Question: What does a Massachusetts construction company have to do with the Broward County Sheriff's race?
Answer: Cash, lots of cash.
Sheriff's race challenger Scott Israel's campaign was revived a couple weeks ago by a huge cash infusion -- more than $200,000 -- that went into a negative ad campaign aimed at Sheriff Al Lamberti.
Now to the labyrinthine money trail. The ads were paid for by a PAC called Florida Citizens United, which itself was funded with $225,000 on October 22 by another PAC called Citizens United for Reform. That second PAC had been bankrolled at that time by a company called The Middlesex Corporation out of Littleton, Mass.
Middlesex is run by a man named Robert Pereira, who also gave money to third PAC that contributed to the second PAC (keeping up so far?). I have no idea what Middlesex and Pereira have to do with Israel and the sheriff's race -- and talking with the candidate himself was no help.
"I don’t know where the money is coming from," Israel told me.
Wow, roughly a quarter mil dropped in his lap and he doesn't know who did him the favor? There are a lot of rumors that a former New Jersey sheriff named Jerry Speziale, who now holds the No. 2 position at the New York City Port Authority Police Department, had a hand in all this. When I asked Israel if Speziale -- a Democratic powerbroker -- was behind the money, he hesitated a couple of times before saying: "The answer is I don’t know and if I did know I wouldn’t tell you. I know Jerry Speziale and our relationship is just friends."
Interesting mystery. Will update when more info comes in.