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As Sheriff Tony dodges process servers, his lawyer calls lawsuit that seeks Tony’s ouster ‘nothing’

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A screen shot from a campaign ad for Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony paid for by the political committee Broward First.

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony spent much of last week dodging process servers looking to hand him court papers that would officially notify him that a lawsuit filed against him seeks to disqualify him from serving as sheriff.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 30, contends that Tony is likely a convicted felon, and indicates that for years he’s been lying to cover it up. Under Florida’s constitution, felons whose civil rights have not been restored are disqualified from holding public office.

An emergency hearing set for Thursday before Broward Circuit Judge Michael Robinson was canceled after Tony’s lawyer, Michael Moskowitz, notified the judge that Tony had not been served. Tony was still not served as of Saturday night.

In an emailed interview, Moskowitz on Friday derided the lawsuit as “nothing.”

Broward Circuit Judge Michael Robinson

“They filed this lawsuit with NO evidence to support their allegations. Just their ‘belief.’ That doesn’t support a lawsuit and this case is nothing more than political theater. Courts see thru this stuff and I am confident that Judge Robinson will see this for what it is – nothing.”

Asked if he had declined to accept service on Tony’s behalf, Moskowitz said, “As for service of process – that is the Plaintiff’s obligation to obtain. They failed to do so as specifically instructed by the court. Their failures cannot be excused by their effort to shift blame and ask us to accept service.”

Sheriff Tony’s rivals-turned-plaintiffs

The lawsuit was filed by H. Wayne Clark Jr., the Republican who lost decisively to Tony in last Tuesday’s general election; Charles E. Whatley, an independent candidate who also lost, and two Democrats who lost to Tony in the August primary, Al Pollock and Santiago C. Vasquez Jr.

The suit accused the Florida Department of Law Enforcement of failing to adequately vet Tony when Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Tony as sheriff in January 2019 and Broward Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci of not enforcing the constitutional requirement that bars convicted felons from holding office.

Broward Canvassing Board Chair Ken Gottlieb, left. Photo: Melanie Bell. Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci, right.

An amended complaint filed the day before the election added Broward County Court Judge Kenneth Gottlieb as chair of the Broward County Canvassing Board that certifies election results.

The plaintiffs asked the court to block Antonacci and Gottlieb from “consummating, tallying, certifying or reporting” the election results for sheriff “as a result of Tony being an ineligible candidate for Sheriff of Broward County.”

Tony’s alleged ineligibility arises from Philadelphia court records that purport to show that Tony was twice on adult probation when he was a teenager in 1992 and again in 1994. The court dockets do not state the charges against Tony, or their disposition, but the lawsuit says, “based on conversations with authorities from Philadelphia, the convictions and probations were for felonies.”

Backing up that assertion are affidavits from two private investigators who contacted authorities in Philadelphia. One affidavit by Mike Fisten, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective who now operates Hollywood’s Blue Line Investigative Solutions, says he learned from current and former law enforcement officers in the city that as a teenager Tony was arrested in 1992 and 1994 for unknown offenses that were filed in adult court. Those sources also told him that in the 1990s police could only direct-file arrested juveniles to adult court if they were charged with a number of serious felonies, such as murder rape, aggravated assault, robbery, etc.

The 1993 murder charge

The lawsuit also cites Tony’s 1993 arrest for murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old Hector “Chino” Rodriguez. Florida Bulldog reported on May 2 that Tony, then 14, was initially charged as an adult by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, but that the homicide case was soon transferred to Juvenile Court, where it went to trial in December 1993. Tony was found not guilty, according to a police report, but the court file was ordered sealed by the judge and no court records about it are public.

The lawsuit says Tony “has refused to provide certified court documents” to verify his acquittal.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been investigating Tony since shortly after Florida Bulldog reported on May 6 that on Jan. 7 Tony signed an FDLE affidavit declaring under oath that he never had a criminal record sealed or expunged. The form includes a notice above Tony’s signature that it constitutes an official statement under the law and that any “intentional omission” or “false execution…shall constitute a misdemeanor of the second degree and disqualify the officer for employment as an officer.”

FDLE Inspector Keith Riddick

The lawsuit contends that not only did FDLE fail to adequately investigate Tony’s background before the governor appointed him sheriff last year, but that it now has in its possession “information regarding Tony’s criminal history which would disqualify Tony from being a Florida Law Enforcement Officer or a Florida Public Office Holder.”

The plaintiffs asked the court to order FDLE employees having knowledge of Tony’s “criminal history and convictions” to sit for depositions and to respond to discovery seeking records.

Court records show the plaintiffs have set a video deposition via Zoom for Nov. 13 with FDLE Inspector Keith Riddick.

Further, the plaintiffs’ attorneys – Deerfield Beach’s Darren P. Covar, Cooper City’s Roger W. Powell and plaintiff H. Wayne Clark, a lawyer with the Miami firm Foley Mansfield – have issued a subpoena to compel Zoom testimony and records from the records custodian for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. That video deposition is also scheduled for Nov. 13.

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Latest comments

  • SHERIFF TONY IS DOING A GOOD JUB,LEAVE HIM ALONE.

  • Thank you Dan et a for continuing to investigate and report on this critical issue.

  • This guy would rob the Rolex off your dresser if he came in your home. What a scumbag. I can’t believe he’s the sheriff.

  • If Moskovitz is his attorney of record as noted in the story, why can’t Tony be served through his lawyer? His lawyer knew well enough about the hearing to argue that Tony wasn’t served the court papers, so he has to be aware of the suit.

