In retrospect, Boynton Beach Commissioner Marlene Ross probably shouldn't have sent naked photos to her lover via Facebook. Especially because her lover is an ex-convict. But particularly because her ex-con lover is her first cousin.
You're forgiven for thinking we're describing the plot of a Law and Order episode, not a scandal that's currently playing out in South Florida — especially because the only reason Ross' soap opera-worthy love life came to light is because she claims she was blackmailed by a lobbyist who knew about the photos.
Ross told prosecutors that lobbyist and former Commissioner David Katz tried to intimidate her for years, sometimes succeeding — once, she lied by signing a letter saying he had never lobbied her. But after he vaguely mentioned the photos at a city commission meeting, she decided that potential public shame was preferable to blackmail. According to the Palm Beach Post:
[During the meeting] Katz said several government agencies were following leads about "transmittal of messages and pictures between elected officials and convicted felons." Rogelio Vera [Ross's ex-lover] served time in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Then, Katz said, "Whatever consequences they're concerned with if they vote in favor of his appointment, they will pale into insignificance as to the ones that would come otherwise."
Ross said she interpreted the comment to mean that she could pay dearly for not supporting Taylor.
In her statement, Ross wrote, "At that point, I knew for sure that DK" - David Katz - "really does know about the private photos!"
Katz denied the allegations, calling them "ridiculous." Regardless of whether he's lying (and it seems like he is — why would Ross go through all this otherwise?), we can't really argue with him on that one.
Nude photos prompt blackmail probe in Boynton Beach [Palm Beach Post]
(Image via Facebook.)