Five Candidates Seek Two Seats On Circuit Court Bench

Two seats on Florida’s Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court bench, serving Palm Beach County, will be on the Tuesday, Aug. 30 primary election ballot. Group 1 has incumbent Judge Dina Keever challenged by attorney Robert “Rob” Ostrov, while Group 4, an open seat, has attorneys Luis “Lou” Delgado, Gregory Tendrich and Jeremy Zubkoff vying for the position.


Dina Keever — Keever was appointed to the bench in June 2015 by Gov. Rick Scott.

“I’m on the criminal felony bench. In the last year, I have presided over the resolution of more than 2,000 felony cases in circuit court,” she said. “I handle any felony case, ranging from grand theft to first-degree murder.”

Keever graduated from Florida State University’s College of Law in 1994. She was editor-in-chief of her law review and a certified legal intern before being selected as a federal appellate law clerk for Judge Peter Fay in 1994-95 in Miami. She also worked at the U.S. attorney’s office in the appellate unit and then in the narcotics unit.

Keever met her husband, moved to Pennsylvania while he attended medical school, and worked as a federal prosecutor. She has two teenage sons. “In 2008, we returned to Florida — Palm Beach County — and I became a criminal defense attorney,” she said.

In 2012, she unsuccessfully ran for Palm Beach County state attorney as a Republican, then joined the McCabe Rabin law firm as senior counsel, where she did commercial and whistleblower litigation from 2013 until she was appointed to the circuit court bench.

“I’m running to keep my seat because I have a passion for justice and a commitment to public service,” she said. “I think I’m doing an excellent job on the bench.”

Keever noted that she has more than 100 endorsements from respected lawyers in the community, more than 55 lawyers on her steering committee who believe she is doing a good job, and she gets positive feedback from defense attorneys and prosecutors. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council and the National Organization of Women, as well as many Palm Beach County organizations and elected officials, have also endorsed Keever.

The endorsements, she explained, prove that others believe she is doing her job well.

“I think it’s an honor to be able to serve from the bench,” Keever said. “I took an oath to uphold the constitution and seek justice, and that’s what I’ve been doing every single day of my career,” she said.

Keever said she wants to continue to serve the community to ensure that everyone who walks into her courtroom is treated fairly, impartially, with respect, and is heard.

Keever believes that she is the better-qualified and more-experienced candidate in the race.

“My opponent has only been a member of the Florida Bar since 2010, and most of his practice has been in New York,” she said. “He’s never done a jury trial in Palm Beach County.”

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Robert “Rob” Ostrov — Ostrov is a former criminal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney who has been practicing law for 27 years. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the New York Bar.

“I’ve been an administrative law judge in the State of New York and in Florida, and I am currently serving as an arbitrator for both the American Arbitration Association and for FINRA, which is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,” he said. “I actually have decades of adjudicatory experience.”

Ostrov graduated from Tulane University before earning his master’s degree at Columbia University and his law degree from the Fordham University School of Law.

Currently, he has a civil litigation law firm in Wellington. “I am very proud to be from Wellington,” Ostrov said. “I’ve lived here for 10 years.”

His qualifications, he explained, are why he is running to unseat Keever.

“I believe my background is far better suited to being a circuit court judge than hers is,” Ostrov said. “I believe I am extremely qualified for the position.”

There is a certain temperament Ostrov believes is necessary for a circuit court judge.

“I’ve got the judicial temperament that is appropriate for the position,” he said. “I believe that being kind, compassionate, understanding and patient are all qualities that I have, and that’s all well-suited for the position of judge.”

Should Ostrov win the election, he hopes to provide the judiciary with a fair and impartial adjudicator who can preside in the courtroom and make people feel comfortable.

Treating attorneys as contemporaries and not subordinates is also important to him.

“I believe that my experience is far more relevant to serving as a circuit court judge than my opponent,” he said. “I’ve practiced more years, I’m a member of more bars, I have more advanced degrees and I have significantly more state court trial experience than my opponent,” he said.

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Luis “Lou” Delgado — Before becoming an attorney, Delgado served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed two hours south of Bagdad. His unit is credited with 125 combat missions.

“After that, I went to law school at the University of Florida and became a prosecutor here in town,” Delgado said. “I’ve tried the most cases of anybody in my race. I’ve also litigated in the most divisions. I’ve been the most involved in our profession.”

