission aide!  Is anybody as outraged as me?

I’m particularly upset because I liked Bev Stracher.  She worked at the Sun-Sentinel as a reporter years ago. We often talked politics later when she became a consultant.

Because I viewed her as a friend, I feel personally betrayed by what I read in those depos.

Jumping out at me amid all those tales of slimy politics was that Stracher still found time to complain about her fees from the Chaits.

She got $40,000 or maybe $80,000.  She wasn’t clear about that in the deposition.  There was one thing Stracher was clear about:

“They also owed me more money which I never received.

33 Responses to “Sleazy Tales Of Corruption and Envelopes Full of Cash”

  1. Nc Ic says:

    And none of it ever would have happened if blind man Mike Satz hadn’t been snoring for 30 years on 6th Street.

  2. dr_augusta says:

    Just another day in Broward Town…..

  3. Lynne Helm says:

    On testimony of this nature and the source, words cannot express …

  4. nothing new says:

    taxpayers should be enraged that this woman has been hired by the county. these depositions and this hiring are further ‘evidence’ that some members of the county commission continue to feel entitled and take care of their ‘own.’ taxpayers should demand the highest standards from their elected officials and instead settle for less than mediocre, mostly criminal.

  5. Tombstone courage says:

    This seems like an endless cycle that is never gonna end what is so bad about being an honest politico. These people have no shame. Isn’t there anyone out there that just does the right thing just to frickin do it. Without anything to gain!!! Money talks and bullshit walks. Corrupt P.O.S

  6. Patti Lynn says:

    Unless Broward voters demand accountability, honesty, and transparency, nothing will change. There are many here in Tamarac who tried their best to present their points of view. Ilene Lieberman had statistics at every turn to turn back the arguments. She actually supported the “traffic study” that showed that if 738 homes went into the golf courses, there would be LESS traffic than the golf courses produced. DAMN!!! If the golf courses had that much traffic, why would they sell out???
    The Tamarac City Commission, as well as the Broward County Commission faced busloads of residents…CONSTITUENTS…who begged them to not approve a zoning change. Stacy Ritter CHASTISED those who spoke, condemning them for questioning the integrity of her father, and telling them that the City & County Commissions knew what was best for the area.
    Bev Stracher, her husband, the Tamarac City Commission, (I must except Commissioner Harry Dressler, he supported the project, but did not show any extra-ordinary contributions from the Chaits), and the majority of the Broward County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a project that would negatively affect a large number of senior citizen residents. It also did not appear to have ANY redeeming qualities to support the votes that were cast. The underbelly of the political machine in Broward is swollen with the largess offered, and accepted, by those with money, influence, and connections. The whole system stinks. Bev Stracher is just one of the rotting flesh politicos who has feasted on the corpse of ethics on Broward County for the last 50 years.
    Who is going to fix it? The Inspector General??? Michael Satz??, the VOTERS???? Look at Kings Point…they REVEL in the glow surrounding their favorite daughter, (Please don’t say anything bad about Stacy, she’s such a nice girl, and we love her.)
    Who’s going to fix the problem????
    Bob Norman started it, who’s willing to continue the fight???

  7. anonymous says:

    She was NOT hired by the county, “nothing new.” She was hired directly by Lieberman.

    And why, if the Chaits were behind ALL of this, are they not in jail? Was that a deal they cut with States Attorney Satz? Seems to be he’s the guy that really needs to be replaced and everyone else will fall into line.

  8. County Employee says:

    Stracher should have talked about Ilene Lieberman who was behind everything in Tamarac. Instead, Satz let Stracher and Lieberman off the hook which is a bad move.

  9. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Lieberman was late to this party! Norman Abromowitz brought the Chaits to Tamarac several years before all of this took place. He took their money and greased their skids with the Mayor (Joe Schreiber) and the City Commission. They built a couple crappy townhome projects at the expense of United Homes (a whole nother story)and decided after several other developers passed to take a flyer on the golf courses. Ilene screwed Norman again, just like when they were both Mayors and when Norman was on the County Commission. She stoled this project out from under his nose while he died and reaped all the cash and benefits, while he died. Ain’t politics grand!

