Thursday, April 5, 2018

Game of Musical Registrants coming to a head as the May 7th deadline for homeless RCs looms over Miami

Recently, I watched Lauren Book in that BBC documentary that aired recently; in it, she claims she disagrees with residency restriction laws. Well, Lauren, whose name is the bill named for? It isn’t named the RON Book Child Safety Ordinance, but the LAUREN Book child safety ordinance! If I disagreed with something, I would not allow myself to have my namesake used for a law I disagreed with. You are a lying sack of manure, just like your recidivist criminal father.

But I digress. The Book Crime Family is trying to sweep the problem THEY created into jail. They should be in prison themselves.

As Deadline Approaches for Homeless Ex-Offenders in Florida, County Threatens to Jail Them

Steven Yoder
Steven Yoder covers criminal justice for national magazines and news sites. His work has appeared in The American Prospect, Al Jazeera America and elsewhere.
Apr 5

A few miles from Miami International Airport, outside of Hialeah, sits a tent camp of about 280 homeless people. There’s no electricity or running water and no bathrooms. News reports describe the stench of human waste and garbage, tents that flood when it rains, and flies, mosquitoes, and rats infesting the area. “Animals live better than this,” one resident told a reporter.

He and the others there are on the state sex offender registry. Miami-Dade County laws make it almost impossible for them to find places to live and bar homeless shelters from taking them in. For many registrants, the encampment has been a last resort, but in January, county leaders passed a new rule that makes them subject to arrest if they don’t find housing by May 7.

The person most responsible for the camp’s existence may be state lobbyist Ron Book. In 1996, he and his wife hired Waldina Flores as a nanny for their three children in their home outside Fort Lauderdale. Over the course of six years, Flores sexually and physically abused their oldest child, Lauren. Lauren Book eventually told a psychiatrist, and Flores was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Lauren Book went on to found a nonprofit that promotes sexual abuse prevention, of which Ron Book is the chair; Lauren is now a Florida state senator. But Ron Book also lobbied for new laws. In 2005, he helped convince Miami Beach to pass an ordinance that bans people on sex offender registries from living within 2,500 feet of a school, a rule later adopted countywide. State legislators earlier had passed a law barring registrants from living within 1,000 feet of day care centers, parks, playgrounds, and schools.

In combination, those policies left only tiny patches where Miami-Dade registrants could live. By 2007, news reports were describing people with sex-crime records living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway, some literally dropped off there by their probation officers. In 2010, a spate of negative news stories forced the county to shut down that encampment.

Book has been at the center of this debate for years, as both an advocate for the restrictions and as chair of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, the lead body for implementing county plans for solving homelessness. After the Julia Tuttle camp closure, he used the proceeds of local food and beverage taxes to find short-term housing in a trailer park and hotels for some of the homeless people. But when that money ran out and the the trailer park was found to be too close to a school, the registrants were out on the streets again. In March 2014, the Miami New Times reported that 57 men were living at the Hialeah encampment, and its numbers have since more than quadrupled.

A 2013 study in the journal Criminal Justice Policy Review found that only 4 percent of Miami-Dade county residences were outside a ban zone, and only 1 percent of legal residences rented for $1,250 a month or less. Registrants in the county are more than 50 times as likely as those in the general population to be homeless, the researchers found. Many of the people living in the encampment have family members who would take them in, but their homes are off-limits, says Jeanne Baker, legal panel chair of the ACLU’s greater Miami chapter.

Take Jeff*, convicted in 2004 of viewing child pornography. (He doesn’t want his real name used for fear of jeopardizing his housing and job situations, and putting himself at risk of vigilante attacks.) “I remember looking at stuff on the internet for reasons that I can’t justify,” he told In Justice Today. “I didn’t realize that you can go to jail for looking at something on the internet. I should have known better.”

He spent three years in federal prison and got out in 2007. He wanted to return to the house he and his wife owned in Miami-Dade, he said. But his release plan was denied because the 2005 law — passed after his conviction — put it in a no-go zone. Jeff’s parents would have been happy to house him too, but their home was also off-limits.

Jeff said he looked for months. The few places that were outside a residency zone turned him down once they found out he was on the registry. Finally, an old college friend who lived in a remote area rented him a room. That worked for five years until the friend had enough of roommate living. After another futile search, Jeff left for a nearby county in 2012.

“I know so many [registrants] who are homeless,” he said. “I had plenty of money and strong family support. If not for that, I’d likely be out there with them.”

Ironically, registrants like Jeff who are looking for housing depend on Book for help, given his role as the Trust’s chair. When unflattering stories on the Hialeah encampment emerged last summer, Book and other officials promised to shut it down by offering residents other housing. But those who can’t or won’t move will be subject to arrest.

It’s already illegal to camp overnight on county property. Violators can be arrested, though police have to offer them the chance to go to a shelter. Since area shelters don’t take registrants, however, they had been allowed to stay in the encampment. But in January, in an effort to abolish the encampment, the county commissioners eliminated the requirement to offer registrants shelter, so those in the encampment have until the May 7 deadline to relocate or face arrest. In the interim, the county has promised to bring in portable toilets, handwashing stations, and garbage cans to partially remediate conditions. (The county commissioner who drafted the rule didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on the new policy, nor did the county mayor’s office. A spokesperson for the county police director declined an interview request.)

