Wait long enough and what goes around, will eventually come around.
As reported in an exclusive by The Daily Pulp, the FBI is focused on lobbyist Ron Book.
In Broward and Tallahassee politics, influence peddling comes in countless forms. Here's one currently under investigation by the federal government:
A powerful lobbyist, seeking to curry favor with a state senator and benefit a major client, helps to secure the senator's boyfriend a job at the development firm the lobbyist represents. The boyfriend also happens to be a Housing Authority honcho who goes on to oversee two new multimillion-dollar publicly financed projects with the very developer who hired him.This is one scenario that sources say the FBI is currently investigating as part of a major probe that involves recently convicted GOP fundraiser and lobbyist Alan Mendelsohn, who had deep ties to numerous politicians, including former Gov. Charlie Crist, former Senate President Ken Pruitt, embattled Congressman David Rivera, and state Sen. Eleanor Sobel. The same federal investigation also involves several figures from the massive Mutual Benefits Corp. Ponzi scheme, including MBC fraudster Joel Steinger, who is awaiting trial on federal charges himself.
Here are the players in the scenario:
The lobbyist: Ron Book, who represents a host of governments, including Broward County, and private clients, including the Miami Dolphins, as perhaps the most powerful lobbyist in Florida.The senator: Muriel "Mandy" Dawson, a controversial Democratic legislator who was term-limited from office in 2008. She has longstanding close ties to Book and was implicated in federal court records with having received $87,000 in secret payments from Mendelsohn through her former Senate aide, Veronica Blakely.
The boyfriend: Scott Strawbridge, director of development and facilities at the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority. Strawbridge began dating Dawson in 2006, and they have since broken up.
The firm: Miami-based Carlisle Development Group, which built the $16 million Housing Authority project at Dixie Court and is slated to demolish and redevelop Dr. Kennedy Homes, the historic public housing development on the south side of Broward Boulevard. That project calls for another $21 million in federal funds. Heading Carlisle is Lloyd Boggio, the former principal of the Cornerstone Group, another major player in the government-subsidized affordable housing industry.
Check out the Book denial over at Bob Norman's blog here.
This Frog is not surprised by the above intermingle. As many who frequent this blog well know, Ron Book utilized his lobbyist ties as the steamroll to legislate residency restrictions for those persons designated as sex offenders by the state of Florida, going as far to use his position of Chairman of the Miami Dade Homeless Trust to segregate persons so classified to live beneath the span of the Julia Tuttle Causeway--a scenario which by any other demographic, let's say restricting the mentally ill to live as legal ordinance would indicate--would have prove a huge conflict of interest by anyone actually paying attention.
As an aside, The Miami Herald ran a story Friday, 2/11, tying Book to what would appear to ordinary mortals as yet another obvious conflict--his hiring by a developer to lobby the city he already contracts as a lobbyist.
A letter from City Attorney Lynn Whitfield to Book notes that his lobbyist agreement with the city “specifically states that you avoid any representation or relation which would create a conflict of interest.”
Book did not return calls for comment. Whitfield’s letter says Book’s relationship with Biscayne Landing developers “constitutes a direct conflict of interest” and “can be considered a breach of your contract with the City.”
No where to run to, baby.
No where to hide.