BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Broward County sheriff's spokeswoman confirmed vehicle wraps featuring a large image of Sheriff Scott Israel, which cost taxpayers $12,500 in total to cover five Ford Focus vehicles, have been removed.
The move came days after a Local 10 News report on the cars in which one of Israel's opponents, retired Broward Sheriff's Office Sgt. Willie Jones, condemned them as a campaign ploy financed by the public.
The wrap was removed because of design and workmanship issues, according to spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. The sheriff refused a request for comment.
"That was a smart move to take them off," Jones said. "...I think it was incorrect to put them on there."
Jones likened the vehicles to rolling campaign ads paid for by the BSO.
"Being an election year, (Israel is) going to use his office to promote himself," Jones said.
Broward Collision was paid $2,500 per car for wrapping the vehicles. Elections office records show that just days before the work had begun Israel accepted $2,000 in campaign contributions tied to Broward Collision, including $1,000 from the business and another $1,000 in the name of a relative of owner Keith Petron.
"I question it," Jones said of the political contributions. "I question the ethics of it. I question the timing of it."
When Local 10 News reporter Bob Norman paid a visit to the company, an employee said there was no comment.
"You would have to go to BSO and talk to them," the employee said. "But nothing is supposed to be out."
"Nothing is supposed to be out? What does that mean?" Norman asked.
"You need to talk to BSO," the employee said.
Coleman-Wright said a new design for the cars has not yet been finalized.
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