Married to It

She's the county's top liaison to the film industry. He's in the postproduction business. Does their pillow talk pose a potential conflict of interest?

After the meeting in Bird's office, Kaplan requested that the County Attorney's Office issue an opinion regarding Legow's conflict-of-interest allegation. The letter detailed her job description and her husband's employment situation; missing, however, was the crux of Legow's complaint: that Ken Lorber often accompanied Kaplan on business outings.

The response, issued in February, did little to appease Legow. Cynthia Johnson-Stacks, an assistant county attorney, limited her analysis to one question: whether it was proper for the film office to include Post Edge on its list of local entertainment-related services. Johnson-Stacks found the inclusion didn't constitute a conflict of interest.

Unsatisfied, Legow next complained to the County Manager's Office. Tony Ojeda, an assistant county manager, told Bill Bird that Kaplan was no longer permitted to take her husband with her when she attends business dinners, and left it at that.

The way Kaplan and Lorber see it, Legow's crusade stems from jealousy of Post Edge's success. In business in Miami for 25 years, the company is widely regarded as one of the leading video production facilities in South Florida. "I feel there are some desperate competitors," says Lorber. "These allegations are a pile of bullshit, to put it bluntly."

To which his wife adds: "To my knowledge, it's really just Rick Legow and Broadcast Video who are complaining."

Notwithstanding Kaplan's perspective, others in the production industry seem to side with Legow, although they are reluctant to voice their opinions. "It stinks to high heaven," asserts one production executive who, like several others interviewed for this story, requested anonymity for fear of repercussions. "Deeny is paid to be aware very early of work coming into town, so she is a gatekeeper of information. And no matter how professional the parties are, she and her husband sleep together at night. Deeny's a nice woman and seems to be a pro, but it's too cozy for me. You want someone who is well plugged-in, but friends are different from spouses. There's a difference between helping your friends pay their bills and helping yourself pay your own bills."

Assistant State Attorney Joe Centorino confirms that his office is reviewing the matter, but he refuses to furnish any information about the investigation. County Attorney Robert Ginsburg, too, is revisiting the issue. "I've been hearing rumors coming from the private industry," says Ginsburg. "People seem to be miffed and feel there's a problem there. I'm concerned enough about it to speak to the county manager about it. I think he should know what's going on.

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