Something Rare: Attack Ads In A Race For Judge

A judicial race has become surprisingly bitter as a no-bid Sunrise legal contract has come back to haunt Mayor Steve Feren.
Feren, who is running for circuit judge, is the target of television ads reminding voters that he supported hiring his campaign treasurer as the Sunrise City Attorney.
The ads come from Feren opponent Ed Sugar, a Hollywood lawyer.
The Sunrise mayor immediately struck back with HIS side of the story ads saying the charges are distortions.
Both ads are huge buys, now running on WPLG-Channel 10 and cable stations.
The tit-for-tat is unusual in a judicial race, where most candidates blandly recite their resumes.

Here are the facts: 
Only Feren’s campaign treasurer Stuart Michelson was considered for the city attorney job in June, according to two Miami Herald articles.
In addition to being Feren’s campaign treasurer, The Herald said that Michelson did legal work for Sunrise Commissioners Sheila Alu and Roger Wishner.
All three voted to offer the job to Michelson.
“Over the objections of two fellow commissioners, they voted down the idea of conducting a search for other candidates, said the Herald.
The job was handed to Michelson.  And what a deal!
At $432,000 a year, Michelson gets more than any other city or county attorney in the state, according to the Herald.  He will also be allowed to do legal work for other clients.
The paper says Michelson will use some of his enormous Sunrise salary to hire an assistant attorney to do some of the city’s work. Later stories said he hired the attorney.
The broadcast ad slamming Feren never mentions Michelson’s name.
The ad alleges:
***Feren supported his friend to get a city attorney job.
***Feren’s friend will be the highest paid city or county attorney.
***Feren’s friend will be paid more than the president of the United States!
All true.
Feren’s campaign manager David Brown has another take.  He says Sugar’s ad will backfire.  He says voters should reject Sugar’s nasty, distorted campaigning.
The Sugar ad does make it seem like Feren voted to hire Michelson.  He only voted to allow him to apply for the job, Brown pointed out. 
“Voters want a judge who follows the facts, not twist them, said Brown.
The truth?  I watched a tape of the Sunrise meeting and have copies of the newspaper articles.
Feren voted to offer the job to Michelson and no other lawyer.   A week after the first Herald article, Feren abstained from the vote to hire Michelson. But he “advocated forcefully that his campaign treasurer be hired, the Herald wrote. 
Feren’s vote wasn’t need.  Commissioner Don Rosen flip flopped, dropped his original opposition to Michelson and joined Alu and Wishner, making the vote 3-1.
Robin Rorapaugh, Suger’s campaign adviser, stands by the ads. “They are scrupulously factual, she says.
 My take: I don’t know Ed Sugar.  The information about Feren is fair political comment.
I believe that hiring Michelson without considering other candidates is a seamy inside deal.
It was a deal that Feren had a role in.  And he is running for judge.

2 Responses to “Something Rare: Attack Ads In A Race For Judge”

  1. Retired NYPD says:

    Hiz Honor, Judge Steve Feren. Corruption at its very best.

    On three, lets all say “Sing Tao.”




    “Sing-Tao.” Speaking of Tao, tell us Judge Feren, how did you get your six figure deposit back when no one else did? Was it because you were Mayor of Sunrise at the time?

  2. no way says:

    everything in Sunrise is corrupt

    no vote foe anything from Sunrise or any connection
    lets learn people