Steve Geller’s Past Campaign: A History of Sleaze


Former Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller was accused of having “shockingly sunk to a disgusting new low for sparking an investigation into his opponent Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger.

Gunzburger made the charge at a news conference Thursday.  I beg to differ with her.

Geller’s campaign against Ellyn Bogdanoff in their 1998 state Senate campaign was not only in the gutter.  It was down the storm drain into the sewer.

Steve Geller

I know because I covered the campaign.  I was one of the reporters that Geller’s campaign team leaked a scurrilous confidential police documents which mentioned the Bogdanoff family.

Not the candidate.  Members of her family.

The Geller campaign wanted me to use the records, hoping they would smear the Bogdanoff’s family.

I didn’t use it and neither did The Miami Herald.

It was just one incident in the blizzard of negative campaign on both sides in this campaign.  But it was by far the worst example of dirty campaigning I can remember.

Who leaked the records to me?  It wasn’t Geller, but it was a campaign team member.  Since I was given the documents in confidence, I won’t say who passed them to me.

There was nothing illegal about the campaign distributing the documents.

Taking them from the police files and giving them to the campaign could have been a violation of law and the State Attorney’s Office investigated.

Investigators never could prove who took the documents from police files.

The investigation, which was done months after Geller won the election, found “insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution.”

Geller’s key campaign operatives included David Brown, his campaign manager then and today; Russ Klenet, an influential lobbyist; and Dan Lewis, a campaign operative who once ran a losing race for Fort Lauderdale mayor.

According to the Sun-Sentinel in August, 1999:

“They all testified that they could not remember much about the documents.

‘My memory is pretty unclear about that,’ Lewis testified.

But the campaign team conceded the documents were in Geller’s office. They suddenly appeared on a desk inside a plain manila envelope, Geller testified.

Team members told investigators they showed the documents to influential people outside the campaign, and the information spread through political circles during the campaign.

Pretty sleezy.

I don’t know if Geller sparked the current investigation into Gunzburger. Based on his history from the Bogdanoff campaign, you decide.

18 Responses to “Steve Geller’s Past Campaign: A History of Sleaze”

  1. Yaki says:

    Looks like Gunzburger has more than Geller to worry about right now. But boy, I bet she is sorry he filed to run for her seat!

  2. Fact Check says:

    Yesterday everyone was proclaiming Gunzburger politically dead. After today’s developments, if there is a record of any phone calls between Geller and Lamberti (or LaManna or other Lamberti aides), the question will quickly shift to:
    1. Will Geller drop out of the race?
    2. Will Lamberti resign or be indicted?
    3. How much money would Gunzburger win in a federal civil rights violation suit against BSO and against Lamberti personnally?

  3. jenny says:

    I remember when Geller ran against Bogdanoff and let’s not forget that she threw plenty of filthy mud at him. Geller is the one that repetitively asked Gunzberger to run a clean campaign(even several times on this website). She flat out refused and said that people should be aware of the candidates past and what they have done. Now, she is the one under criminal investigation and he is the sleaze?Geller is not even an elected official now. It is ridiculous to imply that he has the power to have BSO conduct a criminal investigation.

  4. Zeus says:

    Are we to believe that die-hard Democrat Steve Geller directed Republican sheriff Al Lamberti to hire a former FBI agent to run a public corruption unit months ago so he would later accept and investigate accusations against Comm. Gunzburger now?

  5. SouthFLGIRL says:


    You are right…Geller wanted a clean campaign. Almost forgot about this. She refused to do this and started the mud-slinging right away.

  6. Yaki says:

    Like I said, I bet she is sorry now… And I loved the part (I saw the video conference at where she welcomed a Grand Jury Investigation…be careful what you ask for commissioner. =D

  7. Politico says:

    Glad I don’t have to vote in this race. My ballot would have an undervote.

