Police Union Retracts Endorsement of Candidate

Mik Gelin calls out a deputy at an awards ceremony in 2019. The union president retracted its endorsement after discovering Stuart Michelson donated to Gelin’s reelection campaign. 

By Sharon Aron Baron

On Tuesday, The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, Local 6020 endorsed Stuart Michelson for city commission.

On Wednesday, they changed their minds.

I.U.P.A. Local 6020 president Matt Cowart alleges Michelson made a campaign donation to Vice Mayor Mike Gelin’s campaign for Mayor of the City of Tamarac. 

“Vice Mayor Mike Gelin used his position as vice mayor to undermine multiple law enforcement officers’ right to due process and publicly berated a law enforcement officer during an award ceremony,” wrote Cowart. “These incidents involving Vice Mayor Mike Gelin were discussed with you during your endorsement interview, and you failed to disclose your support of him during the interview process.”

On September 25, 2019, during the ceremony, then-Commissioner Mike Gelin unexpectedly took the microphone where he congratulated law enforcement officers, then asked for one — Deputy Joshua Gallardo — to return to the front.

“It’s good to see you again,” Gelin said to Gallardo. “You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago. You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here.”

Michelson responded to Cowart on Thursday in an email that he was disappointed to receive the retraction.

“I made it clear at my interview that I would not tolerate the deprivation of any police officers’ due process rights by any political figure and that if such occurred in my presence, I would remind the speaker that the police officer had a right to a fair investigation and I would ask that any accusatory statements be retracted.  

According to records, Michelson wrote a $1,000 check to Mike Gelin on April 26, 2021, at which time Mike Gelin was running for reelection as our District 2 city commissioner.

On July 15, 2015, Gelin was filming an active crime scene with his cellphone when the officer told him to stop recording and back up.  

 “I asked him why he wasn’t asking everybody else to back up. He then arrested me.”

Gelin recalled that the arrest was a traumatic incident, and charges were later dropped.

“I was disrespected, humiliated, embarrassed, and spent nine hours in jail. I spent a significant amount of time and money finding a good attorney and dealing with the court system.”

Michelson added, “I wrote that check as he had been adamant in opposing a development proposal which would destroy my neighborhood and the value of my home.”

According to Cowart, the I.U.P.A., Local 6020 will “never support a candidate who does not support law enforcement and cannot support a candidate who supports someone who does.”

“….You’re a very experienced attorney, and the I.U.P.A. Local 6020 wishes you the best of luck. However, [due] to this newly discovered conflict, the I.U.P.A. Local 6020 is officially retracting its endorsement from you effective immediately.”

Michelson maintains he answered all of their questions truthfully and accurately.

“You erroneously state that I failed to disclose my support of Mike Gelin during the interview process. I was never asked if I supported Mike Gelin at my interview with I.U.P.A. The only candidate I am supporting is myself. Please do not imply that I failed to disclose something that should have been disclosed during the interview. If you do that, you will be putting me in a false light.”

“I thought you were interviewing me about my 41 years of experience as an attorney and my support of law enforcement,” wrote Michelson. “My support of other candidates never was discussed. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with I.U.P.A.

The union endorsed candidate Joey Lanouette on Thursday morning for the District 2 seat.

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Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.
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