UPDATED: Not long after I posted the rather cryptic report below, the State Attorney's Office issued a press release noting that Tamarac City Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad had been charged with bribery, official misconduct, receiving unlawful compensation, and conspiring to commit unlawful compensation.
As first reported here last month, the charges involve $4,000 that the 64-year-old Atkins-Grad received from the developers Bruce and Shawn Chait for her election victory party in 2006 -- just days before Atkins-Grad voted to approve the Chaits' controversial housing project on two Tamarac golf courses.
Here's something new though: The Chaits, who are cooperating with state officials, also paid Atkins-Grad $2,300 for her BMW lease, according to prosecutors. How perfect is that? Corruption financing a politician's chief status symbol.
I questioned Atkins-Grad -- a Realtor who has gone by the moniker "Positively Patte" -- about allegations of wrongdoing involving the Chaits in April, but she steadfastly refused to comment. When I initially asked her last year if she ever took anything of value from the developers, Atkins-Grad denied any wrongdoing and told me, in classic fashion, "I'm the most
ethical person I know."
Here's the text of Ron Ishoy's press release:
The Broward State Attorney's Office has obtained a warrant for the arrest of Tamarac City Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad on charges of Bribery, Official Misconduct, receiving Unlawful Compensation and Conspiring to Commit Unlawful Compensation for her improper dealings with two South Florida developers seeking her support of their building projects.
Atkins-Grad is accused of receiving and not disclosing a $2,300 lease payment for a BMW from two developers whose building projects she lvoted to approve. She is also accused of receiving $4,000 cash from the same builders, Prestige Homes, for a victory party following Atkins-Grad's election to the Tamarac commission.
Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes signed an arrest affidavit charging Atkins-Grad on Thursday. The commissioner was scheduled to surrender at the Broward County Jail on Friday.
Charges against Atkins-Grad include two counts of Bribery and two counts of Unlawful Compensation, both second-degree felonies with a maximum sentence of 15 years on each count; three counts of Official Misconduct and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Compensation, each a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years each.
A proven and reliable deepthroat source tells me that an elected official is set to surrender today on corruption charges.
I'm not going to name names at this juncture, wouldn't be prudent, but she's a politician in a Broward city whose ties to dirty developer Bruce Chait you've read about here (and only here).
All plans are subject to change, but this arrest and more like it are on the way as Chait and his son Shawn, of Prestige Homes, are expected to change their plea in their own Joe Eggelletion-related bribery case to guilty in August.
The key here is that the incestuous swamp of a city appoint someone worthy of office rather than just another crony. The people need to demand it.
-- As you may have heard, the Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled that Jordan Howard Breslaw -- as opposed to Jordan Howard Jordan -- will have his name on the ballot after all in his bid to take the seat held by Broward County Judge Mary Rudd Robinson. Read his all-caps email to the Pulp inside along with a quick analysis of the case.
Here's the note, which Breslaw also sent to other media folks:
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THE BRESLAW FAMILY LEGACY SURVIVES
THE FOURTH DICTRICT COURT OF APPEALS JUST REVERSED THE LOWER COURT''S RULING AND ORDERED THAT JORDAN HOWARD BRESLAW BE MAINTAINED ON THE BALLOT FOR THE PRIMARY AUGUST 24, 2010. THE COURT STATED THAT JORDAN USED THE NAME "BRESLAW" FOR DECADES, IT IS THE NAME THAT HE WAS BORN WITH AND WHICH HE HAD USED IN HIS PUBLIC AND PERSONAL LIFE FOR DECADES! JORDAN HOWARD BRESLAW MADE NO ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE OR CONFUSE THE VOTERS. THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS ASSUMES VOTERS VOTE FOR QUALIFIED CANDIDATES, NOT JUST NAMES.
The appellate court's opinion doesn't surprise me. As you'll recall, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Edward Garrison ruled to strike Breslaw's name from the ballot, noting that he had changed his name to Jordan in 1991 and the reversion to his birth name for the election appeared to be a ploy to pander to the Jewish vote. It was a prefectly reasonable take, but the bottom line is that the appellate court found no basis in law to strike the name. Basically the court ruled that whatever deception there was didn't rise to the level of barring his name from the ballot. From the opinion:
"[Breslaw's] desire to use his birth name to appeal to an ethnic segment of the voters is not the type of fraudulent, criminal, or wrongful purpose that would invalidate his choice. For better or worse, for over 150 years, American candidates have used their names to appeal to ethnic voting blocks in elections. Democracy optimistically assumes that a voter will make an informed choice on the ballot."
Now we'll see how informed a choice the voters make in the Robinson-Breslaw race.