  8. Not Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    yep, Gunzburger didn’t want a clean campaign. Gunzburger started the nasty in her first ad. Gunzburger took money from Rothstein (lobbyist). Gunzburger is sitting on committess as a commissioner and getting contributions for her campaign (unethical). Gunzburger is being investigated (Criminal). Yet, she is the one always pointing fingers trying to place the blame with Steve. Gunzburger just doesn’t want everyone to know what kind of commissioner she really is, what kind of person she is. A nasty, mean, person who will go at great lengths herself to get what she wants. She is playing the old widow poor me card. I just hope nobody is dumb enough to fall for it. 18 years is enough Sue. People are tired of the lies and corruption.

  9. Oh Please says:

    Geller said he wanted a clean campaign. Hitler wanted peace, ha ha ha!!!!!
    He hired David Brown, a dirty campaigner. He had no intention of running a clean campaign. He had to smear Sue or else voters would have no reason to vote for him.
    Get real all of you.
    BTW, Geller has a paid staff posting on all blogs.

  10. Hermes says:

    Dear Zeus (1:22 p.m.) my father,
    You are wrong about the mortal Geller. He is not worthy of a God.
    He belongs in Hades.
    I overheard with my Godlike powers. Geller promised Lamberti one thing in return for his smear. Lamberti would have one less critic when his budget comes due.
    Democrat/Republican means nothing. What Lamberti wants is to get rid of gunzburger because she dared criticize THE SHERIFF.

  11. Not Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    Nobody has to smear Sue, I think she’s doing a pretty good job doing it all on her own.

  12. Fact Check says:

    Somehow all the Geller crowd see a story
    entitled “Steve Geller: A History of Sleaze” and come on here crowing how Steve is so ethical and clean. Apparently the content of the facts contained in the article have no relationship to their delusional pro-Geller postings.

    Let’s try a sarcastic test.
    Article headline: Geller Arrested for Fraud.
    Pro-Geller Blog Comment: Geller knows ins and outs of the courts.

    Article headline: Child Porn Found On Geller’s Laptop.
    Pro-Geller Blog Comment: Geller loves kids.

  13. Yaki says:

    Gunzburger being investigated is the story! Isn’t it? So sad too bad…how it got to this point in interesting but NOT the real issue. The allegations continue to swirl about Gunzburger… and her son, attorney Ron G., will try his best, but my guess is Gunzburger WILL get herself a REAL criminal defense lawyer.

  14. Broward Attorney says:

    Looks like the Sheriff just waved the white surrender flag. Gunzburger was right!!!! Ha!!!!!

    Look what Sheriff Lamberti told Channel 10 news tonight:

    “Quite frankly, I don’t this see (the investigation) going anywhere,” Lamberti told Local 10 by phone from Washington. “It’s the same complaint (Hazlett) has made for the past 18 years.”

  15. Out with the old says:

    I want to point out that Geller supported Scott Israel (The Democratic nominee) for sheriff. Lamberti and Geller are not friends and anyone who would imply otherwise doesn’t follow local politics and are just repeating what other idiots are saying.

    Sue and Ron threw mud first. I guess they forget the old adage of “Those who lice in glass houses, should not cast the first stone.” Unfortunately the people who live in the glass houses in Broward are corrupt and need to all move into the BIG HOUSE!

  16. Frank White says:

    I don’t doubt that there was the impression that BTW was the favored product around the building. It’s hard to imagine that 18 years ago (or even today) that the staff would risk their job by voting against the person who could make their life misreable.

    If they can get people to testify that the atmosphere was “don’t cross sue” and she did nothing to dispell that notion, then she may be in trouble…

  17. Fact Check says:

    What everyone is missing is that there was nothing to “pressure” staff about. This was not a RFP In which people voted on a committee or ranked proposals. These were only competitive sealed buds. The submission with the lowest price wins. Simple math. And this Hazlett guy’s bids were over $300,000 more expensive than BTW based on what Buddy has reported. I cannot see how Gunzburger could have lobbied or pressured anyone to make get husband bud cheaper than Hazlett.

  18. Communist Plot says:

    What everybody is really missing is that we have a choice between two different sleaze bags. It makes little difference who gets elected because they both are just self interested crooks.