Exclusives


EXCLUSIVE: PGA National being sold for $233 million

PGA National Resort & Spa, one of the county’s most iconic resorts and the home of the Honda Classic, is under contract to be sold to a Canadian company. A website that tracks hotel sales said Brookfield Asset Management, of Toronto, signed a contract on July 26 to buy the Palm Beach Gardens resort. A source familiar with the transaction said a Brookfield private real estate fund will pay $233...
Why Palm Beach County public schools’ tax rate keeps falling

Why Palm Beach County public schools’ tax rate keeps falling

Most of Palm Beach County’s local governments have had the good fortune to keep their property tax rates steady in recent years, allowing them to bring in more money through rising home values without a formal vote to hike taxes. But there’s a striking exception: the county’s public schools, whose tax rate has dropped 20 percent since 2011. The school district is alone among...
EXCLUSIVE: In video, grandmother begs missing Delray woman’s husband not to take baby

EXCLUSIVE: In video, grandmother begs missing Delray woman’s husband not to take baby

A distraught grandmother throws herself on Lewis Bennett in the driveway of the woman's Boca Raton home.  "Don't take my baby. Don't take my baby," Amparo Alvarez sobs in Spanish before staggering away and collapsing. Inside Bennett’s car is the woman’s granddaughter. "You already killed my sister. What else do you want. Do you want to kill my mom? Right now?"...
Pilots flying without licenses, how does it happen?

Pilots flying without licenses, how does it happen?

A week after his death, Philip Castronova’s family and friends are still stunned that the 70-year-old pilot did not have an active license to fly an aircraft. Even more, residents living in the vicinity of the airport emailed local officials indicating they couldn’t believe Castronova hadn’t been caught. But pilots — both local and afar — aren’t surprised...
PBC mayor blasts Forest Hill High for ‘sexism’ over daughter’s torn jeans

PBC mayor blasts Forest Hill High for ‘sexism’ over daughter’s torn jeans

Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay is calling for the school district to discipline a Forest Hill High School official who she says removed her daughter from classes Thursday for wearing torn jeans, then lectured her to consider male classmates’ hormones when dressing. In a Facebook post Thursday afternoon, McKinlay alleged that the unnamed school official “told [her daughter] that...
Big Dog Ranch faces social media backlash over owner’s Nike stance

Big Dog Ranch faces social media backlash over owner’s Nike stance

The largest no-kill dog shelter in the Southeast faced withering social media backlash Thursday over its founder’s stance on Nike sneakers. Big Dog Ranch Rescue temporarily took down its Twitter and Facebook pages Thursday as a torrent of negative posts appeared. The online comments were sharply critical of Simmons’ decision, as reported in The Palm Beach Post, that Lauree Simmons, the...
Did gunman open fire on Lake Worth transformer, blacking out city?

Did gunman open fire on Lake Worth transformer, blacking out city?

It was disturbing enough that a transformer in the city’s main electrical substation exploded in a fireball on a calm April night, knocking out power for seven hours to all of Lake Worth. But after the fire was out, crews inspecting the damaged device saw something sinister — a jagged hole that looked like it was intentionally made by a projectile, perhaps even a bullet. They...
Roxy’s Pub sued for serving, posting lewd video of 19-year-old women

Roxy’s Pub sued for serving, posting lewd video of 19-year-old women

A popular downtown nightspot, that has hosted election night parties for mayors and city council members, is being accused of serving underage girls who got drunk, took their clothes off and, to the delight of hooting patrons, had sex while staff members egged them on. To further the insult, Roxy’s Pub posted a video of the 19-year-old women’s lewd October 2017 dance on its Facebook page...
Where the crowds are: See which PBC schools are packed beyond limits, which sit closer to half full

Where the crowds are: See which PBC schools are packed beyond limits, which sit closer to half full

In late August, Palm Beach County school officials invited folks from the state Department of Education to visit our expansive district. The goal: to make the case that the state should approve the district’s plan to build three new schools in the next four years – plans that have languished without the state’s approval for six months.  The district argued that an elementary...
Surge in police body cam video brings need for more employees