Book says the people in the encampment need to take more initiative to find housing. Trust staff have visited the encampment to tell them about available housing assistance, he said. “We’ve told folks repeatedly, ‘You gotta jump on it — our staff is available to respond to you,’” he told In Justice Today. “There are places they can live.”

But the “Housing Search Tool for Homeless Sex Offenders” on the Trust’s website contradicts that claim. The tool lets registrants plug in an address to check whether it’s in a banned zone. Of 20 randomly selected apartments under $1,100 selected from and entered into the search tool, none fell outside a restricted zone. ($1,100 is the cutoff for what’s considered affordable for a Miami-Dade resident with the county annual median income of about $44,000.)

Presented with those results, Book blamed the local housing market and said the state legislature needs to appropriate money to house registrants away from the population, which he said he’s advocated for.

But he rejects the most obvious fix — getting rid of the 2,500-foot residency restriction. An October 2014 National Criminal Justice Association review of available research on these types of policies notes that “there is no empirical support for the effectiveness of residence restrictions.” Their unintended consequences — “loss of housing, loss of support systems, and financial hardship … may aggravate rather than mitigate offender risk,” the researchers concluded.

Book isn’t convinced. “You’re not going to get me to ever say that residency restrictions are not appropriate,” he told In Justice Today. “Just because there’s no study, no data [to show that they work], you’ve got to use some level of common sense…. And common sense tells me that I shouldn’t think it’s OK to have predators and offenders living in close proximity to schools, parks, playgrounds, daycare centers, and the like.”

But Gail Colletta, president of the Florida Action Committee, which advocates for reforming state and local sex-offense laws, says Book’s support of residency restrictions is misguided. “The situation with his daughter is very sad, but he pushes a lot of legislation that’s counterproductive to public safety,” she said. “People need to be with family, they need to have jobs, and they need to have a roof over their head.”

A glimmer of hope for activists like Colletta arrived on March 26 when a judge in neighboring Broward County dismissed a case against two registrants who had violated a similar residency ordinance in the city of Fort Lauderdale. The ACLU helped the pair fight the charges based on the U.S. and state constitutions’ ex post facto clauses: Fort Lauderdale’s ordinance was enacted in 2007 after the two plaintiffs were convicted. The ACLU has filed a similar lawsuit in federal court against Miami-Dade County that’s set to go to trial in June, says Baker. Still, the win in Fort Lauderdale is narrow — it applies only to those convicted before the city ordinance was passed.

Around the country, places that wall off large swaths of housing from those with sex-crime records continue to get the same results: people living on the street. Homeless registrants in Orlando, in a county where residency restrictions average 2,500 feet, sometimes list the local Walmart as their permanent address, according to a news report last November. In October 2014, Milwaukee passed a similar ordinance and the number of homeless registrants promptly soared from 15 to 230 in less than two years, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis. In Indiana’s Boone County, a thousand-foot residency restriction led the sheriff to require six homeless registrants there to find permanent residences or pitch their tents on county jail property.

At least one Miami-Dade official seems desperate for an alternative solution as the May 7 deadline approaches. On the day the county issued it, Baker said county Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp approached her. “Can the ACLU help with housing?” he reportedly asked. “No, I’m afraid we can’t,” she said. “We don’t do housing.”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book crime family sided with a person who made a bogus CSA claim & is now getting sued for their efforts

It may be easy for the Book Crime Family to abuse the courts in an attempt to silence the activism of registered citizens, but they will have a far harder time trying to silence someone falsely accused by the Book Crime Family.

Businessman accused of child molestation sues alleging defamation, smear campaign

By Francisco Alvarado,
Lauren Book sporting those Buddy Holly-Prison Framed Glasses

A South Miami-Dade couple launched a smear campaign with the assistance of mega-lobbyist Ron Book to destroy the reputation of a prominent businessman accused by their six-year-old daughter of molesting her at a pool party, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

Jozef Opdeweegh has denied any wrongdoing. And he and his wife, Jacqueline Miguel, are suing spouses Jonathan and Melissa Cauff and Stuart Cauff, the little girl’s grandfather, for defamation with express malice and neglect in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The Feb. 14 complaint does not name Book as a defendant, but the document identifies him as a family spokesman who helped fuel substantial media coverage about the alleged sexual assault, which occurred on May 31, 2017.

The complaint cites Book’s remarks to Local 10 News after Opdeweegh’s Aug. 16, 2017 bond hearing that “clearly there was an inappropriate touching.”

In a phone interview, Book dismissed the lawsuit as a meritless attempt to harass and intimidate the Cauffs from continuing to speak up about what Opdeweegh allegedly did to the 6-year-old girl. “This lawsuit is meant to stop them from continuing to make their case,” Book said. “It is re-victimizing the victim and it creates a chilling effect.”


