Paul Novack on Newsnation

More than 50 years later, Paul Novack believes he knows what happened to his childhood friend, Danny Goldman.

Goldman’s boyhood friends have waited 55 years for closure. Goldman was kidnapped in front of his family in their Florida home when he was 17, and later murdered.

Inspired by a letter written by Goldman’s mother that asked her son never be forgotten, and angered by the mysterious circumstances surrounding their friend’s death, his childhood friends set out to solve his murder.

Novack, one of Goldman’s childhood friends who helped solve the case, said on “NewsNation Prime” that Danny’s kidnapping and murder was “off the charts” as far as cold case lists and missing persons reports go.

“There was nothing happening and that couldn’t stand,” Novack said. “We decided a 17-year-old cannot be taken from his family home and then the whole situation get forgotten, so we set out to make sure that wouldn’t happen.”

All these years later they determined it was the mafia who killed Goldman.

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Fingerprint Detectives

A cold case that has haunted Miami-Dade, Florida for the past 55 years has finally been solved with the help of a former mayor.

Daniel Jess Goldman was just one day shy of his 18th birthday when an unidentified man abducted him at gunpoint from his parents’ Surfside home. The year was 1966. The perpetrator bound both of his parents and demanded a $25,000 ransom for their son. But the Goldmans didn’t receive instructions for the exchange and their son Daniel was never seen again.

Paul Novack, an attorney who served six terms as Surfside’s mayor, took a personal interest in the case in 2012. He began pouring over details of the kidnapping along with a group of fellow ‘sleuths’ who try to crack unsolved crimes.

Cold case detective John Grossman says “crucial information” uncovered by the former mayor led them to a man named George Defeis. He was a career criminal with ties to the Trafficante crime family.

The identification shed new light on the nature of the case. Just before Danny Goldman’s abduction, his father Aaron had testified to federal authorities about illegal activities at the bank where he worked. Detectives now believe Daniel’s abduction “was retaliation for Aaron’s cooperation with federal authorities,” Grossman told

Miami-Dade Police declared the case solved on Dec. 28, 2021.

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Paul Novack on NBC miami

A team of civilians, residents of Surfside, took up the task of investigating a 55-year-old cold case and their unwavering efforts led to a closed case.

“It was like a humongous onion. You just had to keep peeling and peeling to get to the center,” Paul Novack said. 

Novack is one of five Surfside residents who made it their mission to ensure Danny Goldman’s case was not forgotten. 

10 years ago, Novack and his colleagues formed a volunteer investigative team and re-opened Danny’s cold case. The group began a relentless search for answers along with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Cold Case Unit. 

“For 55 years there were no answers to what happened,” Novack said. 

The day before his 18th birthday, in March 1966, Danny Goldman was kidnapped from his Surfside home. The intruder demanded a ransom, but the call for the money never came.

“We have reason to believe that Danny was murdered shortly after the kidnapping and his remains were disposed of in the ocean,” Novack said.

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Paul Novack Congressional Record


The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida
August 7, 2018

I am humbled to honor an extraordinary citizen of our South Florida community, PAUL NOVACK.

Hailing from Miami-Dade County, Paul has served as a tireless advocate and public servant for those who call our slice of paradise their home.

A proud graduate of my alma mater, the University of Miami (Go Canes!), Paul served as student body President among many other leadership roles. Following his undergraduate degree, Paul enrolled in Nova Southeastern University, where he earned his Juris Doctorate.

Upon completion of his law degree, Paul began his journey to what became an extraordinary legal career, representing thousands of clients and litigating numerous cases across multiple legal subjects. In 2016, Paul was honored by the Dade County Bar Association for significant contributions in providing access to justice; an honor that is well deserved.

In addition, Paul answered the Town of Surfside’s call to service, serving one term as Town Commissioner and subsequently six terms as Mayor. During his tenure as Mayor, Paul worked to author and reform township ethics rules, and led the town to 12 consecutive balanced budgets.

However, Paul’s commitment to public service didn’t stop there. In addition to his roles in public office, he has also held officer postings in our armed forces auxiliary; a Flotilla Staff Officer in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol.

Mr. Speaker, I am honored to recognize Paul’s countless hours of service and dedication to our community. I thank him for his years of dedicated service, and wish him the very best in the years to come.

Gracias (thank you) Paul

Link to the congressional record:

1000 Friends of Florida, an organization of unique and outstanding leadership on major issues involving the future, present, and past of Florida, honored Paul Novack for his courage, dedication, and public service. From the publications of 1000 Friends of Florida:

Community Steward Award–Public Servant—Paul Novack, Mayor, Town of Surfside

Paul Novack received the Community Steward Award for his steadfast advocacy for effective growth management in Surfside. In 1992, Surfside residents overwhelmingly supported a referendum to prevent a twenty-story beachfront condominium. For more than a decade since then, Novack served as mayor of this small Dade County community for the grand fee of one dollar per year. Throughout his tenure (1992-2004), Mayor Novack and the town’s commissioners consistently denied any requests for height and density variances, maintaining heights at twelve stories east of Collins Avenue, and five stories to the west. Nominator Charlotte Greenbarg wrote that, thanks to Mayor Novack, “the town’s zoning code has been consistently, fairly and effectively enforced.” Besides that, Novack maintained a balanced budget without raising property taxes, a one-minute emergency police response time, and garbage picked up six days a week for a nominal fee. During the selection process, 1000 Friends was impressed with Mayor Novack’s steadfast determination to uphold the planning and development standards needed to maintain Surfside’s distinctive character and scale, noted Pattison. “With his dynamic leadership abilities, commitment to sound planning, and concern for the residents of Surfside, Mayor Novack exemplifies the qualities of a true community steward.”