Weird Pie Throwing Incident Mars Tributes To Late Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi





A bizarre pie-throwing incident on Wednesday marred an official teary tribute to the late Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi.

Tossing the pie was former Sun-Sentinel columnist and sometime blogger John deGroot.

DeGroot explained that he was defending the memory of the El Sanadi when he pitched the pie at Dan Lewis, a political consultant and part time blogger.



John deGroot


Lewis has been a Broward Health critic in his blog. But it was Lewis’ comments to the Sun-Sentinel after El Sanadi committed suicide Saturday Jan. 23 that triggered deGroot.

Referring to El Sanadi, Lewis told the newspaper, “He has decimated professional and competent senior staff and put in place people that will give him the answers that he wanted… While I’m sensitive and sorry for people’s loss, the damage he has done to Broward Health is almost incalculable.”

The quote was more than deGroot could take.

A former hard-hitting journalist and government critic who shared in a Pulitizer Prize, deGroot said he “loved” El Sanadi as a friend and didn’t want him smeared.

So deGroot bought a $6.99 Mixed Berry Cream Pie at Publix. He carried it into the meeting of Broward Health’s Board of Commissioners, which was scheduled as a regular business meeting but became a series of moving eulogies for El Sanadi.

Just before the meeting began, deGroot threw the pie at Lewis in front of the conference room as the Broward Health staff and medical community gasped.

As the pie trickled down Lewis’ suit, deGroot yelled at him. Referring to his quote in the newspaper, deGroot said: “You are a disgrace. He wasn’t even cold yet.”

The two seniors grappled momentarily and then Lewis quickly moved away from deGroot. “It was nothing,” Lewis said, brushing off his suit.

It appears that Lewis may not have been deGroot’s first target choice.

DeGroot posted on his Toetagdiary prior to the attack a picture of Sun-Sentinel staff writer David Fleshler, who has been reporting on El Sanadi’s death and was the writer who quoted Lewis.


Fleshler Threatened


John deGroot’s blog seemed to threaten Sun-Sentinel reporter David Fleshler



The blog states “Fear Pie!” and “Target d’jour” above Fleshler’s picture. Below the picture it states, “Get ready for a big berry cream!”

He didn’t wait for Fleshler to arrive at the meeting. He attacked Lewis.

DeGroot later apologized publicly for his actions that were more appropriate to a slapstick movie than a government meeting.

“Let me apologize to the Board and the staff for my behavior. It shouldn’t have happened,” deGroot said.

“I met Nabil 20 years ago when I worked on the newspaper,” deGroot told commissioners. “A Fort Lauderdale cop had been shot…he couldn’t save him and he wept…Nabil was my guy. I loved him. I really loved him.”

DeGroot also promised that his blog would no longer attack Broward Health.

“It’s done. It’s over. You deserve all the help you can get,” deGroot said. “You don’t need some gadfly like Buddy Nevins, Dan Christensen (of or Dan Lewis. I’m finished.”



The Aftermath: The floor is littered with paper covering the remains of a pie that John deGroot, left foreground, threw.  Standing on the right is Broward Health Commission Chair David Di Pietro.  

24 Responses to “Weird Pie Throwing Incident Mars Tributes To Late Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi”

  1. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    I think the most surprising bit of information here is DeGroot is still alive…

    Who knew.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. A memorial should NOT have desrespectful outbursts.
    2. Messrs Nevins and Christensen are respected journalists and have nothing in common with non journalist bloggers like me or Mr Lewis Mr Stevens etc. Mr Fields is a professional lawyer and again deserves professional respect like Messrs Christensen and Nevins.
    3. As Mr. deGroot is a journalist who shared in a Pulitzer Prize he deserves respect and our sympathy for loss of a well respected doctor who in his emergency room work saved many lives.
    4. The incident is a tragedy no decent person can fail to regret.
    5. But the whole situation arises because of a voting public that fails both to elect upstanding public elected officials wacko Democratic and Republican party officials and ignores the quality of the excessive number of appointed county boards commissions and self-serving management of non profits funded by the public taxes.
    6. The coarseness of public discourse on ALL sides and flustration at it created the athmosphere that lead to this untoward sad event.

  3. Jim says:

    Why was David DiPietro meeting with Dan Lewis outside the committee meeting room?


    I didn’t see them meeting. I saw DiPietro take deGroot to a back room for a short private meeting after the pie throwing incident.