Surge in police body cam video brings need for more employees

Body-worn cameras have been lauded for protecting minority communities and police alike, but adopting the technology has created a new wrinkle for law enforcement: keeping up with record requests for the footage. Anyone can request police body cam footage, although local police departments say it’s most commonly sought by attorneys seeking evidence. To meet public record laws, police must review...
Report: Savitt involved with ‘corruption, collusion of judges’

Report: Savitt involved with ‘corruption, collusion of judges’

“Corruption and collusion of judges and lawyers in Delray Beach for financial gain” centered around dubious professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt and her husband, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, according to a report never before made public by Palm Beach County’s guardianship watchdog. Once again, a major institution in what is known nationwide as &ldquo...
Sunflower patch draws buzz to You Farm west of Loxahatchee Groves

Sunflower patch draws buzz to You Farm west of Loxahatchee Groves

A sunflower patch west of Loxahatchee Groves is attracting more than the usual buzz of bees. About 20,000 sunflowers cover about 2,000 square feet at You Farm, a 5-acre working farm on Rembrandt Road off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road just north of Southern Boulevard. These are table sunflowers, not the towering ones you see on postcards. And they’re picture-perfect — as evidenced by...
Judge Colin says it’s ‘nonsense’ that he funneled work to wife

Judge Colin says it’s ‘nonsense’ that he funneled work to wife

With $190,000 and his wife’s job as a professional guardian on the line, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin took the stand Wednesday and called it “nonsense” that his spouse stands accused of receiving appointments by virtue of their marriage. Instead, Colin said his fellow judges — who he referred to as friends — appointed his wife. He said all the judges who approved...
EXCLUSIVE: Betsy Savitt guardianship report alleges ‘wrongdoing by sitting judges’

EXCLUSIVE: Betsy Savitt guardianship report alleges ‘wrongdoing by sitting judges’

A confidential investigation into controversial professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt contains “allegations or suggestions of wrongdoing by sitting judges,” an administrative judge revealed on Wednesday. The revelation surfaced during a first-of-its-kind hearing, held in West Palm Beach, into whether Savitt should face sanctions for conflict of interest with judges...
EXCLUSIVE: Attorney general candidate leaves trail of debt, feuds with ex-clients, lenders

EXCLUSIVE: Attorney general candidate leaves trail of debt, feuds with ex-clients, lenders

A stolen house. Misplaced cash. A failed scheme to lure investors into flipping a million-dollar home.  These are among the allegations against Wellington-based attorney Jeffrey Siskind — allegations that have led to at least one Florida Bar complaint and potential ethics violations. Among his critics are a man serving time in federal prison for running one of the largest pill mill...
County asks state for $7.6 million to help ‘critically eroded’ beaches

County asks state for $7.6 million to help ‘critically eroded’ beaches

Palm Beach County has asked the state for about $7.6 million to pay for restoration projects at what have been labeled critically-eroded beaches. If the state approves the money, the county would match it with about $5.2 million and roughly $2.4 million more provided by impacted coastal cities. The money requested from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection would go to...
Python sightings this far east? Boynton Beach residents are on edge

Python sightings this far east? Boynton Beach residents are on edge

It hasn’t quite reached Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot status, but reported sightings of a large Burmese python in a Boynton Beach neighborhood has led to a certain fear and loathing in suburbia. What’s worse — wildlife authorities cannot catch it and there could be more than one. Is it a signal that the monster snakes, an invasive species that’s been wreaking havoc in the Everglades...
Rejected $75 million Boca senior living developer: City discriminated against elderly

Rejected $75 million Boca senior living developer: City discriminated against elderly

BOCA RATON — The developer behind a rebuffed $75 million resort-style senior living facility in downtown Boca Raton is battling the city in court for approval to build. Group P6, the developer behind The Concierge senior living facility, claims in a petition to Palm Beach County Circuit Court that Boca Raton officials rejected the project without cause and discriminated against a protected...
Cerabino: Monitoring the lizard situation in Florida is a big job