  • That’s what happens when politics overrides a murderer, liar, and LSD user! The good ole’ boys from FDLE, NAMELY Riddick did one helluva job “vetting” Mr. Tony. The only “vetting” came from Andrew Pollack, who personally recommended Tony to Desantis, and then publicly announced Tony as sheriff…need we say more? When puppets are used and marching orders are given, the rest is…what you get in Tony! He’s a worthless piece-of-garbage who’s day in hell is right around the corner. Save your salary Tony, because you’re going to need it for a good criminal defense attorney! “Scumbag” doesn’t even begin to describe this douschebag…he’s the sheriff, because it’s Broward County, and he had a “D” after his name! Doesn’t say much about the voters!!!

  • Al Pollock I don’t understand YOU!!! You campaigned with Israel to get Lamberti out, then he gave you a seat at the table, you stabbed him in the back, he put you out! You campaigned with Desantis and Parkland to put Israel out and put Tony in, Then you run against Tony and the other candidates in the primary, you loose by a land slide, the next day you’re a republican and he looses now you’re still going!!!! You lost go lick your wounds and let it go! Do you not have any respect for yourself, your wife and your kids! It’s like your obsessed with ruining this mans life!!! Do you not understand the seeds you’re sowing I would hate to anywhere near you when judgement comes for you! And I’m sorry Sheriff Tony is doing an excellent Job! Try again in four years!!!!
    GOOD JOB SHERIFF TONY !!!!

  • What does the term “Sworn Affidavit” mean and is it OK for some people to lie on a sworn statement? Why do you have to swear to tell the truth in front of a judge in his courtroom? Further, why are sworn documents witnessed by a notary then stamped proving authentication? Also, why is forging a name on any official document a felony ? Recently I read that a Sworn BSO Deputy was arrested and charged criminally for falsifying a Sworn AFFIDAVIT, swearing that she was NOT employed and obtained food stamps while collecting her BSO paycheck . So …..SHE gets arrested and her boss, the so called Sheriff Greg Toney who changed his name to Tony deliberately did the exact same thing several times, gets a PASS but NOT her? Many people don’t know this however some police officers and deputy sheriff’s over the years , have been terminated and arrested for falsifying reports and the charge was falsifying an official Sworn Document. Based upon Toney Gregory’s admitted criminal history of falsifying Sworn Affidavits to obtain law enforcement employment and voting registration means to me , that he has been illegally collecting thousands in salary ( taxpayer funds) for years and should be criminally investigated for perjury, fraud and grand theft. ATTENTION FDLE ! Have you been sleeping on the job or just too scared to do your job? The purpose of your agency is to investigate police fraud and corruption remember? If you sanctimonious empty suits discovered some unknown police rookie had his cousin fix a dent in his police car but failed to report it to his sergeant, you hypocrites would have him publicly drawn and quartered. Why do I say this that, because FDL E holds hearings in Tallahassee every week for offenses just like that. They and the governor fumbled the football on this case and it’s not going away!

  • To the idiot who mentioned Col. Pollock’s name. You are clearly an idiot and uneducated in Florida state statue. 1 – he never turned his back on Israel. He parted ways with Israel because Israel didn’t stand for public safety.
    2 – he never lobbied for this fraudster Tony and never knew this clown until he arrived.
    3 – I asked him, he’s not a republican. He believes in non partisan and everyone working together for public safety you moron.
    4 – It’s Al Pollock’s fault 😂😂😂 Greg Tony should’ve thought about that before getting the big head. Also you mentioned he’s doing a good job. Funny NO UNION ENDORSED HIM. IN FACT THE CIVILIANS DID EVEN PERCEIVE HIM TO BE A QUALIFIED CANDIDATE. HOW ABOUT THOSE APPLES YOU IDIOT. And yes ask the employees. He’s worse than Scott Israel. The guy doesn’t even show up to work. Real leadership at its finest. But funny you’re only worried about Al Pollock. What are you some Tony fanboy? Go do yourself a favor and get versed in the law before you start pointing fingers and ask your puppet Tony why he lied to you and everyone else.

    He’s a liar. A fraud. A scam artist. Definitely a criminal. Probably was a confidential informant to hide out this long. Let’s see… FBI investigation ✅ FDLE investigation ✅ lawsuit regarding him being a felon ✅. I’d say he’ll supersede Ken Jeanne when all this is done. He will make history and a Netflix documentary.

    PS. – you’re still an idiot for believing in this guy this long 😂😂😂

  • never trust a guy with two last names…or is that two first names?

  • Hey Captain Peterson, he actually changed his name to hide his past !

  • Whether the sheriff is doing a great job or not , we simply cannot allow him to lie on sworn affidavits and become a police officer in FLORIDA and he doesn’t need to be a sworn officer to be sheriff. In 1986 I had a felony case EXPUNGED by Judge Franza but because I plead NO CONTEST after 7/1/1981 I can’t ever become a police officer in Florida and BSO BANNED. me after I applied. My adjudication was WITHHELD I don’t have any convictions of any kind but BSO ended my dreams and rendered my four criminal justice degrees meaningless. In fact the background investigator didn’t even find it was on microfilm FDLE now has it I wanted to lie soooo bad just to work in the job of my dreams but I simply could not lie under oath as the sheriff did and for those who want to justify the ends you’re dead wrong he lied and he should not be able to wear that uniform as the sheriff and a misdemeanor conviction is easy and the governor MUST remove him regardless of what BLM says

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