From The Miami Herald: For the past decade, the Broward County (Fla.) school district has been awarding builders multimillion-dollar contracts for new schools, classrooms and rebuilding projects -- and in turn, contractors have been eager to pony up big dollars for School Board members running for office.That practice is now under intense scrutiny by federal law enforcement authorities in the wake of bribery and fraud charges against School Board member Beverly Gallagher. For watchdogs who have urged the district to reform practices they found questionable, Gallagher's arrest appeared to validate longtime concerns.
Earlier....from The South Florida Sun-Sentinel: A Broward County (Fla.) school board member has been charged with fraud, extortion and taking a bribe in connection with school construction contracts. Beverly Gallagher allegedly took money to steer construction contracts to a company that agreed to hire a favored subcontractor. The probe into school district operations is continuing.
ALSO: Government agents are questioning district officials about the process of awarding construction contracts, whether contracts could be steered to selected companies and about lobbyists' influence on the school board.
SIDEBAR: Fraud. Coercion. Collusion. These words and others alleging overspending and mismanagement have been echoed by auditors and investigators who have scrutinized Broward County's troubled school construction program for more than a decade. They surfaced again with the arrest of Gallagher.