Attempts to reach Jonathan and Melissa Cauff were unsuccessful. Calls to publicly listed phone numbers under their names indicated they were disconnected. Stuart Cauff declined to comment. Opdeweegh and Miguel are represented by Barry Richard, a Greenberg Traurig shareholder who represented George W. Bush in the Florida Gore versus Bush legal battle that determined the presidency in 2000. Richard declined to comment.

On his personal website, Opdeweegh touts his 17-year experience as a past chief executive, chairman and board member of private and public global companies with a combined 17,000 employees and $300 million in earnings. His most recent CEO gig was with Premier Farnell, a global technology manufacturer and distributor based in London from April to November 2016. Since then, he has worked as business consultant for private equity funds.

Opdeweegh is suing for damages for the loss of his good reputation, loss of consulting gigs with multiple private-equity companies and loss of an opportunity to become the chief executive of a global corporation.

A pool party

According to a Miami-Dade police report, Opdeweegh, Miguel and their two children attended a pool party hosted by the Cauffs at their Glenvar Heights apartment complex at 8150 SW 72nd Ave. The report states Jonathan Cauff and Miguel are childhood friends and their kids attend the same classes at Gulliver Academy. At some point, Opdeweegh was in the water with the children, including Jonathan and Melissa Cauff’s daughter. Her parents were not in the pool.

In an interview with a Miami-Dade police detective two months after the incident, Jonathan Cauff said his daughter got out of the pool and ran over to the cabanas where he was sitting. “She leaned over, whispered in his ear and stated, ‘Mr. Opdeweegh just touched my pipi,’ ” the police report states. She repeated the accusation two more times to her father and then showed her mother how Opdeweegh rubbed his hands over the portion of her bathing suit covering her vagina.


Ron Book illustrating the size of his manhood
The couple decided to act as if nothing untoward had happened and continued to party so as not to create a scene and cause more distress for their daughter, “who appeared nervous and afraid,” Jonathan Cauff told the investigator.

Two days later, on June 2, the Cauffs reported the alleged molestation to the Department of Children & Families and scheduled an appointment with a therapist because their daughter was crying, sad and scared following the incident, per Jonathan Cauff’s statement. DCF reported the child’s accusations against Opdeweegh to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and county police.

On June 22, the little girl participated in a forensic interview at Kristi House, a non-profit affiliated with the state attorney’s office that assists child sex abuse victims. She showed investigators how Opdeweegh allegedly touched her vagina in an “up/down motion.”

Melissa Cauff also recounted similar details about the incident with detectives and mentioned how in 2015 she read her daughter a children’s book called “Lauren’s Kingdom” in which the author was sexually abused as a child by a nanny.

The book was written by Broward State Sen. Lauren Book, daughter of Ron Book and founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering sexually victimized children and their family members to report their attackers to the proper authorities. Her father, who represents dozens of private companies and local governments in Tallahassee, is chairman of Lauren’s Kids.

Florida funnels millions to Lauren’s Kids

Since 2012, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott have showered Lauren’s Kids with more than $10 million in taxpayer funding to develop a curriculum about child sex abuse reporting for elementary, middle and high school students. The program is optional and not every public school district is required to teach it.

During the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, legislators approved a combined $3 million in funding for Lauren’s Kids knowing the non-profit is owned and operated by one of their colleagues, who was elected in 2016. Sen. Book, who earns a $135,000-a-year-salary as Lauren’s Kids top officer, has also voted in favor of the state appropriations bills knowing it includes line items for Lauren’s Kids.

In previous interviews, she told Florida Bulldog that she doesn’t have a conflict because the funding will not personally benefit her. In addition, she said, she resigned from the board of directors of the foundation that raises money for Lauren’s Kids and her salary was restructured so that her compensation is not funded with public dollars.

According to Opdeweegh’s lawsuit, he fully cooperated with detectives after they informed him that he was being investigated on July 27. A month later, on Aug. 14, he voluntarily surrendered and was charged with one felony count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. He was freed on a $300,000 bond two days later.

Between June 1 and Aug. 14, the Cauffs met with persons acting as their agents to discuss a plan of action designed to destroy the reputation of Jozef Opdeweegh, the lawsuit alleges.

“The Cauffs, or their agents acting with their knowledge and approval, caused substantial media attendance at the August 16, 2017 bond hearing,” the lawsuit claims. “As a result, there was widespread media coverage of the bond hearing, including video clips of Jozef Opdeweegh in prison uniform, and of a press conference at which Ron Book, a spokesman for the Cauffs, stated that ‘clearly there was an inappropriate touching.'”

The lawsuit also contains excerpts of alleged text messages between Jonathan and Stuart Cauff lauding the lobbyist’s handling of the media. “Ron Book was fantastic,” Stuart Cauff wrote. “The total report makes it appear to have gone exactly as desired.” To which Jonathan Cauff responded: “Ron is amazing. Thank God he was there. They painted [Opdeweegh] so guilty.”

Opdeweegh, in his lawsuit, alleges the text messages “reflect a strong desire and intention to hurt the Opdeweeghs rather than seeing fairness and justice served, and to use the news media to do so.”

