Five years after the story broke locally, it is going national. Last month “60 Minutes” aired a piece on the story first reported by Dan Christensen's Florida Bulldog, an independent investigative group that is filling the void left by the decline of major newspapers.
March, 1944. Ronald Dumpt, a New York builder who gained fame by appearances on the popular radio show, The Original Amateur Hour, has surprised the nation by announcing that he is running for the Republican nomination for president. He hopes to beat GOP front-runner Thomas Dewey and then unseat Franklin Roosevelt, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth term. Gold Coast magazine caught up with Mr. Dumpt at his beautiful Palm Beach residence, Watchya Lingo, to find out why he wants to unseat a wartime president.
The legal proceedings seem to go on forever, but actually it was only about nine years. Toward the end, when we finally got the case heard after it seemed like 500 continuances, we had a break from the courtroom drama. Walking the halls of the Broward County Courthouse, we happened to look through the peep hole in the door of another court room. We saw a not-so-young guy in front of a jury. He was crouched, like a guard in a basketball game—arms extended, weaving from side to side, obviously making some important point. We had rarely seen a lawyer so animated, especially one who obviously wasn't working his first trial.
Up and down the tracks you see the future—piles of ballast waiting to be spread for new rails; a clean new track appearing where none existed a week before; a street crossing closed for a weekend and reopened with a second track where before only one existed; and, 40 miles apart, whole streets being closed as the foundations for modern stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale are being sunk. All Aboard Florida is underway.
The news arrived via the media. The Sun Sentinel reporter told my wife, Peggy, that our daughter was one of three kids picked to meet the pope at Miami International Airport. She doubted him. She thought Julie was one of a bunch from her school who would be at the airport—some minor role in greeting the Polish pope. No, said the reporter, only three and he wanted to know all about Julie.
If Donald Trump’s presidential bid has provided anything besides entertainment—a public forum for the kind of rants you usually hear only from drunks in bars—it is his candid assertion that in government, money talks. Trump brags about knowing the system, buying influence, and claims his wealth frees him from needing large campaign contributions and being beholden to those who write the checks.
It is one of the prettiest streets in one of the nicest neighborhoods in old Fort Lauderdale. It is just a block off of Las Olas Boulevard, a neighborhood characterized by oaks that were there when the place was used by the Native Americans for R&R, long before Col. William Lauderdale was sent down to tame them. It is called Colee Hammock.
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