Cerabino: Monitoring the lizard situation in Florida is a big job

A giant lizard has been terrorizing a family in South Florida for weeks. The 6-foot-long monitor lizard has been an unwanted visitor on the back patio of Zachary Lieberman’s Davie home. “It was right at my back window kind of scratching to get inside the house,” Lieberman told the Sun-Sentinel. He took videos of it. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) sent...
Judge Martin Colin had a hand in his wife’s guardianship cases, state says

Judge Martin Colin had a hand in his wife’s guardianship cases, state says

Former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, his finances in shambles in the fall of 2009, asked an attorney who appeared regularly in front of him to step out from the courtroom into the hall. There in the corridor, Colin’s wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt, waited. The judge then asked lawyer Sheri Hazeltine to represent his spouse, a tennis instructor who aimed to become a professional...
‘I just want justice:’ Mom pleads for leads, arrest in son’s 2015 Riviera homicide

‘I just want justice:’ Mom pleads for leads, arrest in son’s 2015 Riviera homicide

During the last three years, Sharee Brooks has pieced together much of what happened the night her son was murdered outside a popular Riviera Beach convenience store.  After all, the streets talk.  But they haven’t said enough to lead to an arrest in Connis Robinson’s August 2015 murder. “That’s why this upsets me so much,” Brooks said. “Everybody...
NEW: Even after head injury, shooting, ambulance crews optional at high school football games

NEW: Even after head injury, shooting, ambulance crews optional at high school football games

When Spanish River High football player Miles Levine sustained a serious head injury during a preseason football game Aug. 17, a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crew was on hand to attend to the boy, place him in an ambulance and rush him to a hospital for emergency brain surgery. “First responders were on him immediately,” said Adam Levine, his father. Miles Levine was lucky,...
One school lunch period, or more? The reasons behind it you may not know

One school lunch period, or more? The reasons behind it you may not know

Friendships are made and broken here. Social strategies hashed out and homework completed. Then, of course, there’s the food. High school lunch is all of that and more. And few debates about school lunch cut to the quick like the matter of how many lunch periods there should be on any given campus. Of Palm Beach County’s 23 traditional high schools, a majority have multiple lunches...
NEW: Travelers caught with guns at PBIA security include PBSO deputy, Gardens officer

NEW: Travelers caught with guns at PBIA security include PBSO deputy, Gardens officer

When a traveler passed through a security checkpoint at Palm Beach International Airport last month, officials made a surprise discovery in her carry-on bag: a Glock 42 semi-automatic handgun.  "TSA Agents collected her information and permitted her to proceed with her travels," a report said. "The handgun was secured in PBSO's safe until her return."  The traveler...
Will third try be charm for art movies, apartments at Carefree site?

Will third try be charm for art movies, apartments at Carefree site?

Nearly three years since prominent New York developer and part-time Palm Beach resident Charles Cohen bought the West Palm Beach property where the Carefree Theater once stood on South Dixie Highway, the land sits bare. Two go-rounds with city officials and citizen opponents lie in the dust, including one effort by Cohen to build an art theater/movie house/apartment/restaurant venue bigger...
NEW: Teen hurt in Delray crash out of coma, can’t speak, father says

NEW: Teen hurt in Delray crash out of coma, can’t speak, father says

Farrah Fox, the college student severely hurt in a crash after an off-duty Palm Beach County deputy reportedly ran a stop sign, is out of a coma, her father said Friday.  On July 15, Delray Beach police said, Michael D'Avanzo was traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. He told officers he didn’t see the stop sign at Northeast First Avenue and Northeast Third Street. His 2018 Chevrolet...
Nelson tweets falsehoods, catches attention of social media watchdogs

Nelson tweets falsehoods, catches attention of social media watchdogs

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson wasted no time broadcasting his insider’s knowledge about three hot-button issues earlier this year. In a trio of tweets and viral comments rifled off within the past six months, Nelson — one of Florida’s longest-serving federal officials — distributed details about a high school shooting, the type of weapon used in a separate shooting in a Miami-Dade...
Stingray: PBSO deputies use secret cellphone catcher that could grab your call logs, texts 

Stingray: PBSO deputies use secret cellphone catcher that could grab your call logs, texts 

