By Kevin Deutsch
Last week, a Broward County judge removed former Tamarac Town Manager Michael Cernech from house arrest, giving the longtime public official the freedom to start two new jobs, according to court records.
Cernech, charged with conspiracy to racketeer under RICO’s statutes last month over his alleged role in a scheme to extort more than $ 3 million from a local developer, was fired from his post as city manager on September 2, just days after his arrest.
After the layoff, Cernech attorney Larry Davis asked Justice Edward H. Merrigan, Jr. change Cernech’s bail conditions, which required him to wear a GPS monitor and only allowed him to leave home to take his children to and from school.
âMr. Cernech got a possible job in both a manufacturing company and a recruiting agency,â Davis wrote. âIn those companies he would serve as a consultant, assisting operations and recruiting respectively.â
Both opportunities require “travel within the three counties for day-to-day business purposes such as meetings, and depending on business needs, possible out-of-state travel if the court permits,” the motion said.
Davis said Cernech needed the job in part because his wife, Rosemary, is a college math teacher in Broward County.
“Given the overworked and underpaid nature of his profession, Mr. Cernech will have to take the lead in terms of taking care of his parents, his reintegration into the labor market after his recent dismissal and the transportation of his two kidsâ¦ at school and after-school activities, âDavis wrote.
In his Sept. 21 order granting Davis’ motion, Merrigan wrote that âthe GPS monitoring requirement is removedâ from Cernech’s bail conditions.
“[Cernech] will be placed in the standard preliminary phase with the possibility of traveling in the three counties without restriction, âthe order indicates.
The Florida attorney general’s office has indicted Cernech, Tamarac’s city manager since 2011, after he allegedly conspired to racketeering with several others, including father-son developer duo Bruce and Shawn Chait.
The co-conspirators tried to pressure Arnaud Karsenti, chief executive of 13th Floor Investments, to spit out $ 3.4 million in extortion, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Cernech is currently free on a $ 200,000 bond, for which his house was used as collateral, court records show. He has pleaded not guilty and is due in court on Nov. 8, according to records.
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Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning criminal journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has served on staff for the Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, and the Palm Beach Post.