Deerfield Commissioner Prepared Grant Request, Then Voted for It
In December 2008, Gloria Battle prepared a grant request for a nonprofit agency seeking funds from the Community Development Block Grant. Three months later, her organization won that $12,000 grant, thanks in part to a vote from Battle, who had been appointed to the City Commission in the period between.
The question for the Broward State Attorney's Office is whether Battle had a financial interest in that nonprofit, the Haitian American Consortium. Activist Chaz Stevens filed a complaint with the SAO this week after learning that Battle received a $250 check from the organization in December 2007.
In today's South Florida Times, Battle insists that the $250 was a reimbursement for expenses she incurred as a board member of the consortium. But it appears there were other payments.
The consortium president, Eddy Sarazin, employed in Deerfield Beach's public works division, told the paper that the organization paid Battle $250 on multiple occasions. But he says that each time it was for expenses and that Battle refused his offers to be paid for other work she did for the consortium.
At the March 3, 2008, commission meeting, Battle voted to approve more than $110,000 in funding, within which there was $12,000 set aside for the Haitian American Consortium. That item was part of a consent agenda and was voted upon without a detailed discussion. But later in the meeting, during commissioner comments, Battle announced that she had a conflict in that she authored the grant proposal for the consortium.
The meeting minutes show that City Attorney Andy Maurodis asked whether Battle had received "compensation" from the consortium. She told him that she had not and that she had no expectation of receiving it in the future. On that basis, it appears Maurodis advised Battle that she did not have a conflict.
I reached Maurodis this morning, but he declined to elaborate on that discussion, referring me to the meeting minutes.
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