Cops in Palm Beach County and across the country are using secret cellphone tracking devices that could let them see your phone number, exact location and possibly everything on your phone while they look for suspects. You’re not supposed to know. No, this is not the beginning of a conspiracy novel. It’s a well-documented reality so guarded that it took months of legal wrangling in a death...
Cold case: Mystery of 1902 murder of West Palm Beach pioneer revealed

Cold case: Mystery of 1902 murder of West Palm Beach pioneer revealed

Leonard Russell Hone has seen the letter. Written with pen and inkwell by Hone’s ancestor, it stops at mid-sentence, the writer’s hand making a harsh slash of black ink that soaked the paper. “The nib dug into the paper and there was a big ‘spludge,’” Hone said in early August from his home in France. “This was actually the moment he was shot.” Richard...
EXCLUSIVE: Taxes for Trump’s Palm Beach County properties may hit $1.36 million

EXCLUSIVE: Taxes for Trump’s Palm Beach County properties may hit $1.36 million

President Donald Trump, no fan of rising taxes, might not be happy with the tax bills in the works for Trump-related properties in Palm Beach County. Those properties — including his winter White House at Mar-a-Lago — likely will generate higher taxes this year than last, according to preliminary figures released today. Escalating property values mean total tax bills for Trump-related...
This four-lane road north of downtown has become a dangerous speedway

This four-lane road north of downtown has become a dangerous speedway

Beatrice Marcelle, 87, was asleep shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 when a Toyota Camry fleeing police careened off North Australian Avenue in West Palm Beach and into her bedroom. The crash left her bruised, swollen and in pain, and her home uninhabitable, a gaping hole in its brick facade. It left neighbors shaken, as well, at their continued vulnerability after years of complaints...
Judge: Edna Hibel museum must leave FAU’s Jupiter campus

Judge: Edna Hibel museum must leave FAU’s Jupiter campus

Works of art by Edna Hibel, and any other personal property from the foundation in the late Singer Island artist’s name, must be removed from Florida Atlantic University’s John D. MacArthur campus by Sept. 24, a judge has ruled. This marks the end of a battle to keep the Hibel Museum of Art at 5353 Parkside Drive in Jupiter through the end of its 40-year lease with the university. The...
Editorial: In defense of democracy’s defenders

Editorial: In defense of democracy’s defenders

We aren’t the enemy. It doesn’t matter how many times the president of the United States calls the news media “the enemy of the American people,” or attaches the word “fake” to “stories,” “media” or “polls.” All the repetitions in the world can’t make the slander true — though, in some minds, the repetition can make...
A daughter’s grief: Harrouff homicides still scar my family memories

A daughter’s grief: Harrouff homicides still scar my family memories

It's aggravating, Ivy Stevens explained, not to be able to remember someone happily because of the way they died. Painful, even. There were the usual weekends fishing for dolphin out the boat and the nights sitting in the garage with her dad, John Stevens III, and his wife, Michelle Mishcon. He’d have a cigar, maybe Michelle was dancing because it was Friday, and they’d be headed...
SPECIAL REPORT: A foul task - cleaning up Florida’s red tide corpses 

SPECIAL REPORT: A foul task - cleaning up Florida’s red tide corpses 

On the fine, shell-dappled beaches of Sanibel Island, the putrid corpses of all manner of sea life are scraped into piles by a rag-tag crew with metal-tined rakes. Matilda Meritt, a cigarette between her lips, rhinestone sunglasses, and a shirt that reads “wake me when the boring is over,” is on the early shift, dropped off in one of two Greyhound buses every morning for a week...
CityPlace of the west? Master plan map filed in Royal Palm Beach

CityPlace of the west? Master plan map filed in Royal Palm Beach

A master plan filed in the village, and scheduled to come before officials next week, marks a milestone for a project years in the making and a topic of curiosity for thousands of daily commuters on Southern Boulevard. “It’s going to be the CityPlace of the western communities,” said Michael Tuttle, manager of Tuttle Land Investments. The reference to West Palm Beach’s signature...
Mold spurs partial closure of North Palm Beach public safety building

Mold spurs partial closure of North Palm Beach public safety building

A leaky roof at the North Palm Beach public safety building has spurred the growth of a stubborn and dangerous mold. Since Thursday, the building’s records division has been closed and its two full-time employees moved elsewhere in the building because of what Police Chief Rick Jenkins called an imminent health issue. RELATED: Families scramble as toxic mold forces them from Wellington homes...
Five seek Democrats’ gubernatorial nomination: But which can win?

