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State Attorney evidence against Boca mayor case contradicts Batmasian statements

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 10:34:35-04

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office has already filed charges against now suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie. 

What about the local developer at the center of this case? 

The Batmasians, a Boca Raton couple and major developers in the south county city, are key players in the corruption case against Haynie.

In January, Marta Batmasian, agreed to talk with state and county ethics investigators on the record.

They spoke with her after our news partners at the Palm Beach Post revealed the Batmasians had a business relationship with a property management company owned by Haynie and her husband. 

During the interview, an investigator from the Florida Commission on Ethics asked Marta Batmasian, "Who used to pay Haynie's management company?"

Marta responded by saying, "It was from the master's association, it wasn't us." The master's association she is referring to, is Tivoli Park master association. The Batmasians own more than 1,400 condos, out of 1,600 units in Tivoli Park, located in Deerfield Beach. Batmasian told ethics investigators that the association itself is in charge of hiring a management company. 

"It has a separate checking account," Marta said. Abigail irizarry, a Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics investigator then asked, "Where do the funds come from?, with Marta Batmasian saying, "Majority comes from us, I sign those checks."

The state attorney charged Haynie with official misconduct, believing Haynie benefited financially, and failed to disclose her relationship with the Batmasians before voting on proposals that benefited them.

According to Haynie's arrest report, investigators found $56,000 dollars worth of checks written to the Haynies' company, Community Reliance. Those checks were signed by Marta Batmasian.

The Batmasians' company, Investments Limited also wrote $84,000 worth of checks to Community Reliance, according to state investigators.

The question, did Marta Batmasian knowingly give a false statement under oath? 

West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Richard Tendler says "I highly doubt that there's going to be a perjury charge here. These cases are difficult to make out. You've got to get into the mind of the person who's making the actual statement and you've got to be able to prove that they knew it was false at the time they made it. That's a difficult proposition to make out for a prosecutor."

"$56,000 over a 4 year period is not a lot of money for what this company, his developer does. So to be able to recall exactly and know this is how the money came in, that’s a tough call for any prosecutor to make out. And certainly understandable if someone misstated something," added Tendler.

Ethics investigators also asked Marta Batmasian if Haynie offered any “quid-pro-quo, where she’ll say ‘I’ll vote for this if you do this type of thing.'" 

Marta Batmasian told them, “Never. Well, she’s politically ambitious. I don’t think she’ll leave herself open saying that to anyone, not just to us."

The investigators continued asking saying, "There’s never been, for lack of a better term, quid pro quo, she'll say I’ll vote for this if you do?, with Marta replying, "Never never. She’s politically ambitious, I don’t think she will leave herself open saying that to any one, not just us. She’s a professional, she’s not a likable person, you cannot like Susan Haynie."

After the state attorney filed charges against Mayor Susan Haynie, Governor Scott suspended her from office. 

Boca Raton is now planning to hold a special election in august to replace her. 

Haynie was charged with perjury after telling investigators her husband's surveillance company, Surveillance Doctor, was "not real" and never paid for services by the Batmasians. Marta herself emailed investigators shortly after her January interview, to tell them her company wrote them checks that totaled $42,000, for installing security cameras. 

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