Some Thoughts On Diana Wasserman-Rubin


Pembroke Pines Commissioner Angelo Castillo is ready. 

He’s ready like a rodeo bull in its chute. He’s pawing the ground. He’s snorting.  He’s can’t wait for the gate to open.

And when gate opens, Castillo is off and running… for the county commission.   


Angelo Castillo,  former candidate Sam Lopez and Diana Wasserman-Rubin

This speculation is prompted by incumbent Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin’s latest trouble.  She is on the ropes.again.  

Investigators suddenly pounced on Wasserman-Rubin this week, subpoenaing records in her 2005 ethics violations case.

That’s the case where she voted for county grants that earned her husband Richard Rubin $15,000.  The grants were for parks, trails and open space in Southwest Ranches, which is in Wasserman-Rubin’s district.  Rubin got a bonus for any grants Southwest Ranches received on the projects.

In 2007, Wasserman-Rubin admitted wrong doing, received a public censure and reprimand from the Commission on Ethics. Ethics commissioners rejected their own staff’s recommendation of a $1,000 penalty and hiked it to $15,000, which is the bonus Richard Rubin made.

Wasserman-Rubin may have thought the case ended in 2007, but flash forward to today. Now with subpoenas flying, Wasserman-Rubin’s re-election in August looks tenuous. 

Here are a few observations:

(1) State Attorney Mike Satz is under fire for not doing enough to curb public corruption.  The latest shot was fired this week by state Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, who lashed out at Satz for failing to prosecute public wrongdoing.

What better way to show you are doing your job against public corruption than pluck off some low hanging fruit, like an old 2005 ethics case that was already investigated?  

(2)  Richard Rubin has long been a thorn in Wasserman-Rubin’s side, even before they were married. 

On April 30, 1995 I wrote in the Sun-Sentinel along with the fabulous reporter Robin Benedick:   

“Our Broward County public school system has done it again: Given work to the boyfriend of a board member.

Richard Rubin is just completing a $ 5,800 contract to help develop rules that would require schools to be in place before development.

(The figure of $ 5,800 is significant. The staff can hand out consulting contracts under $ 6,000 without having to take proposals from others wanting the job.)

Rubin’s qualifications?

 Well, he is a Hollywood land-use specialist who has worked for at least three Broward cities in the past. And he has been dating member Diana Wasserman for the past year.”

How about this one from me in March 2001, four months after his wife’s election to the county commission?

“(Richard) Rubin suddenly has two new jobs since his wife’s election, both with insiders who do business with the county commission.

He is part of the Craven Thompson engineering firm’s land use study for Southwest Ranches. He has been hired as a land use expert by the Shutts & Bowen law firm.”

(3) A Castillo victory is no slam dunk.

Castillo is heavily favored to win the southwest commission seat if Wasserman-Rubin faces criminal charges. 

The Pembroke Pines commissioner says he is interested in her job only if she leaves.

But he has a powerful political enemy in Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis. Word is that Ortis would love to run Castillo out of politics.

And others are interested in the plum, $95,000-a-year part time commission job. A political consultant told me today that he was contacted this week by elected officials interested in making the run.  

Stay tuned.  It’s getting to be a very interesting political year.

13 Responses to “Some Thoughts On Diana Wasserman-Rubin”

  1. Blue Man Scoop says:

    If he ortis wants him gone, he’s got my vote. I think I live in another district though…

  2. Lawyer says:

    Angelo Castillo is a good man, a good Pem Pines Commish and will make a great County Commish.
    Go Angelo.

  3. Jose Tomasso says:

    This is a man who has constantly had his eyes on higher office. He told the president of my neighborhood association he was looking at the next congressman. He has done nothing except run around speaking Spanish to pretend he is one of us and slap people on the back. What a phony!

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Buddy:

    I’ve never thought of Frank Ortis as an enemy and don’t believe he thinks of me that way. Yes, we have very different viewpoints about government and so we disagree at times. But both of us know that the other loves our city. We both appreciate and respect that fact.

    Now, taking that to the enemy level is pretty extreme. However, nobody in Pembroke Pines has the power to run anybody else out of politics. In Pembroke Pines, that’s a power that our residents reserve only onto themselves.