Five seek Democrats’ gubernatorial nomination: But which can win?

President Bill Clinton was heralding the possibilities of the “information superhighway,” O.J. Simpson was readying his murder defense and Donald Trump was married to Marla Maples and preparing to unveil his new Mar-a-Lago Club the last time a Democrat won an election for governor in Florida. KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES: Complete guide to the Aug. 28 election Now five candidates are trying to...
EXCLUSIVE: How a Singer Island mansion escaped water bills for 6 years

EXCLUSIVE: How a Singer Island mansion escaped water bills for 6 years

The waterfront house at 2765 Lake Drive is the ninth most valuable in Riviera Beach, its worth estimated by the county at nearly $2.2 million. Yet, despite its lush lawn, dock and swimming pool on Singer Island alongside the Intracoastal Waterway, five bedrooms and four full baths, utility bills obtained by The Palm Beach Post indicate no one at the 5,900-square-foot property used any water the past...
Cerabino: Florida Dems running for governor running after Graham

Cerabino: Florida Dems running for governor running after Graham

If you were lucky enough to miss the fifth and final debate among the five Democrats running for Florida governor, fear not. I have a condensed recap of this hour-long event featuring Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene, former North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham, and some guy named Chris King. The debate, held in Palm...
NEW: Should beach-based shark fishing be banned in Florida?

NEW: Should beach-based shark fishing be banned in Florida?

For generations, average Joe anglers cast their lines from Florida’s sandy shores hoping to land one of the ocean’s most ancient creatures, furtive shadows thrumming with power and intrigue. But the state is taking a closer look at the loosely regulated sport of beach-based shark fishing as concerns mount about hooked sharks being dragged onto the sand, their snouts lifted...
Cerabino: Palm Beach County Schools has your name, but not your number

Cerabino: Palm Beach County Schools has your name, but not your number

The Palm Beach County School Board is considering streamlining its school-naming policy to allow wealthy, living individuals to have schools named after them in exchange for a “significant contribution.” These “legacy naming rights” would replace a policy that gives the school’s advisory council (SAC) a say on the name change, sparing a “substantial benefactor&rdquo...
EXCLUSIVE: Boca mayoral candidate claims opponent’s blog violates law

EXCLUSIVE: Boca mayoral candidate claims opponent’s blog violates law

Boca Raton mayoral candidate Scott Singer filed a complaint with the Florida Election Commission against opponent Al Zucaro and his blog, BocaWatch, Singer told The Palm Beach Post. Singer, acting mayor of Boca Raton, claims Zucaro operates the blog as an unregistered political committee, a violation of state election law. On July 26, Singer filed the complaint, which has not been made public but...
Mentally ill man allowed to starve to death in prison, lawsuit says

Mentally ill man allowed to starve to death in prison, lawsuit says

When Vincent Gaines started serving his five-year prison sentence for burglary, the West Palm Beach resident weighed 190 pounds. He was also known to be bipolar and psychotic with borderline intellectual functioning. In fact, his prison intake information described him as stocky. When he died, the 5-foot-9 Gaines weighed 115 pounds and was found naked with what appeared to be feces caked to the bottoms...
Cerabino: Finding a companion program to doggie crackdown at Publix

Cerabino: Finding a companion program to doggie crackdown at Publix

The CAVE Society applauds Publix for its new signs aimed at keeping most dogs out of the supermarkets. We Citizens Against Virtually Everything have been annoyed by the gradual inclusion of canines into the shopping experience, especially those transported in baby strollers or infant harnesses. These dogs are almost never service animals, which are highly trained and disciplined dogs that perform...
Privatizing prison health care leaves inmates in pain, sometimes dying

