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By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

G. Steven Fender

G. Steven Fender

John K. Olson

John K. Olson

South Florida’s chief federal judge will hold a hearing this month to decide whether a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy judge should be kicked off a case. It has been alleged the proceedings are tainted because one side’s law firm hired the judge’s fiancé in the middle of the litigation.

Federal rules require judges to disqualify themselves in any case where their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John K. Olson refused to step aside this summer when he was challenged for not disclosing that his fiancé had gone to work a year ago as a bankruptcy lawyer for Fort Lauderdale-based Ruden McClosky.

Melanie May

Melanie May

Robert Butterworth
Robert Butterworth

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

The federal insider trading trial of top Republican fundraiser Dr. Zachariah P. Zachariah wrapped up Friday without hearing testimony from two big-name defense character witnesses. A judge’s verdict is expected in a few weeks.

Zachariah, the director of the Fort Lauderdale Heart Institute at Holy Cross Hospital, is accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of using nonpublic information to make nearly $1 million in illegal profits in 2005 trading the stock of two Florida companies.

On the witness stand last month, Zachariah denied the SEC’s accusation that he used inside connections to make a killing in the stock of two Florida corporations whose shares rose during takeovers.

Broward Water and Wastewater Services web site banner

Broward Water and Wastewater Services web site banner

By Dan Christensen, Broward Bulldog
 
Four Broward water and sewer employees – including three managers – have been suspended without pay after an internal investigation of sexual harassment allegations found widespread workplace misconduct.

The division’s assistant director was reprimanded, and a mechanic was fired for refusing a reassignment prompted by his role in the matter, according to Water and Wastewater Services director Alan Garcia.

“The work environment at WWS is permeated with managers, supervisors and their subordinates engaging in inappropriate behavior and language of a sexual nature,” says a nine-page report by the county’s professional standards office. It also said supervisory staff has not reported harassment complaints up the chain of command as required by county policy.

Karl Rove

Karl Rove

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

A “super PAC” backed by Republican strategist Karl Rove, and largely financed by a handful of mega-wealthy out-of-state businessmen, has reported spending nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio.

Federal records filed Tuesday night show the money – $247,000 – was paid to an Austin-based direct marketing firm, Olsen & Shuvalov, whose website says that it specializes in helping Republican political campaigns and conservative causes.

By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org

Nancy Watkins

Nancy Watkins

A new political attack ad committee was launched in Fort Lauderdale last week, but who is behind it and why is largely a mystery.

The group operates under the name The Committee for Ethics in Government. Its address is a mail drop at a downtown UPS store. Messages left on its voicemail draw no response. And federal and state records identify the committee chairwoman as a 21-year-old political unknown who shares an address with her parents in Davie.

Federal and state records do reveal the committee was established by Republican campaign accounting guru Nancy Watkins of Tampa.