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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Transcript of video:
Ignorance is no excuse….
For over one year now, Susan Haynie has denied any unethical practices; denied any breach of the public trust in her secret financial ties with the largest commercial land owner in downtown Boca Raton.
In the last six months, there have been numerous stories written by reputable organizations uncovering facts that tend to make Ms. Haynie’s denial doubtful. However, many people, including the members of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City Council, appeared to be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
The argument to take no action was that Ms. Haynie was the subject of both county and state ethics commission complaints and those complaints would provide resolution for the alleged ‘breach’ of the public trust.
This non-action position by our elected officials has provided ‘political cover’ for Ms. Haynie and she has been acting like ‘business as usual’ for way too long a period of time now.
On April 16, 2018….that ‘political cover’ evaporated. The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics entered into a negotiated settlement with Ms. Haynie where our Mayor admits to a violation of the ethics law and accepts the most severe penalty the County Commission on Ethics can impose.
The benefit of the doubt is no longer available….
Ms. Haynie accepted culpability for the ethics violation and agreed to the fine and public reprimand. She has now declared this to be the end of the underlying incident and states she is trustworthy to be elected to the County Commission seat D; a higher seat she seeks later this year.
Is this the end of the matter….not even maybe!!!
The County COE asserted the harshest penalty they could and, yes, the ethics inquiry is ended in PBC. However, the State of Florida Commission on Ethics is still investigating. Ms. Haynie’s ethical challenges are ongoing with an anticipated probable cause hearing in the near future.
The State COE has much more serious outcomes available to it. It can fine up to $10,000 per violation; it can recommend her removal from office to the Governor; it can refer the matter to the State Attorney for investigation and prosecution.
So, from Ms. Haynie’s point of view, this matter is far from over.
From the resident’s POV, the results to date are wholly unacceptable.
The hearing process employed by Ms. Haynie’s attorney, Tallahassee based Mark Herron, has been to avoid the evidentiary hearing and negotiate a settlement with the COE; a convenient outcome for all sides except the resident.
Why…the resident gets to know only a limited amount of admitted facts; but does not get to know the entirety of the circumstances…
This became evident in the County COE’s documentation that establishes in Count one, misuse of office, the activities may have been inadvertent and unintentional; a legal conclusion made without the benefit of a full blown hearing.
In Count two, failure to disclose conflict, the County COE found her to be in violation but, due to the lack of evidence, could not conclude whether her activity was intentional or unintentional. This inability is the exact point of negotiating a settlement rather than submit to an evidentiary hearing.
This strategy is most likely being employed at the State COE as well…
Hopefully the state COE will not accept a negotiated settlement and conduct the hearing where the facts can be presented and the residents can hear the extent of her unethical activities; her breach of the public trust. We will have to wait and see…
In the meantime, I refer you back to my commentary of November 27 2017, titled Not My Job, where it is pointed out to the other members of the CRA that the Community Redevelopment Act provides for legal process to conduct an evidentiary hearing of any CRA member who is deemed to have acted inappropriately with penalties if that action is sustained.
Deputy Mayor Scott Singer, then CRA Chair, refused to consider bringing this action forward and sat quiet allowing an unethical member to remain on the body taking votes that directly and/or indirectly affect outcomes of the very commercial land owner that is named in the ethics violations.
Then Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers also sat on his hands by not evoking the available tools in the City Charter to bring this matter to a head at the city council arguing that the COE actions would bring the appropriate closure…
Well Closure has arrived….
What action will the CRA/City Council take now???
What excuse will be argued for not taking a corrective action???
In the last election cycle, both Jeremy Rodgers and Scott Singer were politically aligned with Susan Haynie; each publically demonstrated their support for the other; each appeared at the other’s fundraisers and those of Armand Grossman, their supported candidate for City Council.
Rodgers even stood up at a recent Republican Executive Committee meeting and publically endorsed Susan Haynie for the county commission seat with Scott Singer standing on his right hand shoulder and Arman Grossman on his left.
No wonder they refused to move forward with an evidentiary hearing in Council chambers; a hearing that would provide Ms. Haynie with due process; with proper notice; and, with the statutory right to be heard and represented by counsel.
In the past 6 weeks, Ms. Haynie has been found to have violated ethics in two different matters. In each of these it was the result of a settlement and in each there was finding by the County COE that her actions were Inadvertent
Give me a break…
An elected official over the last 16 years claims she did not know taking $600 in tickets from a vendor doing business with the city and/or voting on matters that financially benefit a client of her private outside business are ethics concerns. Such excuse is pure folly…laughable….Ethics 101 addresses these blatant matters.
The benefit of the doubt is gone….non-existent any longer. The State COE’s action is pending with very serious outcomes possible; and the public still remains represented by an admitted ethics violator.
