Nine Democrats among 55 sheriffs endorsing Republican Rick Scott’s Senate bid.

Republican Martin County Sheriff William Snyder is among 55 Florida sheriffs endorsing Republican Gov. Rick Scott for U.S. Senate. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott this morning rolled out the endorsements of 55 of Florida’s 66 elected sheriffs for his Republican U.S. Senate bid against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Nine of the sheriffs listed by the Scott campaign are Democrats and four others are independent or no party affiliation, according to the Florida Sheriffs Association directory. Most are from counties that vote Republican in presidential elections and statewide races.

Only one Republican sheriff in the state — John Tate of Holmes County — is not on Scott’s list of endorsers. The 10 other elected sheriffs who did not endorse Scott are all Democrats, including Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, a registered Democrat whose office appears on the county ballot as nonpartisan.

Among South Florida and Treasure Coast sheriffs, Scott has the endorsement of Republican Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

Florida has 67 counties. Sheriff is an elected position in 66 of them, with Miami-Dade County appointing a chief law-enforcement officer whose title is Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Democratic sheriffs listed by the Scott campaign as endorsers are: Sadie Darnell of Alachua County, James Potter of DeSoto County, David Hardin of Glades County, Harrell Reid of Hamilton County, Steve Whidden of Hendry County, Lou Roberts of Jackson County, Eddie Joe White of Liberty County, Gator DeLoach III of Putnam County and Sam St. John of Suwanee County.

Scott also lists the endorsements of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart, both listed as no party affiliation in the Florida Sheriffs Association directory, and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter and Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood, who are listed as independent.

Of the 14 non-Republican sheriffs who endorsed Scott, 13 are from counties that Republican Donald Trump carried over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that Scott carried over Democrat Charlie Crist in the 2014 governor’s race. Alachua County voted for Crist and Clinton.

Sheriff: Trump’s China summit cost local taxpayers $1.5 million

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says his agency spent about $1.5 million to assist the Secret Service with security during President Donald Trump‘s latest four-day visit to Palm Beach, which included a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In an exclusive interview with The Palm Beach Post this morning, Bradshaw said that with the latest costs, his agency has racked up about $3.5 million in total expenditures since Trump’s November victory.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy keeps an eye on demonstrators in Manalapan during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit last week. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Bradshaw and local officials, as well as members of Congress from the area, are hoping to get the federal government to reimburse local taxpayers for those expenses.

“It was a large operational undertaking…When you’ve got two of the largest leaders of the world in one spot, the security is something you’ve got to pay attention to,” Bradshaw said.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw discussing security preparations for the U.S.-China summit last week.

Xi brought a large Chinese delegation that stayed at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan while Trump stayed, as usual, at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach.

That meant there were two presidential security details and two sets of motorcades.

» PHOTO GALLERY: Trump and Xi visit Palm Beach

Bradshaw also estimates that as many as 2,000 pro- and anti-Xi demonstrators came to the area. Six people were arrested.

“That’s pretty successful when you get down to it,” Bradshaw said of the arrest total.

 

 

 

 

 

Frankel seeks federal money for local costs when Trump visits

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies assist the Secret Service when President Donald Trump visits Palm Beach. (Melanie Bell/The Palm Beach Post)

The Democrat who represents President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago in Congress says the federal government should step in to reimburse Palm Beach County taxpayers for security costs and other expenses associated with Trump’s frequent visits.

 

Democratic Reps. (from left) Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Lois Frankel signed a letter seeking federal help with local costs associated with President Donald Trump’s visits.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, drafted a letter to Trump — also signed by local Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton — seeking federal help defraying the local expenses.

 

Frankel says the costs include more than $1.7 million for sheriff’s deputies and fire rescue personnel as well as lost business at the county’s Lantana Airport, which effectively shuts down because of flight restrictions when the president stays in Palm Beach. Frankel also says the expected visit next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping will cost another $280,000.

 

Trump remained in Washington this past weekend but has visited Mar-a-Lago five weekends since taking office.

 

President Donald Trump and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw at Mar-a-Lago last month.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has said he believes his agency’s costs will be reimbursed by the federal government. Bradshaw discussed the issue during an in-person meeting with Trump on Feb. 20.

 

Frankel and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio will discuss Frankel’s letter to Trump at a news conference this morning.

