Commercial property owners, at the center of a conflict of interest controversy, plan to cut ties with a company founded by the Boca Ration mayor and her husband.
This is the first time James and Marta Batmasian have commented since our news partners at the Palm Beach Post published an investigation where they discovered Mayor Susan Haynie voted on proposals that benefited both the Batmasians and her family business.
Marta Batmasian is the co-owner of Investments Limited. Investments Limited owns the majority of a condo association in Deerfield Beach; a condo association Mayor Haynie and her husband's company manage to the tune of $12,000 a year since 2010.
Now, Marta Batmasian tells the Contract 5 Investigators, she will ask the condo association to find another management company.
In an exclusive statement Wednesday, Marta Batmasian says, in part, she and her husband "applaud the City of Boca Raton for its push for total transparency. We will support these efforts by taking our own action to ending any relationships that could be perceived as conflicts. This includes strongly suggesting to the Tivoli Association to replace Community Reliance and finding a new property manager."
In her statement, Marta Batmasian goes on to say "We will also terminate our long-time relationship with the Boca branch of Merrill Lynch where George O’Rourke, the husband of Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke, works. Our mission has always been on making Boca Raton a great place to work, live and play, and we look forward continuing to make this happen.”
Councilwoman O'Rourke's husband once managed the Batmasians' portfolio, until she was elected.
As for the voting controversy, we've learned the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission said it will not re-issue any new opinions on previous votes by the mayor but would rule on any future votes if the mayor asks for their opinion. Tuesday night, Mayor Susan Haynie said she would not.
As for an Ethics investigation, Contact 5 confirmed the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics is looking into records linking Mayor Susan Haynie and James and Marta Batmasian.
An ethics commission investigator requested Haynie’s emails from 2013 from the city with terms such as “Batmasian,” “Investments Limited,” “Ethics” and “Condominium Association.”
Haynie's political foe Al Zucaro has also filed new complaints with the State and County Ethics Commissions, which the agencies do need to look into.