By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Online state records that listed Broward Sheriff Scott Israel as a “principal” in a Weston private investigations firm, Talon/G6 Services, were altered last week to delete the sheriff’s name.
This week, the sheriff’s lawyer announced that Israel would amend his recently filed financial disclosure form after it was disclosed the sheriff had underreported how much money he was paid last year by a Fort Lauderdale private security company, Cambridge Security Services.
The changes follow inquiries about Israel’s business affairs by BrowardBulldog.org.
The Florida Division of Licensing removed Israel’s name from its records about Talon/G6 after deciding to accept a signed resignation letter from Israel that it had rejected only months before as inadequate, according to Division spokeswoman Erin Gillespie.
In the letter, dated April 20, 2011, Israel resigned as Talon/G6’s president and relinquished all ownership in corporate stock. The letter, however, was not received at the Division until last October, just a few weeks before Israel was elected.
The Division replied to Israel that proof – a notarized letter or corporate minutes reflecting the change – was required before Israel’s name would be dropped from its records, but no response was ever received, said Gillespie.
Israel remained listed as a principal of Talon/G6 until last week when the Division’s new chief of its Bureau of License Issuance, Stuart Scott, informed staff that Israel’s letter was now considered sufficient because a check of the state’s Division of Corporations website showed that Israel was no longer listed as company officer there.
Gillespie said the situation had not arisen before. She said Scott, who has been reviewing policies and procedures, made the change because he thought the Division’s old notification rule was “too bureaucratic.”
ISRAEL DISCLOSES HIS TAX RETURNS
The outside business ties of Broward’s elected officials, particularly the sheriff, have been a matter of keen public interest since 2005 when news of then-Sheriff Ken Jenne’s private business dealings touched off a federal investigation that landed Jenne in prison.
Sensitive to that, Sheriff Israel provided BrowardBulldog.org with copies of his federal income tax returns for 2011 and 2012. They show that in 2011 he claimed a passive loss of $8,200 on his investment in Talon/G6, an indication he indeed sold his stake that year.
But the sheriff’s 2012 tax return also revealed that Israel underreported his income on his signed and notarized Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interest form filed with Florida’s Commission on Ethics on June 27.
Israel reported on the form that “Cambridge Securities,” 5100 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, paid him $13,350 last year. The company, however, does not deal in stocks and bonds. Its actual name is Cambridge Security Services and it provides security guards and intelligence consulting.
Israel’s 1040 form states that Cambridge Security Services really paid him $27,000 in 2012 for his services as a “security executive.”
BSO general counsel Ron Gunzburger, the sheriff’s lawyer, called those discrepancies a “scrivener’s error” and said “the sheriff will be filing an amended (disclosure) form.”
Still, Israel’s public resume and his Facebook page recount his professional experience, including Talon/G6, but do not mention Cambridge Security.
At Talon/G6, Israel’s partner was James Scarberry, a former Hollywood police chief. Scarberry gained notoriety in 2007 after federal prosecutors said they were forced prematurely to shut down a two-year FBI undercover investigation of police corruption in Hollywood after Scarberry leaked word of the probe to the mayor, city manager and at least a half-dozen others.
“We were betrayed by the police chief,” retired FBI agent Jack Garcia told Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm in 2008.
NEW STOCKHOLDER TIED TO JENNE SCANDAL
Who bought Israel’s Talon/G6 shares?
According to Scarberry, it was a former BSO vendor with unsavory ties to ex-sheriff Ken Jenne.
“He sold his interest to Lewis Nadel,” said Scarberry, who remains with Talon/G6. Asked how much Nadel paid, Scarberry said, “I don’t want to discuss it with you.”
Nadel, vice president of Talon/G6, was a central player in the corruption case that led to Sheriff Jenne’s downfall six years ago.
Nadel was then president of Innovative Surveillance Technology, a company that had sold over $250,000 worth of equipment to BSO between 2003 and 2005. He also owned an eponymous consulting and training company for law enforcement agencies.
According to the charges to which Jenne pleaded guilty, Jenne provided Nadel with access to off-duty sheriffs deputies that Nadel would hire to do work for his companies. In exchange for that access, Nadel paid a total of $5,500 to Jenne’s executive assistant – money that ended up in Jenne’s bank account, prosecutors said.
Asked about the sheriff’s Talon/G6 stock sale, Gunzburger put distance between the sheriff and Nadel.
“The sheriff sold his shares directly back to the corporation in April 2011” for $5,000, Gunzburger said. “The corporation subsequently sold at least some of those shares to Mr. Nadel. But there was not any direct transfer/sale of shares, nor any exchange of money between Mr. Nadel and the sheriff.
While Scarberry, Gunzburger and Nadel himself all said that Nadel owns a piece of Talon/G6, his status is not reflected in state records. The Division of Licensing only shows that Nadel currently holds a license as a private investigator intern. Gillespie said the company has been asked “to file the appropriate information.”
A stock purchase agreement filed with the state says that a Pompano company called Tecwatch paid $5,000 for 50 percent of Talon/G’s stock on the same day Israel signed his letter of resignation.
Tecwatch’s lone corporate officer, director Thomas Strok, signed that agreement. Strok and Nadel are longtime co-directors of the South Florida Crime Commission, a nonprofit that does good deeds for law enforcement agencies.
Strok did not return messages seeking comment.
Nadel confirmed that he owns part of Talon/G6, but not via Tecwatch. He added that his friend’s investment was intended to help Israel by taking the company off his hands.
“Tom owns Tecwatch. I have nothing to do with Tecwatch,” said Nadel. “Tecwatch assumed (Israel’s) points so he could run for sheriff.”