  10. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Nothing New and Friends:

    One thing I’ve learned over a long career in government is this. More often than not what we see in government is what we as a society see in ourselves.

    Democratic governments are designed to be the people’s reflection. What we like about ourselves we approve of in government. What we dislike about ourselves we react against in government. We attribute to government our hopes and our suspicions, our prejudices and our sense of justice. It is a very personal relationship and that’s politics and government inspires such passion. What can be more personal than what we see in the mirror?

    I realize that many of you may not have thought about it that way. Please think about it now. Here’s some proof.

    If we were to take a truly honest assessment of the reflection we as a people cast, it’s fair to say that overwhelmingly we’d conclude that people are honest.

    The vast majority are law abiding, hard working and driven by good intentions. Most of us are good people who live clean lives.

    But mixed in there are some who cut corners now and again for their own personal gain. Be honest, you know.

    Deeper in the mix are a relative few who take that concept way out of control. They are either bad people or they just like doing bad things. They like doing it and like getting away with it.

    We see that mix in our neighborhoods and shopping centers, in our churches and in our parks. It’s no different in this country than in others. No religion has more or less of it. No race or ethnicity has more or less. We see it everywhere we look. It’s in the breed. It’s in our DNA. That’s what being human is.

    I don’t say this to excuse what’s been going on lately in the news or to justify it. I’m simply trying to put it in proper context.

    In the government, there is so much regulation and procedure to guard against criminality that it is a lot less likely to happen there than anywhere else. But whenever it does, that’s news, and government’s record for catching that kind of thing is remarkably good — no matter what cynics may suggest. Much more so than in the private sector where, let’s face it, people take bribes of all kinds and free vacations and goodies all the time.

    Let’s be honest. The private sector is awash in free meals, booze and sports tickets. One hand absoultely washes the other. All these things are forbidden in government. We call it corrupt. In the private sector, those things are winked at it yet the cost of it is passed on to consumers, it’s not free, it is corrupt and hugely expensive. The cost of that to us as consumers of goods and services dwarfs any cost of government misbehavior to taxpapers.

    Now, let me be clear — I abhor any act that violates a public oath of office. That’s terrible.

    But let’s not abhor that as we excuse or ignore the corrupting impact of $4.00 per gallon gasoline! There is no logical way that a shortstop should make $50 million per year but I can’t take my family to a ballpark without dropping $200.00

    No CEO of a publicly traded company should earn $500 million per year. Pay them fairly but the rest is mine as a stockholder. All these things are outrageous and the cost to society way more corrupting than anything going on in your government.

    Government waste should be rooted out whenever we see it. But we cannot forget Enron or WorldCom, Medicaid, insurance and morgage fraud that cost us many times more. The Rothstein incident or Madoff. How about banks loaning $500K mortgages at no interest to families making $45,000 and then complaining about “toxic assets” when their loans default and we have to bail them out. Is that NOT corrupt? Please.

    How about the news media taking something as holy (I picked that word very carefully, by the way) as news and converting it into a tool that emotionally manipulates us to dance like puppets toward agreement with their hidden agenda? Is that not evil and corrupt?

    The culture of corruption is not in government alone and defining it that way is in itself corrupt.

    It starts in us, in the hearts and souls of people and we infect everything, including government, with our disease. It needs a cure but treating the arm alone when the whole body is infected is an idiot’s approach. Let’s be smarter than that.

    Do not allow yourself to be cheated out of proper perspective.

    There is no institution in our society that is more self-correcting when it comes to criminality than government. That’s the truth. You can overwhelmingly rely on honest service in government at every level you find it, and only rarely encounter the opposite.

    This is important to restoring our sense of perspective but also because cyncism and lack of trust keeps our government from serving us well. Peter Drucker — the undisputed management guru of my graduate school days — was fond of saying “Managers must Manage.”

