Fired city auditor believes ex-Fort Lauderdale police chief possibly committed ‘criminal violations’

Larry Scirotto accused of working as NCAA referee while his timesheet shows he was on the clock as the city’s chief

Fired Fort Lauderdale auditor John Herbst released a memo Friday that was sent to the mayor and commissioners regarding his investigation into ex-Police Chief Larry Scirotto.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale auditor who was fired last month over an investigation into then Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Larry Scirotto issued a memo to the mayor and commissioners Friday, saying that he believes Scirotto possibly committed “criminal violations.”

The memo acknowledged that former auditor John Herbst had terminated his forensic audit of the telestaff time keeping system for Scirotto.

“The Commission voted to terminate my employment at the February 15, 2022 Regular Commission Meeting for the express purpose of having conducted the audit,” the memo stated. “According to the Mayor’s justification for my termination, I was conducting a ‘rogue investigation,’ and my office is ‘only allowed to investigate those things that the Commission tells us to investigate.’ Accordingly, I have determined that my objectivity has become impaired and I ceased to be independent of this audit.”

Herbst, who worked for the city for 16 years, was investigating Scirotto for working a second job as a National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball referee — on days his timesheet indicated he was on the clock as the city’s chief.

Scirotto denied the accusation regarding his NCAA job, however he was fired Thursday, just over six months after he was sworn in as police chief.

Herbst wrote in his memo that he believed Scirotto possibly committed “criminal violations” for allegedly working the NCAA job while he was supposed to be on duty as a Fort Lauderdale police sergeant was arrested on fraud and theft charges in January for similar accusations.

In that case, Herbst said Scirotto issued a statement after that sergeant’s arrest, saying, “The actions of Mr. (James) McDowell do not reflect the character and professionalism I expect of members of this agency.”

Herbst noted that he would be sending his draft report to the following:

• The State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit

• Special Agent in Charge - Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) - Miami Regional Operations Center

• FDLE Headquarters Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission

• Broward Office of the Inspector General

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Friday that they are not investigating the former police chief at this time.

READ THE FULL MEMO AND DRAFT REPORT BELOW:


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.