By Bari Auerbach
Law and order was the theme when Albert Fried and Joe Dipell of the Centurion Foundation, represented by John Campbell; and Russel Lazega, founder of the law firm Florida Advocates, a Private Law Firm and award-winning author of Managing Bubbie, hosted an Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Roundtable luncheon. The event featured Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, nationally recognized as a leader in crime prevention and juvenile justice.
Ruling “networking in session,” past AMC Chair Cliff Schulman of Weiss Serota, Helfman welcomed business, community and law enforcement leaders to Turnberry Isle Resort.
Presenting evidence as to how the Centurion Foundation supports law enforcement organizations throughout the nation, Campbell explained Fried and Dipell are dedicated to initiatives that assist widows and orphans of officers injured or killed in the line of duty. The Foundation also helps fund bullet proof vests, educational scholarships for police officers and their children, as well as special projects such as training for counter-terrorism and homicide investigations.
Testifying to the success of Florida Advocates, Lazega said the insurance litigation boutique focuses on issues involving insurance and injuries. While the firm’s team of specialists includes authors of leading textbooks on Workers’ Compensation, Florida and general insurance law, Lazega has won over 20 awards for his book, Managing Bubbie, sharing the trials of trying to manage his grandmother, a brave Holocaust survivor. Recently released as an audio book with a star-studded celebrity cast, including Linda Lavin and Lainie Kazan, Managing Bubbie is now making its way to the big screen as a movie produced by one of Europe’s largest film development and finance companies..
When Rundle took the stand, AMC members learned that for over 20 years, she has been the revered State Attorney for the largest prosecutorial department in the state of Florida and the fourth largest in the United States, staffed by 330 attorneys serving Miami-Dade County.
Rundle noted her office is now part of a group called “Prosecutors Against Gun Violence,” supporting federal legislation that could save lives with new laws including the ban of silencers and sale of accessories used to increase the rate of fire on semi-automatic weapons.
She also spoke about advancements being made since the formation of her office’s Human Trafficking Task Force. “There are now stricter prohibitions for adult entertainment clubs to ensure no minors are working there. We have increased penalties for repeat offenders. Non-victim dependent prosecution is possible with the use of cell phone and text messaging evidence; and The Safe Harbor bill has also been strengthened, so minors can immediately find a place to stay in the Children and Family Services system.”
Citing numerous cases involving horrendous sexual abuse and traumatic circumstances, Rundle said the efforts of her Task Force have touched the lives of over 600 victims, 67 percent of them local. “These are our kids. I know this is a lot of inhumanity to grasp, but there’s also a lot of goodness. Beyond what law enforcement does every day, new shelters and clinics are being made possible through partnerships with business and healthcare leaders.”
In her inspiring closing argument, Rundle emphasized, “If we keep our heads in the sand and we don’t know, then we can’t save our children. A million eyes can see when something is wrong and help law enforcement and prosecutors. All it takes to make a difference is a concerned resident and a telephone call.” Citizens can report suspicions to the Switchboard of Miami Hotline number: 305-350-5567.
For information about the Centurion Foundation, visit Facebook.com/TNYCF. To learn more about Florida Advocates and Managing Bubbie, visit Fladvocates.com and Facebook.com/ManagingBubbie.