He has held several positions with the Palm Beach County Young Lawyers section of the Palm Beach County Bar and the Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association. He has been elected to the Board of Governors for the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, has served on the board of Wounded Warriors of South Florida and has participated in Leadership Palm Beach County.

“I dedicate the most time to my profession. I also think I dedicate the most time to my community,” Delgado said. “In the last, maybe 18 months, I’ve done about 20 pro bono cases.”

Delgado believes that his military background, experience and professional and community involvement are why voters should vote for him.

“I’ve given my time to my country, I’ve given my time to the State of Florida, I’ve given my time to my community and I’ve given my time to my profession,” he said. “I’m the most qualified candidate in my race.”

Judges are there to make sure that the rule of law is followed by listening to cases, he explained, and make determinations upon what evidence is admissible and whether the rules of procedures are being followed.

“Fair, ethical rulings based on the evidence and the rules of procedures is all you can do. You can’t go in there with an agenda,” Delgado said. “We’re not running for a partisan office. We’re not running for a legislative seat where you’re going to be writing laws. We’re going to be there to follow the law. The objective would be to be the best judge that this county’s ever seen, and you do that by being fair, honest and ethical.”

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Gregory Tendrich — Tendrich has been a lawyer in Palm Beach County since 1987 when he graduated law school at the University of Miami after earning a business degree at Tulane University. His first job out of law school was with the public defender’s office, where he worked for five years.

In 1992, after his first daughter was born, Tendrich left the public defender’s office and joined a stockbroker office, working for firms for the next decade, including helping to represent them, along with advising on daily legal issues within the securities industry.

Tendrich opened up a practice in Boca Raton as a solo practitioner about 15 years ago.

“I primarily handle stock fraud, elderly abuse and financial exploitation against the elderly claims,” he said. “The time has come for me to move on from my practice.”

His wife, whom he met in law school, is also an attorney. One daughter is in medical school, while another daughter is studying at the University of South Carolina.

In 1976, when Tendrich was 14, his father was appointed as a circuit court judge in Miami. He was told when the time came, to give back to his community after he had been a lawyer.

“That time for me is now, after being a lawyer for 28 years with a pretty diversified practice,” Tendrich said. “I’m ready to serve the people of Palm Beach County.”

Tendrich always knew he wanted to be a judge, and believes that with his diverse practice and life experiences, he is the most qualified candidate.

“One of my opponents has been a lawyer for eight years. The other has been a lawyer for 12 years,” Tendrich said. “I’m the only candidate who has been here in Palm Beach County… I don’t want to diminish them in any way, other than saying I think having almost 28 years of legal experience, and the type of experience that I have, just makes me the better candidate.”

Many different organizations, from a cross-section of the community, have endorsed Tendrich, including Wellington Councilman Michael Napoleone.

Broad life and legal experiences, he said, are what make a good judge.

“I’m looking to be fair and bring integrity to our courts,” Tendrich said. “I’d like people to know, if they elect me, they’re electing somebody who is honest, decent and has integrity.”

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Jeremy Zubkoff — A civil litigator, Zubkoff is primarily active in the circuit court doing civil cases on behalf of condominium associations and homeowners’ associations. He has tried more than 60 cases and typically goes to court 15 to 20 times a month.

Zubkoff is running for circuit court judge because of words of wisdom his mother imparted to him at a young age.

“My mother was a public school teacher teaching special ed. She loved what she was doing and was always helping people. My mother always taught me that if I ever had an opportunity to do something that I love and help people at the same time, to do it,” he said. “I love being a lawyer and practicing law. Being a judge is a great way to do some community service. Helping people and doing something that I love is the reason I’m running.”

As a judge, he wants to run an efficient courtroom and be impartial and fair to everyone who comes into his courtroom.

“I believe that I am the best candidate for this seat because my practice area is in the circuit court. That’s where I’ve been practicing my entire career. In terms of this race, I have the most experience in circuit court,” Zubkoff said. “I feel like my background is superior to theirs, and I think people should vote for me based upon what I’ve done and not what other people are saying about me.”

Zubkoff tells people to “vote for Z” because he is the only “Z” name on the ballot, so he is easy to remember.

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