NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyRiviera Beach


WPTV investigation reveals why Riviera Beach recall was invalidated

Posted at 12:22 PM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 18:48:54-05

Four days after her decision to invalidate all but two signatures in the Riviera Beach recall effort, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher still has not responded as to why she made that decision. 

RELATED: More Riviera Beach coverage

But a WPTV investigation found why only two of around 8,600 signatures were validated by her office. 

On Nov. 21, Bucher emailed Riviera Beach City Clerk Claudene Anthony, asking her when the official start and end date for the petitions is. 

According to the city charter, petitions must be collected and handed in within 30 days. 

Anthony responded saying that she can’t provide an official start date, to which Bucher responds:

"Can you speak with your lawyer and see if he can get us an official documentation of the 30 days; otherwise we will not be able to complete the petition verification process.:

City Attorney Andrew DeGraffenreidt responded the next day, detailing when to start the counting process for each council member. 

  • For Lynne Hubbard: Jan. 31, 2017 – March 2, 2017
  • For Terence Davis: Nov. 12, 2016 – Dec. 12, 2016
  • For Dawn Pardo: April 22, 2017 – May 22, 2017

The citizen’s group behind the recall effort, led by Amon Yisrael, said they started the petition on Oct. 16 and handed them in Nov. 14. 

Seventeen petitions have dates outside of the 30-day window on them. 

"More than obvious to me that they were scribbler’s errors," Yisrael said.

Especially since the language in the petition refers to the Sept. 20 meeting in which City Manager Jonathan Evans was fired, which started the controversy in the city and ultimately the recall. 

But in his letter, DeGraffenreidt instructed Bucher to start counting for each council member based on the earliest day available.

In the case of Davis, someone had put down the 2016 as a date instead of 2017. Based on that date, there was only one valid signature for Davis.

DeGraffenreidt said to start counting for Pardo based on a petition which had the date of April 22, 2017 on it, making only that one signature valid for Pardo.

For Hubbard, DeGraffenreidt made a mistake and said the earliest signature for her was provided on Jan. 31, 2017, when instead someone had written 1/19/2017 (most likely instead of 11 for November), making zero signatures valid for Hubbard. 

Writing a one instead of an 11, resulted in thousands of signatures to be cast aside. 

“It’s frustrating,” Yisrael said. “The community is outraged because they feel like they have no voice.”

Yisrael said he talked with his lawyer and they are looking into what their next action is going to be. It could be another lawsuit.