In Hialeah, money meant to feed poor kids pays for Las Vegas trip for city officials

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Two years ago, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez signed off on spending $7,621 from a $10,000 corporate grant for feeding poor children. Instead, the money went to pay for airline tickets and posh hotel accommodations for himself, his chief of staff, a police detective and four other city employees to attend a parks and recreation conference in Las Vegas.

FBI probe of tie between Saudi ambassador, al Qaeda leader put on ice

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
The FBI now appears never to have restarted a suspended 2002 investigation into why a captured al Qaeda leader possessed the unlisted phone number of an offshore company tied to Saudi Arabia’s U.S. ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

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Not yet sworn in, Curbelo facing FEC’s questions about campaign finances

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
After running a campaign promising to restore public trust and integrity to the seat he won on Election Day this month, Congressman-elect Carlos Curbelo is already drawing scrutiny from federal regulators.

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FBI probes whistleblower claim of $130 million scam; Plaza Health Network under scrutiny

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
Since being founded 64 years ago as a convalescent home for elderly Jewish people and war veterans, Plaza Health Network has nurtured a reputation for providing top-notch services to senior citizens of all denominations. But a little-noticed whistleblower’s lawsuit by an ex-Plaza executive alleges the non-profit company scammed the federal government for $130 million.

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An election result you likely missed: anti-corruption referendum wins big in Tallahassee

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Lost in the hubbub of a heated election season headlined by a down to the wire governor’s race, voters in Tallahassee approved a first-of-its-kind municipal anti-corruption referendum intended to limit the influence of big moneyed special interests in local politics.

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BSO quietly changes court’s probation orders; Broward judge blows the whistle

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Fort Lauderdale resident Christopher Wayne Thurlow was adjudged guilty last April of misdemeanor battery and violating a restraining order. His sentence: 12 months of reporting probation – that is, to appear personally once a month before a probation officer. But that’s not what happened.

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Ballot measure backers spend big, win big

By By Liz Essley Whyte
Center for Public Integrity
Big money was a boon to groups fighting for and against ballot measures across the states on Election Day. In 21 of the top 25 most expensive state ballot measure races in terms of television ad spending, groups that won the war on the airwaves also won at the ballot box. But surprising upsets also showed that in the wild world of direct democracy, money isn’t everything.

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For the public’s right to know or for profit? A town’s showdown with litigious residents

By Dan Moffett
Special to BrowardBulldog.org
A non-profit foundation that bills itself as dedicated to the public’s right to know is a target of angry municipal officials who allege it is actually a money-making tool that uses frivolous public records lawsuits to squeeze payouts from governments in South Florida and across the state.

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Curbelo’s campaign blames glitch for missing $50,000 in PAC contributions

By Frank Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
Miami Republican Carlos Curbelo’s congressional campaign was forced to resubmit its most recent quarterly finance report after failing to disclose $50,000 in contributions from 21 political action committees. This story was updated Saturday afternoon to account for numerous errors contained in Curbelo campaign reports.

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The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster

By Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger;Laura Sullivan
ProPublica and NPR
In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks. Americans sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering. They believed the charity was up to the job. They were wrong.

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Broward PD Finkelstein says bond court judge Hurley must go; Chief judge says no

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
John “Jay” Hurley, a Broward County judge who’s gained a measure of online celebrity for his brand of televised justice, will keep his post in bond court despite a call for his removal by Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

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