Cauffs refused to cooperate?
The complaint also claims the Cauffs refused to cooperate with police investigators, including making a controlled telephone call to Opdeweegh to see if he could catch his daughter’s alleged molester in a lie. “The purpose of the call was the possibility that Jozef Opdeweegh’s response would assist in determining the likelihood of guilt,” the lawsuit claims.

On Sept. 20, an assistant state attorney told the Cauffs that the office was not going to prosecute Opdeweegh due to a lack of corroborating evidence, the lawsuit states. Eight days later, the case was closed with no action taken against Opdeweegh.


Book told Florida Bulldog that sexual abuse cases often don’t go to trial because of the difficulty proving the alleged incident took place when there are no eyewitnesses or other corroborating evidence. “This gentleman was charged because police believe he did it and the judge found probable cause,” he said. “The prosecutors decided to dismiss the case because they felt they couldn’t get a conviction. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Book also admonished Opdeweegh’s lawyer, Richard, for mentioning his name in the complaint. “I think it’s unfair,” Book said. “We stand up for victims’ rights on a regular basis. Somehow the plaintiff and Richard felt that was somewhat material.”

He said he did not speak at the press conference as a legal representative for the Cauffs. “I got out in front because the press wanted someone from the family to say something,” Book recalled.

Nevertheless, Book said he and Lauren’s Kids have no regrets getting involved with the Cauffs. “This isn’t going to deter us from standing up for victims and their families,” he said. “Lawyers for the gentleman criticized the Cauff family for teaching their child to speak up until someone hears her voice. To do otherwise is wrong, period.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Lauren Book screws the rules in a last ditch effort to save face after she pulled her own sex trafficking bill. Winning through losing 101

Ah yes, Lauren Book must've gotten a lot of heat for her mysterious pulling of a popular (though admittedly flawed) sex trafficking bill.

To save face, and most likely in time to use it as an advertisement and talking point for her annual walk across Florida, Lauren Book then tries to revive her bill in the most Lauren Book rules possible-- by completely screwing the rules of the legislature. Looks like daddy Ron taught his daughter quite well.

I didn't believe the bill she proposed was helpful in the first place, but this odd behavior simply shows she is simply unfit to be a state senator.

For those of you still confused, yet me point this out to you. Lauren Book is the daughter of Ron Book, one of South Florida's most powerful lobbyists. He represents, among other things, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, aka the hotel insurance lobby. This created a conflict of interest. However, seeing as how this maneuver started costing her in terms of her main source of income and support, money from sex crime victims, and knowing she can't lose support for her annual march across Florida, Lauren Book came up with a face saving measure. She knew that she would not be able to get a last ditch effort to pass so she put on a performance so the sex trafficking victim-advocates would think Book was doing all she could to help them. The bill fails, and Lauren saves face while a problematic bill bites the dust, and Senator Book comes out smelling like a rose. The sex crime victims buy it hook, line, and sinker.

Senator’s last-ditch effort to revive human trafficking bill is successful

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

March 09, 2018 08:39 AM

Sen. Lauren Book's human trafficking bill was brought back to life on Thursday, after she used a clever bit of legislative maneuvering to bring it before the Senate for a vote.

It was a dramatic turnaround for a piece of legislation that had sailed through both chambers of the Legislature, but appeared dead last week, after Book, D-Plantation, mysteriously postponed her own bill.

The bill would allow victims to sue the hotels and motels that turn a blind eye to human trafficking.

Her decision last week left trafficking victims furious and fellow lawmakers scratching their heads, wondering if Senate leadership and the powerful hotel lobby, including Disney, was working behind the scenes to kill the bill.

But on Thursday, with two trafficking survivors looking on, Book revived it in dramatic fashion.

She used an amendment to sneak the bill's language onto a different bill, a tactic that violates Senate rules.

And Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, was quick to point out that it went against the rules. The decision about whether Lee was right went to the Rules committee chair, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers.

After a few minutes to look it over, Benacquisto came back and told her colleagues that Book's amendment did violate the rules.

But then, Lee, surprisingly, alerted Book that she had a way to veto the rules: she could call for a 2/3rds vote from her colleagues.

Lee later said in a text message that he wasn't sure if Book was aware that she could override the rule.

"I felt it was important that we follow our rules, but it's a very sensitive issue," Lee said. "I didn't want it to die without giving Sen. Book a fighting chance to pass it."

Book did ask for the 2/3rds vote, and it prevailed. Her new bill – the unrelated one with the human trafficking bill attached to it – then passed overall.

It still faces an uphill battle, however. It needs to pass the Senate again today and then pass the House.

But Book's move gave new hope to the two human trafficking survivors watching from the gallery, who had made multiple trips to Tallahassee to tell lawmakers, in public and on television, their stories.

"Two-thirds of the Senate was on our side, so it's good to know they're standing with us," said Savannah Parvu, 31, of Umatilla.

Former Seminole County prosecutor Lisa Haba, who traveled to Tallahassee multiple times to talk about how motels and hotels turned a blind eye to human trafficking, praised Book afterward.

"She has been a tremendous advocate for survivors of human trafficking," Haba said.

Linsey Ruth, who told lawmakers this session how she was trafficked by her ex-husband, also praised the senator who has sponsored the bill in the House, Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover.

