The Story Of Hurricane Sheila


Hurricane Sheila blew into the courthouse last year.

Things haven’t been the same since.

I’m referring, of course, to Sheila Alu, who passed the Florida Bar in October 2007.  She took a job as an assistant state attorney with Mike Satz’s office and proceeded to storm Broward’s legal community.

Like a Hurricane.

First there were her accusations against Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner, which sparked JQC and Florida Bar investigations.  She accused Gardiner of talking about a case with a prosecutor outside of court.

This week, she is in the news again.

This time, Alu sent out an e-mail to her extensive list of political contacts she is also a Sunrise city commissioner — hustling  campaign contributions for a judge. Eyebrows were raised because the e-mail would benefit Juvenile Judge Elijah Williams.

Alu is the assistant state attorney assigned to Williams’ court.

So Public Defender Howard Finkelstein complained and Alu will be headed to another judge’s courtroom.

Finkelstein told me he had to act because of the appearance of impropriety.


There is a double standard working here. A First Amendment issue.

Private defense attorneys give money to judges by the bucketful and then appear in front of them.

Alu is the first prosecutor I can remember who actively and openly fund raised for a judge.  That put her back in the news.

Why do I call her Hurricane Sheila?

I’ve known Sheila Alu for around a decade. We met through politics.

Alu is driven by the need to right what she sees as wrong.

I believe she also likes to be in the center of action.

She relishes the role of a crusader.  A fighter.

She will use all her skills to right the wrongs she sees. That includes turning her battles into storms of controversy with the help of the media.

So Alu is often in the eye of a political hurricane.

She is a political storm chaser.

Her critics in Sunrise and the courthouse would call her a political storm creator.

Alu’s style has accomplished a lot. She HAS exposed wrongdoing.

But her windy style has also caused needless hurt, mostly to herself.

Alu e-mailed me about the Williams fund raising: I doubt this would be an issue if I were just Sheila Smith. Something about that Alu name I guess.

She is right.  If she were Sheila Smith, I wouldn’t be writing about her.

It has nothing to do with the Alu name.  It’s the Alu style.

The hubbub over the Williams e-mail should teach Alu a lesson. It is a lesson that Brittany Spears and Lindsey Lohan already know:

When you become the center of controversy, anything you do can become controversial.

No one wants to be known as needlessly controversial, especially a lawyer.

The fund raising e-mail for Williams was legal.  I would defend her right to send it.

That doesn’t mean the e-mail was a smart move politically or career-wise.

If I was Alu’s career counselor, I would tell Alu she needs to lie low in the courthouse.

She needs to be just another prosecutor helping keep our streets safe.

But I know Hurricane Sheila.

It will be hard for her to keep from thundering.

As far as Sheila goes, hurricane season may never end.

13 Responses to “The Story Of Hurricane Sheila”

  1. Wow..... says:

    Sheila Sheila Sheila. All the media is atwitter about Sheila. Fluff Fluff and more Fluff about Sheila.

    And I thought it was just going to be her boyfriend that wrote about her.

  2. ALERT says:

    may judge Charlie Kaplan rest in peace

  3. Missed one says:

    Actually the first “tropical storm” Shelia was when it was discovered that she screwed up a DUI case and then tried to blame it on others at SAO and had a yelling match with her boss Lee Cohen in open court which she stomped her feet and quit (in open court). This was on the monday before last years election. That Tuesday night she was seen in the company of Cacciatore hanging around the Israel campaign headquaters cheering on Scott. Scott loses and she begs
    SAO and gets her job back.

  4. Resident says:

    So she is a double edged sword. She fights and she causes fights (whether needed or not). She rights wrongs, and she does wrongs trying to right what she thinks is wrong.

    One thing is that she is volatile. That’s good when the system is staid and needs shaking up. A lot of elected bodies can use that, but not all. That isn’t good when its already a powder keg and another hot head isn’t needed. Or when the elected body is working well.

    I’ve heard she is interested in the county commission. That’s not where she is needed. Too many problems already.

  5. Willie says:

    How Satz can keep her aboard when everybody says she will run against him in three years?

  6. Loose Cannon says:

    The expression “loose cannon” refers to an irresponsible and reckless individual whose behavior endangers the group he or she belongs to, or just generally does ill to those around them because of their wrong-headed logic.

    That definition fits Sheila Alu perfectly — she is a loose cannon. And anyone associated with her will end up in that same predicament. She poisons the water all around her and then blames it on those around her.

    County Commission you say? Heaven forbid.

  7. Democrat says:

    Sheila Alu was at a fund raiser tonight.

    FROM BUDDY: For who? That is her right.

  8. dk says:

    you are an awesome writer. love the way you wrote that story!

    FROM BUDDY: Thanks

  9. The Courthouse Rambler says:

    Sheila Alu hasn’t discovered that decorum is appreciated in the courthouse. I agree with the comment above that she is a “loose cannon.” However I think she only damages herself.

  10. Alu’s Side Of The Story: “I Was Just Trying To Do What’s Right” : says:

    […] Here and here are my previous posts on Alu. […]

  11. poor innocent Alu says:

    She likes to use that “I’m just doing whats right” catch phrase. It is getting a little old, like the boy (or girl, and I use that term loosly referring to her) that cried wolf.

  12. Feds Investigated Broward Corruption For A Decade : says:

    […] I refer you back to my post where I called her Hurricane Sheila.  […]

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