Radio host resigns from Congress job after lockdown
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A conservative radio talk show host will not serve on the staff of a newly elected congressman, after her connection to a countywide school alert.
As a result of the investigation into a threat that lead to the lockdown of all schools in Broward County, Wednesday, Joyce Kaufman announced on her WFTL radio show, the following day, that she will step down as Chief of Staff to Republican U.S. Rep.-elect Allen West. "Last night, I called congressman-elect Allen West, and I told him I would not be able to accept the position of chief of staff for Congressional District 22," she said.
According to sources, something Kaufman had said at a tea party rally, set someone off to write a threatening email to that station, early Wednesday morning. During that rally Kaufman said, "If ballots don't work, bullets will." MSNBC aired the clip on Rachel Maddow's TV show, where Maddow offered to introduce viewers to the new crop of conservatives entering office as a result of the Nov. 2 elections.
Kaufman said she did not want to take anything away from West with this media scrutiny, which she blamed on the "liberal media," so she decided to step down from her Chief of Staff position for the congressman-elect. "It put me into a horrifying position with death threats, with people writing emails, that ended up resulting in an entire county locking down its schools for one lunatic who doesn't even live in our community."
Meanwhile, investigators are closing in on the person who made the threats that led to the countywide lockdown on Wednesday. Federal officials located that person of interest, who lives outside the Tri-County area, Thursday morning. The FBI, who have taken over the investigation, have said he is not cooperating, however.
Police said that soon after MSNBC aired the clip featuring Kaufman, WFTL received an email that stated, in part: "I'm planning something big around the government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school."
According to sources close to the investigation into that threat, which forced the county-wide lockdown of Broward schools, libraries and other government buildings, the person who sent the email was motivated by hearing Kaufman's words on Maddow's show.
Adding to the concern over the threat, police said, shortly after the email was sent, the Pompano Beach radio station received a phone call from a woman who said her husband might go to a school and open fire with a gun. "[She] claimed that her husband was going to respond to a school in Pembroke Pines and start shooting," said Pembroke Pines Police Captain Dan Rakofsky.
The lockdown left 230,000 students locked in their classrooms for most of the school day. WFTL Programming Director Dave McBride said, "As soon as the threatening phone call was received by our receptionist, we called the sheriff immediately."
That call to police began the lockdown of schools throughout Pembroke Pines. Soon after, the Broward Schools superintendent announced the lockdown of all Broward Schools.
Police said whoever made the threat had been watching the MSNBC show, hours earlier, and heard Kaufman's words. McBride said he stands by Kaufman and questions the connection between the threat and Kaufman. "We don't know that that's the truth because in no way, shape or form was that mentioned in the information that we received either by phone or by email," he said.
Some employees at the radio station said that Kaufman was upset with the connection police sources have made with Wednesday's threat.
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