"There are a lot of really good people behind it, and we're happy to see that," Ruth said. "In our past lives, it's just been us. We've been all on our own."


Human Trafficking Bill Killed in Late Night Fla. Senate Session
CBN News

The last effort to keep a human trafficking bill alive in the Florida state senate failed Friday night when the state house decided to remove a part of the proposed measure that would have created a fund for victims.
When it was left for the senate to consider changes to the measure, Republicans said the bill should be killed because the house "did not do the right thing."
"Our friends in the House stripped that out in an attempt to say that they did something in the face of these women, all for political glory," said state Sen. Rene Garcia (R).
The senate has already passed a trust fund bill.
The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Lauren Book (D), urged lawmakers to pass the measure anyway as she gestured to three trafficking victims sitting in the gallery watching the proceedings.

"They have to drive home because they can't stay in hotels," Book said.
As CBN News has reported, the bill would have allowed sex-trafficking victims to sue hotels for turning a blind eye to the crimes taking place on their property.
Not a single Florida lawmaker voted against the proposed measure as it went through committees. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ron Book's campaign contributions for far for the 2018 General Elections

Somehow, a man convicted of illegal campaign contributions still dishes out big bucks to a number of political cronies.

What a shock, he also gave more money to his special needs daughter Lauren.

Candidate/Committee                                Date                 Amount Typ Contributor Name                         Address                                  City State Zip                           Occupation           Inkind Desc
-------------------------------------------------- ---------- ---------------- --- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------- -------------------- --------------------
Aloupis, Vance Arthur (REP)(STR)                   03/03/2017           500.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Baxley, Dennis K. (REP)(STS)                       10/30/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     GOVT. RELATIONS                         
Burton, Colleen  (REP)(STR)                        11/10/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Diamond, Benjamin Frank (DEM)(STR)                 09/06/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     ST PETERSBURG, FL 33324                  LOBBYIST                               
Fine, Randy  (REP)(STR)                            07/17/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER.                    PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Fischer, Jason  (REP)(STR)                         11/30/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Fitzenhagen, Heather D. (REP)(STR)                 01/31/2017           500.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Grall, Erin  (REP)(STR)                            02/22/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              18851 NE 29TH AVE STE 1010               AVENTURA, FL 33180                       ATTORNEY                               
Grant, Michael  (REP)(STR)                         12/21/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Hawkins-Williams, Patricia  (DEM)(STR)             01/16/2018         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER.                    PLANTATION, FL                           LOBBYIST                               
Hooper, Ed  (REP)(STS)                             03/07/2016         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              18851 NE 29TH AVE #1010                  ADVENTURA, FL 33180                      ATTORNEY                               
Hooper, Ed  (REP)(STS)                             08/11/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY/LOBBYIST                       
Hukill, Dorothy L. (REP)(STS)                      03/06/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     LOBBYIST                               
Jacquet, Al  (DEM)(STR)                            01/08/2018         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
LaMarca, Chip  (REP)(STR)                          10/31/2017         1,000.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
Payne, Bobby  (REP)(STR)                           11/10/2017           500.00 CHE BOOK RONALD                              491 COCONUT PALM TER                     PLANTATION, FL 33324                     ATTORNEY                               
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Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Senator" Lauren Book pulls her own sex trafficking bill because.... reasons?

Lauren Book is the biggest sack of bovine excrement sitting on the FloriDUH legislature. I'm willing to speculate she pulled the bill because daddy Ron likely represents the hotel industry (or at the very least, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America). Going against daddy's wishes would lead to the end of her dubious tenure as a state "senator." It is hard for Lauren to be independent with Daddy yanking on her strings.

I don't have a problem with this bill dying at any rate. I just love seeing Lauren exposed as a hypocrite and a snake in the grass.

After unanimous support, human trafficking bill mysteriously postponed


Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

March 02, 2018 09:06 AM

The bill was ambitious, allowing human trafficking victims to sue the hotels that turn a blind eye to their plight, yet it was sailing through the Florida Legislature.

After hearing the horrifying stories from trafficking victims, no lawmaker could vote against the bill, and no one did. No one had even spoken against it.

But on Thursday, needing to pass one last committee before making it to the Senate floor, the senator sponsoring the bill pulled the rug out from under it.

State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, asked that the bill be postponed. With the Legislature in the final days of its session, she effectively killed her own bill, advocates fear.

The move was unusual for Book, herself a victim of child abuse who, until now, had championed the legislation. But her excuse for doing it left one lawmaker and an advocate mystified.

Book said that she postponed the bill because her counterparts in the House, under pressure from the hotel and lodging industry, couldn't pass their own version of it, and she didn't want to waste the Senate committee's time on a losing effort. (Both houses of the Legislature have to pass a bill before it can become law.)

"I'm disappointed that the House won't pass the bill as-is," she said in an interview afterward. She said that she would rather postpone the bill "rather than waste the committee's time."

The state representative responsible for getting the bill through the House, however, said her assessment of its prospects was "not accurate." The bill passed all of its House committees, and as of Thursday night, still had a chance of making it to the House floor for readings and a vote.

