WEST PALM BEACH — Being a judge isn’t too different from being in a fraternity.
The bench, after all, remains a boys’ club with its own rules, language and politics.
In that context, candidate Circuit Court Judge candidate Lou Delgado would be in familiar territory.
But then, should the 35-year-old be elected, Delgado will no doubt miss what made his college fraternity at University of Florida a little more special.
Like the hazing. And the drinking. And the groping.
Delgado makes reference on his resume to being a high-ranking officer of Pi Kappa Alpha, his college fraternity, through his years as an undergrad then law school student.
Thing is, the group known by fellow students as The Pike has become infamous on Florida’s college campuses for hijinks that have included violent hazing, sexual attacks on women and out-of-control drinking.
— We are vetting some of the upcoming election’s more colorful characters because West Palm Beach’s out-of-touch corporate media have abdicated their duties to help voters separate good candidates from the others. Check out our recent story about U.S. Congress candidate Brian Mast.
Here is why campus scholars consider Delgado’s all-boys fraternity to be meat-heads:
Pi Kappa Alpha chapters have been suspended from every major Florida university over the past 25 years, including twice from University of Miami and from Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University and University of Central Florida.
The Pike is under a 10-year ban from Florida State University for a gang rape, and it was kicked out of UF in 2006 for the alleged use of roofies on three women who passed out at a party.
According to a copy of his resume obtained from his past employment file as assistant state attorney, Delgado was one of the chapter advisors at the time.
UF banned his guys for four years after the women told administrators they believed they were given drinks laced with drugs at a barbecue.
At the time, the fraternity was on probation for drinking violations and hazing incidents!
Eventually, university cops said they couldn’t find any evidence of roofies or any other drug, and the suspension was reversed.
Still, the judge wannabe did get into the spirit of The Pike!
If you look at the dozens or so photos Delgado had on his Facebook account but took down before the August 30 primary that saw him force next month’s runoff against Gregory Tendrich, it sure seems Delgado loved partying hardy.
As we did with another candidate judge who didn’t make it past the primaries, we preserved Delgado’s photos for voters to judge.
“I don’t condone any violence or disrespect against women,” said Delgado when asked about his time at The Pike. “I was a law student and wasn’t involved in the fraternity in 2006 – other than to provide advise on graduate admission process and bookkeeping.”
There are, meanwhile, Delgado traits and personal stories that could make him attractive to some voters.
One of the selling points of Luis J. Delgado, the Peruvian immigrant’s real name, is the fact he served as a U.S. Marines Reserve with honors.
He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and saw plenty of action on 125 missions as ruck division machine-gunner during President George W. Bush‘s attempt to avenge the World Trade Center attacks.
“That environment matures you quickly,” Delgado said when asked if the gig prepared him for judgeship.
Upon Delgado return in 2006, the West Palm Beach resident enrolled in UF’s law school before starting his career as an assistant prosecutor in 2008.
There, at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, Delgado had a fairly uneventful four years where, according to his employment file, his bosses often thought of him as timid and “bland.” He was exhorted to prepare better for his cases and become more familiar with often-used laws while he handled some murder cases.
Critics in West Palm Beach’s legal community, meanwhile, say Delgado’s too green to be a judge.
Delgado is eight years out of law school and his solo practice since he left the SAO has not appeared to be successful, if you believe his light client load in court dockets. His salary as a judge would be about $142,000.
“There are many more (cases),” he says. “My cases are mostly criminal, once the case is over your name comes off as attorney of record. I’m happy with the success of the firm and have been fortunate enough to do pro bono work and handle a few ad litem matters.”
Delgado founded his Delgado Law Firm LLC in January 2014, according to state records. The address was his rented condo at 403 S. Sapodilla, suite 512, in downtown West Palm Beach.
A year later, however, he failed to pay the state for the renewal of the corporation’s status and it was dissolved automatically.
But as of today, the firm he boasts as his in electioneering material doesn’t even exist!