    Well, I suggest to you that government must govern and when it doesn’t or can’t we as society become the losers. Democracy can’t work without the trust of the people and getting that back requires work. But also the proper perspective.

    With all our problems we are still an amazing society. We do more to succeed and help others, we have the most amazing lifestyle and personal expectations, our present and future is so much brigher than anybody elses. Because we are who we are. Please do not lose that perspective because doing that would be corrupt. Peace.


  11. APerspective says:

    OK, let me share a perspective you don’t read very often. First, whatever corruption there was needs to rooted out and punished to the full extent. The people who gave and received payoffs and favors are scum in my opinion. Yet, that doesn’t mean that the idea of redeveloping a failed privately owned golf course was a bad one. This was a very complex proposal and there were alot of voices to be heard (probably, most were honest – believe it or not). It was not a unanimous “this idea stinks” except for those taking payoffs. There were many residents in favor and there were many benefits to be gained, such as a large area that would become a public park for the residents. Many other issues were also dealt with such as traffic and noise, and there were valid solutions proposed. I hope the city and residents and owner work out something favorable for that land someday. But I seriously doubt that it will be restored as a golf course or all of it will become a park.

  12. Oodles says:

    Can we get the SEALS to come in and do their thing at Broward Government Center?

  13. Dear Angelo says:

    Was Judy Stern involved in your campaign?

    Since it appers in this video you tried hard to disassociate from Stern. Is she someone who as you put it…

    “mixed in there are some who cut corners now and again for their own personal gain. Be honest, you know.

    Deeper in the mix are a relative few who take that concept way out of control. They are either bad people or they just like doing bad things. They like doing it and like getting away with it.”

    If you didnt think she fit into the categories your descirbed above, why would you refuse to answer a simple question of her involvment in your campaign.

    As usual Angelo, do get too high up on that horse of yours.

  14. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear APerspective,

    I never suggested otherwise.


  15. Anonomyte says:

    Bev Stracher, working for Ilene Lieberman and also representing Broward County, does not pass the smell test. Enough said! What are you going to do about that Ilene? You need to do something. Bev Stracher must go.

  16. Anonomyte says:

    These 2 women should both have their noses placed in separate corners, and not be allowed to ever participate in any group activities.

  17. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Angelo-person,

    Now THAT is funny!! Good one.

    You know, I remember going to the Sun Sentinel that day invited as I was to discuss my plans for helping revive Broward from the recession. I had some very specific ideas for creating jobs and regaining our position prior to the economic nightmare. I worked hard putting that plan together. It was a strong plan and still is.

    So, I start describing it in detail and what”s their chief question? Is Judy Stern running my campaign. Can you imagine? That is what they found newsworthy that day, not jobs, not the recession. As if anybody was ever going to tell me how to vote? I mean, please it was a total waste of my time.

    And I realized that no matter what I said — I could have walked in there with a Nobel Prize — they were determined by the end of that meeting to hang a Judy Stern porkchop around my neck. It was a lynching simply because they wanted to make some “point” that in my case was totally pointless.

    It’s how they have fun at newspapers today. They run with scissors and stab honest people. It’s what they call news. I saw Buddy at some event that night and he pulled me aside and talked to me about it. It was good advice so I gave him an interview on it.

    Basically, what you saw on that video was me disappointed that this is the bullshit they found interesting that day. It wasn’t helping people find jobs, it wasn’t Broward’s economic future. It was this garbage delivered in an offensice McCarthistic tone. That’s what’s become of jounalism today.

    Anyhow, the kicker is they gave me their endorsement! Finding me the most qualified! Can you imagine, and when I saw it I just laughed and laughed. I actually considered not accepting it but I had more important things to think about.

    That whole campaign was crazy from start to finish. I’m very glad it’s over and I learned a whole lot about this community that I didn’t know. It was a growth experience for me and I’m thankful for it. Good dig!


  18. Pembroke Pines Resident says:

    The Sun-Sentinel asked you an irrelevant question. You couldn’t handle it and you squirmed around looking guilty of something. If you can’t handle a simple question like that I feel good we elected Barbara Sharief and not you.