"I don't know where she heard that from," state Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, said.

Dale Swope, who has advocated for the bill as president of the Florida Justice Association, which represents trial lawyers, was infuriated that Book didn't try to get the bill passed.

He said it was "catastrophically insulting to the dignity of these women who paid such a high price to get this bill passed."

"It's actually kind of shocking," he said. "For a committee that passed every bill in front of them and had 25 minutes left over, and for her to say they don't want to take up their time?"

One human trafficking survivor couldn't understand why it happened. Savannah Parvu drove to Tallahassee from Umatilla multiple times to tell lawmakers how she was sold for sex out of a hotel when she was only 12.

"I feel like I was given false hope," Parvu said. "I've done all this work, I've opened up and shared horrible things that have happened to me, and it doesn't even get to be heard at the last meeting."

The bill would have allowed survivors like Parvu to sue businesses that willingly and knowingly turn a blind eye to trafficking. For that illicit industry, that mostly meant motels and hotels, where the trafficking often happens. A few other states have passed similar laws, but lawsuits have been scarce.

The bill also would have created a trust fund for trafficking victims, made up of money won in lawsuits. That was in a separate bill that Book also chose to postpone on Thursday.

Advocates and lawmakers agree with Book that the industry has been lobbying hard against it behind the scenes, however. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Disney are registered to lobby the bill. Neither have responded to requests for comment.

But the bills were modified to appease the industry, making it harder to win a human trafficking case against a motel or hotel. It also added incentives to quash lawsuits if the businesses trained its employees to spot signs of human trafficking.

Book acknowledged the industry has been "unhappy" with the bill, but that the victims have been "terribly upset" by it not passing.

"I can promise you, this is not something I'm going to forget, and not something I'm going to stop fighting for," she said.

But Swope believed the bill would have passed the House. He noted that House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, supported the bill, which Corcoran confirmed Thursday night.

Regardless of the motive, Swope said the damage to the bill was done.

"It is killed, dead as a doornail," Swope said. "It was right at the finish line. All she had to do is carry it across the finish line."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Roughly 45% of MIami's homeless population was made homeless by the policies of Homeless Trust head Ron Book

FAC has a really good point-- Book's laws means 45% of those actually living on the street and not in shelters is Ron Book's fault.

According to Homeless Trust, over 45% of Homeless in Miami-Dade County are Sex Offenders
by Florida Action Committee | Feb 5, 2018 | Articles, Featured Articles |

Last month, Ron Book was out with his “Homeless Trust” to count the homeless in Miami-Dade. Yes, literally, to manually count the homeless.

According to this article, the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust counts the homeless twice a year in January and in August, but “tonight’s count is the one that counts for federal funding.” Counts for “federal funding”… no wonder Ron Book is on hand for that one. If it means more money for him, you can be sure he’ll be hands-on.

But what about the stats? The article states, “most recent numbers show that more than 1,000 people are living on the streets in Miami-Dade County.” According to information recently available through the FDLE, there are 457 transient registered sexual offenders or predators in Miami-Dade County.

That would mean that 45% of the homeless population in Miami-Dade County are sex offenders!

So knowing Ron Book despises sex offenders – calls them “monsters” and has said, on record, “I don’t care if they have to live under a bridge or if they have to live somewhere outside Florida” – are we in good hands knowing that the Chairman of the Homeless Trust seeks to harm and punish almost half the people he is responsible for helping?

And it that’s the case, what’s he doing with the more than 60 million dollar annual budget the homeless trust has? Perhaps he’s spending the money on his collection of Olympic torches?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Oh the irony! The Book Crime Family accuses someone else of using the law as a weapon of vengeance against them

It isn't retaliation when the Book family abuses the law and uses it to attack their enemies, like those who support this blog.

Lobbyist accuses legislator of retaliation over his role in sexual harassment case
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
February 01, 2018 07:10 PM

Should Ron Book, the mega lobbyist and lawyer who represented the sexual harassment victim whose testimony led to the resignation of Sen. Jack Latvala, be banned from lobbying the Legislature?

That was the effect of the amendment before the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee Thursday on a bill that would impose broad, new penalties for sexual harassment. The committee voted no, but the bill became a vehicle for a disgruntled lawmaker, Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, to air her grievances.

Peters, whose running feud with House Speaker Richard Corcoran cost her a committee chairmanship, filed the amendment to HB 7007 that would prohibit family members of legislators from lobbying the Legislature.

The relationship is a “direct conflict of interest,” Peters told the committee. “If you are a member of the Legislature, you are held to a standard that is higher than most.” It is unethical, she argued, to have a relative who “is a prominent lobbyist and that lobbyist has the ability to raise money to get other members of the Legislature elected.”

Peters, a Latvala ally, didn’t mention the former Clearwater senator who resigned after a Senate report found probable cause that he had sexually harassed a Senate aide. She didn’t have to.

“This Jack Latvala-proposed amendment is geared at one person,” said Book as he stood before the committee. His daughter, Lauren Book, is a state senator from Plantation.

“He’s right here with a target on his chest,” he said, dramatically drawing an imaginary circle on his chest.

