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Ex-state lawmaker's wife, a former Broward school board member, had sexual trysts with vendors, investigation finds

While still in office, former Broward School Board member Jennifer Gottlieb engaged in two different romantic affairs with men who worked for a company doing business with the school district, according to law enforcement records now made public.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show that two employees of Citigroup, which was hired to help Broward finance bonds used to build schools, admitted to sexual trysts with Gottlieb.

Richard Patterson, a Citigroup managing director in Tampa, said Gottlieb suggested ending their affair in 2007 after her campaign manager “advised against pursuing the relationship if she had any hopes of furthering her political career.” The pair mutually decided to part ways at that point, Patterson said.

The other Citigroup employee, Michael Baldwin, “broke down in tears and stated that he and Gottlieb are ‘in love’ like two high school kids, and they have been romantically involved for the past three years,” according to the FDLE records of Baldwin’s sworn testimony. Baldwin told investigators he has been married for 17 years. Gottlieb is married to Broward County Judge Ken Gottlieb, though public records show he filed for divorce in June.

The existence of the FDLE documents was first reported Wednesday by Local 10 News reporter Bob Norman. Neither Gottlieb, Patterson, nor Baldwin could be reached for comment late Wednesday. First elected in 2006, Gottlieb was reelected in 2010 but abruptly resigned from office last year. At the time of her resignation, Gottlieb was dogged by rumors of infidelity, as well as criticism of her role in pushing for the construction of Beachside Montessori Village in Hollywood. A state grand jury report issued months before Gottlieb’s resignation blasted the Montessori school as a “beachside boondoggle” that cost taxpayers $25 million and was unnecessarily built in a part of the county that had enough classroom space.

More from Michael Vasquez here.