POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - Pompano Beach mayoral candidate David Baumwald had his rights restored to run for office after compiling a lengthy rap sheet, including felonies. The question: Is he being honest about his past?
When asked about his criminal record, Baumwald mentioned a crack cocaine conviction, saying that he was getting a ride home with a girlfriend who wanted to get a joint. He claimed undercover officers threw crack inside the car instead and characterized the arrest as a "one-time thing" and being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
But records obtained by Local 10 show Baumwald, 47, had two crack cocaine arrests between 1997 and 1998. He was also convicted of possessing and dealing in stolen property and was arrested for theft, prowling, trespassing, and violation of probation.
"We all made little mistakes when we were kids," said Baumwald, who was 33 when he served 13 months in prison on the crack conviction.
Despite the drug arrests Baumwald claimed he never used crack.
"You went to prison for it. You're telling me and you're telling all the voters of Pompano that you never smoked crack?" Local 10 reporter Bob Norman asked him.
"No. I smoked some cocaine once, or twice, actually," said Baumwald. "I don't ever remember smoking crack, no."
Baumwald said he was charged with prowling when a neighbor saw him urinating by the street. He was also charged with violating of probation in 2001. When initially asked about that, Baumwald said, "No, absolutely not. I didn't have probation. I was clear."
"You were charged with violation of probation in 2001," said Norman.
"I was charged with not showing up to probation on time," Baumwald answered.
"Right, so you had probation and violated it," said Norman.
"I had probation," said Baumwald.
Baumwald said he's since turned his life around.
"I have learned so much from life experiences from those situations that other people will never know," he said.
"So you think the criminal past is a good education for becoming mayor?" asked Norman.
"That's an interesting question," said Baumwald. "I don't think people should go out and get arrested to get an education, no."
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