Then, raising his voice, he added: “There’s a target and the target is called retaliatory conduct. Retaliatory conduct because I was willing to step forward and represent several women involved in the Latvala investigation.”

Book is the lawyer for Laura McLeod, the former lobbyist who was subpoenaed by the judge conducting the Senate investigation of Latvala. He also represented two other lobbyists who agreed to testify as part of the probe.

Related: “ ‘He unbuttoned my jacket and he felt me up.’ Lobbyist details senator’s harassment.”

Peters, who has announced she is running for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission in 2018, said she “takes exception” to Book’s claim the amendment was Latvala’s idea.

“Sen. Latvala is not in the Legislature anymore,” she said, adding that she proposed the idea last year after Corcoran spoke to members on the floor of the House during the so-called “whiskey and Wheaties” debate.

That bill to allow big box grocers to sell liquor passed the House and Senate but was vetoed by the governor. Corcoran’s brother was a lobbyist for Wal-Mart, which supported the bill, and Peters and others said they believed the speaker attempted to pressure members to support it. Corcoran denied it.

Several members of the committee criticized the amendment as too broad and that it could potentially undermine the citizen legislature.

Rep. Jason Brodeur, a Seminole County Republican whose wife is Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina K. Daly, said he met his wife while serving in the Legislature, and she is a registered lobbyist for her agency. If Peters’ amendment was law, he said, “my wife may not be my wife.”

“You are changing public policy for 20 million people for an incident that affects two individuals,” Brodeur said. By that logic, he suggested, the state should prohibit people from becoming police officers because they have had a family member in jail.

But Peters rejected that analogy and wouldn’t back down. She said her amendment — which she also filed before session as a bill — “may not have gone far enough.” She said she would have preferred if it also banned a lobbyist from seeking an appropriation for an organization on which the lobbyist is a board member, or if the “family member happens to be a CEO” of the same organization.

The reference was to Lauren Book, founder and director of Lauren’s Kids, a non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. The organization has received more than $10 million in state funds for its educational and instructional programs and both Ron Book and his daughter serve on the board of directors.

In the end, Peters was the only vote in support of the amendment. Rep. Tom Leek, an Ormond Beach Republican, called the amendment an attempt at “political gymnastics.” The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, said the amendment was “taking away from what we are trying to do to end sexual harassment here.”

Sullivan and House leaders had engaged in some creative maneuvering to get the new sexual harassment rules added to the House ethics bill. That bill, HB 7007 had already passed the full chamber on the first week of session so House leaders pulled Sullivan’s bill back into committee and grafted the new sexual harassment language onto it.

Related: “After scandal, Florida Senate ready to make sexual harassment a crime”

In addition to making sexual harassment a violation of state law, enforceable by the Florida Commission on Ethics, the bill prohibits false reporting and retaliation, requires agencies to make victim advocates available to victims, mandates sexual harassment training of all state and legislative employees, and requires agencies to adopt polices restricting consensual dating relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate.

The original bill includes imposing a six-year ban on retired legislators returning to lobby the Legislature, and attempts to end the revolving door between industry and regulators by prohibiting legislators and agency heads from soliciting contracts for employment with the very people they regulate.

The committee also rejected a second Peters amendment that would have banned legislators from working for law firms that lobby the legislature.

Sullivan raised questions about the timing of the proposals, noting that Peters did not offer them when the bill originally came before the committee — before Latvala resigned.

Book, the senator, said she was disappointed by the drama in the House.

“Retaliation goes both ways,” she said. “We’re working really hard to create a product in the Senate that works to address the culture issue that we all know exists here and that honors the journey of individuals who have been victimized. I’m not going to let small roadblocks or barbs deter us or distract us.”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The lowdown on Lauren Book's personal crusade against anti-registry activism & state of the Anti-Registry Movement

The true story behind the controversial "protection order" against Anti-Registry Movement activist Derek Logue is only one of the things Senator Lauren Book has tried to stymie the efforts of the Anti-Registry Movement over the past year. So far this year, we have seen the Book family assist the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners pass a local ordinance to arrest homeless registrants for being unable to find housing, as well as introduce HB 1301, intended to lower the time registered citizens can be in the state without registering. 

Since Derek Logue does at least a fair amount of the posting here, it seems silly to do a sit-down interview, so instead, we've invited him to just write something about this entire lawsuit ordeal and the rest of Senator Book's efforts to kill his activist efforts. 

On the Lawsuit

"First off, I'd like to mention that Lauren Book, or even Ron Book for that matter, came up with the idea to drag me to court. The lawsuit mentions getting a call from Ken Rau, who is a member of Parents For Megan's Law in Long Island (and some say is Laura Ahearn's rich boyfriend who helped fund her through law school), that other group trying to sue me in court. They told the Books about the Twitter posts and then told them to sue me, but since I don't have money and can't be intimidated by suing me for money I don't have, they decided to file a 'protection from abuse' order. 

