By Luther Campbell
By Kyle Munzenrieder
By Sabrina Rodriguez
By Trevor Bach
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Calling it an "integrity soft spot," Safir Rosetti had this to say: The "off-duty employment allows individual officers to negotiate any price above $25/hr they can with individual private business and use department resources (vehicles, boats, etc.) with no financial benefit to the city."
"Then Rothstein happened," remarked one former high-ranking city official, "and our worst nightmare happened."
It was late 2009, and Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein, the fraud pharoah himself, had just been indicted for commanding a $1.2 billion Ponzi largesse. In quite possibly its most embarrassing episode to date, the Fort Lauderdale Police had been providing him with nearly 'round-the-clock protection with off-duty officers, endowing him with exactly what he wanted: an air of legitimacy. At $45 an hour, police guarded his tony Bova Prime restaurant, his law firm, and his gated, waterfront Fort Lauderdale mansion, where mystified neighbors espied cops "just hanging out not doing anything" and "sleeping," internal police memos show.
229 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Fort Lauderdale
According to a federal criminal complaint against Rothstein, he dispensed "gratuities to high-ranking members of police agencies to curry favor and deflect law enforcement scrutiny." Rothstein took Police Chief Frank Adderley on his private jet to a football game and said he gave Sgt. Steven Greenlaw funds to purchase a diamond engagement ring at Daoud's Fine Jewelry. (Greenlaw, who later married current police spokesperson DeAnna Greenlaw, denied this.)
"It was beyond strange," Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein now tells New Times. "They were basically acting as a private security force. In return, they got money, watches, hookers, and breast implants. They protected a criminal conspiracy... Outrageous, even for Broward."
Incredibly, everyone kept his job. Steven Greenlaw was suspended without pay for three days.
In November 2010, in response to the Rothstein scandal, the bewildered department squeaked through a few changes to the policy. From then on, high-ranking officers couldn't take off-duty work, shifts were limited to ten hours, and cops couldn't guard private residences for 24 hours straight.
But to this day, the police department's off-duty policy still contains some of the same "soft spots" Safir Rosetti warned of.
At just six pages, the protocol requires cops to seek the police chief's approval before working at establishments that serve alcohol and forbids officers to take assignments while on sick leave. It allows them to work up to 80 total hours per week, or a mind-boggling 20 hours per day. "The employment must be dignified," the policy states. "And there can be no CONFLICT OF INTEREST."
But here's where it gets sticky. The policy lets individual cops bargain for their own pay. Once approved, it sets only a maximum hourly pay at "two and one half times the normal top pay step" of a patrol officer, which is $37.39. The duty of allocating the shifts falls to an informally chosen "detail coordinator" who one source says takes a 5.5 percent cut of all earnings. It's unclear from police documentation how, exactly, an officer procures the post of "detail coordinator."
"It's corruption," charges one former city official. "There's no doubt about it."
In contrast, the Broward County Sheriff's Office sets the rates and handles the payments for its off-duty deputies, and the Miami Police Department taxes $3 from every hour one of its officers works and tracks every dime.
If the Fort Lauderdale Police Department had such a regulation, it would be able to quantify, to the dollar, how much money police make at beachfront establishments owned by Yaari and Avidor. But as things stand now, it can't.
One company called Indemnity Insurance, which insures the Israeli-owned operation, also perceived potential problems in employing off-duty cops at bars. On January 14, 2011, company President Jeffrey Cohen sent A.J. Yaari a letter dropping his beachfront establishments from its insurance policy, alleging it had discovered "misrepresentations," "omissions," and "incorrect statements" in Yaari's insurance application.
Later, after Yaari's business sued the insurance company in Broward County federal court, Cohen lambasted him for claiming he didn't employ off-duty cops — when in fact he did. Cohen said an off-duty cop serves two masters: "the insured... and also the municipality he serves." (The trial court sided against Indemnity Insurance, ordering it to pay Yaari's company $35,000.)