  4. H. L. Mencken says:

    This is no surprise to anybody who has run into John in recent years. He spends his days muttering about conspiracies concerning the newspaper business, Broward Health and Ken Jenne. John long ago left the real world for places unknown.

  5. Foreskin says:

    Anybody who throws a pie at Dan Lewis is alright in my book.

  6. Pictures says:

    Pictures please….


    It happened too fast for me to take a picture.

  7. Zowie says:

    Who did this ass hat share a Pulitzer with, Moe Larry and Curly?

  8. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    #Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz

    You’re nothing like me … well, outside of we’re both full of shit, full of hot air, and think too much of ourselves.

    Other than that, when I start reading about you in the press, in the national press, see you on TV, hear you on NPR, then maybe you’ll begin to start being on the same level as me.

    Google my name… Google yours.

    Case closed … now go take over a country or something.

  9. Sam The Sham says:

    John deGroot was not wrapped too tightly even when he worked for the Sun Sentinel. Say what you will about Dan Lewis, but at least he backed off and said “It was nothing,” and apparently is not pressing charges. Still, I am glad to see that we don’t live in a boring town.

  10. disgruntled says:

    its sad to see what this brilliant journalist has become, a sad , disgruntled old man…

  11. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    I have gained a lot of respect for Mr. Lewis. He was asked to comment on an individual and stated his same views before and after a person’s death. I don’t know if Mr. Lewis opinion is correct or not. We do know, an individual toss’s a cream pie in his face, Mr. Lewis deescalates the situation by removing himself. Mr. Lewis could have concluded he was threatened and responded with force or could have also call 911 and had the individual charged with criminal mischief or potentially assault. Mr. Lewis did neither. Mr. deGroot acted extremely immaturely.

  12. Suzanne says:

    The epitome of narcissistic, petulant, self-indulgence…

  13. hmmm says:

    How did you know how much the pie cost? lol.


    When deGroot threw the pie package in the garbage, I fished it out. The package had a label with the price and the type of pie. Newspaper journalism 101, dude.

  14. Sun-Sentinel writer says:

    DeGroot should get a pie thrown at him for picking on David Fleshler, the most unassuming, harmless person at the Sun-Sentinel. David was quoting Lewis as part of his job. DeGroot must be a total asshole.

  15. A reader says:

    What a waste of a perfectly good pie!- conservative thought.

    What about the hungry homeless?-liberal thought.

  16. Arnold Markowitz says:

    On the subject of the late el-Sanadi, the Sun-Sentinel would have been more responsible interviewing someone with better standing to comment than a “political consultant and part-time blogger.” For all I know (and I don’t), that one’s remarks may have been honest and accurate but he lacks standing (and credibility) to make that denunciation. As for my former collegue DeGroot, he shouldn’t have thrown the pie.

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Another example of professional journalism so lacking in daily newspapers today

  18. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> its sad to see what this brilliant journalist has become, a sad , disgruntled old man

    That’s not a very nice thing to say about Buddy Nevins

  19. f says:

    Only in FLOR-I-DUH!

  20. Emily Rubin says:

    I have always known Dr. El Sanadi to be nice person ad a great doctor. I have heard that the reason for Dan Lewis’ negative comments about Dr. El Sanadi is that he fired Dan Lewis’ daughter. Is this true?

  21. putting it in perspective says:

    To all of you defending Dan Lewis, I only wish someone takes a public dump on your loved ones or friends if they die tragically.

    The article was not an expose about Broward Health but a story about someone who just tragically took their own life. Certainly there was a time and place for Lewis to express his issues with Broward Health but that was not it.

    Sooner or later it will come out that Dan Lewis has been trying to extract business from the District and didn’t get it. This will properly color the “objective” light that he has attempted to been seen in during his jihad against Broward Health.

    Karma is a Bitch

  22. It is all BS says:

    Suzanne says:
    January 28th, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    The epitome of narcissistic, petulant, self-indulgence…

    That describes blowhard Chazzy eloquently.

  23. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> That describes blowhard Chazzy eloquently.

    I agree, Chaz is a douchebag.

  24. Charles king says:

    I’ve always wondered when the pie throwing common in European politics would cross the pond. It looks like it’s finally here. I can think of quite a few local pols that would look priceless with pie all over their faces. I’m guessing Black Lives Matter doesn’t employ the tactic for fear of being shot while proving their point.


    The fear of being shot is not exaggerated in this Stand Your Ground state.

    There are ways to avoid shooting someone and avoid being assaulted. They include filing an assault charge against the pie thrower followed by a lawsuit.