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pbsjLogoBy Dan Christensen

The slow motion fall of embattled PBS&J boss John Zumwalt moved rapidly toward closure over the weekend with the announcement that he had been replaced as company chairman and would soon resign.

Zumwalt’s ouster by PBS&J shareholders after five years as the company’s powerful chairman and chief executive officer was a surprise. His decision to leave on March 1 “for personal reasons” was an about-face.

John Zumwalt

John Zumwalt

Three weeks ago, Zumwalt informed employee-shareholders he would step down as day to day CEO later this year to spend “the coming months” developing PBSJ’s plans for future growth. He said nothing about giving up the chairman’s post, and had sought re-election to the board.

PBS&J is among Florida’s largest government contractors and donates heavily to political campaigns. In Broward, its highest profile job today is as co-leader of the design engineering team for the county’s $810 million runway expansion at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Fort Lauderdale Police Department

Fort Lauderdale Police Department

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

Daniel M. Zavadil no longer carries a badge. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department fired him last fall after he admitted to signing someone else’s name on an official document.

Zavadil lost his job after authorities concluded he was unfit to serve as a city police officer because of a “lack of integrity and poor judgment.”

But he’s still good enough to be a Florida lawyer.

The Florida Bar identifies Zavadil as a “member in good standing” on its public website. It lists Zavadil’s 10-year discipline history as “none.”

Officer Zavadil was admitted to the practice of law on May 4 while relieved of duty with pay and under investigation by police internal affairs. He was dismissed by the city in November for falsifying a defendant’s signature and conduct unbecoming a police officer.

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

John Zumwalt

John Zumwalt

The boss of one of Florida’s biggest government contractors has announced he’s stepping down. The news comes weeks after embarrassing disclosures about his personal involvement in a corporate pay to play scandal, and disclosures about possible corrupt payoffs overseas by company officials.

“After a decade of my executive leadership through the best of times and through difficult times it is now time to plan an orderly transition to a new CEO,” PBS&J chief executive John Zumwalt, 58, said in a prepared statement last week. Zumwalt will continue as chairman of PBS&J’s board of directors.

Sun Village developer Frederick Elliott

Sun Village developer Frederick Elliott

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

Federal prosecutors and FBI agents in South Florida are investigating allegations of yet another massive investment fraud in which thousands of investors across the U.S. and Canada are said to have lost $170 million, Broward Bulldog has learned.

The investigation began last month after a 50-page preliminary report about the “Ponzi-style” scam was sent to a Miami federal judge by a court-appointed special master. The report called for sweeping criminal probes by U.S. and Canadian law enforcement.

“The unassailable fact (is) that thousands of investors/owners, and by extension their families in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other countries, have been financially destroyed,” says the report by Miami lawyer Thomas Scott, a former federal judge and U.S. Attorney.

Jamie Solow

Jamie Solow

UPDATE: At 2 p.m. today, Jan. 22, U.S. District Judge Middlebrooks denied ex-stockbroker Jamie Solow’s request that he stay his order sending Solow to jail on Monday. The judge did, however, delay Solow’s surrender date one week to allow Solow time to appeal. Solow’s new surrender date is Feb. 1. 

 

By Dan Christensen, browardbulldog.org

A globetrotting former stock broker who’s been living a life of luxury in Fort Lauderdale since a jury found that he defrauded hundreds of small investors who bought his risky, mortgage-backed securities has been ordered to prison indefinitely.

The unusual federal civil contempt order says Jamie Solow, 48, orchestrated a complex scheme to stash millions of dollars offshore and out of the reach of his victims and the government.

A judge last year ordered Solow to pay nearly $6 million in ill-gotten gains and civil penalties after a nine week civil trial.

The money trail that regulators have followed to collect stretches across the world – from a bank in the tiny South Pacific nation of The Cook Islands where Solow’s wife, Gina, has a $5.2 million certificate of deposit, to Swiss safe deposit boxes stuffed with cash and jewelry.