  19. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Isn’t Stracher and Lieberman something Buddy. I mean sure she’s squelling(more ways than one)she got the magical Immunity. I’ll tell you something else Buddy of all the elected officals past and present going to trial soon Mayor Talabisco I think has THE BEST CHANCE of beating these charges.I mean its sooo obvious that Lieberman during her intergation by the State Att. Off. that she was and is protecting her own ass. Same thing w/ Stracher. What Comm.Rodstrom(county) should do is demand that the Comm. fire Stracher w/ her little stunt trying to implement Comm.Rodstrom in all of this. You did see the front page of the paper. Clearly John is not under any investigation. I think that was a dirty cheap shot from Stracher, and from her actions against Rodstrom(defemation, slander, harassment etc)should be grounds for dismissal. Petion the Comm. during your comm. reports John. Send the back-stabbing bitch packing(Stracher).

  20. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Pines Resident:

    Guilty, no, there would be nothing to be feel guilty about. Both Barbara and I had lobbyists on our campaign teams. I had Stern doing some media for me, and the Sharief camp had Patriot Games doing that plus smore. Candidates use campaign consultants. There’s no headline there. It’s movie of the week stuff and nothing to feel guilty about.

    And I commended Barbare for her campaign shortly after election day. Without question, Patriot Games did a great job for her. Who knows, I might use them myself someday.

    No, what you saw was me getting caught off guard and feeling more than a little insulted by a question that I felt was way out of line. McCarthy-style stuff like that often pisses me off and I felt that focusing on that instead of what was important to us as residents disrespected the county.



  21. Dear Angelo says:


    You were a candidate for County Commission and they brought you in to ask about the campaign. Just like they brought in your opponents to do the same. Do you not think it was a relevant question of you as a candidate who had open ties to Stern for years? After Eggelletion do you not think it was relevant to ask whether a person who has ties to you, ran/involved with your previous campaigns and lobbies the same Board you are running for was then invovled in your campaign?

  22. Anonomyte says:


    Go get a brain!

    Of course Stern was an issue, and it was well known that your wife worked for her or still does work for her.

    That you used Stern’s tainted campaign services was sooooo stupid on your part.

    And that you come out and publicly advised the electorate of the fact that you did use Stern’s services, is even more stupid.

    Stupid is as stupid does.


    You can decide for yourselves whether Angelo Castillo was right or not to use Judy Stern. However, Castillo can not be criticized for disclosing this fact. Transparency is always good in a candidate.

  23. KEEP IT REAL says:

    For the record Angelo, JUDY STERN is a lobbyist….Patriot Games is a consulting company in West Palm, out of this corupt county….you know the difference between a registered lobbyist and firms that manage campaigns…YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE BUT YOURSELF

  24. clark says:

    Why do so many people think judy stern is the devil is beyond me. Who really cares the different between lobbysits and consulting companies. If you ask me

  25. Pattern Here says:

    Patriot Games is a lobbyist that runs campaigns and Stern is a lobbyist that runs campaigns. There is no difference between a obbyist and consultant. Castillo got rapped by the news but Sharief was given a pass. Sharief’s video said she would not meet with lobbyists but her county vistor log says she does. I could not find that story reported. This is obvious. In police work we call it a pattern.

  26. Warren Meddoff says:

    The stench of corruption eminates from almost every elected corner of Broward County. Any elected official that isn’t willing to follow the COUNTY ETHICS PROVISIONS to the letter should be tar’d & feathered and run out of the county on a rail. Isn’t it about time that we clean up our city governments?

  27. Dear Clark says:

    Go look up Joe Eggelletion, Pulp, Stern, Wexler and Rodstrom on Google, if you want to know the difference between a lobbyist who runs the campaigns of those she gets elected and then lobbies them after. As opposed to a consulting company that runs campaigns and has nothing to do with the candidate after they get elected.

