By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
She quickly became known by Pines officials as the manic mother at events with names like Bunny Brunch, the Golden Nugget Hunt, and the Masquerade Munch. "I liked my children to sit up front where we would be the first in line, and we would videotape," she recalls. "I wanted a spontaneous shot. If something happens to me, I want my children to know they did things when they were little and had true little expressions on their faces. The magic starts to wear out when they get older, you know."
For Roberts, enjoying her kids' lives became a veritable blood sport. At the events, she would fight with other mothers and officials, often in a bid to get to the front table with the mayor and other dignitaries. "She would be my only mother I would fear at events," Pines special events coordinator Frances Novo recounted in a deposition.
Things really got out of hand at Bunny Brunch 2000, when Roberts started hurling bagels and donuts at city workers after they stopped her from taking the leftover morsels home. When told to return the food, Roberts began "yelling, screaming, and actually threw the stuff at us," Novo said. "If she didn't have the box [of bagels]... would she have smacked me? I don't know."
During the conflict, she also argued with her husband, who became so angry that he broke the key off in the family car's ignition. But the world wasn't any wiser. The Miami Herald, in its story on the event, ran an adorable photo of little Kyle searching for eggs.
The ultimate event was Pines Day, a celebration of the city's birth, which involved a parade, a huge cake, and the crowning of the Pines' pageant winners. In April 2000, Roberts entered Kylee in the Little Miss Sweetheart Princess contest for 4-year-olds, and she was chosen the winner. Kylee made the Sun-Sentinel, and officials called upon her to represent the city at ribbon cuttings and other major events.
The victory emboldened Roberts and confirmed her suspicion that her twins were special, yet her conflicts only worsened. She says the scenes did no damage to her kids' psyches. "The confrontations were habitual, so the kids really didn't know I was making a scene," Roberts explains. "But I don't believe I was being unreasonable. I don't see why I can't sit at the front table with all these fat people who are feeding their faces with bagels and donuts."
During Snowfest 2000, Roberts felt she'd earned the right to skip the line, especially since Kylee was Little Miss Sweetheart Princess, and Kyle was slated to perform as one of Santa's elves. "This is f-ing ridiculous," Novo recalled Roberts saying. "My child should be in the f-ing front."
Novo told Roberts to wait like everyone else, which only intensified the profane rant. Finally, the mother, in a rage, threw her son's green elf costume at the mortified city official. "I said, 'Here, bitch, take it back,'" Roberts recalls.
Gary Roberts made earnest though rather feeble attempts to control his aberrant wife, which would usually lead to public marital spats. Renee Nunez, the city's soccer program coordinator, remembered several flare-ups in which the couple would get into "nasty fights on the sideline and would use the f word in front of the children," she said in a deposition.
Nunez also said that Roberts, even though she was one of the "most protective mothers you'll ever find in your life," could be rather rough with her kids. She remembered that Roberts once "snatched [Kyle] and just, like, forced him to the ground like a spike" while posing the boy for a picture on the field.
Roberts admits that she "manhandles" her kids at times but says she makes up for it with love. "Sometimes I'm stern and I'm pushy and I'm verbally aggressive with my children," she says. "But I know they know I love them... Those kids adore me; they worship me."
The adored mom kept her eye on Pines Day 2001, when Kylee would ride on the city float, cut the cake, and bestow her crown upon the next princess. "When my little girl is in high school and some girl calls her a piece of shit or some boy rejects her, all I wanted to do was be able to tell her that when she was 5 years old, she was the Pembroke Pines princess," Roberts says, her voice choked up with emotion. "I was going to give her some self-esteem I never had."
But the parade conflicted with another major event --the birthday party of Kristi Krueger's daughter, Kelsie. Roberts boasted all over town that Kylee was invited to the party. She told officials and other mothers that she and Krueger were great friends, name-dropping in a bid to get special treatment.
But the friendship was news to the anchorwoman. She was scared of Roberts.
Krueger lived only a couple of miles from Roberts, but they were a world apart. While Roberts had no real occupation, Krueger was "an award-winning health reporter and effervescent anchor," as her promotional bio on the WPLG website puts it. The daughter of a former general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Krueger graduated from the University of Florida, won an Emmy, and was named First Lady of Broward. Roberts dropped out of college and never won an award in her adult life.