Privatizing prison health care leaves inmates in pain, sometimes dying

Inmates called her Red, for the thick auburn hair her beloved older sister once painstakingly curled. Smart as a whip at 9, Donna Pickelsimer was troubled in her teens, struggling with alcohol in her 20s and, at 52 a convict, sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Under the care of Florida’s newly privatized prison health system, she didn’t last four. Handing off prison inmate medical care...
Florida fertile ground for drug company to sling fentanyl

Florida fertile ground for drug company to sling fentanyl

Florida, the reputed epicenter of the opioid crisis, served as fertile ground for a pharmaceutical company accused of bribing doctors to prescribe a powerful fentanyl spray. The Sunshine State topped the nation in 2014 and 2015 for patients and claims to Medicare for the medicine manufactured and marketed by Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid...
How Big Pharma uses psychology on doctors to do its bidding

How Big Pharma uses psychology on doctors to do its bidding

So why do physicians fall for pharmaceutical companies’ enticements? Why do they put all they worked for on the line, after all their schooling, the endless hours of residency, the difficulty of establishing themselves in their chosen specialty? It’s pretty simple, says a medical marketing expert: sales reps exploit doctors’ weaknesses with flattery and friendship. Drug company representatives...
Local doctor in indictment of fentanyl execs: I committed no crime

Local doctor in indictment of fentanyl execs: I committed no crime

A Palm Beach County physician — one of the nation’s top prescribers of a highly addictive fentanyl spray — believes he is one of 10 unidentified doctors described in a federal criminal indictment against executives of a pharmaceutical company prosecutors say bribed doctors to prescribe the drug. The indictment lists the 10 as “co-conspirator practitioners,” but Dr...
Ex-Boca school counselor used exotic dancer, models to push fentanyl

Ex-Boca school counselor used exotic dancer, models to push fentanyl

Alec Burlakoff once worked as a guidance counselor and basketball coach at a private Boca Raton prep school, but then he jumped into the cutthroat world of pharmaceuticals. It would never be the same. As national sales chief for Insys Therapeutics, he helped direct the hiring of a former exotic dancer from West Palm Beach, models and even a reality TV star who posed for Playboy to peddle one...
Veteran, would-be lawyer, mom left dead or addicted after Subsys

Veteran, would-be lawyer, mom left dead or addicted after Subsys

An Iraq War veteran. A New Jersey woman planning her wedding. A grandmother from Jacksonville. A firefighter’s wife in South Carolina. All were prescribed a powerful spray fentanyl painkiller called Subsys, approved by the Food and Drug Administration only for breakthrough cancer pain. None had cancer. But many of their doctors received hundreds of thousands from the manufacturer of the...
Master salesman Burlakoff mixes ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ with Big Pharma

Master salesman Burlakoff mixes ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ with Big Pharma

Alec Burlakoff told his sales staff at Insys Therapeutics that “The Wolf of Wall Street” was the “best sales training video in history.” Now, the maverick salesman from Boca Raton faces federal criminal charges that he played fast and loose marketing a fentanyl spray. The movie, about machismo capitalism run amok in the pump-and-dump era of the 1980s and 1990s, also reflects...
EXCLUSIVE: Madman at the gate: A community’s close encounters with Omar Mateen

EXCLUSIVE: Madman at the gate: A community’s close encounters with Omar Mateen

PORT ST. LUCIE — Tucked among palm trees, flowers and manicured hedges, the south security gate at PGA Village is supposed to serve as a welcome mat to a development known for its upscale homes, three golf courses and streets with names like Perfect Drive and Steeplechase Lane. But for some residents and visitors, it’s a gateway to something far less idyllic. It’s a daily reminder...
EXCLUSIVE: Winning candidates helped voters fill out their ballots

EXCLUSIVE: Winning candidates helped voters fill out their ballots

A Palm Beach County commissioner and a state House member clinched their seats last year by stepping into voters’ homes and helping them fill out their mail-in ballots, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found. Commissioner Mack Bernard and Rep. Al Jacquet, both Democrats running in the August primary, took advantage of gaping holes in Florida’s vote-by-mail laws to pressure and cajole...
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