Cerabino: Voter fraud in Palm Beach County? No private eye needed.


The phone rings, jarring me from my afternoon nap.

Philip Marlowe here,” I say, while reaching for the pack of gaspers under the Palm Beach Kennel Club racing form.

“Mr. Marlowe,” the whiny voice on the line says. “I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time.”

“Any time you call, Cerabino, is a bad time,” I say. “What’s the matter? You run out of Trump columns to write?”

I cradle the phone with my chin, fire up a smoke, and put my tired dogs on the desk.

“I might need your services,” he says. “Is your calendar empty?”

Is my calendar empty? It’s as empty as a Tri-Rail train on the last run of the night from the Mangonia Park station. It’s not easy being a fictional private eye anymore.

But I’m not about to let this ink-stained jamoke know that.

“Lotsa work. Lotsa broads,” I say. “You know, the usual. Some guy stepping out, and I get to console the jilted missus, while her peepers are doing the waterworks all over my Weejuns.

“I got a looker with a nice set of pins comin’ in here in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, so make this fast, paperboy.”

So Cerabino tells me some tale of woe about voter fraud going on in Palm Beach County over the use of absentee ballots. It just so happens that three Democratic sharpies — state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, state Rep. Al Jacquet, D-Delray Beach; and County Commissioner Mack Bernard — got elected last year with extraordinary turnout in absentee ballots.

And it just so happens that the fraud detectives found was in all three districts.

“Voters who didn’t request absentee ballots got them in the mail, and then were visited by candidates or their representatives, who helped them fill ballots out, collect them and turn them in,” he says. “There are many forged signatures on absentee ballot request forms. And a video camera shows a campaign worker dropping off bundles of absentee ballot request forms at the elections office.”

I pour myself three fingers of Old Forester and tell the newspaper guy to slow down.

“I get it, Cerabino,” I say. “So what do you need from me? If you’re just here to tell me that this ought to be duck soup for some county dick, that there ought to be perps wearing cuff links from this, you’re wasting your time.”

EXCLUSIVE: Voter fraud in Palm Beach County: State attorney finds crimes, but no suspect

But Cerabino keeps talking, getting as excited as an Okeechobee Boulevard sign spinner.

“That’s just it,” Cerabino says. “We’ve got a Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit that investigated this along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which put 14 detectives on the case. Fourteen detectives!”

I take a swig of the bourbon and circle the No. 5 dog in the second race.

“Yeah, and let me guess, they couldn’t even come up with a jaywalking collar,” I say.

“They took more than eight months to interview some witnesses,” Cerabino says, “and by then they were either hard to find or had vanished. And they never interviewed the politicians involved.”

I’m still looking at the racing form.

“What do you think about Bart’s Card Shark in the second?” I say. “Looks like he may go off at 6-to-1.”

“Aren’t you listening to me, Marlowe?”

“There’s nothing to hear, Cerabino,” I say. “Aronberg, the guy running the public corruption unit, is a state attorney who got his job five years ago by playing footsie with a local millionaire to run his predecessor out of office by using actors as protesters.

“That’s your pillar of election integrity.

“And he’s got aspirations for Congress now. You think Aronberg’s interested in indicting local Democrats? When it comes to sorting out potential Democrat corruption, he’s about as useful as a speed bump at Century Village.”

“As for the sheriff and the supervisor of elections, they’re both big local Democrats, too,” I say. “You could put 313 dicks on this case and all that would mean is there would be a 240-page report instead of a 24-page report that finds nobody to charge.”

There’s a long silence on the line, a silence as long as the lunch line at Chipotle.

“So then you won’t help?” finally Cerabino asks.

“I am helping,” I say. “Forget about the voter fraud, Cerabino. It’s just Chinatown.”

“Hey, wait a minute,” he says. “That’s not your movie.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Sylvester Stallone assures fans he is 'alive and well' after death hoax goes viral
Sylvester Stallone assures fans he is 'alive and well' after death hoax goes viral

Actor Sylvester Stallone is the victim of a death hoax. A rumor claiming that the 71-year-old actor had passed away recently surfaced on social media — and he was not happy about it. >> Read more trending news  Stallone took to Twitter to express his annoyance. “Please ignore the stupidity,” the &ldquo...
Opinion: Appeasing the trigger gods

During his campaign, Donald Trump often bragged about his skill as a negotiator. In conversations, he ventured that, as president, he might be able to resolve two of the most thorny and tragic dilemmas: finding peace in the Mideast and reaching a sensible compromise on guns. He said he would hop in his limo and go to NRA headquarters in suburban Virginia...
Cerabino: Russia’s misinformation show features West Palm Beach star
Cerabino: Russia’s misinformation show features West Palm Beach star

If you’re the person who got paid to portray a jailed Hillary Clinton at a Donald Trump rally in West Palm Beach a few months before the election, please call me. I’d love to hear what you think of things now, 18 months later. You remember? Right? You were at City Place on Aug. 20, 2016, sitting in the back of a pickup truck that was decked...
Trump in Palm Beach: President leaves after a little golf, a lot of tweets and visit with shooting victims 
Trump in Palm Beach: President leaves after a little golf, a lot of tweets and visit with shooting victims 

UPDATE 6:55 p.m.: Air Force One landed at Joint Base Andrews at 6:14 p.m., according to White House pool reporters. The president, first lady and Barron Trump left the plane 9 minutes later. Trump didn’t answer a shouted question about gun control. The family then left  in the presidential motorcade. The motorcade arrived at the White House...
Habitat wants to build homes on Boynton Beach-owned scrub
Habitat wants to build homes on Boynton Beach-owned scrub

Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach wants to build 22 single-family affordable houses on land that the city and an elementary school have worked to preserve as scrub . The Palm Beach County School District deeded the land to the city in 2012 in a land-transfer program to build Galaxy Elementary School. The land &mdash...
More Stories