Article Courtesy of Zero
By Tyler Durden
Published January 29, 2018
The Mayor of Hallandale Beach, Florida surrendered to
authorities on Thursday on third-degree felony charges of money
laundering, official misconduct and exceeding limits on campaign
contributions. Mayor Joy Cooper (D) is also charged with soliciting
contributions in City Hall - a misdemeanor. Each felony carries a
maximum five year prison sentence.
prosecutors, the FBI began investigating Cooper in May, 2012
- posing as wealthy real estate developers from California
seeking political favors from Cooper in exchange for a
Hallandale Beach project. The undercover agents hired
disbarred Hollywood attorney Alan Koslow to represent them,
who funneled $5,000 in campaign contributions to Cooper in
the form of "checks from a bunch of Russian names,"
according to court documents. Koslow did not initially know
that the men were with the FBI, nor that he was also a
target in their investigation.
"At the time, Alan Koslow was unaware that he was
interacting with undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation
agents," wrote investigators. Koslow, 63, would eventually
wear a wire as part of the sting, as the FBI recorded audio
or video of every meeting, according to court records.
Koslow represented himself to agents as an effective
lobbyist who "had the vote of the mayor," records show.
During a July 10, 2012 meeting between Cooper, the
undercover FBI agents and Koslow at City Hall, Cooper was
recorded making assurances that she and two other
commissioners were a "team of three" who could push the real
estate project through, according to the arrest affidavit.
“Alan Koslow showed
Mayor Cooper a number representing a proposed contribution
and asked her if it was a good number. She replied ‘No. Add
a zero.” Koslow confirmed ‘Three zeros, is that fine?’ and
Mayor Cooper replied ‘Yes,’” according to the arrest
affidavit. Later that month, Koslow assured Cooper she would
receive a $10,000 bribe in the form of two $5,000
contributions - before and after the August, 2012 primary.
Hallandale Beach, FL Mayor Joy Cooper
In an August, 2012 meeting, Koslow and the undercover agents went to
Cooper's home, after which they drove to the former Hollywood attorney's
house and gave him a Dunkin' Donuts bag containing $8,000 in cash.
Koslow told the agents he would have two Russian organizations write
checks for them, according to investigators.
During a recorded meeting at the
Flashback Diner on Aug. 20, 2012, one of the undercover
agents told Cooper that “the pledged payment to her, via her
campaign, would be in the form of checks from a ‘bunch of
Russian names,’” according to court documents.
In September, Koslow told one of the agents he had
personally handed 20 checks to Cooper at a Hallandale Beach
Chamber of Commerce fashion show, court records say. The
checks, totaling $5,000, were broken down into smaller
amounts that appeared to come from people with Russian last
names, according to the documents. Cooper said “that’s
fantastic” when she got the checks, according to what Koslow
told the undercover agents.
Cooper’s campaign reported nine contributions from eight
teachers and a retired person in the amount of $500 each,
matching names on a list of donors Koslow had given the
so-called developers, the affidavit said.
Between September 2013 and May 2016, four different undercover FBI
agents met with Koslow at least 75 times, however their discussions
remain secret due to ongoing investigations in other matters. The FBI's
had their final piece of major evidence after Koslow gave a sworn
statement to investigators in November 2017, in which he admitted to the
Cooper's attorney responded, knocking the FBI for using Koslow:
“We look forward to our day in court and the mayor’s vindication,” said
Cooper's attorney, Larry Davis. “We’re extremely disappointed that the
Broward County State Attorney’s Office is relying upon Alan Koslow, a
disgraced and disbarred convicted felon, as the centerpiece of its case
of alleged campaign finance violations.”
|Koslow, 63, was considered one of
the most effective and best-known attorneys and lobbyists in
the state, specializing in representing developers and the
gaming industry. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to helping
people prosecutors said he thought were "quasi-mafia"
criminals hide the source of $220,000 linked to illegal
gambling and drug dealing. Sun-Sentinel
The FBI concluded their investigation and handed the case off to state
prosecutors in May, 2017 according to Broward State Attorney's Office
spokeswoman, Constance Simmons. It is unclear whether Governor Rick
Scott will remove Cooper from office, "as he customarily does when an
elected official has been arrested," according to the sun-sentinel.
“These charges are unacceptable,” said a spokeswoman for the Governor,
adding “We are reviewing our next course of action.”
Cooper apparently began unraveling late last year - with her political
rivals sending a letter to Gov. Scott asking him to remove her from
office, after she allegedly showed up to a commission meeting and
appeared to be under the influence of some type of "behavior-altering
substance," according to the letter.
Cooper defended herself, saying she was severely dehydrated after
contracting diarrhea during a trip to Mexico. Cooper was also accused of
spying on her political rivals, after Vice Mayor Keith London and others
say she planted a GPS tracker in their cars. Cooper suggested the rivals
had planted the trackers as a political stunt.
And so, once again, America is graced with tales of mystery,
malfeasance, and incompetence by elected officials in Broward County,