In July, I received an 'anonymous' PM on Twitter from someone using the pseudonym Garl Pinkerton. He wrote, "Derek, I hear you are in a bit of a bind in Broward County.  What's your plan to dodge this?" It didn't take me long to figure out it came from someone connected to the Book family. It does not make sense to a reasonable man why someone would file a "protection from abuse" order against someone who is not in a relationship with someone or stalking anyone. However, her lawyer let it slip in court that they filed this protection order specifically because they knew suing me for money would not shut me up. A protection order would not stop my efforts against her, either, since aside from the Tribeca festival and the Rally in Tally, I haven't been anywhere near her. 

The truth is the Book family is desperate to stop my efforts because people are paying attention to them. This entire lawsuit was a Hail Mary pass intended to end my participation in a BBC film that I ended up not being left out of in the first place (which I suspect was at least partly the fault of the Book family. This isn't the first time that the Books have used their power and influence on film projects, just look at how our movement got screwed in the Untouchable film. Did you notice there were no interviews with any real anti-registry activists in that film? Feige sold out because he cared more about selling a story than telling the truth, and that is why I think his film is trash. 

Some of the Book family's tactics against me constitute harassment. Their representatives have called my registration office multiple times in a failed attempt to get me in trouble. PFML has tried the same tactic as well. One of them had called my registration office back in July, wanting me to get in trouble for calling them a "cunt." Whoever called claimed to be a State Senator from NY. Well, I have called people cunts in the past, among other things, but I did not know any state Senators or have spoken to one, so I had an idea that either PFML reps or Lauren Book called my registration office. It did not get the desired result, because calling someone a cunt might piss someone off but it is not a crime. 

This entire lawsuit is just an attempt to intimidate me. While the lawsuit is ongoing, there isn't any evidence that would make a reasonable person say there is "stalking" going on. Lauren Book is a public figure, and public criticism of her is not stalking. They issued a court summons to drag me to court just so I could testify that every retweet of news articles criticizing her, every post someone made online she did not like, and every comment others posted in response to my sharing of news articles were introduced as 'evidence' of 'stalking.' Then I got questioned about how is funded; I'd love an explanation as to why that is relevant."

"I'd be shocked if Lauren wins her suit, seeing as how there is nothing to suggest a threat of any kind against her, but then again, she is banking on prejudice against those on the registry rather than actual facts." 

On reaction to the lawsuit:

"Speaking of funds and support for OnceFallen, I've always been disappointed in the lack of support for the work I do, including not participating in research surveys I conduct or joining me in public awareness campaigns. If anyone thinks I findraise to make a profit, they are sorely mistaken. So I'm not surprised at all that a number of people who are supposedly anti-registry bashed me and campaigned against me once word of the lawsuit got out. Yet, the same people who bashed me because I cuss on occasion threw their support behind someone whose son was in an FBI standoff  and wanted to make excuses for that guy. That pisses me off to no end. Ultimately, if I quit fighting for the rights of former offenders, it will be because of these folks and not people like Book.

Support was down in 2017 yet requests for assistance has gone up considerably. I continue to offer what many other websites don't do-- offer info to help people find housing, employment and support services. Fighting the laws are important, but people are't able to help when they are too busy trying to find a house and a job. But for 2018, I'll be slowing down my efforts due to the low level of support. I want to do more. Someone should have been down in Miami besides an ACLU attorney testifying against the Miami ordinance. Where were the registrant activists? I wanted to go but my finances are in bad shape. The Books are aware of my lack of funds and are trying to win by attrition." 

On lawsuits in general:

"I am tired of seeing laws pass because it seems folks just want to wait for a lawyer to save us. Lawsuits are expensive. I am very fortunate to have someone paying for attorneys in my battle with PFML and an attorney representing me pro bono in the idiotic Book suit, but do you realize that the PFML lawsuit bill is already at $30k and I am STILL awaiting my day in court!. Imagine how much more costly a class action would be with a team of lawyers. Fighting bills before they become law is far less expensive, folks. It takes some of your time to do it, but bills pass because if no one opposes them, the belief is that everyone wants this law and it passes. Instead of having a bunch of lazy fools waiting on money to fall from the sky so we can fund expensive litigation, we need to fill up legislative halls with people opposing bad legislation." 

On the Book family and their personal crusade:

"People are mad because I call the Books names, but they call us monsters, incurable, creeping crud, and ticking time bombs. They have repeatedly called my registration office in attempts to intimidate me. Obviously, they are trying to use the courts for the same purpose. They are primarily responsible for forcing so many of Miami's registrant homeless population into homelessness. And as Senator, Lauren Book is trying to pass more legislation to stop us from speaking out against her. 

Book's HB 1301 is nothing but a thinly-veiled effort to stop anti-registry activists from organizing. Since Floridians aren't standing up for themselves, I and many of those who attended my Rally in Tally in 2015 were from out-of-state. This bill serves no purpose but to limit our rights to engage in peaceful demonstrations. That should be painfully obvious.

Senator Book should be brought up on ethics charges. She has done absolutely nothing useful in her time as Senator, save giving herself millions of dollars while sitting on Appropriations subcommittees. Of course, it should come as no shock that her only bills are against those on the registry. She is a very vindictive, evil person and is the worst kind of politician you can have in office. She should be challenged by more people, but it seems I'm the only one not afraid to take her down."