Secret U.S. Marshals’ report ID’d security weaknesses at Broward courthouse before escape

Broward County Courthouse

By Dan Christensen
A confidential U.S. Marshals’ security assessment for the Broward County Courthouse exposed numerous weaknesses in the building’s security system four years before last week’s scandalous escape of a 21-year-old murder suspect.

28 pages connect Saudi prince to al Qaeda leader, supporters of 9/11 hijackers

From left to right: Dick Cheney, Prince Bandar, Condoleezza Rice, and George W. Bush, on the Truman Balcony of the White House on September 13, 2001. [Source: White House via]

By Dan Christensen
The Saudi ambassador who met with President George W. Bush at the White House two days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 had connections to a major al-Qaeda figure and other Saudis suspected of helping two of the suicide hijackers while they were in the United States.

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Report: ChildNet Broward is failing, ‘urgent’ need to fix county’s child welfare system


By Dan Christensen
Burdened with high caseloads and mired in millions of dollars in debt, the lead agency in Broward’s child welfare system is failing. That’s the gist of a 15-page state task force report obtained by about ChildNet Broward, the nonprofit that received $67 million from Florida’s Department of Children & Families (DCF) this year to provide community-based child welfare services.

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FOIA lawsuit disputes 9-11 Review Commission effort to discredit sensational FBI report

FBI Director James Comey, second from right,  is flanked by 9/11 Review Commissioners Tim Roemer, right, Ed Meese and Bruce Hoffman, far left. Photo: FBI

By Dan Christensen
Two blue ribbon government panels on 9/11, two approaches to public accountability. The 9/11 Commission held a dozen public hearings before issuing its report in 2004. Last year’s lesser known FBI 9/11 Review Commission was more secretive. A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Miami seeks access to its records that the FBI has refused to release.

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Broward’s Inspector General probes Hallandale Beach CRA – again

Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper is flanked on the left by Commissioners Keith London and Michele Lazarow and on the right by Commissioners Bill Julian and Anthony Sanders. The commission also sits at the city CRA's board of directors

By William Gjebre
The Broward County Inspector General’s Office has launched another inquiry into Hallandale Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency, three years after finding the city “grossly mismanaged” millions of dollars in CRA funds.

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Broward County’s $18.9 million airport flip-flop and a new, secret whistleblower case

The Broward County Commission before Tuesday's vote to pay $18.9  million to settle a dispute with airport contractor Tutor Prerini.

By Dan Christensen
With little public discussion, the Broward County Commission has overwhelmingly approved an $18.9-million payout to airport contractor Tutor Perini to settle a bitter dispute about who was to blame for costly construction delays.

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Environmentalists blow whistle on state proposal to allow more toxins in state waters

Photo: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

By Francisco Alvarado
Florida’s rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters face a dramatic increase in the level of toxic chemicals that cause cancer and other serious illnesses under a proposal by the pro-business administration of Gov. Rick Scott to water down state environmental protections.

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Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI accused of spying on defense in Medicare fraud case

Judge Cooke has set a June 8 hearing to consider alleged wrongdoing by federal prosecutors and agents.

By Dan Christensen
In a stunning twist in a long-running Medicare fraud case, both the Miami U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI stand accused of spying on a defendant’s lawyer by illegally and secretly obtaining copies of confidential defense documents.

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28 pages and 80,000 pages: The hunt for a Saudi support network for 9-11 hijackers


By Dan Christensen
Lawyers for the Florida Bulldog have asked a federal judge to award substantial attorney fees for years of efforts to obtain secret reports about the FBI’s post-9/11 investigation of Saudis in Sarasota with apparent ties to the suicide hijackers.

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Broward Health will start lobbyist registration in June, according to CEO

Broward Health's board of commissioners at a meeting last month.

By Dan Christensen and Karla Bowsher
As Broward Health’s board of commissioners dithered last week about how to implement a 12-year-old, yet newly discovered lobbyist registration policy, reform-minded CEO Pauline Grant said she would have a registration system up and running in June.

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Tainted water releases likely to continue even after Lake Okeechobee dike is refurbished

Crews install a partial cutoff wall in the middle of the Herbert Hoover Dike near Pahokee in 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed 21.4 miles of cutoff wall in the southeast side of the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee from 2007-2013. Photo: US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District

By Ann Henson Feltgen
While Floridians are anticipating the completion of the renovation to the 75-year-old Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee during 2020, more water discharges, like those that occurred this winter, will likely be required after the work is complete, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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