(WSVN) - From real estate rip-offs to allegations of sexual harassment in a Broward workplace, 7 Investigates spent the year digging into the problems facing South Florida. 7’s Kevin Ozebek looks back at what he and the team uncovered in 2020.
In 2020, the pandemic did not stop us from chasing down answers.
Kevin Ozebek: “Chris, can we please talk to you about these text messages you sent?”
7 Investigates exposed allegations of sexual harassment against Pembroke Park Supervisor Chris McKine, who was accused of sending pornographic images to an employee on his town-issued cellphone.
Chris McKine: “Yes, I regretted everything I did.”
After our story, the case against him was settled, and McKine lost his job.
We saw how Tim Ahlborg of Lauderhill endured homophobic slurs.
Richard Ross, neighbor: “[Expletive] Timothy.”
Tim Ahlborg: “Thank you, Richard.”
Richard Ross: “You’re welcome, [expletive].”
Tim Ahlborg: “Yeah.”
From a neighbor who lived in his condo complex.
Tim Ahlborg: “I’m actually taping you now.”
But Tim was even more disturbed when he called police, and the officer would not file a report.
Tim Ahlborg: “I was very angry.”
Lauderhill Police did eventually file that report after 7 Investigates starting asking questions.
This year, we met Jennifer Willis.
Jennifer Willis: “I couldn’t breathe. I was — I’m sorry.”
She fell for a work-from-home scam after getting furloughed during the pandemic.
Jennifer received two checks and was told to cash them and send the money to certified office supply vendors.
Jennifer Willis: “The money cleared, so I didn’t think anything was wrong with that.”
But the checks and the vendors were fake, and Jennifer was on the hook for $9,000.
While she has not gotten a single penny back, on the bright side, Jennifer tells us, she has restarted one of her two part-time jobs but admits it will take a long time to pay back the money.
We also looked into the double disaster in the Bahamas, struggling from both COVID-19 and the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Ed Stroebel, Hope 4 Hope Town: “Imagine going through this whole pandemic without running water to wash your hands.”
We investigated a second public health crisis unfolding in Key Largo.
Jennifer Jones, dengue fever survivor: “It literally feels like your eyeballs are trying to be ripped from your head.”
Dozens of people were getting seriously sick because of a dengue fever outbreak.
Leonardo Bello, dengue fever survivor: “I just got to the point where I could barely walk. Your feet start peeling, like skin falling off.”
Ernie Young reached out to 7 Investigates after he learned his new landlord wasn’t who she claimed to be.
Ernie Young: “This is an Airbnb that she had rented and was selling on the internet as her own.”
Fort Lauderdale Police say Britnee Theiss conned Ernie. She disappeared, until Detective Jesse Gossman spotted her during spring break.
He identified Britnee by pulling up our report on his phone.
Detective Jesse Gossman, Fort Lauderdale Police: “She’s the one that was on the news, for the Airbnb thing.”
And we pushed for answers after a dream trip turned into a nightmare.
Batuka Williams, Hadley Park senior: ”I need that money, especially right now.”
Members of a seniors group at Charles Hadley Park paid around $2,000 each for an Alaskan cruise in 2018. Months later, park director and City of Miami employee Antavius Howell told them the trip was cancelled.
Charlean Cobb, Hadley Park senior: “We were all heartbroken, but he said, ‘Don’t worry,’ we will get our money, we will be refunded our money.”
Howell unexpectedly died this year without returning all of the money. A city spokeswoman tells us she cannot comment until Miami Police finish an investigation.
Charlean Cobb, Hadley Park senior: “Shame on you! Two to three thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money for no one to say anything.”
That police investigation continues, but after seeing our story, a local company is now stepping in to get those seniors some extra cash for Christmas. We’ll bring you the holiday update to that 7 Investigates on Christmas night at 10 p.m., right here on 7.
Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.