    Nobody in Pembroke Pines should take elected office for granted. Ask Alex Fekete. It has to be earned back every single day.

    My neighbors in district 4 have asked me to agen run for re-election. They like the way I am representing them in City Hall and want me to continue taking their message there. I have agreed to their request and am humbled by and thankful for their support.

    Nothing else matters to me.



  5. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    again, I meant, of course.

  6. Phillip Tetsori says:

    Notice that Angelo talked a lot about Frank Ortis and said nothing about Diana Wasserman Rubin.

  7. Donna Quixote says:

    Let’s remember that Mr. Castillo is AGAINST government in the sunshine. He thinks that government officials should be allowed to discuss matters pertaining to their jurisdictions…WITHOUT the public knowing what they are discussing.

    Diana Wasserman-Rubin is an honest woman, as well as an honestBroward County Commissioner. I do not believe that she “conspired” to benefit her husband with her vote. I believe that she was unaware of the consequences of her vote. I will support her reelection campaign and encourage everyone that i know to do so also. YOU GO GIRL !!!!

  8. donkey hote says:

    Time to out Donna Quixote. Click on the link provided by her name and you’ll be taken to the which was the failed site of none other than Patti Lynn, the whackadoodle progressive who supports criminals and incompetents for office. Makes me suspicious of Wasserman Rubin right off the bat. Add to that the fact that Wasserman Rubin was so drugged up at the Angel Gomez campaign kickoff she spoke about Gomez running for school board rather than Weston commission.

  9. Nona says:

    Castillo makes a mockery of Pines Commission Meetings with his demeanor and attitude. He would undoubtedly prove to be a huge pain in the ass for the County if elected. This guy does not deserve a seat on the County Commission, rather a swift kick in the ass from Frank. Diana is an earnest, and wonderful woman who has already been assessed penalties for her accidental or unconscious transgressions. Satz should be removed, F’n Useless…

  10. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Jose and Donna:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Jose — I’ve never run for any elected office other than the one I currently hold. If I had a “constant eye on higher office” I’d have run for higher office by now as there have been numerous opportunities. Also, I don’t recall discussing congressional aspirations with anyone because, to date, I’ve never had any. I don’t recall even thinking that.

    As to my Hispanic heritage, if you questions or want to discuss that subject with me, my number at City Hall is (954) 436-3266. Call me and we can have that chat in English or Spanish as you prefer. Generally, people know who I am and where I was born, they’ve known that for years, it’s not something I’ve hidden or am at all ashamed about. It is part of who I am and nobody has ever questioned me on that before.

    Donna — I’m not against Government in the Sunshine, most of the provisions in that law are fantastic. I’m only against the one assinine provision in the Sunshine Law that prohibits local elected officials from talking to one another about business, like our federal and state officials are expected to do. I find that double standard silly, offensive, counter-productive, and pointless.

    If you think that provision is such a good rule, if you really think that it makes government better, then by all means — let’s extend the rule to Congress and the State Legislature. Let’s make them better also.

    Now, if that prospect gives you even the slightest pause please do not feel ashamed. It should.

    Silence never produces better government, Donna. Benevolent coordination between leaders, and the ability to freely and fully explore ideas is what promotes better government.

    Our government shouldn’t restrict anyone, whether elected or not, from voicing their views to anyone they wish in our democracy. I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech. Local government in Florida needs improvement. Coordination of policy is part of the problem. Perhaps we’re wise to consider changing a few of our old and unusual rules that don’t work and creating some new ones that will work.

    Hope that clarifies.

    Best wishes,


  11. Stevie Needs A JOb says:

    Angelo can’t walk into this because Steve Geller would switch from running for county comission against Sue Gunzburger to Diana Wasserman Rubin’s seat.
    Geller against Castillo would be the race. Geller already has the money to give him a big head start over Angelo.

  12. nottinamazesme says:

    I’ve heard it said that Angelo comes from a scrupulous and enviable cradle. It couldn’t hurt Broward to have someone with self-respect, dignity, a genuine desire to help others, and good roots.

  13. Piggies says:

    I hear Diana Wasserman Rubin is penniless. I guess she couldn’t steal enough.