Former managers at the Israeli beachfront establishments say cops are paid $35 an hour, in cash, at 4 a.m. "And they expect to get paid by 4:15," explained one former Exit 66 manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It's very Mafia-style. When it's that much money, the cops do what we want. They're not going to start arresting employees or causing problems for a business that's paying them $600 per week."
Another manager recalls a frequent occurrence at bars owned by Yaari and Avidor. "If some kid walks into Dirty Blondes and bouncers sic on him and punch him in the face, the cop yells [at the patron], 'You need to leave!' And if he says, 'Wait a second, the bouncer just beat me up in there,' the cops aren't interested. It's in their interest to side to side with the bar in every altercation."
"Alex, if you love me, will you please stop?" the blond woman pleaded with the battered man. Her features twisted in alarm. He was just bleeding so much. She reached for his bare chest and sought his azure eyes hiding somewhere amid the crimson splashed across his face. "If you love me," Stephanie Parker murmured again, clutching his arm, "will you please stop?"
investigate the owners with criminal connections,and sale of extasy that is controlled by the israeli-russian mafia,and yes the local fbi office needs internal investigation.
Ok, Mr. Mayor you cant hide on this one! What are your plans for this corrupt activity ! Maybe just lose the City is an option
This is one of the things that killed Baja Beach Club in the Grove as well. As a former bouncer I can tell you with some validity that there is really no need to be douchebags like the ones at Dirty Blondes to do the job. Sure you have to deal with drunk assholes, so you get them yank them out of the club and goodbye. I never got paid enough money to exert myself that much in dealing with an asshole.
So why hasn't someone gone to that club and murdered those bouncers? That is what I would do. Nut up or shut up, is what I say!
...........................i would also offer that since "boys will be boys" and that alcohol and bath saltz and who knows what other mind and mood altering substances are injested by patrons and bouncers and bar owners operators................LET THESE places simply go somewhere else - GET THEM OFF THE BEACH = period - let the animals and savages and neaderthals have at each other under a bridge or down a dark alley SOMEWHERE ELSE in ft liquordale - then they could kill each other altogether and the CIVILIZED society can enjoy the beach without fear
URBAN WEEK got out of hand and police shot 106 bullets into a car two years ago - MORE POLICE are not the answer, bringing in the National Guard is not the answer, having the SWAT TEAM on the roof of the ELBO ROOM is NOT the answer, putting a police sub-station in the lobby of the RITZ CARLTON is not the answer = the answer is sweeping away these "stages" of insanity to some other location where they can pursue their savage and uncivlized clashes of the mental mindless and egotistical steroid-fuel physical combatants
Count me in. Constantly looking over my shoulder for uneducated meat-head hooliganism is not really my vibe when I'm trying to chill with a few drinks and a few friends. I will never enter into one of these establishments again. There's only one reason people become "bouncers" instead of joining any reputable security establishment (PD, Brinks, etc), and that is: prior arrest records. They are basically just thugs trying to eke out a living by doing what they do best: acting aggressively and without any type of tact or thought.
................................well now we have become ground zero for all the neanderthals to come here and challenge the status quo with upcomming SMACKDOWNs and HOULIGANISM from the savages from all parts of the globe
why the FT LAUDERDALA POLICE department bungled the initial investigation and took over a week to "change their tune" when the video came to light is a disgrace to the department which has no other reason than COVER-UP to explain its action - WHICH we should ALL hope is not the case
Off-duty policy. All you need to know. Essentially no police reports will be filed because they threaten you (victim) with arrest for trespassing, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. Protects the bar against lawsuits because there will be no police records of the incident. Only you the victim being told to leave.
@JohnnySwift Only in the movies, but it's a movie I'd watch and I suspect so would a lot of other people.
@MrGumsandals - Only in the movies?!? That kind of stuff happens all the time. Some dude gets kicked out a club, gets mad, and comes back with a gun and shoots the place up. If I was ever treated like that I would shoot those guys dead. I ain't afraid of jail. been there, done that. I ain't about to get punked by dudes like that, though.