The time to act has long come and gone…but better late than never…
Ms. Haynie has only one path out of this quagmire…RESIGN!
Allow the residents the opportunity to replace her for the betterment of the political body.
Only time will tell what the other four elected officials choose to do….
But to do nothing is not acceptable especially in light of the Ms. Haynie’s admission and the broad language of the stipulated agreement and order.
The breach of public trust remains and will remain so long as Ms. Haynie is allowed to continue to participate in setting public policy for the residents in the city of Boca Raton
I don’t understand why she hasn’t resigned . This is clear to all residents. What will take her to resign and go quietly. There already has been several neighborhood groups putting together petitions. Why will she continue to embarrass boca. This story has reach New York and other places. She is hurting the boca brand as in reputation which is really bad right now. Will this city council do the right thing. We will see tommorrow . Singer and Rodgers political futures are on the line. In my 40 years in the area I have never seem anything this bad.
The City Council and CRA should have a No Tolerance policy concerning any type of ethics violation.
Mayor Haynie doesn’t need to resign. She’s a great mayor and like you said in the article, the ethics inquiry has ended in PBC!
I am getting so tired of reading BocaWatch. All of you act like a bunch of children and need to be scolded. I never read anything good and cheerful. This is a beautiful area and you get up in the morning mad and hateful. Do you think this helps? Why doesn’t someone try to be the grownup and break the comedy act? If you don’t try, you can bet it will be the same 50 years from now and you have accomplished nothing.
Even though you feel that way you still took the time out of your day to comment. Thanks for taking that time instead of just saying nothing and not letting us know.
At City Council Meetings, like the one tomorrow, residents only get 5 minutes to speak. The philosophy at BocaWatch has been to allow citizens a little more than that, more time to get their point across to a wider audience. And sometimes, just like City Council Meetings, you hear someone say something outrageous, something you totally disagree with. Sometimes it’s presented in a manner that’s less tasteful than you would have wanted it debated. Just like in City Council Meetings, sometimes you’ll hear some Citizen Opinion or even our Publisher’s Opinion that you just don’t like.
What can we do though? Give some people a voice and not others? Let some opinions be shared and censor others? If someone wants to have an honest debate and they don’t go over the top with anger and fake news then it seems like it’s worth giving the floor to.
So here’s what you can do, the same thing I decided to do when I said yes to Al for this role I’m in here now: put content on the site you think is better. Introduce better ideas. Of course I think my ideas are best, and people who disagree have ideas that are worse. Who doesn’t have a bias like that? We all do. Please step in – it’s your right as my neighbor – to counter my ideas with the ones you think are better. We can do that, be neighbors, improve each other, and have fun together.
Suggest article ideas to us or even write article ideas. On the Internet it’s not about who can buy the most ads – it’s about whoever can get their word out the most. It’s not fair to block, censor, shut people down, or shut people out. All you can do is do better.
Here you can contribute one article:
Here you can let us know more about yourself and what kind of articles you’d like to write and all if you want to make a thing of it. Personally, I love to debate. I challenge you to change my mind. Your opinion, perspective, attention and time you’d put into it certainly isn’t unwelcome.
Thanks for your input. Thanks for challenging us to do better.
Ever hear the term – follow the money? It goes back to the days of Deep Throat, Woodward & Bernstein, & Watergate. I will confess to you what surprises me. Nobody in this city has looked at or questioned where the money originates from.
Al Zucaro for Mayor !!!!!!
and Nero fiddled while Rome burned!
Well you don’t have to comment about this anymore. This evening, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, Mayor Susan Haynie was arrested on several charges and is in PBC jail.
I live in Boca and Haynie is building and we are suffering.
How do you like driving around Boca?
Forget about it.
You can’t keep building 20 story condo’s and apts in the confined space of beautiful Boca
We can’t build subways to alleviate traffic.Haynie has destroyed the serene beauty that once existed
She should be removed immediately.
Shame on making Boca a nightmare to move around.
Have you tried to park?
Enough. Was nice to move around up till all the construction which she and her cohorts saw$$$$
STOP THE MADNESS
She needs to go.Now
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It is interesting to read these comments after the Mayor was booked on felony charges during last night’s city council meeting. She has already removed herself from the campaign for PB Co. Commissioner, so will she wait for the State of FL to suspend her or will she resign? It was also interesting to hear the city attorney state at the meeting last night that she did not advise the Mayor on the ethics issue after Mr. Chapman suggested otherwise during his public comments. Will this be the beginning of a house cleaning of the city leadership ranks? Al Zucaro was right about the legal implications all along, so thank you Al for keeping the residents aware of the serious implications of the behind-the-scenes activities that have resulted in the declining quality of life for our residents over the past 10+ years.
MAYOR P.2.P. does need to go.Her credibility is 0.Boca should not have to continue with a P.2.P.MAYOR.