    The real question is how does Stern always seem to be around the fire but never get burned…. While your on google type in “ghost of whitey bulger and pulp” interesting reading. If you believe it, she skates because she wears a wire and gives up people to the feds. An allegation as far as I can see that Stern has never publically denied. Not only apparently has Stern not denied this, but she did not sue New Times for a retraction or the identiy of the poster.

  28. prejudice says:

    Dear clark logic like all mexicans are bandit and all black are lazy instead of let people stand on own value and thats crazy talk.

  29. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Judy Stern an informant no way. Some of you that have gotten burned by her(poor sport). This aspect that she is an gov’t informant is an ugly attempt for some of you to use this as an excuse because she basiclly has the ear to alot of elected officals. Bottom line those that comment(ghost of Whitey Bulger, etc-as if)are just throwing cheap shots. And to why didn’t she sue New Times, why bother. Tabloid fodder, its called. When they stop talking about you Judy, then worry. Until then happy trails. What next Judy Stern will be on “Mob Wifes”. Come on….

  30. why sue? says:

    Lets face it, no one knows if the rumors are true or false. Whoever wrote under the Whitey Bulger psyudonym sure new a lot of detailed (accurate?) information going back to the 80s. True or false, who knows, but it was quite detailed.

    Why sue? Why not? If one potential candidate or client refuses to use her because of this rumor, a reasonable business person would want to expose the lie and be vindicated. In todays society everyone is presumed guilty until shown to be innocent. Worse yet, many times if a rumor gets mentioned enough time it unintentionally becomes fact. IMHO she should sue and hold a big press conference to announce the lawsuit. My hunch is that the the offending blogger(s) would run for cover. Otherwise, people will presume guilt by her not efending herself.

  31. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    To “why Sue”. First of all I do not think Mrs.Stern has suffered from “Ghost Of Whitey Bulger” etc. I do not think she lost any contracts,bids, etc. She still remains a very effective lobbyist here in Ft.Lau. and more importantly in Tallahasse. In order to have a suit Judy would have to prove that she was maligned by such statements from ‘Ghost of Whitey Bulger”. I read Ghost comments and to me they are a bunch of shallow cheap shots, refering to when she was in her twenties, etc. I think she just shruggs it off a stabloid fodder. Speaking of Whitey he has been on the run for going on almost 30yrs. Guys try Canary Islands, abroad “Endless summer”. Mr.Bulger died about 8 yrs ago of COPD and wa sgiven a burial at sea. So all this talk that Judy Stern this and that -no way. As far as the suit, I was recently a subject of this “gottcha” tabloid foddder, but in my case it impacted me finacially. Basiclly went to my att. and he deposed the would be employer, and we will see what happens next. Lastly guys such as “Ghost Of Whitey B. etc & others just because something is true or public record if what you do w/ this material defames somone etc, then yes you have a case. See you in Court, and oh by the way all court proceedings from the filing to any motions are public record for ALL to see-Good luck. Bottom line Judy Stern in th ecatorgory as ATT/Comm Alu ,no, no , way.

  32. thanks robert says:

    “She still remains a very effective lobbyist here in Ft.Lau.”

    For someone such as yourself who has described himself as spending time with Stern socially and at a minimum implies you are her friend, maybe you can give more insight into your comment of…
    “She still remains a very effective lobbyist here in Ft.Lau.”

    This would not be a big deal because if she was registered to lobby in Fort Lauderdale but she is not. Such sneaky “lobbying” sure seems consistent to the comments of Whitey Bulger.

    Hopefully Nevins, Satz or the City of Fort Lauderdale will sit you down and have you explain your basis for calling Stern an effective lobbyist in Fort Lauderdale. If not I will bet Earl will go to law enfocement to have them investigate your comment further.

  33. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    To thanks Robert- oh yeah your buddy Earl Rynerson is going to safe the day huh? same guy that cheated against Jack Seiler for mayor. Earl Rynerson got beat by Jack Seiler and Mr.Rynerson did not play fair and will be prosecuted for it. Its coming cuffs and all. So tell Mrrr. Rynerson to bring it on.And excuuuse me Judy Stern is technically a consulatant. Your point big whoop.