This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Should an arrested elected official who failed to disclose a business relationship with a developer and voted in favor of the developer resign? Andy Thomson, a Susan Haynie ally and candidate for council seat A, says no.
Former Mayor Haynie’s downfall, including her arrest and suspension from office, has been well documented on this site, in local newspapers, and even nationwide. Haynie was charged with official misconduct, perjury in an official proceeding, misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public office and failure to disclose a voting conflict stemming from an undisclosed relationship with the Batmasians, the largest private owners of commercial property in downtown Boca Raton. After her arrest, Governor Scott suspended Haynie which triggered a special election for mayor and for council seat “A.”
The Palm Beach Post asked each of the candidates for mayor and council seat “A” for the August 28th election “should suspended Mayor Susan Haynie resign?” Thomson is the only candidate to say no.
Thomson’s support for Haynie is not surprising. Haynie and Thomson were inseparable during Thomson’s first run for council against resident friendly councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke. In his first run, Thomson filed to run a month after moving to Boca and received substantial contributions from developers and their lawyers who also supported Haynie. During the campaign and until Haynies arrest, Thomson and Haynie were pictured together at numerous events and fundraisers.
Thomson’s connections to Haynie run deep. Until Haynie’s arrest, Thomson and Haynie shared the same political consultant, Rick Asnani of Cornerstone Solutions. Thomson hired Asanani for his first campaign and is using Asnani for his current campaign. As reported in the Palm Beach Post, Thomson’s political consultant is the subject of numerous state election complaints for allegedly setting up companies to support his candidates while failing to disclose the donors’ names in violation of election law. Some of the companies with complaints against them funded political action committees (“PACs”) that supported Thomson and attacked his opponents, including Councilwoman O’Rourke. By failing to disclose donors it is possible for individuals and companies who have business before (or in the case of Haynie with) members of the City Council to contribute without making the public aware. More “dark money” is likely to support Thomson this election cycle. Thomson is unlikely to break from his ally Haynie as he shares the same political team and is viewed by Haynie’s donors as a “yes” vote for their projects. Thus far Thomson has been the developer’s choice as reflected in his campaign finance report.
Like Haynie, Thomson has received support from the Batmasians and Investments Limited. During his first campaign bid, Thomson’s signs appeared on Batmasian’s commercial properties across Boca Raton. Thomson recently received the endorsement of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s BLU-PAC which is chaired by Batmasian’s longtime attorney, George Sigalos. BLU-PAC supported development on our City’s parks, including the Wildflower property. Thomson has described the resident led referendum to preserve our parks as misleading and is viewed as an ally by BLU-PAC to “monetize” Boca Raton’s parks. Another item of note is that Thomson’s law firm advertises on its website that it represents real estate developers and the construction industry. Developers benefited from unbridled growth in Boca under former Haynie’s reign. Like his prior run, Thomson has received support from Haynie’s donors in the development community.
Boca Raton was thrown into turmoil following Haynie’s arrest. Boca residents should ask themselves if they feel comfortable having Andy Thomson, who believes that even after her arrest that Haynie should not resign, on council. If breaching the public’s trust is not grounds to resign, then what is? Boca has a chance on August 28th to elect a council that will look out for the residents and eliminate the backroom deals of the past. Seek out candidates who will honor the public’s trust.
What a unfair piece of propaganda. Thompson lent support to the suspension by the Governor and the replacement team of elected officials. Your “ hit” piece is nothing less than thin nonsense.
A City Resident
Mr. Rothkopf, I appreciate your support for the candidate of your choice. Facts are curious and interesting things. The facts are that Mr. Thomson chose to politically align with our suspended Mayor for political expediency. That is undeniable.
An even further disclosure of facts would reveal that Mr. Thomson has exaggerated the accomplishments he claims in public forums and campaign literature: 1. Problem solver for school overcrowding due his appointment on the educational task force? He was on that task force for three meetings. He only attended two before resigning. The meetings he attended were nothing more than organizational meetings. The task force accomplished little in the way of providing solutions for overcrowding thus far. He had absolutely zero to do with any educational solutions. 2. Traffic expert? Mr. Thomson has no traffic certificate, no formal education in traffic and my understanding is that his experience was due to nothing more than an intern type position during his college years or shortly there after. He is not a licensed engineer. 3. His connections to special interest is without a doubt. His campaign finance reports illustrates that he is backed financially by unions, realtor groups, developers, and other political action committees. They expect something in return. Mr. Thomson may say otherwise but his allegiance is to continue to endorse the opposite of what citizens are most concerned about; overdevelopment, traffic, transparency and schools.
If you also share in the same concerns, Mr. Thomson is not your candidate.
Of course, you’re now diverting into substantive issues which may have been the focus of an opinion piece rather than the inflammatory defamatory red herring that Thompson “ stands by arrested ally”. Which was your choice of words and how to support or not support candidates. It’s a hack piece of writing.
If in fact Andy Thomson stated Haynie should not resign, I would say he stood by her as well.
Thank you for telling it like it is. The bottom line is that Thomson is, in fact, aligned with the former Mayor. Both through strategy, campaign backers and campaign consultants. The truth bites those that may think differently. You are spot on with the claim that a vote for Thomson will most definitely continue the overdevelopment that most citizens object to.
Andy Thomson all the way. As usual, Boca Watch is being used as a propaganda machine for Zucaro and those he supports. Growth is inevitable. People, including myself are not fans of it but we understand that as long as we live is a community that has a strong growing economy, great public services, some of the best public schools in the country, etc. etc . etc…. people will continue to come here. You are factually correct that Andy “stands” by Haynie in the sense that he is literally standing next to her in the photo. Other than that your piece is just a twisting of the facts to suit Zucaro and his kool aid drinkers. I’m voting for the guy who’s young, with a family, kids the same age as my children, and is well educated because I know his goals for the city are the ones that will make it better for his children which are his real “special interest”.
Andy Thomson is an out and out fraud. This fundamental truth can longer be denied. In the meantime I do not recall having personally drunk from the ‘kool aid’ you refer to. My own choice would be a tipple of single malt from the old country. That being said – you are of course entitled to your opinion. Now can I suggest that the next time you fire up your google machine could you do some research to determine if Thomson’s kids go to ‘public schools’ – because that’s where parents and their children are experiencing real problems. Have a wonderful day.
Voting for some because they are young and educated is rather a shallow reason. You might want to educate yourself on what smart city planning looks like in terms of schools in Boca Raton if you have young children.