Palm Beach News

Boynton CRA Director Gets the Heave-Ho

During her time as the director of the Community Redevelopment Agency, director Lisa Bright basked in the good graces of the Boynton Beach commissioners, who serve as the CRA board. Even after Bright made an enemy of Mayor Jose Rodriguez, a majority of those commissioners wanted to believe that Bright had been honest and ethical in her dealings with a CRA vendor, Joseph Ferrer.

But it's evident now that Bright simply made it impossible to explain away the conflicts she had with Ferrer, whose cottage she lived in prior to extending him contracts through her role with the CRA. At last night's meeting, Bright's long-time supporters on the commission, Bill Orlove and Marlene Ross, joined the vote to not renew Bright's contract

That vote followed the release of a private investigator's report on the relationship between Bright and Ferrer, which among other things found that Bright tried to mislead the CRA board by claiming in July that she had never lived at Ferrer's address.

It appears that Bright herself recognized that she'd crossed an ethical line and that she hoped her support among commissioners on the CRA board was strong enough to convince them to look the other way. In this sense, it's reassuring to Boynton Beach residents that commissioners did not do so.

But with a Palm Beach State Attorney's Office investigation still pending, we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg on Bright. She wasn't obligated to answer questions from the city's investigators; a state prosecutor has more tools to compel her to talk. That prosecutor also has subpoena power with which to retrieve documents that aren't in the city's custody but which may turn up more evidence of impropriety in Bright's dealings with CRA vendors.

Losing the CRA job was the easy part.

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Thomas Francis