Friday, November 25, 2005

Chief Justice Schaeffer addresses the Tiger Bay Club

On September 8, 2000 Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer had been the guest speaker at the same Suncoast Tiger Bay Club when she acknowledged that there were problems with the 6th Circuit. She noted that out of 55 judges, only two were black. She also acknowledged that some judges had run openly on the Republican Party ticket, though no Democrats had. She wasn't necessarily referring to the likes of Pinellas County Judge Karl Grube who had been registered as ``non-partisan`` for for as long as anyone could remember until the day Governor Bob Martinez (R) considered him for a circuit court judgeship. Next day Grube switched to Republican but switched back to "non-partisan" after the local press got whiff of what he was doing.

She was though referring to the likes of Judge Irene Sullivan (R) whose husband Donald Sullivan, MD was former Secretary for Straight Foundation. Prior to publication of the Clary Report which insinuates that Mel Sembler and un-designated state senators quashed an effort by HRS (now Office of Children and Families) to close Straight in 1989, Don Sullivan resigned from Straight and ran successfully as a Republican for state senator jockeying himself onto the Senate's Children and Families Committee which oversees Office of Children and Families. In 2002 Don Sullivan was being considered as top GOP in Florida. Irene Sullivan openly ran as a Republican for a judgeship in 1998. According to the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections Irene Sullivan received $1,000 from Mel and Betty Sembler in four separate $250 donations between 1997 and 1998. Walter Loebenberg donated $500 to Ms. Sullivan's campaign in 1998 and $250 in 1997. Former Straight board members or advisory board members attorneys Guy Perenich and Myron Mensch, Dr. Bruce Epstein and wife Amy, and Mel Gross and Raymond Bourgholtzer threw in $650 combined. DFAF Advisory Board member Susan Latvala and her husband state senator Jack Latvala donated $550 between 1997 and 1998.

Judge Sullivan attended Betty Sembler's 70th birthday party where she was asked to contribute money to Straight (DFAF) in lieu of a gift. In 2003 she and Don, along with retired Pinellas- Pasco Circuit Judge David Seth and Joan Walker, and former Straight board member, now director of Florida's Holocaust Museum, Dr. Bruce Epstein, flew to Rome to attend Mel and Betty's 50th wedding anniversary.


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