“Corruption is prevalent everywhere in the United States. Anybody who says it’s not in their city, it’s because they aren’t looking for it,” says John Gillies, the new FBI chief in South Florida. Gillies has a history of going after crooked politicians and public officials, and has made it his duty to help clear out the scandals of 2009 and help bring this region back to the standards of ethics and morality. With some of the region’s dirty secrets coming through the floorboards this year, 2010 is likely to be at the very least, a year of aftershocks.
A few of the instances involve attorney Scott Rothstein, Broward County School Board member Beverly Gallagher, Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, and Ophthalmologist Alan. This certainly is not the end of the list, but they show a new beginning for 2010, a year of political crack downs and renewed policies.
In the case of Beverly Gallagher, the school board member was arrested on September 23 and pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges, including taking bribes from undercover FBI agents she believed were developers seeking school construction contracts. School auditors have suggested that the district should seek a refund of $765,608 from the construction company AshBritt. Gallagher has a tentative trial on January 25, and her attorney has been negotiating a possible plea deal. The school district has formed a commission to examine its policies and procedures, in addition to holding public hearings, although the panel has yet to hold a public meeting.
Just as 2009 was underway, Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty was arrested, becoming the third of the county’s commissioners in four years to commit a crime. She was sentenced to 42 months in prison after admitting that she failed to recuse bond issues and votes that benefitted the firms that employed her husband, Kevin McCarty. The Palm Beach County Commission approved ethics reforms this month that include a new Ethics Commission, along with an inspector general to keep a watchful eye for such situations.
Further proving the point of the FBI chief, crime and corruption can exist anywhere and is certainly found just as easily disguised in a suit. Our doctors, lawyers, and even those charged with creating an education program to care for our children, could be simply holding a façade to cover bribes and scams, taking every opportunity to acquire illegal fortunes. Let’s hope that 2010 will bring not only a new year, but a new and improved standard for the officials and politicians.
Via: Sun Sentinal