What happens when a mainstream newspaper gets too cozy with local politicians? In the case of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel they often have to play catchup with the free alternative weekly, the Broward Palm Beach New Times, when it comes to exposing the foibles of those same politicians such as happened when the New Times' Bob Norman led the way with his stories about Broward School Board corruption to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. And once again Bob Norman is leading the way (although he sometimes goes off the deep end when discussing national politics) in his New Times Daily Pulp blog with a special series of articles exposing the amazing activities of Broward County Democrat Chairman, Mitch Ceasar, including allegations of corruption, vote tamperiing, and "wandering fingers." I'm sure you want to start off with the incredibly juicy details of the latter so check these claims in Norman's story made by Donna Greenburg, former executive director of the Broward Democrats:
"He's very predictable," Greenberg, who was married, says of her former boss. "He would walk over, shut the blinds in his office, and close the door. Then he would come over, say 'You look tense,' and massage my neck. It was so weird. I was freaking out. I was like, 'What do I do?'"
It only got worse the one time that party business caused her to have to go to Ceasar's house in Plantation. She was there to collect photographs that were to be posted on the Broward Democratic Executive Committee website.
"He totally came onto me and tried to get me in bed," she said.
The account of Ceasar's awkward advances only gets juicier:
While she sat at his computer, he told her that she looked tense and started rubbing her shoulders.
"His hands went lower and lower until I had to say, 'How can I relax when you have your hands down my shirt?' I tried to make light talk because I was so nervous, and I pretended like it didn't happen. I told him that I needed to get back to his office."
She got up from his computer, and he walked with her toward his bedroom.
"If you lay down, I can rub your solar plexus and that will really help you relax," she recalls him saying. "And that's when I said I really need to go. I got out of there as fast as I could. He called me later that day and said, 'I really am a good guy.'"
To get an idea of what other people in Broward think of Mitch Caesar, check out these quotes:
-- "He is really one of the most unsavory characters I've ever met in my life. He doesn't care about the party. Mitch only cares about Mitch."
-- "To me, he's a cancer. I think he's the stem of where your cancer grows, and then it spreads out to the little cities, to the county, to whoever he decides to pursue."
-- "He's cheap, he's deceitful, he uses his minions to spy on people. He talks about these things in the office; he sends his spies out. He's a master of the game plan... I am an independent now, it made me so sick."
So who made these quotes? Hateful Republicans who just wanted to smear the Broward Democrat Chairman? Nope. Those quotes are all from former directors of the Broward Democrat Party who had to work closely with Mitch Caesar. So how does someone like Caesar remain in his position? Well, besides having a local daily newspaper which neglects to investigates his activities, vote tampering (a tradition in Broward) is a helpful tool:
...Ceasar runs his party like a despotic fiefdom, say numerous party insiders, with more ballot-stuffing and vote-fixing than the worst of the old ward system in his native Brooklyn. And in one of the Democrats' most important national strongholds, it has turned the party into a bitterly dysfunctional mess that does little to help Democratic candidates or anyone else other than Ceasar and his profiteering loyalists, like Diane Glasser, Barry Harris, and Jack Shifrel.
And why is Mitch Ceasar so anxious to remain in power as Broward County Democrat Chairman? Bob Norman explains:
While Nedezda Stepanovic says that while she served as executive director of the Broward County Democratic Party, Chairman Mitch Ceasar explained to her how he makes his money.
"He said, 'When I get people elected into a city, those people owe me, and they owe me by giving me the city lobbying contracts,'" Stepanovic recalled. "I said, 'What is that?' He said, 'Each city needs to have lobbyists, and if I help them get elected, I get those contracts.' I said, 'How are you guaranteed that?' He said, 'That's how it goes.'"
Amazing that Ceasar can get away with his rogue activities. Yet when you have the magic "D" by your name and the major local newspaper looks the other way, apparently you get a pass.
However, there is an upside here for conservatives as Bob Norman explains:
In the middle of a huge election season in arguably the most important Democratic county in America and the party chairman is nowhere to be found. In addition to a slew of local races, the Democrats have big contests involving Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee in the governor's race; Congressman Kendrick Meek in his Senate bid; and incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, who is fighting for his political life against Allen West.
Yes, in the middle of an important election season, Ceasar is pretty much MIA. And can that really be bad? Oh, and speaking of MIA...Yoo! Hoo! Sun-Sentinel! Time to play catchup with Bob Norman yet again.