Broward News

Some Tamarac Residents Want Patte Atkins-Grad Recalled

Just because you're a public official once accused of corruption, doesn't mean you can't pick make a comeback.

Tamarac city commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad in December was acquitted on corruption charges stemming from a 2010 indictment. The commissioner, a realtor who goes by the nickname "Positively Patte, had been accused of bribery, official misconduct, receiving unlawful compensation, and conspiring to commit unlawful compensation. During her ordeal, she was suspended from the dais for two years. After her acquittal, she was reinstated as a commissioner.

This upset some residents, who are launching a campaign to see Atkins-Grad recalled. Even though recall efforts are underway, City Attorney Sam Goren on Tuesday said that Atkins-Grad can continue acting in her official capacity so long as she holds office.

Nonetheless "She... has the same rights and privileges you all have," Goren told the commission, after a resident complained about Atkins-Grad according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Though Atkins-Grad was cleared of all charges, Tamarac Vice Mayor Harry Dressler called for the 66-year-old Atkins-Grad -- whom he called a "social pariah" -- to step down, and in a week, 275 people signed a recall petition. Local attorney Alvin Entin is among those pushing for Atkins-Grad to be ousted from her office. He suggested she quit, rather than be dragged, "kicking and screaming" off the dais, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

In 2010, the Broward Sheriff's Office teamed up with the FBI to investigate public corruption in Tamarac. The charges against Atkins-Grad were centered around her 2006 victory party, which officials argued was funded to the tune of $4,000 by developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, who were trying to gain influence with commissioners so they could build on a city-owned property. Prosecutors said the Chaits also paid for the $2,300 lease on a BMW. The two received approval for their project shortly after the 2006 election.

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Eventually, though, the Chaits cooperated with authorities to take down the commissioners who'd accepted bribes from them. The investigation brought down Broward County Commissioner Joe Eggelletion and former School Board Member Beverly Gallagher.

City Attorney Goren told the Sun-Sentinel that the city would likely bear the cost for any election. Atkins-Gran seemed to categorize such a move as a waste of money:

"What is the cost going to be to the city for this garbage?"