A recent campaign mailer sent to Dade Democrats accuses Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle of receiving some $110,000 in contributions in the past three elections from “off shore” contributions tied to real estate developers in Puerto Rico.
Many of them, the ad says, come from post office boxes.
What the attack doesn’t say: a good bulk of the Puerto Rico contributions came from corporations controlled by Fernandez’s boyfriend, wealthy lawyer David Efron. The mailer was sent by A Vote For Justice, a PAC funded by the top prosecutor’s longtime nemesis, the Police Benevolent Association.
Efron is a Cuba-born attorney whose personal injury and medical malpractice law practice is based in San Juan. Records show he controls 26 corporations, most of them real estate developers on the island.
At least 12 of Efron’s companies donated $500 each to Fernandez’s campaign in the past year, according to state campaign finance reports.
And it’s perfectly legal. Although campaign finance law caps donations in state primary races to $500, separate donations can be submitted under the names of individual corporations. Even if they are owned by the same person.
The ad shows a campaign contribution document that list donations from Norfe Bank Properties, Norfe Krome Properties, Norfe Group Corp., Miramar World Center, Metropol Development Corp., Hegon Corp, and several others. All those companies are listed on Efron’s bankruptcy filing.
A review of Efron’s 2011 bankruptcy filing shows he controls several, or nearly all, the companies listed in on the attack ad. A few more campaign donors that are not listed in the bankruptcy filing as being Efron’s assets share the same address as other companies he owns.
The well-heeled lawyer listed $100 million in assets, including a shopping center and a $120,000 2005 Maserati.
Efron and Fernandez have been together for at least a decade. There’s a picture of Fernandez on Efron’s law office website, and they are often photographed together at community events.
The two raised eyebrows early in their relationship when they showed up together at a traffic stop on Galloway Road near Kendall Drive, where Efron’s then 16-year-old was getting a ticket for careless driving and a juvenile curfew violation.
Efron did not much appreciate the publicity given to the Sept. 2001 incident: he sued the Miami Herald for libel, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress. A judge tossed the suit, and the appellate court agreed.
-- Frances Robles