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Boca Raton City Council calling public meeting for Monday to discuss mayor's arrest

Mayor charged with corruption, perjury
Posted: 7:32 PM, Apr 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-26 23:05:01Z
Boca Mayor Haynie arrested on criminal charges
Boca Mayor Haynie arrested on criminal charges

UPDATE: 2:15 pm Thursday:  According to a city spokesperson, the Boca Raton City Council is currently coordinating details for a meeting this Monday to discuss the Mayor's arrest. It will immediately follow the strategic planning workshop. According to the city's agenda, the meeting will take place at 4:30 PM and is open to the public. The discussion will take place at 6500 North Congress Avenue in Boca Raton and will include a time for public comments.

Meanwhile, a third council member has called for Mayor Haynie's resignation. Councilwoman Monica Mayotte says, "I believe the mayor should resign. The charges against her illustrate years of reckless behavior. I believe she has demonstrated a lack of judgment in how she has conducted herself over several years. She has completely betrayed the public’s trust."

UPDATE: 6 pm: Wednesday: Deputy Mayor Scott Singer and Councilwoman Andrea O'Rourke have asked Mayor Susan Haynie to resign, saying the allegations against her are casting a shadow across the city.

Investigators say not only did Mayor Susan Haynie lie under oath about role in the company she and her husband founded, but failed to disclose $335,000 of additional income on her state forms, including more than $83,000 in checks written by the Batmasians. 

Al Zucaro, a former political rival of the Mayor's, and the man who first alerted state investigators to the Batmasian/Haynie relationship, gave Contact 5 a statement saying in part, "The residents deserve a mayor who works for the community, and not the developer or her own economic interests."

The Governor's Office can suspend Mayor Susan Haynie if they like. They cannot remove her unless she's been found guilty. The Governor's Office told Contact 5 Wednesday, they asked the State Attorney's Office for more information to help in their decision.

 

UPDATE: 8:45 a.m. Wednesday: Mayor Susan Haynie's campaign manager said she has dropped out of the Palm Beach County commission's race. Haynie filed paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections Tuesday night and said she wants “to focus on fighting the charges and clearing her name.”

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. Tuesday: Mayor Susan Haynie walked out of the Palm Beach County Jail but offered no comment.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.: Gov. Rick Scott's office released the following statement:

“The Governor expects all elected officials to serve Floridians in an ethical manner. Our office will review this as soon as we receive more information from law enforcement.”

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: Boca Mayor Susan Haynie’s attorney says she denies misconduct charges.

Mrs. Haynie wholeheartedly and completely denies the allegations which we plan to fight in court to the fullest extent. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Leonard Feuer, Esq.

UPDATE 7:42 p.m.:

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie has been criminally charged and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail, according to a spokesperson with the State Attorney's Office.

The charges include three counts of official misconduct, perjury in an official proceeding, misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public office, and failure to disclose a voting conflict. 

According to her arrest report, Haynie has been under investigation since March 2017, after the State Attorney's Office received complaints that "she used her position to vote on issues having a favorable financial impact on developer James Batmasian." The complainants also alleged Haynie failed to disclose the income she received from Batmasian, while conducting business with him.

Haynie and her husband own a property management firm, that provided services for a Batmasian majority owned property in Deerfield Beach. As the Palm Beach Post first reported months ago, the Mayor and her husband collected thousands off that property. The Post also found Mayor Haynie voted on at least a dozen projects that went in favor of Batmasian since they began that business relationship. 

 

 

RELATED: Boca Mayor responds to alleged 'secret financial ties'  |  Commission on Ethics asks Boca Raton to hand over emails related to Mayor Haynie, Batmasians

Investigators looked at Haynie's property records, business records, financial records and public financial disclosure forms from the last three years to see if Haynie was in violation of any laws. Investigators compared those records with Haynie's voting history.

Ultimately, investigators say they believe Haynie "failed to disclose she was being compensated by Batmasian and his wife Marta, and their businesses," resulting in three counts of official misconduct. 

Additionally, investigators believe Haynie lied under oath when she was giving sworn testimony to the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics and the State Commission on Ethics. Haynie is now charged with perjury as well.

Haynie was also charged with misuse of public office (a first-degree misdemeanor), since investigators believe that on four occasions, Haynie voted on issues pertaining to The Batmasians, which resulted in a special financial benefit to her and her husband. 

Investigators believe Haynie acted with "wrongful intent," charging her with corrupt misuse of an official position

Haynie recently was fined $500 and reprimanded by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics. As part of her settlement, she had to admit she "failed to disclose a voting conflict."

The State Ethics Commission is currently investigating Haynie as well.

At Tuesday night's Boca City Council meeting, one member asked the City's Attorney if they had the ability to ask for the Mayor 's resignation. When Contact 5 investigator Sam Smink asked Mayor Haynie if she would resign, she did not answer the question. Mayor Haynie is currently running for Palm Beach County Commissioner.