Just What The Doctor Didn’t Order: Tim Ryan



Tim Ryan




If an apple-a-day keeps the doctor away, Broward County Commission candidate Tim Ryan better get a bushel.

Angry over Ryan’s three-year old lawsuit against a shadowy political committee funded by the Florida Medical Association, state doctors are preparing to throw money against him in his commission race.

The lawsuit is against People for a Better Florida Fund, which spent at least $600,000 for a smear campaign against Ryan and Ken Gottlieb in the 2008 Democratic primary for state senator. FMA-supported State Sen. Eleanor Sobel won.

People for a Better Florida Fund’s money came from almost exclusively from the FMA and doctors.

Was Ryan Defamed?

In his lawsuit, Ryan alleges that the group defamed him by falsely advertising that he made a “shady” land deal with the town of Davie.

Ryan’s lawyer is a legal pit bull — former state Sen. Skip Campbell.  During three years of discovery,  Campbell has exposed just how these political committees work.

Revealing depositions show that the group’s political consultant also worked for Sobel.  The group’s deputy treasurer is also executive vice president of the FMA.

Apparently some in the medical profession prefer to keep their political work private.  “They are agitated about the suit,” said a well-placed source familiar with Tallahassee and Broward campaigns.

Running for the open seat, which winds from south Fort Lauderdale to eastern Davie, Ryan said he anticipated a backlash from doctors.

“If you base your decisions on what people may throw at you, you can’t be in public life and run for office,” Ryan said.

I find Ryan’s lawsuit fascinating.

The legal protection for political speech is generous. The key question in this lawsuit is whether that protection includes telling lies about a candidate.

The suit will hinge on whether the committee “recklessly disregarded” the truth when it printed falsehood in its ads.

“The ad said, ‘Check the facts,’” Ryan said. “They didn’t even do that.”

I’m happy someone is going after one of these shadowy committees. I wish it would happen more often.  The consultants who have made these committees an odious part of political life should be held responsible if they lie.

        Campaign Continues

Meanwhile, Ryan isn’t letting the threat from doctors distract him from campaigning.  He is going door-to-door in Fort Lauderdale, the base of his two major opponents – Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom and former County Commissioner Ken Keechl.

Ryan held a meet-and-greet this week at political consultant Judy Stern’s Las Olas Boulevard office.

Stern was working on state Rep. Evan Jenne’s campaign for the same seat. When Jenne dropped out, she switched her allegiance.

Stern is controversial.

However, I’ve never heard anybody say she doesn’t work hard in a campaign.  With fewer than 9,000 expected to vote in the Democratic primary in mid-August, it is the hard work of meeting as many individual voters as possible that will win the race.

Unless, of course, thousands of dollars in doctors money pours in and changes the equation.

13 Responses to “Just What The Doctor Didn’t Order: Tim Ryan”

  1. Common Sense says:

    Campaign finance reform is the only answer to this problem.

  2. What about the mayor? says:

    Isn’t Stern great pals with Mayor Seiler? Didn’t Tim Ryan serve with and is close friends with Mayor Seiler? Ryan and Stern can’t get the Mayor to endorse, it seems obvious that Seiler knows Rodstrom is going to win.

  3. Just Saying says:

    My understanding is that Judy Stern is supporting Tim, but is NOT the person running the campaign. Tim had already assembled his campaign team when Judy Stern was still running Jenne’s campaign against Tim. But, all things considered, I would rather have Judy backing me than working against me (despite the truckload of dirty baggage that comes with her).

  4. Sam the Sham says:

    What is campaign finance reform? To me, political donations are free speech and campaign finance reform is nothing more than censorship.

    People should be allowed to donate as much as they like. Donating to a PAC is just saying that you agree with their position and are putting your money where your mouth is.

  5. Broward says:

    Tim Ryan is a good guy. Who cares about all the bull in the article. He didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes even in politics Candidates do care about their reputations and the false allegations made against them by weaker and dirtier Candidates. I find nothing wrong with Tim fighting to defend himself. By the way…. the medical association might put money up, but Tim still has the voter popwer to win..

  6. A little pregnant says:

    Saying Judy Stern is only involved a little bit or in a limited way in the campaign is saying someone is a little pregnant. Stern is like a cancer starts small and moves slowly until its eating you alive. Stern got 5k to set up one meeting with Chait and Rodstrom you think she is going to leave that kind of money on the table to second rate campaign people.

    Pssst, hey Tim, fyi, all of Stern’s Fort Lauderdale connections came from the Rodstroms. If she can dump their own decades long friendship in the blink of an eye, how long do you think it would take her to abandon you if the Rodstroms were willing to be her friend again.

    Also, Tim, why dont you ask your pal Judy, how many ways she has screwed over candidates with her ECO’s like Common Cause Coalition, and others over the years. Do as Tim says no as Tim does, I see.

  7. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    all these Irish guys getting in on the action. With patrick Murphy going up against Allen West, to tim Ryan going up against Charlotte Rodstrom. I’m more Irish then both of them. Besides you better eat your wheaties Mr.Ryan you are up against what i would call the modern day Roman Empire(Rodstroms). As far as Judy Stern being on the playing field, makes it even more challengeing. Will see who will prevail. Don’t forget neither of these ladies(Stern, rodstrom)are not new to any of this, which in turn puts you at a disadvanatage(Mr.Ryan). Will see. As far as mayor Seiler endorsing Mr.Ryan, I don’t know about all that.

  8. Tim Ryan & Public Service says:

    The doctors better wise up – Tim Ryan will win this election. In so many races I am so disappointed by the lack of any good quality candidates, but Tim Ryan is the exception. He proves that good people CAN enter public service. I’ve had WAY more than enough of the revolving door between high public office & prison. At last, a good guy Broward can be proud of!!!

  9. Watcher says:

    Sam what we need to debate about campaign donations and free speech is whether do that free speech includes anonymous falsity

  10. ENOUGH!! says:

    There will be a lot of mud… the Rodstroms and Ken (carpetbagger) Keechl are the biggest scumbags in Broward County!

  11. Sam the Sham says:

    Is Falsity a word?

    You may have a point there, political payoffs and such.

  12. Lamberti is garbage says:

    When does the criminal Lamberti get arrested?

  13. Antarctictoothfish says:

    Sam, take the Watcher at his/her word.

    fal·si·ty   [fawl-si-tee] Show IPA
    noun, plural fal·si·ties.
    the quality or condition of being false; incorrectness; untruthfulness; treachery.
    something false; falsehood.