BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – When Local 10 went to political operative Roger Stone's rented house in Broward County to ask him about a $1.5 million lien filed against him by the federal government alleging he's failed to pay income taxes, the notorious dirty trickster lashed out wildly at the Local 10 camera.
Stone, a former business partner of Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, who is now one of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel's top campaign aides, refused to answer questions about his ongoing tax problems (he had previous liens filed against him at his former residence in Miami Beach) and then accused Local 10's Bob Norman of being a "hit man," which ironically is a moniker he uses for himself in his role as a smear artist and negative campaigner who got his start on Richard Nixon's infamous Committee to Reelect the President.
Then Stone, while sitting in a Jaguar in his driveway, clenched his teeth and struck out in an apparent attempt to knock down a camera held by Local 10 photographer Bob Palumbo. After Stone struck the camera he told Norman to leave his property. Shortly thereafter, Stone drove away flashing an obscene sign.
Norman has been investigating Stone's connection to the Broward Sheriff's Office. After he worked on Israel's campaign, Israel put three of Stone's cohorts on the public payroll at BSO, including Stone's former long-time assistant Dianne Thorne, who is now working as assistant to Israel's chief of staff, with a $68,000 salary plus benefits.
Also on the payroll is Stone's writing partner, Mike Colapietro, making $48,000, and his publicist Jen Hobbs, who makes $61,000 as "community liaisons."
Those three are among a large number of hires Israel made from the world of politics at BSO, including his $205,000-a-year general counsel Ron Gunzburger -- a "dear friend" of Stone's who works closely with him on political matters. The sheriff has said none of those hires are payback for work on his campaign or political favors in the future.
Stone has also worked as a political consultant for Donald Trump, defending Trump's birther attacks on President Obama.
In 1996, Bob Dole's presidential campaign fired him after he was involved in a swingers' sex scandal in which he and his second wife Nydia advertised for "couples or exceptional muscular, well-[endowed], single men." Stone denied involvement to numerous media outlets, including Good Morning America, blaming it on a "domestic employee" of his who was the "perpetrator." He later admitted it was him.
Stone also denied leaving an obscene and abusive voicemail message, left with then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's 83-year-old father that was traced to Stone's New York apartment. Stone claimed that someone must have broken into his apartment and then claimed he was watching the play "Frost/Nixon" at the time the call was made before a reporter discovered the play didn't show that night. He was forced to resign from his job with the New York State Senate Republicans as a result.
"Wherever [Stone] is, some sort of sordid skullduggering is going on," wrote the Washington Monthly's Martin Longworth in February.
Stone had previously claimed he was living in an off-the-grid "undisclosed location" before the Internal Revenue Service sent out the tax lien to his new Fort Lauderdale address on Bayview Drive. Stone refused to answer Norman's questions.
"You're not a real journalist, you're a hit man," Stone told Norman.
"I thought you were the hit man," Norman replied. "You brag about being a hit man."
Indeed, Stone even includes a blurb calling himself a hit man on his own website. The sheriff has refused to be interviewed by Norman about Stone's involvement with the Broward Sheriff's Office, though he did tell the Sun-Sentinel that Stone had "no influence" at BSO, a claim to which Stone tweeted Israel's quote followed by "#ha."