Trump in Palm Beach: Sheriff’s costs around $1.5 million and growing

A Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy outside Trump International Golf Club while Donald Trump golfed there in December as president-elect. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
A Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy outside Trump International Golf Club while Donald Trump golfed there in December as president-elect. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH — Donald Trump‘s visits to Mar-a-Lago as president-elect and as president have cost Palm Beach County taxpayers about $1.5 million since November, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw estimates.

 

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw

Bradshaw says he’s confident the money will be reimbursed by the federal government.

 

Trump is expected to return to his winter White House for a third straight weekend on Friday.

 

Presidential visits to Palm Beach County are not unusual, with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all making multiple visits for fundraisers, golf outings and campaign appearances. But those visits did not involve extended stays, as is the case with Trump.

 

“Obviously we take it very seriously and we’re fortunate we have the experience and the manpower to be able to handle it. We work seamlessly with the Secret Service because we’ve done it so much,” Bradshaw said.

 

Click here to read more about the local costs helping the Secret Service protect the president.

 

 

Addiction treatment ethics bill gets overhaul

An overhaul to a bill, HB 823, targeting unethical marketing practices in the substance abuse treatment industry would create a local pilot program headed by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg to coordinate efforts to crack down on fraudulent business practices.Click for complete sober homes coverage

The late-filed amendment to the bill would create the Substance Abuse and Recovery Fraudulent Business Practices Pilot Program to “coordinate state and local agencies, law enforcement entities and investigative units in order to increase the effectiveness of programs and initiatives dealing with the regulation, prevention, detection and prosecution of unethical and fraudulent business practices within the substance abuse industry.”

The House Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to hear the bill this morning and can be watched live at 11:30 a.m. on The Florida Channel.

A Palm Beach Post investigation of the drug treatment industry found evidence of questionable business practices in the county’s largely unregulated, $1 billion drug treatment industry. Among the practices:

  • Kickbacks, bonuses, commissions and bribes between sober home operators and treatment programs to secure patients.
  • Free and reduced rent and “scholarships” offered to addicts with insurance to persuade patients to move into a specific sober home.
  • Predatory marketing, including call centers hired by treatment businesses and sober homes that do not tell addicts seeking help of those partnerships or that they receive a fee for every addict they refer to the center.

An FBI task force is also investigating the industry. John Lehman, head of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, said he expects indictments to be handed down soon.

As part of the new proposal, Aronberg would appoint an advisory panel with at least nine members from the Department of Children and Families, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, representatives from local and county governments, business organizations, insurance companies and treatment providers.

Also on the panel, the executive directors of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association and the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, a Boca Raton-based non-profit that oversees voluntary certification of sober homes.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, SB 1138. As initially filed, the bills in both chambers spelled out specific crimes and punishments for violations of state laws. However, Hager’s amendment – filed Monday night – strikes all of his bill and replaces it with the proposal for the pilot program.

A similar amendment has not been filed to Clemens’ bill, which passed unanimously through the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs on Jan. 20.

Aronberg is not new to investigations of the industry. In 2011, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi named Aronberg  a Special Prosecutor for Prescription Drug Trafficking. In his role as the Attorney General’s “Drug Czar,” Aronberg led an anti-pill mill initiative that helped clean up the pain clinic industry.

 

 

In crackdown on “sanctuaries,” House would bar PBSO policy

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has policy targeted by House bill
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has policy targeted by House bill

The Republican-controlled Florida House is seeking to bar city and county governments from

A measure (CS/HB 675) is poised for a final vote in the House in coming days, after being debated Tuesday.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is among law enforcement agencies in six counties that could be affected by the proposed ban, having said they will limit their cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when it demands they detain an immigrant.

The Miami-Dade County Commission has formally adopted a similar, countywide policy.

County officials have said they don’t have the time or money to take on the federal responsibility of controlling immigration. But the issue has been framed by the widening political clash over immigration, with many Republican voters call for stricter enforcement.

GOP presidential candidates have steadily criticized so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, sponsor of the House measure (CS/HB 675) said it

Metz, however, had few answers to questions from Democrats opposing the bill, about the scope of the problem in Florida.

But Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderdale Lakes, told Metz, “I don’t know what you’re trying to fix.”