NOVEMBER 16, 2007
A former Democratic state senator who for a decade headed the sheriff’s department in one of Florida’s most populous counties will go to jail after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
Disgraced Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion and mail fraud conspiracy involving money and other favors that he illegally took from vendors who did business with his county office, which has 6,300 employees and an annual budget of $700 million.
Jenne admitted in federal court that he accepted more than $151,500 in improper payments and benefits and that some of the money was funneled through his secretaries. One vendor even made payments on the sheriff’s imported luxury convertible. As part of the plea, the former sheriff also agreed to pay the federal government nearly $50,000 in back taxes.
Jenne’s admission of corruption didn’t stop a series of prominent public officials from praising him as they asked the judge for leniency at this week’s sentencing hearing. Among them was former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, currently the state’s Department of Children and Families secretary, state Senator Fred Lippman and a Broward Circuit judge named Ilona Holmes.
A veteran Florida congressman (Alcee Hastings) infamous for being impeached as a federal judge was tied up with his duties as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign co chair, but sent his chief of staff (Art Kennedy) to bat for the corrupt sheriff.
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