by Javier Manjarres
The questionable ethics and leadership of Charlie Crist Republican Richard DeNapoli continues to divide Republicans in Broward County- so much so that past BREC Chairmen, Board Members and supporters are privately calling for his ouster. But DeNapoli’s woes do not stop at the local level. Higher ups within the Republican establishment and other Statewide County Republican leaders are clearly at odds with DeNapoli, and they are at their wits end with him. At the most recent Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Quarterly meeting, one ranking member of the RPOF bluntly told DeNapoli to his face, “Your leadership sucks.”
In 2004, DeNapoli inherited his grandparents Hollywood, Florida home, a home in which according to Broward County public records, DeNapoli has lived in and paid property taxes on it since coming into the property.
During the 2006 political electoral cycle, DeNapoli appeared to have falsified Supervisor of Elections documents by stating and submitting a Wellington, Florida address as his residence when he applied to run for Palm Beach County Commission Seat #6.
View the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Document here :Denapoli
Couple this indiscretion with a $4000 donation to a local Broward County candidate in 2010 that was not reported to the Broward Supervisor of Elections when DeNapoli was the acting Treasurer, and a clear pattern of unethical political practice begins to take shape. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Governor Charlie Crist appointed DeNapoli to the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC), where he is still a member.
The BREC elections were held on December 6, 2010, and it was discovered on that same day the BREC failed to disclose a $4000 donation it made to the campaign account of now Broward County Commissioner Charles ‘Chip’ LaMarca on October 28, 2010. In his 2010 G-4 campaign finance report, LaMarca posted the $4000 donation from the BREC, whereas DeNapoli, the Committee’s Treasurer at the time, did not.
On December 27, 2010, an amendment to the original 2010 G-4 finance report was posted to the Supervisor of Elections showing the $4000 donation to LaMarca’s campaign account.
The question that now arises is who amended the report– former Treasurer DeNapoli, or current Treasurer, Mike McCarthy? And why would there be a need to amend the report in the first place if all reports were properly and promptly filed, as DeNapoli and former Chairwoman Cindy Guerra asserted. At the last BREC meeting, Guerra publicly stated that ‘all’ BREC Treasurer reports had been filed correctly and on time. Guerra’s statement was prompted by a document that was circulated throughout the BREC meeting questioning why this same $4000 donation was missing from the initial BREC finance report.-(Credibility, Competence Still MIA at the BREC)
This now also brings into play other questionable ethics practices by DeNapoli. As mentioned above, current BREC Treasurer Mike McCarthy may have been pressured by DeNapoli into amending the missing $4000 that DeNapoli failed to report while the BREC Treasurer.
But the fun and games do not end there. DeNapoli appointed Rico Petrocelli of Plantation, who according to the Miami-Herald, lost his re-election bid to the Plantation City Council in 2009. Petrocelli and his ‘goodfellas’ way of carrying himself is charged with the everyday operations of the BREC, but members and concerned Republicans question Petorcelli’s character and intentions with GOP donations after Petrocelli agreed to pay a $1,500 states ethics fine earlier this year from the Florida Commission on Ethics. (Read more here)
The fine stemmed from Petrocelli’s attempt to solicit donations from entities with interests in the city at a holiday party for the Plantation Athletic League that were deemed to be for his own political benefit
According to Broward Supervisor of Election’s records, the BREC has paid Petrocelli $10,750 in ‘consulting’ fees from January 7, 2011- April 10, 2011. The weekly consulting payments made to Petrocelli support the speculation that he is being compensated a hefty $3000 a month salary.(See Report here)
DeNapoli has also shared some of the wealth with another staunch supporter and former staffer of the failed Lowry for Congress campaign, Sally Musser. Musser’s company, EDCO Awards and Specialties, was paid a total of $715.60 for ‘awards’ presented at this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner.
But what is most disturbing about Richard DeNapoli’s actions is the retribution he is carrying out against BREC members who did not support his candidacy for Chairman of the BREC.
During the campaign, DeNapoli used supporters like Chad Lincoln, Mark McCarthy, Chris Legatt and others to intimidate would-be voters that they believed would vote against him. One of the candidates, Jay Narang, sustained a public and unprovoked attacked by Lincoln with libelous accusations made about his family and his business. McCarthy actually called BREC members and told them not to bother coming to the election because they were probably not eligible to vote.
Keep in mind that the BREC Chairman is not a paid position, so to use these kinds of Jim Greer-esque tactics is one of those things that really makes you go hmmmmm?
DeNapoli has already threatened to oust current BREC Secretary Sheela Venero. DeNapoli told Venero that he would have her recalled if she did not vacate an appointed Congressional District Chairman’s seat- a seat that she was unanimously voted into by the Palm Beach GOP Chairman and his Board.
“Being a leader is tough whether you lead 3 people or 3 million. Our job as Party leaders is to unify! I have heard complaints about myself, about others and about the BREC but rarely do we stand up past idle gossip. We are on the cusp of a political war and we must come together. Instead of complaining,where is the action? If we are doing something wrong or if there is an idea for something better then please speak up.“-Sheela Venero, BREC Secretary
Venero is really throwing down the gauntlet to other BREC members who perhaps are reluctant to express their opposition or disgust with DeNapoli. But as DeNapoli and his BREC minions attempt to tune out the opposition by touting their fundraising “successes”, these so-called accomplishments are nothing more than a smoke-screen to try to cover-up the growing animosity and disapproval that BREC members have towards DeNapoli and the Republican Party of Broward County.